Petrarch and the Idea of the Renaissance

Episode 44 with Leonardo Francalanci

Francesco Petrarch—one of the most important and influential figures of the Middle Ages—helped shape the idea of the Renaissance. Future authors, including many from the Iberian Peninsula, used Petrarch as a model as they developed new ideas about society and the role of the individual. At the same, Petrarch also represents the tension between Latin and vernacular languages during the Middle Ages.

In this episode, we first discuss the development of different vernaculars as literary languages during the Middle Ages. Then, we look at Petrarch and his influence on contemporary and later medieval authors. Finally, we discuss some of the ways that Petrarch’s ideas about the Middle Ages and the Renaissance not only influenced his contemporaries, but may have also helped to shape modern conceptions of the period as well as the development of “Medievalism” in popular culture.  

The Episode

The Guest

Dr. Francalanci is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame, where he teaches Catalan and Spanish. He received his Ph.D. in Ciencias Humanas y de la Cultura and an M.A. in Literary Studies from the University of Girona, Spain, as well as a B.A. in Philology form the University of Florence, Italy, and a second B.A. in Romance Philology from the University of Girona, Spain. His areas of specialization are Romance Philology and Mediterranean Studies, and his research interests include Comparative Medieval and Early Modern Romance Languages and Literatures (Italian, Catalan, Spanish, French and Occitan), Iberian Studies, European Petrarchism, and European Medievalism. As a Romance philologist, Dr. Francalanci is particularly invested in exploring the plurilingual and transnational dimensions of the literature produced across Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean Europe. He is currently working on a book manuscript on the reception of Petrarch’s Triumphs in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. More recently, he has also carried out research on different aspects of the Medievalist component of nineteenth-century European Cultural Nationalism.

Suggested Readings

  • Constable, Olivia Remie and Damian Zurro. Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.
  • Ledgeway, Adam and Martin Maiden. The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

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