Who Was Francesco Petrarch?

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  • Topic: Poetry, Madrid Metro, Petrarch
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  • Published : September 26, 2010
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"Who was Francesco Petrarch?" Francesco Petrarch was born shortly after 1300 in a time and place where very few could read or write and those that did considered it a chore where as Petrarch saw a blessing. He had a passion for writing his thoughts down on paper. Francesco Petrarch was instrumental in the revival of Classical culture which became known as the Renaissance. He spent much of his life in the French city of Avignon, the home of the papal court, where, in 1326, he first saw the “Laura” whom he celebrates in his love poetry. The identity of Laura has never been established for certain, but we know from his poetry that she was beautiful, golden-haired, rich, and married, and that she died in the Great Plague of 1348. Although Petrarch belittled his Italian poetry, his collection of Italian poems, the Canzoniere, is probably his most influential creation. It consists of 366 poems, mostly sonnets but some poems in other verse forms, focusing on his relation to Laura in life and death. The speaker in the poems can never possess the beloved Laura (http://petrarch.petersadlon.com/bio.html). In the sonnet, Laura, Petrarch expresses his love for Laura by describing her angelic or goddess like features. She doesn’t “walk in a mortal way” (line 9) and “when she spoke unearthly voices sang” (line 11). It is obvious he was in awe of her beauty. He is very descriptive in the words he chooses to describe Laura. She has beautiful “golden hair” that blows in the wind and eyes “brighter than the west” (line 3). She stood out among everyone else. She was heavenly in his eyes, “she seemed divine among the dreary folk” (line 12). Although it is obvious Petrarch was deeply in love with Laura, it does not appear the feelings were mutual. He longed for her love however, he states that she looks upon him with pity, “a false-pity” (line 6). Also, in the last line he is making reference to a bow and arrow, as if speaking about Cupid’s arrow. “Though the bow’s unbent,...
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