Laura and Petrarch: An Intriguing Case of Cyclical Love Dynamics

Rinaldi, S. (1996). Laura and Petrarch: An Intriguing Case of Cyclical Love Dynamics. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-96-067

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Three ordinary differential equations are proposed to model the dynamics of love between Petrarch, a celebrated Italian poet of the 14th century, and Laura, a beautiful but married lady. The equations are nonlinear but can be studied through the singular perturbation approach if the inspiration of the poet is assumed to have very slow dynamics. In such a case, explicit conditions are found in the appeals of Laura and Petrarch and in their behavioural parameters that guarantee the existence of a globally stable slow-fast limit cycle. These conditions are consistent with the relatively clear portrait of the two personalities one gets while reading the poems addressed to Laura. On the basis of the sparse and only qualitative information available, the calibration of the parameters is also performed; the result is that the calibrated model shows that the poet's emotions have been following for about 20 years a quite regular cyclical pattern ranging from the extremes of ecstasy to despair. All these findings agree with the recent results of Frederic Jones who, through a detailed stylistic and linguistic analysis of the poems inspired by Laura, has discovered Petrarch's emotional cycle in a fully independent way.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Dynamic Systems (DYN)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:07
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:15

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