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3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  189 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
“David Young’s version of Petrarch will refresh our images of the West’s crucial lyric poet. We are given a Petrarch in our own vernacular, with echoes of Wyatt, Shakespeare, and many who come after.” --Harold Bloom

Ineffable sweetness, bold, uncanny sweetness
that came to my eyes from her lovely face;
from that day on I'd willingly have closed them,
never to gaze again at
Unknown Binding, 597 pages
Published December 31st 1998 by Rizzoli - RCS Libri (first published 1875)
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Asma Fedosia
Jul 15, 2014 Asma Fedosia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed these 366 canzonière in which the Italian poet Petrarch literally and figuratively waxes poetic about Laura de Noves back in fourteenth-century Italy and France, during the Papacy's captivity/residence at Avignon. As her facial expression pities him, he lyrically swoons over her chasteness and beauty, bestowing the conduit of Nature's awesome characteristics through her. Like a chivalric hero, he adores an unobtainable damsel, esteeming her refusal to act dishonorably were she to retur ...more
With you, dear Internet, I can be brutally honest: I was not in the market for a volume of Petrarch's poetry. Beyond the few sonnets I had read in classes scattered throughout my liberal arts education, this master of the early Italian Renaissance did not make the short list, or even the long list, of poets I intended to investigate further. No, I must admit that I was entirely seduced by Dean Nicastro's lovely cover art, which graces the new David Young translation of Petrarch's Canzoniere, put ...more
Aug 29, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Creatures that are in life of such keen
That no defence they need from noonday sun,
And others dazzled by excess of light
Who issue no abroad till day is done,
And, with weak fondness, some because 'tis
Who in the death-flame for enjoyment run,
Thus proving theirs a different virtue quite-
Alas! of this last kind myself am one;
For, of this fair the splendour to regard,
I am but weak and ill- against late hours
And darkness gath'ring round- myself to ward.
Wherefore, with tearful eyes of f
Feb 27, 2010 Rodney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Poets like Petrarch, who lived in times that savored technical virtuosity and skill at fulfilling strict formal rules more highly than our own does, can suffer badly in modern translations. They’re often either brought over into contemporary blank verse, or straitjacketed into meters and rhyme schemes that are dead to modern ears.

David Young’s translations of the Canzoniere—all 366 of 'em—are remarkable for the way they succeed at combing Petrarch’s medieval Italian into direct demotic English
Jul 31, 2012 Janice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, this is another book I read for my Gender in Literature class. This book is incredibly difficult to read because it is about a guy with an obsession for a woman he cannot get. I did not enjoy this book because I found it creepy how this man could fetish over this woman's eyes, hair, and clothes, but never speak a word to her. In my modern way of thinking, Petrarch is a creep who needs to get a hold of himself. He was going after a lost cause! Though I did not think so many happy thoughts of ...more
Laura Veverka
Feb 18, 2014 Laura Veverka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This poetry is so lovely. It's quite sad, but really impressive too. Petrarch is pretty consistent, despite carrying his love for Laura over 30 years, even after her death. I recommend it.
Feb 02, 2012 Danielle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2012
I love this book because of the person who gave it to me. However, I didn't connect with Petrarch as a poet. I found a lot of the poems really dreary. I'm sure a lot was lost in translation as well. My favorite poem was the one describing a sunset; the footnote explained Petrarch wrote it to accompany a gift of chocolates. Candy and poetry, what a guy!
Oct 18, 2011 Emma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emma by:
only read the introduction, really good, and some of the work itself.
I read Petrarch in French decades ago and loved him so much. Was trying to get reacquainted with him in English. This translation is probably good, but it is a bit too modern for me, it does not do it, i can't feel the romantic ambiance I got when I read it in French.
Ok... so I haven't actually read this book but I have read a handfull of Petrarch's poems (translated...). He seems kind of depressing but as far as I can tell with the translations he definitely is a great word crafter!
Aug 20, 2009 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always loved Petrarch. This is a wonderful translation, and it's great to read the poems all together like this. It paints a well-rounded and touching picture of the evolution of Petrarch's feelings.
Apr 03, 2012 Shawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fortunately the introduction and some notes helped out with being able to understand a majority of the poems. Not bad. Towards the end they tended to get a bit repetitive, however.
James Violand
Jul 03, 2014 James Violand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history students and poets
Shelves: own
I'm sure much nuance is missing because, despite the competence of the translator, we do not get the same impression. Despite this, I can see Petrarch's brilliance as a poet.
Nov 22, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I took a course on Petrarch in college. His poetry about Laura is especially interesting. If you like classical romantic poetry, I recommend Petrarch.
L'aura C
May 03, 2008 L'aura C is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
wow...what I've learned? That there is a lot of love to live!
Dec 11, 2008 Deacon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a writer...
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Francesco Petrarca known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet, and one of the earliest Renaissance humanists. Petrarch is often popularly called the "father of humanism". Based on Petrarch's works, and to a lesser extent those of Dante Alighieri and Giovanni Boccaccio, Pietro Bembo in the 16th century created the model for the modern Italian language, later endorsed by the Accademi ...more
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“Sweet is the death that taketh end by love.” 10 likes
“...never would I trade for some new shape
that laurel I was first, in whose sweet shade
all other pleasures vanish in my heart.”
More quotes…