A conversation between Christopher S. Celenza (Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University), Jill Kraye (Warburg Institute), François Quiviger (Warburg Institute).

Born in Tuscany in 1304, Italian poet Francesco Petrarca is widely considered one of the fathers of the modern Italian language. Though his writings inspired the humanist movement and subsequently the Renaissance, Petrarch remains misunderstood. He was a man of contradictions—a Roman pagan devotee and a devout Christian, a lover of friendship and sociability, yet intensely private.

In this biography, Christopher S. Celenza revisits Petrarch’s life and work. He brings to light Petrarch’s unrequited love for his poetic muse, the anti-institutional attitude he developed as he sought a path to modernity by looking backward to antiquity, and his endless focus on himself.

Christopher S. Celenza is the James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. He is also a professor of history and classics. He is the author or editor of 11 books and more than 40 scholarly articles in the fields of Italian Renaissance history, post-classical Latin literature and philosophy, and the history of classical scholarship.

Jill Kraye is Emeritus Professor and Honorary Fellow of the Warburg Institute.

Renaissance Lives is a series of biographies published by Reaktion Books as well as a series of conversations discussing the ways in which individuals transmitted or changed the lives of traditions, ideas and images.

In the first season staff, fellows and former fellows of the Warburg Institute will discuss the lives of Petrarch, Botticelli, Bosch, Erasmus, Paracelsus, Tycho Brahe, Rembrandt, Rubens and Newton with the authors of their biographies published in the Renaissance Lives Reaktion series.

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