The third “form,” or Pre-Chigi, or Correggio (1356-58)

The third form, or Pre-Chigi, or Correggio (1356-58) is the first form of the Rvf for which we have a clear indication by Petrarch. Wilkins names it after the copy of the Rvf that Petrarch prepared for Azzo da Correggio. No material manuscript of this “form” has survived as well. Wilkins reconstructs it focusing on Petrarch’s notations in the Vat. Lat. 3196 (especially those on the poems 23, 77, 78, 265 and 268) that make apparent his intention of giving a solid, not provisional order to his collection. On f. 7r, above poem 77, followed by poem 78, Petrarch wrote, “Transcripti isti duo in ordine post mille annos. 1357. mercurii hora. 3. novembris. 29. dum volo his omnino finem dare, ne unquam amplius me teneant. et jam Jerolamus, ut puto, primum quaternum scribere est adortus pergameno pro domino Azone, postea pro me idem facturus.” (153)

According to Wilkins this “form” includes 171 poems; it maintains in the first part 142 poems, corresponding to numbers 1-142 of the last order registered in the ms. Vat. lat. 3195, except for the ballata “Donna mi vene spesso nella mente” (number 121) later substituted with the madrigal “Or vedi Amor.” In the second part there are 29 poems that will remain in the same position in later forms (nn. 264-292). Petrarch based the order of the poems on not rigorous chronological criteria that gave a sense of “autobiographical rightness” to the collection. Also, he took into account the different poetic genres of the collection and on the one hand wanted to prevent the existence of long series of sonnets, and, on the other hand, to introduce a variety in content.

Most of the poems are love poems but there is a notable group of poems that deals with friendship, religion and politics among other subjects (155-156). Basing his idea on Petrarch's interventions on Vat. lat 3196, Wilkins is convinced that before the so-called fourth form of the Rvf Petrarch conceived of a second and third reference collections between 1359 and 1360.


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