Piras, Laura Antonella (2019) L'Epistolario di Petrarca fra ars poetica e interpretazione. Doctoral Thesis.
This study of Petrarch’s epistolary (including Familiares, Seniles, Epystole, Sine nomine and Disperse) intends to select, analyse and comment upon the letters in which the writer dealt with some principles of ars poetica, such as writing and interpretation, in order to realize a thematic anthology. After an overall examination of the letters, it has been possible to identify some of the fundamental thematic units of Petrarchan literary thought: the interpretation and study of the text (Fam., XXIV 1, Sen., IV 5, Fam., X 4, Disp., 7, Disp., 11, Disp., 61, Sen., XVII 3 and Sen., XVII 4), the defence of poetry and the study of the liberal arts (Fam., I 7, Fam., I 12, Sen., II 1), the importance of the exemplum (Fam., IV 4), the relationships between classical and Christian models (Fam., XXII 10) as well as between Latin and vulgar eloquences (Fam., XXI 15, Fam., I 1) and the criticism of the auctoritates (Disp., 16). I have also examined the letters that analyse some principles and rhetorical institutes such as the imitatio (Fam., I 8, Fam., XXII 2, Fam., XXIII 19) and the theory of re-writing (Fam., XIII 12). Particular attention has been devoted to Petrarch as a critic and master, constantly active in the evaluation of his friends’ and acquaintances’ works and ready to dispense advices about writing techniques (Disp., 55). Finally, I have attempted to clarify how voluptas scribendi and voluptas legendi, incurable diseases that vex Petrarch, are actually considered by the writer as unique characteristics that distinguish the real writer and the real intellectual from the populace and the Sunday poets (Fam., III 18 and Fam., XIII 7).
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