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"It was by his own account during this period, sometime in 1342-43, when he was still resident at Vaucluse, that Petrarch was visited by a beautiful woman whom he quickly identified as Truth personified. They were immediately joined by an elderly man whoturned out to be St Augustine (354-430 AD), to whose writings Petrarch had long been devoted. These facts are related in the Secretum, his Secret Book, which he apparently did not intend for publication, and to which he gives the subtitle "The private conflict of my thoughts." It records the extended discussion that took place in the silent presence of Truth between himself and the Saint, or more exactly between two characters named Franciscus and Augustinus: an intense but somewhat inconclusive three-day dialogue divided into three books and ranging widely over Petrarch's unhappiness and personal problems. Like most of his writings, and in particular those in Latin, the Secretum contains significant elements of autobiography; indeed it is the most intimate and the most fascinating of Petrarch's essays in self-scrutiny. Like most of his accounts of himself, it reveals a writer carefully crafting the image that he will bequeath to posterity, and in this respect is closely complementary to his vernacular lyrics, his letters, and the less personal representations of himself in his Latin treatises. And finally, like almost all his works, it shows evidence of an extended period of composition and revision, and thus obliges us to recognize the chronological distance between the events and the final form in which they are described."--Provided by publisher.
Number of Pages: 283
Sub-Genre: Movements / Humanism, Renaissance
Series Title: I Tatti Renaissance Library
Publisher: Harvard Univ Pr
Author: Francesco Petrarca
Street Date: June 13, 2016
Item Number (DPCI): 248-09-0629
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