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Editing the lyric self: Petrarch’s use of vernacular and classical models in the final phases of constructing the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta

WALL, EMMA,CAROLINE (2022) Editing the lyric self: Petrarch’s use of vernacular and classical models in the final phases of constructing the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis explores the intellectual concerns underpinning the final phases of Petrarch’s construction of the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Rvf). In building and editing the closure of his lyric sequence, Petrarch sought to counterbalance competing concerns in the presentation of his idealised self-portrait to the public and to posterity. Critics have hitherto primarily suggested that Petrarch’s interventions in the sequencing of poems results in the presence of an intensified religious tone to the closure of the Rvf, as Petrarch explored whether his love of Laura might be reconciled with his desire for salvation. However, this thesis argues that in the final stages of revising the sequence, Petrarch was just as concerned with imitating the model of the classical lyric poetry collection: through the revisions to the sequencing of the final 31 poems of the Vat. Lat. 3195, the classicising element to the narrative and structure of the closure of the Rvf emerges more strongly. These competing religious and classicising concerns feed into the desire to curate an idealised autobiographical narrative, seeking to stabilise the io lirico and reconstitute the fragmented literary self. In the final years of his life, driven by his ever-growing preoccupation with the passage of time and his own mortality, Petrarch sought to create an unprecedented vernacular achievement in the Rvf. This is despite his apparent criticism of the vernacular language, which, as this thesis suggests, could be made more palatable through the imitation of the classical lyric collection. In heightening this sense of Latinity in the Rvf in the closing moments of its complex evolution, he shows that he was searching for a perfected literary achievement which could rival that of the ancients and surpass his vernacular contemporaries.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:25 Nov 2022 11:36

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