Cover image for The poetry of Petrarch
The poetry of Petrarch
Petrarca, Francesco, 1304-1374.
Uniform Title:
Rime. Selections. English
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxxv, 277 pages ; 25 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PQ4496 .E23 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Ineffable sweetness, bold, uncanny sweetness
that came to my eyes from her lovely face;
from that day on I'd willingly have closed them,
never to gaze again at lesser beauties.
--from Sonnet 116

Petrarch was born in Tuscany and grew up in the south of France. He lived his life in the service of the church, traveled widely, and during his lifetime was a revered, model man of letters.

Petrarch's greatest gift to posterity was his Rime in vita e morta di Madonna Laura , the cycle of poems popularly known as his songbook. By turns full of wit, languor, and fawning, endlessly inventive, in a tightly composed yet ornate form they record their speaker's unrequited obsession with the woman named Laura. In the centuries after it was designed, the "Petrarchan sonnet," as it would be known, inspired the greatest love poets of the English language--from the times of Spenser and Shakespeare to our own.

David Young's fresh, idiomatic version of Petrarch's poetry is the most readable and approachable that we have. In his skillful hands, Petrarch almost sounds like a poet out of our own tradition bringing the wheel of influence full circle.

Author Notes

Francesco Petrarca (July 20, 1304-July 19, 1374), known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism". In the 16th century, Pietro Bembo created the model for the modern Italian language based on Petrarch's works, as well as those of Giovanni Boccaccio and, especially, Dante Alighieri. This would be later endorsed by the Accademia della Crusca. Petrarch's sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the Dark Ages.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

All 366 of the Canzoniere are available in The Poetry of Petrarch, an English-only edition by poet and translator David Young (At the White Window), who also introduces the book. Petrarch (1304-1374) spent 47 years crafting, mostly in sonnets, what may be the ultimate evidence that a love (here, for "Laura") that is thwarted in flesh can come to fruition in word: "Love spurs me on and reins me in at once,/ comforts and terrifies, burns and freezes me,/ is kind, then scorns me, summons and dismisses, thrills me with hope, then fills me up with sorrow." (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Francesco Petrarca, known simply as Petrarch (1304-74), is widely considered to be the inventor of modern lyricism. The "Petrarchan sonnet" inspired generations of English-language poets that came after him, including Shakespeare. This fluent new translation of his work by poet Young (At the White Window) is quite possibly the most readable one yet, featuring a lengthy introduction by the translator, an index of first lines, and useful side notes. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Petrarch: An Introductionp. vii
The Canzoniere, 1-366p. 1
Index of First Linesp. 265