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Petrarch was undoubtedly one of the most significant influences on the Renaissance not only in Italy but throughout Europe. His poetry was to inspire other poets in the period and later, to examine their interior life and emotions and to celebrate the natural world and to see love as something spiritual. His literary forms such as the sonnet and autobiography persuaded many writers to adopt a more personal style. Petrarch was also if not the ‘Father of Humanism’ certainly one of its leading lights. For example, his works and scholarship did, much to encourage an appreciation of Graeco-Roman civilization and this was radical as it helped to counter the stifling influence of the Church and Papacy. His writings and philosophy promoted a more secular and rational worldview and promoted a greater awareness of the importance of the individual. This had important repercussion and encouraged a belief that this world was important and not just salvation. This encouraged a rediscovery of not only the ancient world but a growing investigation of the world and society that led to a more modern outlook and one that was not wholly influenced by Christianity.
Petrarch. F. My Secret Book, (Secretum), translated by Nicholas Mann. Harvard University Press.