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Old 09-08-2017, 03:00 PM
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AZ Foreman AZ Foreman is offline
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I find Petrarch to be a far more interesting poet in Latin than in Italian. I suspect Petrarch himself would agree with me.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:50 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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That fascinates me. Would Petrarch writing in Latin be like Shakespeare writing in Anglo-Saxon? Would it involve scholarship and research and would he have been writing for a separate readership?
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Old 09-17-2017, 10:20 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hmm. Dante sixty years earlier made a conscious choice to write his Commedia in Italian, not Latin as might have been expected, and it's one reason he calls it a comedy. He wrote easily in Latin in some extended prose works - De Monarchia for instance. Italian for Dante was a fairly novel choice: there were the lyric stilnovisti before him, but not much I know of in the way of extended pieces. Italian was quite new, and to a fair extent Dante's creation.
Petrarch inherited that newish Italian option, and his Italian output is largely lyric, to my knowledge. His contemporary Boccaccio used Italian for the Decameron and for his comments on Dante. Petrarch took great pride in his scholarship - he was also a manuscript collector - and Latin conveys a certain dignity, a certain culture. Among the small audience of the literate in the 1360s, in Italy, most I'd think read Latin as easily as Italian. In France, which Petrarch spent time in, French was already a courtly language, in a way that I think Italian was not.
All this to say that Shakespeare's readers would be lost in Anglo-Saxon, whereas the great majority of Petrarch's readers would have Latin. A closer parallel might be Chaucer writing in Latin or French, as I believe he may have, besides his translations.
I think that's fairly accurate, but I'm not really a medievalist. Folks, feel free to correct my errors. :-)

Cheers,
John
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Old 09-17-2017, 11:54 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Update: Petrarch lived 1304-1374, Boccaccio was a bit younger. Chaucer lived 1343-1400. Thank you google.

Cheers,
John
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:51 PM
Michael Juster Michael Juster is offline
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I dunno--the Canzoniere are fresh, innovative and enduring. Africa is derivative, soporific & deservedly almost forgotten.

I think Petrarch nailed it in Italian and struck out in Latin.
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