Petrarch, the contemporary of Dante and Boccaccio, achieved
fame in his own day as a scholar and founder of Renaissance
humanism, but today he is chiefly remembered as a poet of love.
His great cycle of sonnets addressed to the dazzling Laura
occupied him for 40 years, forming an emotional and spiritual
autobiography that moves between joy and despair. These poems
established the themes and images of love poetry which was to
spread throughout Renaissance Europe, influencing Sidney,
Spenser and Shakespeare.