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Petrarch's "Inner Eye" In The Familiarium Libri XXIV

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Chapter Summary

Looking back at his wandering life of exile and scholarship, his former years of political commitment and affairs of princes, popes and statesmen, and his recurrent longing for a vita contemplative, Francesco Petrarch (13041374) surveyed his own unease, his Weltschmerz in his Letter to Posterity. For if his first collection of familiar letters, the Familiarium libri XXIV, can provide a telling illustration of Petrarchs evolutionary process and intellectual development, it has to be emphasized first how this epistolary collection was conceived and how it evolved into its definitive form. Yet, his Latin letters do equally display a specific new fusion of both classical, Christian and medieval literary traditions. Founding an Augustinian Socratism, echoing in his lyric sonnets in volgare and his Latin epistolary dialogues alike, Petrarch taught himself, his readers and posterity how to get to know oneself.

Keywords: Augustinian Socratism; Familiarium libri XXIV; Francesco Petrarch



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