Getting Acquainted with Petrarch

Shortly after joining the Renaissance Society of America in 2017, I attended my first annual meeting of the society where I met Professor Timothy Kircher, a history professor at Guilford College in North Carolina. During a brief conversation I asked Professor Kircher for suggestions on how I, a person with a very limited background in the humanities, might launch a study of the Renaissance. When he asked what my interests were I answered the development of humanism (not having more than a clue about what this meant). His response was that I might start by learning about the writing and personality of Petrarch. That simple conversation set me off on a much larger voyage than I expected. At that point I was still having trouble distinguishing Petrarch from Plutarch.