Theses Doctoral

Political Petrarchism: The Rhetorical Fashioning of Community in Early Modern Italy

Baker, Steve J.

Engaging with a variety of literary and historical sources, in both prose and verse, including letters, chronicles, treaties and the neo-Latin epic, this dissertation examines the centrality of the classically-informed, philosophical idea of friendship (amicitia) in the community-building discourse of Francesco Petrarca's Italy. The first chapter examines Petrarch's treatment of Scipio Africanus as humanistic leader and idealized friend in the Africa. The second chapter proposes a reading of Cola di Rienzo as the first "political Petrarchist" and contextualizes his epistolary campaign to unify mid-fourteenth century Italy. The third chapter explores Petrarch's politics of familiaritas in the letters he addressed to leaders of prominent Italian city-states attempting to reconcile old friends. This study presents an analysis of the rhetorical strategies underlying Petrarch's career as public intellectual, diplomat and poet.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Cavallo, Jo Ann
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 7, 2013