E-philology and Twitterature


  • Massimo Lollini University of Oregon
  • Rebecca Rosenberg University of Oregon




This paper presents an original use of Twitter to interpret and rewrite the poems of Francesco Petrarca's Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Rvf) implemented within the Oregon Petrarch Open Book OPOB). This activity was partially inspired by the idea of Twitterature developed by Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin; we believe with them that our digital time should develop new and more functional ways of addressing literary texts but at the same time we are convinced that the "burdensome duty of hours spent reading" cannot be eliminated. On the contrary, the new ways of reading in the digital era as we envisage them are the result and consequence of broader and deeper reading activities. We conceived the project of writing 366 tweets, out of the 366 poems that make the last form of Petrarca’s Rvf, as the result of different philological activities, from reading the texts in the original language to consulting manuscripts, translations and intersemiotic renderings of the texts. Before writing the 140 characters that make one tweet we also elaborated paraphrases, summaries and keywords related to the individual poems. Students created the first version of the tweets during the 2011 UO seminar on Re-reading Petrarca’s Rvf in the Digtal Era. The second version was elaborated in the context of a seminar on the same topic during Winter 2014. This paper presents the two versions of the Twitter Edition of Petrarca's Rvf now available in the OPOB and focuses on the philology connected to the latest edition that provided an English translation of the original tweets written in Italian. The actual Italian and English 366 tweets are published in the Appendix to the article.

Author Biography

Massimo Lollini, University of Oregon

Professor of Romance Languages and Participating faculty in the Comparative Literature Program.