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At the centre of Petrarch's vision, announcing a new way of seeing the world, was the individual, a sense of the self that would one day become the centre of modernity as well. This self, however, seemed to be fragmented in Petrarch's work, divided among the worlds of philosophy, faith, and love of the classics, politics, art, and religion, of Italy, France, Greece, and Rome. In recent decades scholars have explored each of these worlds in depth. In this work, Giuseppe Mazzotta shows for the first time how all these fragmentary explorations relate to each other, how these separate worlds are part of a common vision. Written in a clear and passionate style, "The Worlds of Petrarch" takes us into the politics of culture, the poetic imagination, into history and ethics, art and music, rhetoric and theology. With this encyclopedic strategy, Mazzotta is able to demonstrate that the self for Petrarch is not a unified whole but a unity of parts, and, at the same time, that culture emerges not from a consensus but from a conflict of ideas produced by opposition and dark passion. These conflicts, intrinsic to Petrarch's style of thought, lead Mazzotta to a powerful rethinking of the concepts of 'fragments' and 'unity' and, finally, to a new understanding of the relationship between them. Essential to students of Medieval and Renaissance literature, this book will engage anyone interested in the development of modernity as it has evolved in culture and is understood today. Giuseppe Mazzotta is Professor and Chair, Italian Language and Literature Department, Yale University. His is the author of "Dante, Poet of the Desert", "The World at Play", and "Dante's Vision" and the "Circle of Knowledge".
Duke University Press
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