In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Petrarch

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies
  • Monographs
  • Conference Proceedings
  • Collections of Essays
  • Journals
  • Life and Works
  • Petrarch and the Rise of Christian Humanism
  • Classical Scholarship
  • Manuscripts
  • Editions and Translations
  • Petrarch and the Arts

Renaissance and Reformation Petrarch
Craig Kallendorf
  • LAST REVIEWED: 03 March 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0026


Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca, b. 1304–d. 1374) occupies a unique position in Renaissance studies. While modern scholarship has shown that others laid the foundation for him, Petrarch was the first to insist forcefully and polemically that the culture of his day needed reorientation toward the past. In a peculiarly modern act of self-presentation, he put himself forward as the one to effect this reorientation, something for which he received credit, in his day and in ours. The scope of his intellectual activity was enormous, ranging from the scholarly study of classical Antiquity to the production of many creative works, the ones in Latin known principally in the early 21st century to specialists, but one of which, the Canzoniere, set the standard for lyric poetry for generations to follow.


The Petrarchan bibliographical tradition begins with collectors such as Antonio Marsand (Marsand 1826), Domenico Rosetti (Hortis 1874), and Willard Fiske (Fowler 1916) and with scholars working to service their needs (Volpi 1722). Studies of works about Petrarch are first joined to catalogues of early editions (Marsand 1826, Suttina 1908, Fowler 1916) then are published separately. The first bibliographies, such as Ferrazzi 1877, are sometimes maddeningly imprecise, but by the beginning of the 20th century, good works such as Calvi 1904 were prepared according to modern principles. Fucilla 1982 and Marcozzi 2005 provide the essential starting point for scholarly work on Petrarch in the early 21st century.

  • Calvi, Emilio, ed. Bibliografia analitica petrarchesca, 1877–1904, in continuazione a quella del Ferrazzi. Rome: Loescher, 1904.

    Ostensibly a continuation of Ferrazzi 1877 but presents its 1,136 notices in accordance with modern bibliographical principles in five sections: bibliographical sources, bibliographies of printed works, editions, a bibliography of autographs and annotations, and conference proceedings.

  • Ferrazzi, Giuseppe Jacopo. Bibliografia petrarchesca del Giuseppe Jacopo Ferrazzi. Bassano, Italy: Sante Possato, 1877.

    A bibliography whose intent exceeds its accomplishment but that rests on genuine erudition and contains valuable notices that cannot be found elsewhere on Petrarch’s biography, the Canzoniere, the Latin works, and scholarship on Petrarch. Printed in only fifty copies but reprinted in 1979 (Bologna, Italy: Forni).

  • Fowler, Mary, ed. Catalogue of the Petrarch Collection Bequeathed by Willard Fiske. London: Oxford University Press, 1916.

    The catalogue of Willard Fiske’s collection of over four thousand volumes, left upon his death in 1904 to Cornell University. Divided into “Works of Petrarch” and “Works on Petrarch.” Not in fact exhaustive, as frequently thought, but especially valuable for the older scholarship noted in the second section of the book.

  • Fucilla, Joseph G. Oltre un cinquantennio di scritti sul Petrarca, 1916–1973. Padua, Italy: Antenore, 1982.

    A key source on Petrarchan scholarship in the 20th century, presenting almost four thousand notices in twenty-three sections, beginning where Fowler 1916 left off. Especially valuable for the study of Petrarchism.

  • Hortis, Attilio. Catalogo delle opere di Francesco Petrarca esistenti nella Petrarchesca Rossettiana di Trieste, aggiuntavi l’iconografia della medesima. Trieste, Italy: Appolonio e Caprin, 1874.

    A catalogue of the works of Petrarch collected by Domenico Rossetti and left at his death in 1842 to the public library of Trieste.

  • Marcozzi, Luca. Bibliografia petrarchesca: 1989–2003. Florence: Olschki, 2005.

    An admirable effort, containing 2,647 entries from a brief fourteen-year period. Especially strong on non-Italian work and on scholarship that touches only peripherally on Petrarch.

  • Marsand, Antonio. Biblioteca petrarchesca formata, posseduta, descritta ed illustrata dal professore Antonio Marsand. Milan: Paolo Giusti, 1826.

    The catalogue of an extensive Petrarch collection divided into three parts: editions of works in Italian; biographies, commentaries, and studies about Petrarch; and manuscripts. Of little help for the Latin works.

  • Suttina, Luigi. Bibliografia delle opere a stampa intorno a Francesco Petrarca esistenti nella Biblioteca Rossettiana di Trieste, anni 1485–1904. Trieste, Italy: Decreto del Comune, 1908.

    Completes Hortis 1874 by listing the works of scholarship on Petrarch from Domenico Rossetti’s collection, supplemented by those obtained by the library in Trieste after his death. More accessible in the reprint edited by G. Gregoratti (Florence: Olschki, 1996).

  • Volpi, Gaetano. “Catalogo di molte delle edizioni del Canzoniere, disposto per ordine di cronologia e arrichito di qualche osservazione da G.V.” In Le rime di Francesco Petrarca . . . . Edited by Gaetano Volpi, 64–104. Padua, Italy: Presso Giuseppe Comino, 1722.

    The first effort to provide a history of the printed editions of the Canzoniere, containing references to more than 130 earlier versions along with an influential, carefully prepared text that precedes the bibliography. Contains references to a number of items that have dropped away from later studies.

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