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Foundational & Key Texts for the Renaissance

This year’s reading group will bring together Warwick staff, students, and—for the first time—members of the wider community to explore important foundational and key texts in the Renaissance. The reading group will be conducted entirely online (on Microsoft Teams). The first meeting of Term 3 will be held on Wednesday, 5th May from 5-6 p.m. The group is co-ordinated by Dr. Bryan Brazeau (Liberal Arts) and will be led by several members of the University of Warwick, including Dr. Maude Vanhaelen, Professor David Lines, Dr. Bryan Brazeau, and Mr. Iván Parga Ornelas.

The group’s focus throughout the year will be on the themes of love, friendship, and connection. In Term 1 we will read Plato’s Symposium; in Term 2, Cicero’s De Amicitia; and in Term 3 we will explore Dante’s Vita Nuova and a selection of Petrarch’s Letters. All Warwick staff members, students at all levels, and members of the wider community are warmly encouraged to join us. The group is a friendly setting that does not require any previous experience or expertise with these texts or topics.

To sign up to the reading group, or for any questions, please email:

TERM 3 : Dante, Vita Nuova and Petrarch's Letters

For Term 2 we shall be reading Dante's Vita Nuova and selections from Petrarch's letters. Dr. Bryan Brazeau (Senior Teaching Fellow in Liberal Arts) will lead the discussions on Dante, while Mr Iván Parga Ornelas (PhD Candidate and Chancellor's International Scholar in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance) will lead the discussions on Petrarch.

Sessions will take place on WEDNESDAY evenings from 5-6 p.m. GMT.

The reading schedule for this term is included below.

We will be using the Oxford edition of Dante's Vita Nuova translated by Mark Musa, though you may use any translation of it that you wish from the twentieth- or twenty-first century (kindly avoid using translations from the 19th century or earlier). You are requested to complete the required reading prior to each session. Page numbers below refer to the Oxford edition. If you would like a good general introduction to Dante, we recommend Dante, A Very Short Introduction by Peter Hainsworth and David Robey (Oxford University Press, 2015).

For Petrarch's letters and poetry, we will be using Also S. Bernardo's translation of the letters and Robert S. Durling's translation of the Canzoniere. You may also wish to purchase the two-volume set of the letters edited and translated by Elaine Fantham with the I Tatti Renaissance Library.


Session Number



Page Numbers

(Oxford Edition)



Intro to Dante,
Vita Nuova

vii-xxi (optional)



Vita Nuova

3-31 (sections I-XVI)



Vita Nuova

32–42 (sections XVII–XXI)



Vita Nuova

43–65 (sections XXII–XXXI)



Vita Nuova

66–84 (sections XXXII–XLII)



Intro to Petrarch, Letters

Epistola Posteritati
Canzoniere 1, 16, 126, 264, 365-66



Petrarch, Letters

Letters 1.1, 18.8, 24.13



Petrarch, Letters