Abstract

Ascribing the lyrical I a specific view is one of the most prominent features of Petrarch's Canzoniere. From a modern standpoint, this view can be seen as "subjective": the speaker in the poems continually claims to "see" his beloved, Laura. I will try to reconcile this modern reading with a more historical approach. By referring to relevant theological texts, I will show that Petrarch assigns Laura a position traditionally held by the Christian God, always present in his creations. The medieval topos of liber naturae is thus utilized to express an attitude which may be read as anticipating modern autonomy and secularism.

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