Christopher S. Celenza is Dean of Georgetown College at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. His previous books include Machiavelli: A Portrait (2015) and The Lost Italian Renaissance: Humanists, Historians, and Latin's Legacy (2004).
"The striking appeal of Celenza's study is how the scattered worlds of Petrarch are brought together in vigorous unity--the passionate classicist haunted by a yearning for modernity, the Tuscan love poet whose melodious sonnets for Laura would be imitated for centuries, the restless Augustinian pilgrim, and the self-conscious yet enigmatic spider in a network of powerful friends and acquaintances. In his elegant and poetic style, Celenza combines reader-friendliness with scholarly sophistication and depth. This is a timely intellectual biography written by one of today's leading Renaissance scholars."--Unn Falkeid, University of Oslo, author of "The Avignon Papacy Contested: An Intellectual History from Dante to Catherine of Siena" "Easily the best and most accessible life of Petrarch to appear in English in a century. . . . The book's main strength is its literary sensitivity; Celenza finds echoes of Petrarch's life in a far wider array of his writings than marquee sonnets--his various treatises, essays, and Latin verse all receive refreshingly intelligent integration into the broader narrative. . . . The book's most memorable Petrarch is also its best achievement: the man himself, querulous, self-doubting, eager for fame but distrustful of it. That Petrarch very much does speak to our own age, and in these pages by Celenza, he finally gets a life of his own."--Steve Donoghue "National " "[Petrarch] himself turned again and again in his writings to the flaws of humanity. Celenza exposes the Italian writer's flaws throughout his book, while simultaneously eliciting pity and respect. If Petrarch's a 'misunderstood' man, then this book makes us want to understand him, contradictions and all."--Times Higher Education