The Petrarch Seminar
Demetrio S. Yocum (Notre Dame) - "O felix familia Christi: Petrarch's Christian Humanism and Carthusian Monasticism"
Monday, September 17 at 3.30pm in Special Collections in the Hesburgh Library
If scholars have long established the historical connection between Petrarch and Carthusian monasticism, they have overlooked the mutually profound and lasting impact of Carthusian spirituality on Petrarch’s life and literary work as well as Petrarch’s oeuvre within the Carthusian order. By focusing on selected readings from Petrarch’s three Latin treatises – De vita solitaria, De otio religioso, and Secretum – and supported by other primary and secondary sources, the seminar, based on Yocum’s forthcoming book, will explore the particular practices of Carthusian monasticism at the heart of Petrarch’s Christian humanism intended less as an intellectual approach to human freedom and salvation and more as an inner task of self-transformation. The essential traits of Carthusian life as adopted and adapted by Petrarch for his program of humanist studies, aimed at enlightening himself and his readers, not only bring to maturity the laicization of monastic otium, but play a fundamental role in the development of Petrarch’s (and later) humanist approaches to religion and literature with important repercussions for present and future reflections and practices.
The Petrarch Seminar is a series of three seminars that has been organized in connection with the graduate seminar on Petrarch offered by the Italian Studies program during the current semester. It is open to the public.