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Petrarch's Lyric Poems: The Rime Sparse and Other Lyrics
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Petrarch's Lyric Poems: The Rime Sparse and Other Lyrics

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  212 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
For teachers and students of Petrarch, Durling's edition of the poems has become the standard one. Readers have praised the translation as both graceful and accurate, conveying a real understanding of what this difficult poet is saying. The literalness of the prose translation makes this beautiful book especially useful to students who lack a full command of Italian. And s ...more
Paperback, 672 pages
Published May 15th 1979 by Harvard University Press (first published 1368)
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J.G. Keely
May 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I don't blame Tolkien for the legions of sad imitators in his wake, and I don't blame Petrarch for the development of romantic love as an obsessive perversion. I know it grew out of the obsessive, perverse love that the church fostered (and which may have met its climax, so to speak, in Margery Kempe's sickeningly erotic meditation on The Wound). Petrarch was a genius. He took what came before, he reinvented it, he filled it with the bizarre and the beautiful. He is the beginning of modern poetr ...more
Jul 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: italy, renaissance, poetry
I embarked on finally reading all of the poems with some apprehensions. How can thousands of line on the theme of unrequited love for a woman who hardly gets any lines not get old? I was smitten by the music of the poetry this time through. It also helps that this is a great edition. Durling's terrific introduction and his judicious footnoting illuminate the richness of these poems, and his modest, close approach to translation was helpful. Sometime I'll grow into liking these a 5.
J. Alfred
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book is a prose translation of the 366 poems that make up Petrarch's long-narrative-via-lyric, the "Rime Sparse." While it gains in intelligibility and translability (as the translator argues in a strong introduction) from being prose, it loses all of the attraction that the poetry has as such (although of course those things wouldn't translate) and is thus a long, repetitive series of misogynistic and blasphemous complaints to Love and Laura. Until she dies, that is, and then we get a Dant ...more
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, the-classics
Marvelous version of the translated works of Petrarch, the sonnets are written beautifully (even though not rhymed or as such, they still resonate with Petrarch's feel, emotion and meaning). A beautiful and well written piece of art in itself, fascinating to read (unlike many of Petrarch's translations, imho), worthy every second.
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I have a thing for Petrarch, but this also gets 5 stars for being the indispensable edition for anyone with even a dash of Romance languages. Prose translations alongside the Italian, and fine scholarship.
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've read several translations of Petrarch's Canzoniere, although not this one, so I'm eager to take a look at it and see why it's so popular. The poems are fabulous, but the translations vary greatly in quality, lyricism, etc.
Etha Williams
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful poetry, and the English prose translations give enough literal guidance to get through the Italian poems if you have some Romance language awareness. Dante's 'Rime per la Donna Pietra,' included as an appendix, is lovely as well.
J. Guapster
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Greatest Italian Renaissance poet of all. Many examples of the sublime.

Try to read it in Italian, even if you have to struggle, because Petrarca is all about the fusion of beautiful images and sound. It's worth the effort because sonnets are, afterall, very short.
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A great scholarly version - allows the reader with minimal Italian to at least refer to the original language. A combination of poetic genius, psychological reflection, and above all, the conflict of religious and secular forces.
May 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Solid translations from Durling, who knows his stuff--literal rather than literary. A good start for those who have no Italian or only a bit.
Jul 25, 2010 added it
Reading for a summer independent study. Not sure yet about Durling's prose translations, but at least all of the poems are here
Aug 16, 2007 is currently reading it
I'm going to read (at least) a sonnet a night. I've discovered, many lovers steal from Petrarch.
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Harold Bloom says Shakespeare, others say Dante, I say: Petrarch invented us.
Jennifer Lavoie
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Read for my graduate class this semester. I enjoyed Rime Sparse, though I enjoyed discussing it more than reading it. Class discussions provided insights I wouldn't have seen on my own.
Apr 01, 2009 is currently reading it
I am setting random lines of Petrarch's poems written for Laura to several styles of original music.
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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 Accadem ...more