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Renaissance Italy.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Anthony Cantor

Renaissance Italy Petrarch (1304-1374) Coluccio Salutati (d. 1406) Leonardo Bruni (d.1444) Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero 106-43 B.C.) -Fl. Was a city-state & was therefore seeing itself as a relatively coherent place, in which dominant mercantile class didn’t have to compete w/ large monarchy merchants saw culture of Middle Ages as opposed to their worldview & occupations (were looking for a new ideology that would validate them found classical antiquity & began to see there was more in common w/ this world than the immediate past of feudalism, there was a jisdunction between the world they were living in & that of which they wanted to define) -“what should they do with pagan antiquity?” -Petrarch was a Florentine, as was his father, who was exiled & took a job in Avignon as a letter writer at the Papal court: Petrarch grew up in south of France (courtly love) & was cut off from Italian society, his social class -Petrarch’s father sent him to become a lawyer in Bologna, where he became enamored w/ classical literature & beauty of words (Cicero was “ultimate” writing to study: link between beautiful words & good ideas) began to see that ancients like Cicero were good men b/c they had an essential humanity & gave us advice about how to live on earth (help you sleep soundly, make ethical decisions) Petrarch concluded: validation of human experience doesn’t have to have a divine meaning, it can have a human meaning (begin to see huge separation that defines Western society between secular & religious power) defined what secular life was based on values that were universally valuable, regardless of religion (Petrarch: you can’t convince someone of one or the other beliefs ancients help us get through the day) he was speaking to political & economic leaders about morals & reasonable assessment situations so they could make decisions that benefit the whole community began to spread his influence by writing of poetry (he came to terms w/ classical learning b/c he needed a guide for his own life) on Good Friday 1327 he fell in love w/ Laura & wrote 366 poems about her in books (about the nature of human love, created genre: the sonnet) poems are about how HE felt when he was in love & why his feelings mattered, not about Laura & became so famous as a poem that he began to make people think that every type of human love means something b/c it helps people find who they are as a human (every element of human experience has an important part to play) began to write letters (had to keep copies of letters b/c it took so long for it to reach ppl across Europe, he began to change letters to create who he was: was inventing modern concept of the individual) said everyone was an individual, not just saints, he was “inventing Petrarch” through who he left in his writing, he wanted things to be coherent & make sense & he wanted to be remembered in a particular way (this idea in the West began w/ Petrarch) defined himself as the creator of his own universe (re-invents the psychological biography – people in the middle ages had not written a
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