Talk:Ascent of Mont Ventoux

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Prod removed[edit]

Removing tag since this article should not be deleted per wording of tag: "You may remove this message if you improve the article, or if you otherwise object to deletion of the article for any reason." I know my friend will probably put back a Delete Article tag anyway, so I am here giving my reasons ahead of time why such an article should exist.

The reason is that this particular article is a different subject, so can not be a (different) POV. The subjects are:

  1. Francesco Dionigi - the person Petrarch wrote the letter to explaining his ascent to the top of Mount Ventoux.
  2. A Calendar date relating to the "birthday of Alpinism" - mountain climbing for the sport - in particular date April 26, 1336.

These subjects have certain items in common that can not be avoided since they are undisputed facts including the wording of the "letter/poem" itself as I quoted:

  1. letter was written by Francesco Petrarch.
  2. recipient was Francesco Dionigi
  3. Petrarch's brother Gherardo
  4. written on April 26, 1336
  5. Petrarch was about 30
  6. near Carpentras
  7. Mount Ventoux
  8. 6,200-foot peak

It is quite likely that then the reference sources for this information will be the same; however if that is really the objection then I certainly can get get different references for the same information. There are many references and sources furnishing this same information. Example is one addition I put in being the "time-line" of Petrarch's life (Note # 2). If it is Jacob Burkhardt's classic work, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy describing this activity of mountain climbing just for the sport of it - then I certainly can replace this reference with an equal. Since this is a very noteworthy event, someday a Wikipedian will write up an article on this anyway (especially if they are into mountain climbing or extreme sports) - so here it is now. Also it looks like another Wikipedian called "DGG" was going to write up such an article anyway (unknown to me at the time I wrote this one up). So if this other editor wants to add his part to this article, I welcome any expansions and additions. Even my friend apparently has something from Boccaccio on the subject, so if he also wants to add and contribute to the article on a very noteworthy event (first time climbing a mountain just for the sport of it and to see what was at the top), I welcome those additions also.--Doug talk 17:41, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Sourcing problems[edit]

  • This set of lecture notes for a western civ course by Bruce MacLennan is a discussion of a chapter in James Hillman's Re-Visioning Psychology (currently cited as footnote 11). Insofar as one can judge a book from lecture notes by a different author, Petrarch appears to be mentioned on 2 pages of Hillman's book. In any case, lecture notes do not make for a reliable source.

Why not quote from Re-Visioning Psychology directly, or directly summarize Hillman's contention. Hillman argues that it is not the ascent of Mont Ventoux that initiated the Renaissance but the subsequent DESCENT, wherein Petrarch rejects Augustine's advice. Here is how Hillman puts it:
Petrarch's experience is called the Ascent of Mont Ventoux. But the crucial event is the descent, the return down to the valley of soul. He deliberately refused the spiritual path (representeed to him by Saint Augustine), remaining loyal to his attachments to writing, the image of Laura, and his reputation among men -- unable to "lift up", as he says, "the inferior parts of my soul". This is further confirmation, I believe, of our reconstruction of the psychology of the passage, of Petrarch's experience on the mountain, and of the root metaphor of the Renaissance.[1]
Hillman rejects the humanistic fallacy, which equates soul with man:
Augustine and Petrarch imply three distinct terms: man, nature, and soul. Man may turn outward to the mountains and plains and seas or inward to images corresponding with these, but neither those out there nor those in here are mine, or human. Renaissance psychology begins with a revelation of the independent reality of soul -- the revelation to Petrarch on Mont Ventoux of psychic reality. .... [T]he humanistic fallacy fails to acknowledge what Petrarch actually wrote: Soul is the marvel. It is not the return to nature from man that starts the Renaissance going, but the return to soul.[1]
-- NonZionist (talk) 21:41, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Thanks for tracking this down, but I am trimming it back to a few lines. The section is about Hillman's theories more than about Petrarch, and it's way out of proportion. If Burckhardt gets only four lines, we can't really let Hillman have a whole section. -- Margin1522 (talk) 07:33, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
  • This article in Couloir magazine (currently footnote 3) is not about Petrarch's climb; it is about the author's experience going backcountry skiing on Mount Greylock, in Massachusetts. Petrarch's climb is mentioned as a model for understanding the mountain experience, but the article is not about the ascent of Mt. Ventoux. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:01, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Removed sources[edit]

  • Some of the sources Doug has recently added include a self-published webpage from and an unattributed quote taken directly from this webpage (in this diff. Since Doug didn't attribute the quote, it's technically a copyvio, but I assume that was an unintentional mistake; however, there's no indication whatsoever that this website is a reliable source, and it also included an irrelevant sentence about Machiavelli; accordingly I have removed the quote from the article ([1]).
  • This paper, supposedly delivered at a Phi Alpha Theta conference, was added in this edit [2]. I see no indication that this paper, which is hosted at, is a reliable source; in fact, the notes on authorship at the bottom of the page are truly weird: the author seems to have taken someone else's college paper, copyrighted it under his own name, and delivered it at a frat conference. In any case this is not a good source for the article, and I'm taking it out. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:34, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Ok, now I'm doing a mass removal of all the tourism/mountaineering sites, because they aren't reliable sources either, and as I noted on the AfD, most of them are mirroring Wikipedia's article on Mountaineering#History. How anyone could think that was a good source for a Wikipedia article is, quite frankly, beyond my ability to understand. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:48, 29 June 2007 (UTC)


Unless I'm missing something, none of the sources in the bibliography are cited in the article, with the exception of Petrarch's letter. Of course, the quote from the letter that appears in the body of the article is cited to a website; but the bibliography lists multiple editions and translations of this specific letter, plus editions of Petrarch's letters in the Italian original. Then, there's the odd fact that the Cassirer/Kristeller/Randall anthology Renaissance Views of Man is listed in three separate editions, apparently because a translation of the letter also appears here. And what exactly are:

  • Petrarca. Wege der Forschung, Bd. 353. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, [Abt. Verlag], 1976. 463 p.PQ4504.P4
  • Petrarch. Modern critical views. New York: Chelsea House, 1989. 175 p. PQ4505.P4 1989

I don't see any German in the article, and I don't see any references to Modern critical views (which, apparently, Petrarch wrote?), so I have to conclude that this bibliography is the result of an indiscriminate dump of a web search of a library catalog (note the Library of Congress call numbers). I'm taking the whole bibliography section out; if it can be shown that the article is actually citing some of this stuff, then we can put the individual items back in. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:33, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Questionable content[edit]

A sentence like this one — "The ascent of Mount Ventoux in the spring of 1336 by Petrarch correlates directly with humanism, personal growth and self-knowledge" — reads like subjective blather and has no place in an encyclopedia. Wareh 22:30, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

  • One of the sources cited denies that Petrarch was the first to climb a mountain for pleasure, even in the Middle Ages; to quote from page 3 of Kimmelmann's article:
    Petrarch was not the first man in his day to climb a mountain for the sake of the climb German writers in the 10th and 11th centuries described various ascents, and Jean Buridan, a Parisian, left an account of climbing Ventoux early in the 14th century, just before Petrarch. But Petrarch wrote more extensively and better about the experience than anyone before him. His account is full of esthetic gratification. Hence he is regarded by mountain climbers today as proto-modern, though a closer reading of his work compels a more nuanced interpretation: at the moment of his deepest satisfaction, on top of Ventoux, he is overcome by doubt. As he tells it, he picks up his copy of Augustine's Confessions, which he has taken along, and by chance, he says, his eyes fall on a passage chastising people who wonder at the heights of mountains when they should recognize God's presence in humbler circumstances.
  • There is no citation for Birthday of Alpinism, on which this article hangs. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:31, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Right, I was just about to say that. I don't think there's a reliable source for this phrase (or "birth of alpinism"). As far as I can see, someone inserted this tidbit into Wikipedia, whence it spread to other websites. The sole exception seems to be this (in German), but I don't believe that this qualifies as a reliable source. I have seen Petrarch called Petrarch alpinista in scholarly sources about the letter; perhaps the "birthday of alpinism" stuff comes from a garbled recollection of this. Or maybe there is a print source out there that we haven't found yet. There's no source for "father of alpinism" either--but there is this (note the picture caption). --Akhilleus (talk) 02:36, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Today's rewrite[edit]

Ok, I have just done a pretty radical rewrite of the article. I retained a few of the sources from the previous version--high-quality stuff like the New York Times article and peer-reviewed articles from academic journals. PMAnderson added another peer-reviewed reference by Lynn Thorndyke. In my opinion, this is vastly superior to the hodgepodge of websites and tertiary sources we had before. If you want detailed comment on individual sources from the previous version, please see my and PMAnderson's comments at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Birthday of alpinism and Talk:Mont Ventoux. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:58, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

  • As the closing admin for the AfD on this article I have been asked to make a comment on today's re-write. I will post that response at my talk page and on the article talk page so as to maintain continuity. Whilst I do not profess to be an expert in this genre of wikipedia in any way I am a long standing editor with good understanding of article content in terms of neutrality, verification and notability. With regards these areas it seems to me that the article has been well scanned and adjusted. To my mind it reads well with verified content, and references. I note the inclusion of a doubt as to the claims made by Petrarch as being good pointedness as to the controversy surrounding the claim. Given that the other references are valid and the article contains the doubt issue as a verified comment I wonder as to the reason for the dispute tag which is placed at the top of the article at this time because if the article has been "pared to the bone" in terms of verifiable content then there should be no dispute in terms of neutrality or factual accuracy and I suggest that the tag could be removed. Finally I note - in terms of style (and as a suggestion for improvement) that inline citation 5 could be adjusted to not show the repetition of the material at inline citation 4. I hope that helps? --VS talk 03:47, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
One of the things that could be done with this is to pull out the sources into a list of References, and make the footnotes short form. If anyone cares to, fine by me; I think the article has more urgent problems.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:44, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't want to put words in PMAnderson's mouth, but I believe the tag relates to the matter discussed above--that we have no good sources for the use of the phrase "birthday of alpinism" or "birth of alpinism", except possibly for the German website linked above. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:01, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Also the tag was added before the second paragraph, when the article was a great deal more a representation of Doug's PoV: that Petrarch was the first Alpinist, and the ascent was world-shaking. These should of course be included; but in Burckhardt's voice, not Wikipedia's. I would reconsider it; but I have a more productive proposal below. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:49, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

OK, now what?[edit]

This actually contains most of the information required for a good short article on Petrarch's letter, which would in any case be a better article subject; there is consensus it exists, and a substantial claim to notability. (This also had substantial support at the two AfDs, for the record.)

I propose the title Ascent of Mont Ventoux, and the following outline:

  • Lead: Petrarch ascended MV on [date] and wrote a letter about it to Dionigi.
  • Ascent (according to Petrarch's account)
    • Previous mountain climbers, from Thorndike
  • Letter (with doubts as to actual date of composition)
  • Modern reception
    • Burckhardt
  • References

Amendments are welcome; if there is no substantial objection, there is no need to bother WP:RM. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:44, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

I'd suggest waiting for at least a few days - feelings got a bit heated recently, this would give all involved a "breathing space" to reflect and work out a positive way forward. DuncanHill 13:49, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Fine, nothing before Thursday, which will give time for comments. If I get back to this, I may prepare a draft as a subpage; except for a summary of the letter, that will largely be a matter of rearrangement. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:52, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
I think moving to Ascent of Mont Ventoux would be fine. As PMAnderson says, this would be an article about the letter and its reception, not an article about the climb itself. The article ought to include some literary analysis (there are several useful articles for this). --Akhilleus (talk) 14:32, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good to me also on Ascent of Mont Ventoux and the proposed new article outline described above. This "theme" of the subject of the description of the letter itself I believe would then be less controversial than the "themes" related to the event of the climb of 1336 (i.e. "birthday of alpinism" and "father of alpinism"). --Doug talk 15:27, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

To help expidite the new article proposal above and to make the new article less controversal, I agree to taking out the wording "Birthday of alpinism." Perhaps then the wording of the first sentences as a lead to the proposed new article could be something along the lines of:

Ascent of Mont Ventoux in a letter written by Petrarch which is also referred to as Familiares 4.1 from his large collection of letters called Epistolae familiares. It is dated "April 26" in the year 1336. The recipient was his close friend the Augustinian monk Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro. It is a description of Petrarch's climb with his brother Gherardo and "two stout servants" to the top of Mont Ventoux, which is near his home in Carpentras, France.

Anything along this line of wording is alright with me.--Doug talk 19:28, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

I read Bishop's summary as implying that the servants went to Malaucene, not to the top of the mountain; I would hope so, since they presumably prepared the midnight supper. But I suppose they may have been first in the long tradition of slighted Sherpas. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:28, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, as of 2012 it's still the absurd Mount Ventoux so I've changed it to its proper name, Mont Ventoux, per our own article. Ericoides (talk) 12:38, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Not sure what the topic is[edit]

I'm not seeing the point of this information being a separate article. If this is about the history of those who climbed Mont Ventoux, then the information should be in the Mont Ventoux article. If this is about one letter in the Epistolae familiares collection, then the information should be at Epistolae familiares with mention at Mont Ventoux. Per Article spinouts - "Summary style" articles, I think that it might be premature to spinout this information into an article of its own. -- Jreferee (Talk) 15:41, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, this article has a pretty tortured history. I think the topic is a specific letter of Petrarch, commonly known as the "Ascent of Mont Ventoux", also Familiares 4.1. This is a well-known work of literature, and there are several journal articles that are specifically devoted to it, not all of which appear in the bibliography. In addition, general works on Petrarch and the Renaissance will devote some discussion to this letter. Considering the volume of letters, poems, etc. that Petrarch wrote, the fact that this particular piece gets discussed fairly often makes it an appropriate encyclopedic subject, in my opinion. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:52, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
That's fine. My concern is that the article set related to all of Petrarch's letters, poems, etc. be properly connected in some way so that a reader can locate them all with relative ease. (A template might be appropriate in this case). For this article, there should be more coordination with Epistolae familiares, however. For example, per Wikipedia:Summary_style#Basic_technique, there should be a more detailed summary in Epistolae familiares about this letter. -- Jreferee (Talk) 17:25, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree with all of that. A template would be a good idea, I think. --Akhilleus (talk) 17:43, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
If all this stuff flows from Petrarch, I would suggest using Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci as models of how to write article(s) to cover individuals who make wide ranging contributions over many areas. It is nice to have everything in one article to get a good picture of the person, but sometimes you can't. -- Jreferee (Talk) 03:52, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

garbled sentence[edit]

cut from the article:

The implicit claim of Petrarch and Burckhardt that mountain-climbing for pleasure was debunked by Lynn Thorndike in 1943.[1]

obviously missing a verb. dab (𒁳) 13:32, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Thorndike, op cit.