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Francis Petrarch (1304-74) and the European Lyric Tradition

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Última actualización: 27/05/2009

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www.ibiblio.org/annali/March 18-20, 2004
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
Annali d'italianistica
annali@metalab.unc.edu

Description of the symposium:

Francis Petrarch was born from a Florentine exile in Arezzo on July 20, 1304; he died in Arquà, near Padua, during the night of July 18-19, 1374. Heralded as the first Renaissance man and one of the greatest Humanists of all times, Petrarch exercised by far his greatest influence by means of his Canzoniere, entitled: Francisci Petrarche laureati poete rerum vulgarium fragmenta, a collection of 366 poems, on which Petrarch worked through most of his adult life until his death, celebrating the Petrarch-persona's alternating relationships with an idealized woman, Laura.
Petrarch's Canzoniere incorporates many of the previous songbooks' technical and poetic characteristics, from the exploitation of virtually all available metrical forms to the construction of his collection following the bipartite structure typical of Dante's Vita nuova: namely, the celebration of the beloved, first, when she is alive; and, second, when she is dead and in heaven. The aspect in which Petrarch surpassed all previous lyric traditions and which fascinated all poets for centuries to come, is the poetic I's unremittingly introspective analysis of all facets of the human psyche in its never-ending attempts at bridging the gap between the self and the other, personified by the beloved. The conclusion of the Canzoniere, however, seems to overturn that seemingly impossible human endeavor of connecting with the feminine other. The Petrarch-persona, in fact, turns himself wholly to the Christian Godhead through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, thereby placing a religious and sacred seal on a poetic creation that is characterized more by the personal, individualistic, and earthly pursuit than by a supernatural search. Petrarch's Canzoniere influenced, modified, and shaped all lyric poetry for the next three centuries, until the middle of the 17th century, and constituted a constant point of reference for many poets throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. The unparalleled literary phenomenon that swept through most of Western Europe, particularly Italy, France, Spain, and Great Britain, became known as Petrarchism and constituted one of the most revolutionary and innovative trends in modern poetry. Insofar as poetry, in all its manifestations, according to Mikhail Bakhtin, has shaped and shapes humans' way of thinking and relating to each other more so than philosophy and technology, one can appreciate the importance of Petrarch in Europe's literary and cultural history. The seventh centenary of Petrarch's birth, therefore, is an appropriate moment for reflecting on Petrarch and Petrarchism especially in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain.
With the support of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Annali d'Italianistica intends to celebrate the seventh centenary of Petrach's birth in two ways: first, by organizing a symposium on Petrarch and the European lyric tradition in the Spring of 2004 on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; second, by publishing selected papers of the Convention in the 2004 issue of AdI, scheduled to appear in the fall of the same year, with the possibility of posting electronically on the journal's website all papers presented at the Symposium. The Convention organizers have invited internationally known scholars from North America and Europe in order to analyze the multiple influences and reactions to Petrarch and Petrarchism in Europe. In addition to several keynote speakers, the Convention intends to gather also scholars who are interested in sharing their views on the
literary and cultural phenomenon created by Petrarch.

Call for papers:

Papers and sessions on the Symposium's topic - Petrarch and the European
Lyric Tradition - will be considered, including essays on the presence
of the lyric Petrarch in all Romance literatures, and English
literature.
Scholars interested in participating are invited to submit a brief
abstract (ca. 250 words) to Dino S. Cervigni at the following electronic
address: annali@metalab.unc.edu
Deadline for the submission of abstracts is November 1, 2003.
Acceptance will be promptly acknowledged.
The papers that will be read at the Symposium should not exceed 2250
words (9 pages). The final version of the papers to be submitted for
publication in Annali d'italianistica may be longer.

Publication of the symposium's selected proceedings in Annali
d'italianistica 22 (2004) to be published in the fall of 2004:
All papers presented at the symposium may be submitted for publication
in the 22nd volume of Annali d'italianistica, scheduled to appear in the
fall of 2004. To be considered for this refereed publication, the paper
should be submitted to the journal's Editor no later than April 30,
2004, in accordance with the norms of the journal.

Information also available on the journal's website
(www.ibiblio.org/annali)