… The University Bookman: The Epistolary Petrarch. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Except for the Canzoniere, Petrarch avoided risk and wallowed in prolific mediocrity. He went to his grave believing that his turgid Latin epic Africa would form the foundation of his legacy, but neither that poem nor his other Latin poetry approached the genius of his Italian love poems. In a time of excitement about classical learning, Petrarch seemed more trapped than liberated by the rediscovery of classical literature; he struggled to learn ancient Greek, and never did. His voluminous writings are long on pompous insistence and short on insight.