Wednesday, September 2, 2015

We Are Petrarch

Petrarch's love letter to Homer is familiar and expresses the admiration and adoration we all feel at some point. Who among us has not fawned over the genius of someone long dead? He writes in flattery and humility, calling Homer 'Master', and praying that his imitations might be of worth. Petrarch talks of being remembered and how the people are forgetting the masters of old, caught up in fame and fortune.

Petrarch's second letter is a bit more mild in admiration, his compliments seems a bit less worshipful at least. In both letters he writes as though the dead can answer, telling them what became of their works and legacy. There is again the lament of their name being known, but their works little read as money overtakes the mind of men. Petrarch writes with the familiarity of a friend, as though they would be kin in another life which is exactly what Petrarch hopes for.

The world Petrarch describes is one where books that are a little challenging are cast aside for simpler texts, a concept which might be unfortunately familiar. Men have given up the 'sweetest fruits of knowledge' in exchange for lazy luxury and wealth.

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