Remaking Petrarch’s Canzoniere in the Fifteenth Century

Remaking Petrarch’s Canzoniere in the Fifteenth Century

By Dario Del Puppo

Medioevo letterario d’Italia : rivista internazionale di filologia, linguistica e letteratura, Vol.1 (2004)

Introduction: What happened to Petrarch’s songbook in the century between his death in 374 and the famous Aldine edition of 50 that was edited by Pietro Bembo tells us much about transcription, reading, and the spread of lyric poetry in early Renaissance Italy. By examining the history of the Canzoniere we also learn much about the way authorial and textual meanings are intentionally and unintentionally shaped by scribes, whether they are copying the work for themselves or for a client. In this regard, the Tre and Quattrocento codices of the Canzoniere are necessary documents for assessing the poet’s fortuna and, perhaps more interestingly, they are the primary sources for understanding an important moment in Italian literary historiography. The making of the Canzoniere during the early Quattrocento was the result of individual scribes who were often familiar with lyric poetry and the formats in which they circulated. They were the agents of the work’s material and critical fortuna and they also helped shape the aesthetic sensibilities of readers.

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