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Petrarch and Dante

Anti-Dantism, Metaphysics, Tradition

Edited by Zygmunt G. Baranski and Theodore J. Cachey, Jr.

Publication Year: 2009

Since the beginnings of Italian vernacular literature, the nature of the relationship between Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) and his predecessor Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) has remained an open and endlessly fascinating question of both literary and cultural history. In this volume nine leading scholars of Italian medieval literature and culture address this question involving the two foundational figures of Italian literature. Through their collective reexamination of the question of who and what came between Petrarch and Dante in ideological, historiographical, and rhetorical terms, the authors explore the emergence of an anti-Dantean polemic in Petrarch's work. That stance has largely escaped scrutiny, thanks to a critical tradition that tends to minimize any suggestion of rivalry or incompatibility between them. The authors examine Petrarch's contentious and dismissive attitude toward the literary authority of his illustrious predecessor; the dramatic shift in theological and philosophical context that occurs from Dante to Petrarch; and their respective contributions as initiators of modern literary traditions in the vernacular. Petrarch's substantive ideological dissent from Dante clearly emerges, a dissent that casts in high relief the poets' radically divergent views of the relation between the human and the divine and of humans' capacity to bridge that gap.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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About the William and Katherine Devers Series

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pp. vii

The William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies at the University of Notre Dame supports rare book acquisitions in the university’s John A. Zahm Dante collections, funds an annual visiting professorship in Dante studies, and supports electronic and print publication of scholarly research in the field. ...

Birthday Card

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xii

This volume is based on a series of seminars given to celebrate the seventh centenary of the birth of Francesco Petrarca (1304– 1374), organized by the William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies, and held in the Department of Special Collections of the Hesburgh Library of the University of Notre Dame during the fall of 2004. ...

Part 1 Anti-Dantism

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pp. 1

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Chapter 1 Between Petrarch and Dante: Prolegomenon to a Critical Discourse

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pp. 3-49

My choice of title, mirroring the titles of canonical essays by Natalino Sapegno (1963) and Giuseppe Billanovich (1965), is intended in a heuristic and not a hubristic sense.1 Rather than reflect an exaggerated self-confidence on my part, it represents in the first place an invitation to anyone interested in what came “between Petrarch ...

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Chapter 2 Petrarch, Dante, Cavalcanti

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pp. 50-113

“Petrarca e Dante”; “Dante in Petrarca”; “Tra Dante e Petrarca”: conjunctions and prepositions have played an unexpectedly vital role in determining the critical history of Petrarch’s relationship to Dante.1 The elimination of both grammatical categories in the title of my study marks a deliberate attempt to go beyond the parameters which, ...

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Chapter 3 Blinding the Cyclops: Petrarch after Dante

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pp. 114-174

That Petrarch occupies a special place in the history and historiography of the Western tradition is news from nowhere to no one. Still, for all that modern notions of cultural history have frequently located him at a pivotal point between medieval and Renaissance “mentalities” and assigned him a place of privilege in the emergence of ...

Part 2 Metaphysics

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pp. 175

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Chapter 4 Petrarch’s Dialogue with Dante

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pp. 177-194

Relations between poets are probably never unambiguous. In the case of Petrarch, whose voice is marked by contradictions, inconsistencies, and struggles (as a rhetorical form of reinstituting differences between his positions and those of his opponents), ambiguities with respect to Dante can hardly come as a surprise. ...

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Chapter 5 Petrarch as the Metaphysical Poet Who Is Not Dante: Metaphysical Markers at the Beginning of the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Rvf 1–21)

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pp. 195-225

The fundamental Petrarchan problematic, apparent in all his work, is the metaphysical issue of the one and the many. Singular versus plural, whole versus fragment, the one versus the many: this is Petrarch’s abiding theme, and it is a metaphysical one. My argument is that Petrarch is a metaphysical poet, and that metaphysical concerns, ...

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Chapter 6 Subjectivity and Conversion in Dante and Petrarch

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pp. 226-260

Conversion, in the paradigmatic form realized by Saint Augustine in both life and literature, is a thematic obsession across much of Petrarch’s work, surfacing and resurfacing in works as varied as the Secretum, the Canzoniere, the Familiares, the De vita solitaria, the De otio religioso, the Bucolicum Carmen, the Itinerarium, ...

Part 3 Tradition

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pp. 261

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Chapter 7 Dante Estravagante, Petrarca Disperso, and the Spectre of the Other Woman

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pp. 263-289

It has been more than twenty years since Marco Santagata, in his article “Dante in Petrarca,” lamented that the history of Dante and Petrarch studies can for the most part be summed up as Dante versus Petrarch.1 Although they were near contemporaries, inhabiting contiguous worlds, as brilliantly illustrated by Giuseppe Billanovich ...

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Chapter 8 Dante, Petrarch, and the Laurel Crown

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pp. 290-319

With regard to poetic coronation, Italian poets of the fourteenth century received from antiquity a double legacy: one part an individual, literary sanction, the other a collective, historical one. Ovid’s tale in the Metamorphoses of Apollo’s pursuit of a nymph who was transformed into a laurel tree culminates in the god claiming ...

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Chapter 9 Places and Times of the Liturgy from Dante to Petrarch

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pp. 320-370

In a celebrated letter, FAMILIARES 6.2, Petrarch recounts perambulations with the Dominican Giovanni Colonna through Rome, possibly shortly after the poet’s coronation on 8 April 1341.1 In the letter, which has long been taken as in some sense marking the “beginning of the Renaissance,” a review of locations marking ...


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pp. 371-402


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pp. 403

Index of Names and Notable Matters

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pp. 404-410

Index of Works by Dante and Petrarch

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pp. 411-414

E-ISBN-13: 9780268075651
E-ISBN-10: 0268075654
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268022112
Print-ISBN-10: 0268022119

Page Count: 496
Publication Year: 2009