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Petrarchism at WorkContextual Economies in the Age of Shakespeare$
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William J. Kennedy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700019

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700019.001.0001

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Petrarch as Homo Economicus

Petrarch as Homo Economicus

(p.35) Chapter 1 Petrarch as Homo Economicus
Petrarchism at Work

William J. Kennedy

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at evidence which situates Petrarch at the intersection of Renaissance aesthetics and economics. Specifically, it considers the literary devices and syntax used in a number of his sonnets, which express both a Platonic and an Aristotelian aesthetics. Furthermore, the chapter examines the worth of poetry in fourteenth-century economics, especially during the economic upheaval that followed the devastation of the Black Death from 1348 onward. During this time, questions about exchange value, labor value, and use and utility values commanded unprecedented attention. Given this context, the chapter traces how Petrarch had come to himself afloat in the evolutionary sea-change of late fourteenth-century economic relations.

Keywords:   Renaissance aesthetics, Renaissance economics, fourteenth-century economic relations, economic upheaval, worth of poetry, homo economicus

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