Petrarch: A Bibliography

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Source: Introduction to Some Love Songs of Petrarch, translated and annotated with a Biographical Introduction by William Dudley Foulke (Oxford University Press, 1915).


The number of his Latin works is very large. Those that are written in prose include (a) seven treatises of a philosophical and religious character; (b) four that are historical and geographical; (c) three polemical writings; (d) four orations; (e) two works of an autobiographical character; (f) four collections of letters; (g) some psalms and prayers; and (h) the translation of Boccaccio’s story of Griselda.

(a) His so-called philosophical works comprise his treatises concerning:

  • (1) ‘The Antidotes for Good and Evil Fortune’ (De Remediis Utriusque Fortunae).
  • (2) ‘The Solitary Life’ (De Vita Solitaria).
  • (3) ‘The Repose of the Cloister’ (De Otio Religiosorum).
  • (4) ‘The Best Methods of Administering a State’ (De Republica optime administranda).
  • (5) ‘The Duty and Virtues of a General’ (De Officio et Virtutibus Imperatoris).
  • (6) ‘The Means of Avoiding Avarice’ (De Avaritia Vitanda).
  • (7) ‘True Wisdom’ (De Vera Sapientia).

(b) His historical and geographical works comprise:

  • (1) ‘Remarkable Occurrences’ (De Rebus Memorandis).
  • (2) ‘Lives of Celebrated Men’ (De Viris Illustribus Vitae).
  • (3) Epitome of the ‘Lives of Celebrated Men’ (Vita rum Virorum Illustrium Epitome).
  • (4) ‘Handbook of a Syrian Journey’ (Itinerarium Syriacum).

(c) His polemical writings comprise:

  • (1) ‘Invectives against a Certain Physician’ (Contra Medicum quendam Invectivae).
  • (2) ‘Defence against the Calumnies of an Anonymous Frenchman’ (Contra cuiusdam Anonymi Galli Calumnias Apologia).
  • (3) ‘Dissertation concerning his own Ignorance and that of many’ (De sui ipsius et multorum Ignorantia).

(d) His orations embrace his

  • (1) Speech on receiving the laurel crown.
  • (2) Speech to the Council of Venice.
  • (3) Speech at Novara.
  • (4) Speech at Paris to King John and his Court.

(e) His works of an autobiographical character comprise:

  • (1) ‘Letter to Posterity’ (Epistola ad Posteros). See Appendix II.
  • (2) ‘Dialogues with St. Augustine concerning Contempt of the World’ (De Contemptu Mundi). See Appendix I.

(f) His collections of letters embrace:

  • (1) ‘Concerning Familiar Things’ (De Rebus Familiaribus).
  • (2) ‘Miscellaneous Letters’ (Variae).
  • (3) ‘Letters without a Title’ (Sine Titulo).
  • (4) ‘Letters of Old Age’ (De Rebus Senilibus).

(g) His Latin poems comprise:

  • (1) His epic ‘Africa’.
  • (2) Twelve Eclogues, containing in allegorical form bitter criticisms of the Court of Avignon.
  • (3) His poetical Epistles.

In the Italian language only one specimen of his prose writings exists, his speech at Milan, considered by many a translation of an address originally delivered in Latin.

His Italian poems included in his Canzoniere comprise:

(a) Lyrics.

  • (1) ‘In the Life of Madonna Laura.’
  • (2) ‘On the Death of Madonna Laura.’
  • (3) ‘On Miscellaneous Subjects.’

These are all found together in a single Vatican manuscript.

(b) His epic poem, the ‘Triumphs’ of

  • (1) Love.
  • (2) Chastity.
  • (3) Death.
  • (4) Fame.
  • (5) Eternity.1

[1 ]Koerting, pp. 528, 529, 530.