Prof. Massimo Lollini presented a paper entitled “Natura parens from Bernardus Silvestris’ Cosmographia to Petrarch’s Canzoniere” at the conference of the Renaissance Society of America in New York City on March 29, 2014, in a panel in honor of Prof. Giuseppe Mazzotta.

The paper was well received and triggered a lively discussion on how early humanist philosophy and poetry was pervaded by the idea of creative power of Nature as complement of human and divine creation.  Lollini showed in particular how Bernardus’s idea of natura parens becomes generative of elevating thoughts in Petrarch’s Canzoniere and instrumental in developing what Petrarch calls “more than human method.”

Lollini complemented the analysis of Petrarch’s poems with a reading of Petrarch’s letters and the analysis of some of the miniatures that illustrate the first printed version of Petrarch’s masterpiece published in Venice in 1470 (Inc. Queriniano G V 15). These miniatures are now available in the digital edition published by Lollini within the hypertext project Oregon Petrarch Open Book. In Lollini’s interpretation the miniatures suggest an uplifting reading of the Canzoniere that captures the fundamental role that nature plays in Petrarch’s masterpiece.


Miniature that illustrates Canzoniere 239

This paper is part of a broader research on the notion of a “more-than-human-humanism” that Lollini has been developing in recent years.