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Approaches to Teaching Petrarch’s Canzoniere and the Petrarchan Tradition

Editor(s): Christopher Kleinhenz, Andrea Dini

Pages: xii & 300 pp.
Published: 2014
ISBN: 9781603291378 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781603291361 (hardcover)

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“A solid and much-needed volume. There is a nice balance between established scholars and younger ones, as well as between essays that range over Petrarch’s entire career and those that focus on individual themes or poems.”
Jane Tylus, New York University



One of the most important authors of the Middle Ages, Petrarch occupies a complex position: historically, he is a medieval author, but, philosophically, he heralds humanism and the Renaissance. Teachers of Petrarch’s Canzoniere and his formative influence on the canon of Western European poetry face particular challenges. Petrarch’s poetic style brings together the classical tradition, Christianity, an exalted sense of poetic vocation, and an obsessive love for Laura during her life and after her death in ways that can seem at once very strange and—because of his style’s immense influence—very familiar to students.

This volume aims to meet the varied needs of instructors, whether they teach Petrarch in Italian or in translation, in surveys or in specialized courses, by providing a wealth of pedagogical approaches to Petrarch and his legacy. Part 1, “Materials,” reviews the extensive bibliography on Petrarch and Petrarchism, covering editions and translations of the Canzoniere, secondary works, and music and other audiovisual and electronic resources. Part 2, “Approaches,” opens with essays on teaching the Canzoniere and continues with essays on teaching the Petrarchan tradition. Some contributors use the design and structure of the Canzoniere as entryways into the work; others approach it through discussion of Petrarch’s literary influences and subject matter or through the context of medieval Christianity and culture. The essays on Petrarchism map the poet’s influence on the Italian lyric tradition as well as on other national literatures, including Spanish, French, English, and Russian.

Contributors
Fabian Alfie
Fiora A. Bassanese
Aldo S. Bernardo
Theodore J. Cachey, Jr.
Tom Dolack
William J. Kennedy
Deborah Lesko Baker
Christopher Livanos
Massimo Lollini
Ilaria Marchesi
Simone Marchesi
Christopher Martin
Elizabeth H. D. Mazzocco
Leah Middlebrook
Elisabetta Properzi Nelsen
Tanya Pollard
Silvia Ross
Laurie Shepard
Michael Sherberg
Madison U. Sowell
Marc Vanscheeuwijck
Germaine Warkentin
Jobst Welge
Edoardo Zuccato

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© 2014 Modern Language Association. Last updated 09/02/2014.