http://trailblazer.outdoorsy.co/27.php He relates the events up to The journeys that he made in Italy and France, and the information thus acquired, mean that his chronicle, the Historie Fiorentine , covers events all over Europe. He speaks at length, not only of events in politics and war, but of the stipends of public officials, the sums of money used to pay for soldiers and public festivals, and many other things of which knowledge is valuable.
Villani's narrative is often encumbered with fables and errors, particularly when he speaks of things that happened before his time. Matteo was the brother of Giovanni Villani, and continued the chronicle up to It was again continued by Filippo Villani. The Divine Commedia is ascetic in its conception, and in a good many points of its execution. Petrarch's work has similar qualities; yet neither Petrarch nor Dante could be classified among the pure ascetics of their time. But many other writers come under this head. St Catherine of Siena 's mysticism was political.
This extraordinary woman aspired to bring back the Church of Rome to evangelical virtue, and left a collection of letters written in a high and lofty tone to all kinds of people, including popes. Hers is the clearest religious utterance to have made itself heard in 14th century Italy. Although precise ideas of reformation did not enter her head, the want of a great moral reform was felt in her heart.
She must take her place among those who prepared the way for the religious movement of the 16th century. Another Sienese, Giovanni Colombini , founder of the order of Jesuati , preached poverty by precept and example, going back to the religious idea of St Francis of Assisi. His letters are among the most remarkable in the category of ascetic works in the 14th century. Jacopo Passavanti , in his Specchio della vera penitenza , attached instruction to narrative. Cavalca translated from the Latin the Vite dei santi padri. Rivalta left behind him many sermons, and Franco Sacchetti the famous novelist many discourses.
On the whole, there is no doubt that one of the most important productions of the Italian spirit of the 14th century was religious literature. Orgagna was specially comic; Bonichi was comic with a satirical and moral purpose. Pucci was superior to all of them for the variety of his production. He put into triplets the chronicle of Giovanni Villani Centiloquio , and wrote many historical poems called Serventesi , many comic poems, and not a few epico-popular compositions on various subjects. A little poem of his in seven cantos treats of the war between the Florentines and the Pisans from to These poems, meant to be recited, are the ancestors of the romantic epic.
Many poets of the 14th century produced political works. It may be said in general that following the example of Petrarch many writers devoted themselves to patriotic poetry. From this period also dates that literary phenomenon known under the name of Petrarchism. The Petrarchists, or those who sang of love, imitating Petrarch's manner, were found already in the 14th century. But others treated the same subject with more originality, in a manner that might be called semi-popular. Ballate were poems sung to dancing, and we have very many songs for music of the 14th century. We have already stated that Antonio Pucci versified Villani's Chronicle.
Besides this, every kind of subject, whether history, tragedy or husbandry, was treated in verse. Neri di Landocio wrote a life of St Catherine; Jacopo Gradenigo put the Gospels into triplets; Paganino Bonafede in the Tesoro de rustici gave many precepts in agriculture, beginning that kind of georgic poetry later fully developed by Alamanni in his Coltivazione , by Girolamo Baruffaldi in the Canapajo , by Rucellai in Le api , by Bartolomeo Lorenzi in the Coltivazione de' monti , and by Giambattista Spolverini in the Coltivazione del riso.
Scholasticism focused on preparing men to be doctors, lawyers or professional theologians, and was taught from approved textbooks in logic, natural philosophy, medicine, law and theology. Rather than train professionals in jargon and strict practice, humanists sought to create a citizenry including, sometimes, women able to speak and write with eloquence and clarity. Thus, they would be capable of better engaging the civic life of their communities and persuading others to virtuous and prudent actions.
This was to be accomplished through the study of the studia humanitatis , today known as the humanities : grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry and moral philosophy. Early humanists, such as Petrarch , Coluccio Salutati and Leonardo Bruni , were great collectors of antique manuscripts. Many worked for the organized Church and were in holy orders like Petrarch , while others were lawyers and chancellors of Italian cities, like Petrarch's disciple, Salutati, the Chancellor of Florence, and thus had access to book copying workshops. In Italy, the humanist educational program won rapid acceptance and, by the mid-fifteenth century, many of the upper classes had received humanist educations.
Some of the highest officials of the Church were humanists with the resources to amass important libraries. Such was Cardinal Basilios Bessarion , a convert to the Latin Church from Greek Orthodoxy, who was considered for the papacy and was one of the most learned scholars of his time. At Florence the most celebrated humanists wrote also in the vulgar tongue, and commented on Dante and Petrarch, and defended them from their enemies. Leone Battista Alberti , the learned Greek and Latin scholar, wrote in the vernacular, and Vespasiano da Bisticci , while he was constantly absorbed in Greek and Latin manuscripts, wrote the Vite di uomini illustri , valuable for their historical contents, and rivalling the best works of the 14th century in their candour and simplicity.
Belcari and Girolamo Benivieni returned to the mystic idealism of earlier times. But it is in Lorenzo de Medici that the influence of Florence on the Renaissance is particularly seen. His mind was formed by the ancients: he attended the class of the Greek John Argyropulos , sat at Platonic banquets, took pains to collect codices, sculptures, vases, pictures, gems and drawings to ornament the gardens of San Marco and to form the library later named after him.
De Medici lived entirely in the classical world; and yet if we read his poems we only see the man of his time, the admirer of Dante and of the old Tuscan poets, who takes inspiration from the popular muse, and who succeeds in giving to his poetry the colors of the most pronounced realism as well as of the loftiest idealism, who passes from the Platonic sonnet to the impassioned triplets of the Amori di Venere , from the grandiosity of the Salve to Nencia and to Beoni, from the Canto carnascialesco to the lauda.
The feeling of nature is strong in him; at one time sweet and melancholy, at another vigorous and deep, as if an echo of the feelings, the sorrows, the ambitions of that deeply agitated life. He liked to look into his own heart with a severe eye, but he was also able to pour himself out with tumultuous fulness.
He described with the art of a sculptor; he satirized, laughed, prayed, sighed, always elegant, always a Florentine, but a Florentine who read Anacreon , Ovid and Tibullus , who wished to enjoy life, but also to taste of the refinements of art. Next to Lorenzo comes Poliziano , who also united, and with greater art, the ancient and the modern, the popular and the classical style. In his Rispetti and in his Ballate the freshness of imagery and the plasticity of form are inimitable.
A great Greek scholar, Piliziano wrote Italian verses with dazzling colors; the purest elegance of the Greek sources pervaded his art in all its varieties, in the Orfeo as well as the Stanze per la giostra. A completely new style of poetry arose, the Canto carnascialesco. These were a kind of choral songs, which were accompanied with symbolic masquerades, common in Florence at the carnival. They were written in a metre like that of the ballate ; and for the most part they were put into the mouth of a party of workmen and tradesmen, who, with not very chaste allusions, sang the praises of their art.
These triumphs and masquerades were directed by Lorenzo himself. In the evening, there set out into the city large companies on horseback, playing and singing these songs. There are some by Lorenzo himself, which surpass all the others in their mastery of art. That entitled Bacco ed Arianna is the most famous. Italy did not yet have true epic poetry ; but had, however, many poems called cantari , because they contained stories that were sung to the people; and besides there were romantic poems, such as the Buovo d'Antona , the Regina Ancroja and others.
But the first to introduce life into this style was Luigi Pulci , who grew up in the house of the Medici, and who wrote the Morgante Maggiore at the request of Lucrezia Tornabuoni , mother of Lorenzo the Magnificent. The material of the Morgante is almost completely taken from an obscure chivalrous poem of the 15th century, rediscovered by Pio Rajna. Pulci erected a structure of his own, often turning the subject into ridicule, burlesquing the characters, introducing many digressions, now capricious, now scientific, now theological.
Pulci raised the romantic epic into a work of art, and united the serious and the comic. With a more serious intention Matteo Boiardo , count of Scandiano , wrote his Orlando innamorato , in which he seems to have aspired to embrace the whole range of Carolingian legends; but he did not complete his task.
We find here too a large vein of humour and burlesque. Still Boiardo was drawn to the world of romance by a profound sympathy for chivalrous manners and feelings; that is to say, for love, courtesy, valour and generosity. He drew from the Carolingian cycle , from the romances of the Round Table , and from classical antiquity. He was a poet of no common genius, and of ready imagination. He showed the influence of Boiardo, especially in the use of fantasy. History had neither many nor very good students in the 15th century.
Its revival belonged to the following age. It was mostly written in Latin. Bernardino Corio wrote the history of Milan in Italian, but in a rude way. Leonardo da Vinci wrote a treatise on painting, Leone Battista Alberti one on sculpture and architecture. But the names of these two men are important, not so much as authors of these treatises, but as being embodiments of another characteristic of the age of the Renaissance; versatility of genius, power of application along many and varied lines, and of being excellent in all.
Leonardo was an architect, a poet, a painter, an hydraulic engineer and a distinguished mathematician. Alberti was a musician, studied jurisprudence, was an architect and a draughtsman, and had great fame in literature. He had a deep feeling for nature, and an almost unique faculty of assimilating all that he saw and heard. Leonardo and Alberti are representatives and almost a compendium in themselves of all that intellectual vigour of the Renaissance age, which in the 16th century took to developing itself in its individual parts, making way for what has by some been called the golden age of Italian literature.
Piero Capponi , author of the Commentari deli acquisto di Pisa and of the narration of the Tumulto dei Ciompi , belonged to both the 14th and the 15th centuries. He then produced a Latin tragedy on Ezzelino da Romano , Henry's imperial vicar in northern Italy, the Eccerinus , which was probably not represented on the stage. This remained an isolated work. The development of the drama in the 15th century was very great. This kind of semi-popular literature was born in Florence, and attached itself to certain popular festivities that were usually held in honor of St John the Baptist , patron saint of the city.
The Sacra Rappresentazione is the development of the medieval Mistero mystery play. Although it belonged to popular poetry, some of its authors were literary men of much renown: Lorenzo de Medici, for example, wrote San Giovanni e Paolo , and Feo Belcari wrote San Panunzio , Abramo ed Isaac , and more. From the 15th century, some element of the comic-profane found its way into the Sacra Rappresentazione.
From its Biblical and legendary conventionalism Poliziano emancipated himself in his Orfeo , which, although in its exterior form belonging to the sacred representations, yet substantially detaches itself from them in its contents and in the artistic element introduced. The fundamental characteristic of the literary epoch following that of the Renaissance is that it perfected itself in every kind of art, in particular uniting the essentially Italian character of its language with classicism of style.
This period lasted from about to about — being when Charles VIII descended into Italy, marking the beginning of Italy's foreign domination and political decadence. The famous men of the first half of the 16th century had been educated in the preceding century. Literary activity that appeared from the end of the 15th century to the middle of the 16th century was the product of the political and social conditions of an earlier age.
Machiavelli's principal works are the Istorie fiorentine , the Discorsi sulla prima deca di Tito Livio , the Arte della guerra and the Principe. His merit consists in having emphasized the experimental side of the study of political action in having observed facts, studied histories and drawn principles from them.
His history is sometimes inexact in facts; it is rather a political than an historical work. The peculiarity of Machiavelli's genius lay, as has been said, in his artistic feeling for the treatment and discussion of politics in and for themselves, without regard to an immediate end in his power of abstracting himself from the partial appearances of the transitory present, in order more thoroughly to possess himself of the eternal and inborn kingdom, and to bring it into subjection to himself.
Next to Machiavelli both as an historian and a statesman comes Guicciardini. Guicciardini was very observant, and endeavoured to reduce his observations to a science.
From this point of view, Sacchetti's work comes near to the Monalisaliones of the Middle Ages. Hamodia 04 Jul All Languages. Like Gioberti in his first period, Balbo was zealous for the civil papacy, and for a federation of the Italian states presided over by it. These poems, though derivative, indicate a resolute determination to challenge the literary conventionalities.
His Storia d'Italia , which extends from the death of Lorenzo de Medici to , is full of political wisdom, is skillfully arranged in its parts, gives a lively picture of the character of the persons it treats of, and is written in a grand style. He shows a profound knowledge of the human heart, and depicts with truth the temperaments, the capabilities and habits of the different European nations.
Going back to the causes of events, he looked for the explanation of the divergent interests of princes and of their reciprocal jealousies. The fact of his having witnessed many of the events he related, and having taken part in them, adds authority to his words. The political reflections are always deep; in the Pensieri , as Gino Capponi says, he seems to aim at extracting through self-examination a quintessence, as it were, of the things observed and done by him; thus endeavouring to form a political doctrine as adequate as possible in all its parts.
Machiavelli and Guicciardini may be considered as distinguished historians as well as originators of the science of history founded on observation. Inferior to them, but still always worthy of note, were Jacopo Nardi a just and faithful historian and a virtuous man, who defended the rights of Florence against the Medici before Charles V , Benedetto Varchi , Giambattista Adriani , Bernardo Segni , and, outside Tuscany, Camillo Porzio , who related the Congiura de baroni and the history of Italy from to ; Angelo di Costanza , Pietro Bembo , Paolo Paruta , and others.
Ariosto's Orlando furioso was a continuation of Boiardo's Innamorato. His characteristic is that he assimilated the romance of chivalry to the style and models of classicism. Romantic Ariosto was an artist only for the love of his art; his epic. His sole aim was to make a romance that would please himself and his generation.
His Orlando has no grave and serious purpose. On the contrary, it creates a fantastic world in which the poet rambles, indulges his caprice, and sometimes smiles at his own work. His great desire is to depict everything with the greatest possible perfection; the cultivation of style is what occupies him most. In his hands the style becomes wonderfully plastic to every conception, whether high or low, serious or sportive.
With him, the octave stanza reached a high level of grace, variety, and harmony. Pietro Bembo was an influential figure in the development of the Italian language , specifically Tuscan, as a literary medium, and his writings assisted in the 16th-century revival of interest in the works of Petrarch. As a writer, Bembo attempted to restore some of the legendary "affect" that ancient Greek had on its hearers, but in Tuscan Italian instead. He held as his model, and as the highest example of poetic expression ever achieved in Italian, the work of Petrarch and Boccaccio, two 14th century writers he assisted in bringing back into fashion.
In the Prose della volgar lingua , he set Petrarch up as the perfect model, and discussed verse composition in detail, including rhyme, stress, the sounds of words, balance and variety. In Bembo's theory, the specific placement of words in a poem, with strict attention to their consonants and vowels, their rhythm, their position within lines long and short, could produce emotions ranging from sweetness and grace to gravity and grief in a listener. This work was of decisive importance in the development of the Italian madrigal, the most famous secular musical form of the 16th century, as it was these poems, carefully constructed or, in the case of Petrarch, analyzed according to Bembo's ideas, that were to be the primary texts for the music.
The historians of Italian literature are in doubt whether Tasso should be placed in the period of the highest development of the Renaissance, or whether he should form a period by himself, intermediate between that and the one following. Certainly he was profoundly out of harmony with his own century. His religious faith, the seriousness of his character, the deep melancholy settled in his heart, his continued aspiration after an ideal perfection—all place him outside the literary epoch represented by Machiavelli, Ariosto, and Berni.
As Carducci said, Tasso is the legitimate heir of Dante: he believes, and reasons on his faith by philosophy; he loves, and comments on his love in a learned style; he is an artist, and writes dialogues of scholastic speculation that would be considered Platonic. He was only eighteen years old when, in , he tried his hand at epic poetry, and wrote Rinaldo , in which be said that he had tried to reconcile the Aristotelian rules with the variety of Ariosto.
He later wrote the Aminta , a pastoral drama of exquisite grace, but the work to which he had long turned his thoughts was an heroic poem, and that absorbed all his powers. He explains his intentions in the three Discorsi , written while he composed the Gerusalemme : he would choose a great and wonderful subject, not so ancient as to have lost all interest, nor so recent as to prevent the poet from embellishing it with invented circumstances.
He would treat it rigorously according to the rules of the unity of action observed in Greek and Latin poems, but with a far greater variety and splendour of episodes, so that in this point it should not fall short of the romantic poem; and finally, he would write it in a lofty and ornate style. This is what Tasso has done in the Gerusalemme liberata , the subject of which is the liberation of the sepulchre of Jesus Christ in the 11th century by Godfrey of Bouillon.
The poet does not follow faithfully all the historical facts, but sets before us the principal causes of them, bringing in the supernatural agency of God and Satan. The Gerusalemme is the best heroic poem that Italy can show. It approaches to classical perfection. Its episodes above all are most beautiful.
There is profound feeling in it, and everything reflects the melancholy soul of the poet. As regards the style, however, although Tasso studiously endeavoured to keep close to the classical models, one cannot help noticing that he makes excessive use of metaphor , of antithesis , of far-fetched conceits; and it is specially from this point of view that some historians have placed Tasso in the literary period generally known under the name of Secentismo , and that others, more moderate in their criticism, have said that he prepared the way for it.
Meanwhile, side by side with the romantic, there was an attempt at the historical epic. Full of learning and of the rules of the ancients, he formed himself on the latter, in order to sing of the campaigns of Belisarius ; he said that he had forced himself to observe all the rules of Aristotle , and that he had imitated Homer. In this again, we see one of the products of the Renaissance ; and, although Trissino's work is poor in invention and without any original poetical coloring, yet it helps one to understand better what were the conditions of mind in the 16th century. Lyric poetry was certainly not one of the kinds that rose to any great height in the 16th century.
Originality was entirely wanting, since it seemed in that century as if nothing better could be done than to copy Petrarch. Still, even in this style there were some vigorous poets. Monsignore Giovanni Guidiccioni of Lucca — showed that he had a generous heart. In fine sonnets he expressed his grief for the sad state of his country. Francesco Molza of Modena — , learned in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, wrote in a graceful style and with spirit.
Giovanni della Casa — and Pietro Bembo — , although Petrarchists, were elegant. Even Michelangelo was at times a Petrarchist, but his poems bear the stamp of his extraordinary and original genius. And a good many ladies are to be placed near these poets, such as Vittoria Colonna loved by Michelangelo , Veronica Gambara , Tullia d'Aragona , and Giulia Gonzaga , poets of great delicacy, and superior in genius to many literary men of their time. Many tragedies were written in the 16th century, but they are all weak. The cause of this was the moral and religious indifference of the Italians, the lack of strong passions and vigorous characters.
The first to occupy the tragic stage was Trissino with his Sofonisba , following the rules of the art most scrupulously, but written in sickly verses, and without warmth of feeling. Sperone Speroni in his Canace and Giraldi Cintio in his Orbecche tried to become innovators in tragic literature, but provoked criticisms of grotesquerie and debate over the role of decorum.
They were often seen as inferior to the Torrismondo of Torquato Tasso , specially remarkable for the choruses, which sometimes remind one of the chorus of the Greek tragedies. The Italian comedy of the 16th century was almost entirely modelled on the Latin comedy. They were almost always alike in the plot, in the characters of the old man, of the servant, of the waiting-maid; and the argument was often the same. There appear to be only three writers who should be distinguished among the many who wrote comedies: Machiavelli, Ariosto, and Giovan Maria Cecchi.
In his Mandragola Machiavelli, unlike the others, composed a comedy of character, creating personalities that seem living even now because he copied them from reality with a finely observant eye. Ariosto, on the other hand, was distinguished for his picture of the habits of his time, and especially of those of the Ferrarese nobles, rather than for the objective delineation of character. Lastly, Cecchi left in his comedies a treasure of spoken language, which lets us, in a wonderful way, acquaint ourselves with that age.
The notorious Pietro Aretino might also be included in the list of the best writers of comedy. The 15th century included humorous poetry. Antonio Cammelli , surnamed the Pistoian, is specially deserving of notice, because of his pungent bonhomie , as Sainte-Beuve called it. But it was Francesco Berni who and satire, carried this kind of literature to perfection in the 16th century. From him the style has been called bernesque poetry. In the Berneschi we find nearly the same phenomenon that we already noticed with regard to Orlando furioso.
It was art for arts sake that inspired and moved Berni to write, as well as Antonio Francesco Grazzini , called Il Lasca, and other lesser writers. It may be said that there is nothing in their poetry; and it is true that they specially delight in praising low and disgusting things and in jeering at what is noble and serious. Bernesque poetry is the clearest reflection of that religious and moral scepticism that was a characteristic of Italian social life in the 16th century, and that showed itself in most of the works of that period—a scepticism that stopped the religious Reformation in Italy, and which in its turn was an effect of historical conditions.
The Berneschi, and especially Berni himself, sometimes assumed a satirical tone. But theirs could not be called true satire. Pure satirists, on the other hand, were Antonio Vinciguerra , a Venetian, Lodovico Alamanni and Ariosto, the last superior to the others for the Attic elegance of his style, and for a certain frankness, passing into malice, which is particularly interesting when the poet talks of himself.
In the 16th century there were not a few didactic works. In his poem Api Giovanni Rucellai approaches to the perfection of Virgil. His style is clear and light, and he adds interest to his book by frequent allusions to the events of the time. The most important didactic work, however, is Castiglione's Cortigiano , in which he imagines a discussion in the palace of the dukes of Urbino between knights and ladies as to what gifts a perfect courtier requires.
This book is valuable as an illustration of the intellectual and moral state of the highest Italian society in the first half of the 16th century. Of the novelists of the 16th century, the two most important were Grazzini, and Matteo Bandello ; the former as playful and bizarre as the latter is grave and solemn. Bandello was a Dominican friar and a bishop, but that notwithstanding his novels were very loose in subject, and that he often holds up the ecclesiastics of his time to ridicule. At a time when admiration for qualities of style, the desire for classical elegance, was so strong as in the 16th century, much attention was naturally paid to translating Latin and Greek authors.
From about began a period of decadence in Italian literature. Tommaso Campanella was tortured by the Inquisition , and Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake. This period is known in the history of Italian literature as the Secentismo. Its writers resorted to exaggeration; they tried to produce effect with what in art is called mannerism or barocchism.
Writers vied with one another in their use of metaphors, affectations, hyperbole and other oddities and draw it off from the substantial element of thought. At the head of the school of the Secentisti was Giambattista Marino of Naples, born in , especially known for his long poem, Adone. He used the most extravagant metaphors, the most forced antitheses and the most far-fetched conceits. He strings antitheses together one after the other, so that they fill up whole stanzas without a break. Claudio Achillini of Bologna followed in Marino's footsteps, but his peculiarities were even more extravagant.
Almost all the poets of the 17th century were more or less infected with Marinism. Alessandro Guidi , although he does not attain to the exaggeration of his master, is bombastic and turgid, while Fulvio Testi is artificial and affected. Yet Guidi as well as Testi felt the influence of another poet, Gabriello Chiabrera , born at Savona in Enamoured of the Greeks, he made new metres, especially in imitation of Pindar , treating of religious, moral, historical, and amatory subjects.
Chiabrera, though elegant in form, attempts to disguise a lack of substance with poetical ornaments of every kind. Nevertheless, Chiabrera's school marks an improvement; and sometimes he shows lyrical capacities, wasted on his literary environment. The belief arose that it would be necessary to change the form in order to restore literature. In the Academy of Arcadia was instituted.
The Arcadia was so called because its chief aim was to imitate the simplicity of the ancient shepherds who were supposed to have lived in Arcadia in the golden age. As the Secentisti erred by an overweening desire for novelty, so the Arcadians proposed to return to the fields of truth, always singing of subjects of pastoral simplicity. This was merely the substitution of a new artifice for the old one; and they fell from bombast into effeminacy, from the hyperbolical into the petty, from the turgid into the over-refined.
The Arcadia was a reaction against Secentismo , but a reaction that only succeeded in impoverishing still further and completely withering Italian literature. The poems of the Arcadians fill many volumes, and are made up of sonnets , madrigals , canzonette and blank verse. The one who most distinguished himself among the sonneteers was Felice Zappi. Among the authors of songs, Paolo Rolli was illustrious. Innocenzo Frugoni was more famous than all the others, a man of fruitful imagination but of shallow intellect. Vincenzo da Filicaja , a Florentine, had a lyric talent, particularly in the songs about Vienna besieged by the Turks , which raised him above the vices of the time; but even in him we see clearly the rhetorical artifice and false conceits.
In general all the lyric poetry of the 17th century had the same defects, but in different degrees. These defects may be summed up as absence of feeling and exaggeration of form. Galileo was not only a great man of science, but also occupied a conspicuous place in the history of letters. A devoted student of Ariosto, he seemed to transfuse into his prose the qualities of that great poet: clear and frank freedom of expression, precision and ease, and at the same time elegance. Galileo's prose is in perfect antithesis to the poetry of his time and is regarded by some as the best prose that Italy has ever had.
Another symptom of revival, a sign of rebellion against the vileness of Italian social life, is given us in satire , particularly that of Salvator Rosa and Alessandro Tassoni. Rosa, born in near Naples, was a painter, a musician and a poet. As a poet he mourned the sad condition of his country, and gave vent to his feeling as another satire-writer, Giuseppe Giusti , said in generosi rabbuffi. He was a precursor of the patriotic literature that inaugurated the revival of the 18th century. Tassoni showed independent judgment in the midst of universal servility, and his Secchia Rapita proved that he was an eminent writer.
This is an heroic comic poem, which is at the same time an epic and a personal satire. He was bold enough to attack the Spaniards in his Filippiche , in which he urged Duke Carlo Emanuele of Savoy to persist in the war against them. These princes were influenced by philosophers, who in their turn felt the influence of a general movement of ideas at large in many parts of Europe, sometimes called The Enlightenment. Giambattista Vico showed the awakening of historical consciousness in Italy. In his Scienza nuova , he investigated the laws governing the progress of the human race, and according to which events develop.
From the psychological study of man he tried to infer the comune natura delle nazioni , i. From the same scientific spirit that inspired Vico came a different kind of investigation, that of the sources of Italian civil and literary history. Lodovico Antonio Muratori , after having collected in his Rerum Italicarum scriptores the chronicles , biographies, letters and diaries of Italian history from to , and having discussed the most obscure historical questions in the Antiquitates Italicae medii aevi , wrote the Annali d'Italia , minutely narrating facts derived from authentic sources.
In his Verona illustrata Maffei left a treasure of learning that was also an excellent historical monograph. Zeno added much to the erudition of literary history, both in his Dissertazioni Vossiane and in his notes to the Biblioteca dell'eloquenza italiana of Monsignore Giusto Fontanini. While the new spirit of the times led to the investigation of historical sources, it also encouraged inquiry into the mechanism of economic and social laws.
Francesco Galiani wrote on currency; Gaetano Filangieri wrote a Scienza della legislazione. Cesare Beccaria , in his Trattato dei delitti e delle pene , made a contribution to the reform of the penal system and promoted the abolition of torture. The reforming movement sought to throw off the conventional and the artificial, and to return to truth. Apostolo Zeno and Metastasio the Arcadian name for Pietro Trapassi, a native of Rome had endeavoured to make melodrama and reason compatible.
Metastasio gave fresh expression to the affections, a natural turn to the dialogue and some interest to the plot; if he had not fallen into constant unnatural overrefinement and mawkishness, and into frequent anachronisms , he might have been considered the first dramatic reformer of the 18th century. Carlo Goldoni , a Venetian, overcame resistance from the old popular form of comedy, with the masks of pantalone , of the doctor, harlequin , Brighella , etc.
Goldoni's characters are often superficial, but he wrote lively dialogue. He produced over comedies, and had no time to polish and perfect his works; but for a comedy of character we must go straight from Machiavelli's Mandragola to him.
Goldoni's dramatic aptitude is illustrated by the fact that he took nearly all his types from Venetian society, yet managed to give them an inexhaustible variety. Many of his comedies were written in Venetian dialect. The leading figure of the literary revival of the 18th century was Giuseppe Parini. Born in a Lombard village in , he was educated at Milan, and as a youth was known among the Arcadian poets by the name of Darisbo Elidonio. Even as an Arcadian, Parini showed originality.
In a collection of poems he published at twenty-three years of age, under the name of Ripano Eupilino, the poet shows his faculty of taking his scenes from real life, and in his satirical pieces he exhibits a spirit of outspoken opposition to his own times. These poems, though derivative, indicate a resolute determination to challenge the literary conventionalities. Improving on the poems of his youth, he showed himself an innovator in his lyrics, rejecting at once Petrarchism, Secentismo and Arcadia, the three maladies that he thought had weakened Italian art in the preceding centuries.
In the Odi the satirical note is already heard, but it comes out more strongly in Del giorno , in which he imagines himself to be teaching a young Milanese patrician all the habits and ways of gallant life; he shows up all its ridiculous frivolities, and with delicate irony unmasks the futilities of aristocratic habits. Dividing the day into four parts, the Mattino , the Mezzogiorno , the Vespero , and the Notte , he describes the trifles of which they were made up, and the book thus assumes major social and historical value.
As an artist, going straight back to classical forms, aspiring to imitate Virgil and Dante, he opened the way to the school of Vittorio Alfieri , Ugo Foscolo and Vincenzo Monti. As a work of art, the Giorno is wonderful for its delicate irony. The verse has new harmonies; sometimes it is a little hard and broken, as a protest against the Arcadian monotony. Whilst the most burning political passions were raging, and whilst the most brilliant men of genius in the new classical and patriotic school were purists at the height of their influence, a question arose about purism of language.
In the second half of the 18th century the Italian language was specially full of French expressions. There was great indifference about fitness, still more about elegance of style. Prose needed to be restored for the sake of national dignity, and it was believed that this could not be done except by going back to the writers of the 14th century, to the aurei trecentisti , as they were called, or else to the classics of Italian literature.
One of the promoters of the new school was Antonio Cesari of Verona, who republished ancient authors, and brought out a new edition, with additions, of the Vocabolario della Crusca. He wrote a dissertation Sopra lo stato presente della lingua italiana , and endeavoured to establish the supremacy of Tuscan and of the three great writers, Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. In accordance with that principle he wrote several books, taking pains to copy the trecentisti as closely as possible. But patriotism in Italy has always had something municipal in it; so to this Tuscan supremacy, proclaimed and upheld by Cesari, there was opposed a Lombard school, which would know nothing of Tuscan, and with Dante's De vulgari eloquentia returned to the idea of the lingua illustre.
This was an old question, largely and bitterly argued in the Cinquecento 16th century by Varchi , Muzio , Lodovico Castelvetro , Speroni , and others. Now the question was raised afresh. This caused Monti to write Pro pasta di alcune correzioni ed aggiunte al vocabolario della Crusca , in which he attacked the Tuscanism of the Crusca , but in a graceful and easy style, so as to form a prose that is one of the most beautiful in Italian literature. Perticari, whose intellect was inferior, narrowed and exasperated the question in two treatises, Degli scrittori del Trecento and Dell'amor patrio di Dante.
A patriot, a classicist and a purist all at once was Pietro Giordani , born in ; he was almost a compendium of the literary movement of the time. His whole life was a battle for liberty. Learned in Greek and Latin authors, and in the Italian trecentisti , he left only a few writings, but they were carefully elaborated in point of style, and his prose was greatly admired in its time. Giordani closes the literary epoch of the classicists.
Gasparo Gozzi 's satire was less elevated, but directed towards the same end as Parini's. In his Osservatore , something like Joseph Addison 's Spectator , in his Gazzetta veneta , and in the Mondo morale , by means of allegories and novelties he hit the vices with a delicate touch, introducing a practical moral. Gozzi's satire has some slight resemblance in style to Lucian 's. Gozzi's prose is graceful and lively, but imitates the writers of the 14th century.
Another satirical writer of the first half of the 18th century was Giuseppe Baretti of Turin. In a journal called the Frusta letteraria he mercilessly criticized the works then being published in Italy.
He had learnt much by travelling; his long stay in Britain had contributed to the independent character of his mind. The Frusta was the first book of independent criticism directed particularly against the Arcadians and the pedants. In was born Giambattista Niccolini. In literature he was a classicist; in politics he was a Ghibelline , a rare exception in Guelph Florence, his birthplace. In imitating Aeschylus , as well as in writing the Discorsi sulla tragedia greca , and on the Sublime Michelangelo , Niccolini displayed his passionate devotion to ancient literature.
In his tragedies he set himself free from the excessive rigidity of Alfieri, and partly approached the English and German tragic authors. He nearly always chose political subjects, striving to keep alive in his compatriots the love of liberty. He assailed papal Rome in Arnaldo da Brescia , a long tragic piece, not suited for acting, and epic rather than dramatic. Niccolini's tragedies show a rich lyric vein rather than dramatic genius.
He has the merit of having vindicated liberal ideas, and of having opened a new path to Italian tragedy. Carlo Botta , born in , was a spectator of French spoliation in Italy and of the overbearing rule of Napoleon. He wrote a History of Italy from to ; and later continued Guicciardini's History up to He wrote after the manner of the Latin authors, trying to imitate Livy, putting together long and sonorous periods in a style that aimed at being like Boccaccio's, caring little about what constitutes the critical material of history, only intent on declaiming his academic prose for his country's benefit.
Botta wanted to be classical in a style that could no longer be so, and hence he failed completely to attain his literary goal. His fame is only that of a man of a noble and patriotic heart. Not so bad as the two histories of Italy is that of the Guerra dell'indipendenza americana. Close to Botta comes Pietro Colletta , a Neapolitan born nine years after him. He also in his Storia del reame di Napoli dal al had the idea of defending the independence and liberty of Italy in a style borrowed from Tacitus ; and he succeeded rather better than Botta.
He has a rapid, brief, nervous style, which makes his book attractive reading. But it is said that Pietro Giordani and Gino Capponi corrected it for him. Lazzaro Papi of Lucca, author of the Commentari della rivoluzione francese dal al , was not altogether unlike Botta and Colletta. He also was an historian in the classical style, and treats his subject with patriotic feeling; but as an artist he perhaps excels the other two. The ideas behind the French Revolution of gave a special direction to Italian literature in the second half of the 18th century.
Love of liberty and desire for equality created a literature aimed at national objects, seeking to improve the condition of the country by freeing it from the double yoke of political and religious despotism. The Italians who aspired to political redemption believed it inseparable from an intellectual revival, and thought that this could only be effected by a reunion with ancient classicism. This was a repetition of what had occurred in the first half of the 15th century.
Patriotism and classicism were the two principles that inspired the literature that began with Vittorio Alfieri. He worshipped the Greek and Roman idea of popular liberty in arms against tyranny. He took the subjects of his tragedies from the history of these nations and made his ancient characters talk like revolutionists of his time. The Arcadian school, with its verbosity and triviality, was rejected.
His aim was to be brief, concise, strong and bitter, to aim at the sublime as opposed to the lowly and pastoral. He saved literature from Arcadian vacuities, leading it towards a national end, and armed himself with patriotism and classicism. Vincenzo Monti was a patriot too, but in his own way.
He had no one deep feeling that ruled him, or rather the mobility of his feelings is his characteristic; but each of these was a new form of patriotism that took the place of an old one.
He saw danger to his country in the French Revolution, and wrote the Pellegrino apostolico , the Bassvilliana and the Feroniade ; Napoleon's victories caused him to write the Pronreteo and the Musagonia ; in his Fanatismo and his Superstizione he attacked the papacy ; afterwards he sang the praises of the Austrians. Thus every great event made him change his mind, with a readiness that might seem incredible, but is easily explained. Monti was, above everything, an artist.
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Everything else in him was liable to change. Knowing little Greek, he succeeded in translating the Iliad in a way remarkable for its Homeric feeling, and in his Bassvilliana he is on a level with Dante. In him classical poetry seemed to revive in all its florid grandeur. Ugo Foscolo was an eager patriot, inspired by classical models. The Lettere di Jacopo Ortis , inspired by Goethe 's Werther , are a love story with a mixture of patriotism; they contain a violent protest against the Treaty of Campo Formio , and an outburst from Foscolo's own heart about an unhappy love-affair of his. His passions were sudden and violent.
To one of these passions Ortis owed its origin, and it is perhaps the best and most sincere of all his writings. He is still sometimes pompous and rhetorical, but less so than, for example, in the lectures Dell'origine e dell'ufficio della letteratura. On the whole, Foscolo's prose is turgid and affected, and reflects the character of a man who always tried to pose in dramatic attitudes. This was indeed the defect of the Napoleonic epoch; there was a horror of anything common, simple, natural; everything must assume some heroic shape.
In Foscolo this tendency was excessive. The Sepolcri , which is his best poem, was prompted by high feeling, and the mastery of versification shows wonderful art. There are most obscure passages in it, where it seems even the author did not form a clear idea. He left incomplete three hymns to the Graces , in which he sang of beauty as the source of courtesy, of all high qualities and of happiness. Among his prose works a high place belongs to his translation of the Sentimental Journey of Laurence Sterne , a writer by whom Foscolo was deeply affected.
He went as an exile to England, and died there. He wrote for English readers some Essays on Petrarch and on the texts of the Decamerone and of Dante, which are remarkable for when they were written, and which may have initiated a new kind of literary criticism in Italy. Foscolo is still greatly admired, and not without reason. The men who made the revolution of were brought up on his work. All were influenced by the ideas that, especially in Germany, constituted the movement called Romanticism.
In Italy the course of literary reform took another direction. The main instigator of the reform was Manzoni. He formulated the objects of the new school, saying that it aspired to try to discover and express il vero storico and il vero morale , not only as an end, but as the widest and eternal source of the beautiful. It is realism in art that characterizes Italian literature from Manzoni onwards. The Promessi Sposi The Betrothed is the work that has made him immortal. No doubt the idea of the historical novel came to him from Sir Walter Scott Citation needed , but Manzoni succeeded in something more than an historical novel in the narrow meaning of that word; he created an eminently realistic work of art.
The reader's attention is entirely fixed on the powerful objective creation of the characters. From the greatest to the least they have a wonderful verisimilitude. Manzoni is able to unfold a character in all particulars and to follow it through its different phases. Manzoni dives down into the innermost recesses of the human heart, and draws from it the most subtle psychological reality. In this his greatness lies, which was recognized first by his companion in genius, Goethe.
As a poet too he had gleams of genius, especially in the Napoleonic ode, Il Cinque Maggio , and where he describes human affections, as in some stanzas of the Inni and in the chorus of the Adelchi. The great poet of the age was Giacomo Leopardi , born thirteen years after Manzoni at Recanati , of a patrician family. He became so familiar with Greek authors that he used afterwards to say that the Greek mode of thought was more clear and living to his mind than the Latin or even the Italian.
Solitude, sickness, and domestic tyranny prepared him for profound melancholy. Thursday, 04 July News Wiki Chat Lyrics. Olindo Guerrini Books Bing. Cambridge University Press. Matching books: Rime di Argia Sbolenfi. Most Related Most Recent Most Popular Top Rated expand screen to full width repeat playlist shuffle replay video clear playlist restore images list. Edit Guerrini enjoys being part of flyovers.
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