Petrarch Commentary and Exegesis in Renaissance Italy, c.1350-c.1650

Postgraduate students

Two Postdoctoral Fellows, Dr Giacomo Comiati (Oxford) and Dr Lorenzo Sacchini (Leeds)


Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

The project 'Petrarch Commentary and Exegesis in Renaissance Italy, c.1350-c.1650’ is funded by the AHRC (£700k) and led by Professor Simon Gilson (University of Oxford, Principal Investigator), Dr Federica Pich (University of Leeds, Co-Investigator) and Dr Guyda Armstrong (University of Manchester, Co-Investigator). The team includes also two Postdoctoral Fellows, Dr Giacomo Comiati (Oxford) and Dr Lorenzo Sacchini (Leeds).

The poet and humanist Francesco Petrarca (1304-74) or Petrarch remains to this day one of Italy's most iconic and influential vernacular poets. Petrarch's influence on poetic and linguistic practice was epoch-defining in Renaissance Europe. His vernacular poetry became the supreme model for lyric poetry and indeed for refined literary style itself. Especially in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, his poetry was tirelessly annotated and interpreted, and made the object of extensive commentaries and innumerable academic lectures.

Quite remarkably, especially given Petrarch's influence, diffusion and transnational appeal, no attempt has been made to catalogue or understand as a whole this vast body of critical interpretation. This ambitious collaborative project aims to address this neglect and to lay the foundations for all future research on the reception of Petrarch’s poetry in the Italian context, and, given Italy's formative role in this period, for research on Petrarch's afterlife in a variety of other European contexts – by reconstructing the corpus of Italian Petrarch commentary and exegesis, cataloguing and analysing relevant materials and creating the first freely available, on-line searchable database listing all the Italian language commentaries and other exegesis on Petrarch between 1350 and 1650. This will be an essential resource for future work on reading and interpreting Petrarch in Italy and across the world.