Cod. Guelf. 85.9. Aug. fol. and the manuscript tradition of Petrarch’s scattered poems

The research project I am carrying out at the Herzog August Bibliothek, during the short-term fellowship I have been awarded, is a part of my main research interest: I am in fact conducting a global study of the manuscript tradition of the Canzoniere – the collection of vernacular Italian lyric poems by Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch, 1304-1374) -, in order to retrace, on the basis of the material evidence of the manuscripts, the lines of circulation of the work in the centuries before the invention of printing.

In Wolfenbüttel I intend to study a significant exemplar of Petrarch’s work, Cod. Guelf. 85.9. Aug. fol., representative of the so-called “Venetian family” of the Canzoniere: an extremely interesting group of codices, which adds to Petrarch’s 366 texts, interpolated between them, more than thirty other poems.

These so-called ‘dispersed’ or ‘scattered’ poems (rime disperse) are therefore also attributed to Petrarch by manuscript tradition, but not all of them authentically: in fact, there are some that Petrarch composed, but which he did not want to include in his Canzoniere, as if he had rejected them, and others that are falsely attributed to Petrarch, and actually belong to minor authors of that same flourishing literary era that the 14th century was.