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My Secret Book

My Secret Book

Francesco Petrarca

Edited and translated by Nicholas Mann

ISBN 9780674003460

Publication date: 06/13/2016

Francesco Petrarca (1304–1374), one of the greatest of Italian poets, was also the leading spirit in the Renaissance movement to revive literary Latin, the language of the Roman Empire, and Greco-Roman culture in general. My Secret Book (Secretum) records “the private conflict of my thoughts,” in the form of a dialogue between Franciscus and Augustinus in the presence of a beautiful woman, Truth personified. The discussion reveals remarkable self-awareness as Petrarca probes and evaluates the springs of his own morally dubious addictions to Fame and Love.


  • As a work of autobiography—or, rather, of literary self-fashioning—Petrarch’s Secretum evokes many comparisons but admits few equals…Nicholas Mann is to be applauded for having produced a volume that at last does full justice both to the elegance of Petrarch’s prose and to the sophistication of his thought…There can be no doubt that Mann’s volume is a jewel in the crown of Petrarchan scholarship. It deserves to be cherished by readers for generations to come.

    —Alexander Lee, Renaissance Quarterly


  • Nicholas Mann is former director of The Warburg Institute and professor emeritus, University of London.

Book Details

  • 304 pages
  • 5-1/4 x 8 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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