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IT8: Reading List

Preparatory reading

For those coming to the study of Renaissance court culture for the first time, Peter Burke's The Italian Renaissance (Cambridge, 1986) is a good introduction. For reference, the Thames and Hudson Concise Encyclopedia of the Italian Renaissance, ed. J. R. Hale, is useful.

If you are interested in studying Ariosto's Orlando furioso, you are advised to tackle it in advance, given its length. Calvino's brilliant Mondadori anthology/retelling (L'Orlando furioso raccontato da Italo Calvino) offers a good first approach to the poem.

Topic 1. Court Culture

This topic examines the evolution of courtly culture over the period, from a variety of angles. Students might like to consider the cultural production of a particular court; the ‘politics’ of art in the courtly environment; the development of specific genres (portraiture, drama); the use of spectacle. The key text linking all these themes is Castiglione’s handbook of courtly etiquette, Il libro del cortegiano.

Suggested texts:

  • Baldassare Castiglione, Il libro del cortegiano (any modern edition)
  • Ludovico Ariosto, Satire 
  • Painted works by Titian, Raphael, Bronzino (look especially at portraiture)
  • Vittoria Colonna, Sonnets for Michelangelo (2005)

Other reading:

  • Roy Strong, Art and Power: Renaissance Festivals 1450-1650 (1984)
  • Claudia Buratelli, Spettacoli a corte a Mantova tra Cinque e Seicento (1999)
  • Iain Fenlon, Music and Patronage in Sixteenth Century Mantua (1980)
  • Sidney Anglo, ‘The Courtier: The Renaissance and Changing Ideals’, in The Courts of Europe: Politics, Patronage and Royalty, 1400-1800, ed. A. G. Dickens (London, 1977)
  • Jodi Cranston, The Poetics of Portraiture in the Italian Renaissance (Cambridge University Press, 2000)
  • Thomas Greene, ‘The Flexibility of the Self in Renaissance Literature’, in The Disciplines of Criticism: Essays in Literary Theory, Interpretation, and History, ed. Peter Demetz et al (Yale University Press, 1968), pp.241-64
  • M. Hollingsworth, Patronage in Sixteenth-Century Italy (London, 1996) (on the distinctive culture of different Italian courts)
  • Lauro Martines, Power and Imagination: City-States in Renaissance Italy (London, 1979) , ch. 12
  • Wayne Rebhorn, Courtly Performances: Masking and Festivity in Castiglione's “Book of the Courtier” (Detroit, 1978)
  • Mary Rogers, ed., Fashioning Identities in Renaissance Art (Ashgate, 2000)
  • Rosand and Hanning, eds., Castiglione, the Ideal and the Real in Renaissance Culture (Yale, 1983)

Topic 2. Printing and Popular Piety

For this topic we will examine the range of cheap books, pamphlets, prayer sheets and amulets that became widely available after the invention of the printing press in Italy, and ask how they were used and what impact they had on the practice of religion in ordinary households. 

Suggested texts:

  • Madonnas and Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy, ed. Corry, Howard and Laven (2017): see pp.98-101; pp.110-16; pp.159-61 and the various associated images
  • Rosa Salzberg, Ephemeral City: Cheap Print and Urban Culture in Renaissance Venice (Manchester, 2014)
  • Ottavia Niccoli, ‘Italy’, in The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, vol. I, ed. J. Raymond (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp.187-95
  • Edoardo Barbieri, ‘Tradition and Change in the Spiritual Literature of the Cinquecento’, in Gigliola Fragnito, ed., Church, Censorship and Culture in Early Modern Italy (CUP, 2001), pp.111-33
  • Abigail Brundin, ‘Re-Writing Trent, or What Happened to Italian Literature in the Wake of the First Indexes of Prohibited Books?’, in Reforming Reformation, ed. Thomas F. Mayer (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), pp.197-218
  • Gigliola Fragnito, Proibito capire: la Chiesa e il volgare nella prima età moderna (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2005)
  • Paul F. Grendler, The Roman Inquisition and the Venetian Press, 1540-1605 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1977)

Topic 3. Chivalric Poetry

At the core of this topic is Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, one of the masterpieces of Renaissance Italy and of the entire history of the Italian literature.

Suggested texts:

  • Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando furioso. A good paperback edition is that by C. Segre for Mondadori. For reference, consult the edition by L. Caretti (Ricciardi).
  • Ludovico Ariosto, Satire. A good paperback edition is that by A. D'Orto for Fondazione Pietro Bembo-U. Guanda (2002).

Other reading:

  • Brand C. P., 1974. Ludovico Ariosto Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univerity Press
  • Caretti, Lanfranco, 1961. Ariosto e Tasso. Torino: Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi (various other editions).
  • Casadei, A., 1988. La strategia delle varianti. Le correzioni storiche del terzo Furioso. Lucca: M. Pacini Fazzi.
  • Cuccaro, V., 1981. The Humanism of Ludovico Ariosto: from the Satire to the Furioso. Ravenna: Longo.
  • Dionisotti, C., 2003. Boiardo e altri studi cavallereschiM, edited by G. Anceschi and A. Tissoni Benvenuti. Novara: Interlinea.
  • Ferroni, Giulio, 2008. Ariosto. Roma: Salerno.
  • Griffin Robert, 1974. Ludovico Ariosto. New York: Twayne Publishers.
  • Javitch, Daniel, 1991. Proclaiming a Classic: the Canonization of Orlando Furioso. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
  • Jossa, S., 1996. La fantasia e la memoria: intertestualità ariostesche. Napoli: Liguori.
  • Piromalli, Antonio, [1975]. La cultura a Ferrara al tempo di Ludovico Ariosto. Roma: Bulzoni.
  • Praloran, M., 2003. Il poema in ottava: storia linguistica italiana, Roma: Carocci.
  • Segre, Cesare, [1966]. Esperienze ariostesche. [Pisa]: Nistri-Lischi.
  • Zatti, S., 1990. Il furioso fra epos e romanzo. Lucca, Pacini Fazzi.

Topic 4. The Questione della lingua: debates on the literary language

This topic examines the debates on the nature, definition and role of the literary vernacular in 16th-century Italy, in relation to the historical, cultural and social context. It discusses the relationship between Latin and the vernacular, the codification of Italian as a prestigious literary language, as well as the first vernacular grammatical production. It also investigates the access to the literary language by the less learned.

Suggested texts:

As a first approach to 'Questione della Lingua' texts, see Pozzi, Mario, ed., 1978. Trattatisti del Cinquecento, Milano: Ricciardi and Id. 1988. Discussioni linguistiche del Cinquecento. Torino: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese. See also:

  • Achillini, Giovanni Filoteo, Annotationi della volgar lingua (1536), modern edition by C. Giovanardi and C. De Felice, Pescara: Libreria dell'Università, 2005
  • Bembo, Pietro, Prose della volgar lingua (1525); modern editions by C. Dionisotti (various editions, e.g. 1960, 1966, 1989); also editions by C. Vela, 2001, Bologna, CLUEB; M. Marti, Padova, 1955)
  • Castiglione, Baldassar, 'Dedicatoria' and Book 1 in Il libro del Cortegiano (1528) [various modern editions].
  • Fortunio, Giovanni Francesco, Regole grammaticali della volgar lingua (1516), modern edition by B. Richardson, 2001, Padova, Antenore; or C. Marazzini and S. Fornara, Pordenone, Accademia San Marco, 1999.
  • Speroni, Sperone, Dialogo delle lingue (1542), modern edition by A. Sorella, Pescara: Libreria dell'Università, 1999
  • Trissino, Giovan Giorgio, Il Castellano (1529), for a modern edition see Trissino, Scritti linguistici, edited by A. Castelvecchi, Roma: Salerno, 1986, 17-82.
  • Varchi, Benedetto, L'Hercolano (1570), modern edition by A. Sorella, Pescara: Libreria dell'Università Editrice, 1999, 2 vols.

Other reading:

  • Maiden, Martin, 1995. A Linguistic History of Italian. London: Longman, 1-11.
  • Marazzini Claudio, 1993. Il secondo Cinquecento e il Seicento, Bologna: Il Mulino.
  • Marazzini, Claudio, 1993. 'Le teorie', in Serianni e Trifone 1993-4 (a cura di), vol. 1, 'Il letterato e le istituzioni', 231-329.
  • Marazzini, Claudio, 1994. La lingua italiana: profilo storico. Bologna: il Mulino.
  • Migliorini, Bruno, 1960. Storia della lingua italiana. Firenze: Sansoni (several other editions and, in English, Migliorini B. and Griffith T.G., The Italian Language, London: Faber. 1966).
  • Richardson, Brian, 2001. 'Questions of language', in The Cambridge Companion in Modern Italian Culture, eds Z. Baranski and R. West, Cambridge University Press, 63-79.
  • Richardson, Brian, 1999. Printing, Writers and Readers in Renaissance Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Tavoni Mirko, 1992. Il Quattrocento. Bologna: Il Mulino.
  • Tesi, Riccardo 2007. Storia dell'italiano: la formazione della lingua comune dalle origini al Rinascimento. Bologna: Zanichelli.
  • Trovato Paolo, 1994. Il primo Cinquecento. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Topic 5. The status of women: theory and actuality

This topic deals with the rich conduct literature published for and about women in the Cinquecento, as well as with the discussions on the nature of women and their role in society. Feminine models of behaviour delineated in conduct books are examined against the reality of women's everyday condition.

Suggested texts:

  • Belmonti, Pietro, 2008. L'Instituzione della sposa del cavalier Pietro Belmonte ariminese (1587), ed. by Helena Sanson, in: Letteratura italiana antica, IX, 17-76.
  • Capella (Capra), Galeazzo Flavio, 1988. Della eccellenza e dignità delle donne, ed. by Maria Luisa Doglio. Roma: Bulzoni (new ed. 2001; 1st ed. 1525, Rome).
  • Fonte, Moderata [pseud. of Pozzo Modesta/Pozzi d'i Zorzi Modesta], 1988. Il merito delle donne, ed. by Adriana Chemello. Venezia: Eidos and also in English 1997, The Worth of Women, Wherein is Clearly Revealed their Nobility and their Superiority to Men, Moderata Fonte (Modesta Pozzo), translated and ed. by Virginia Cox. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press (1st ed. 1600, Il merito delle donne, Venice).
  • Guasco, Annibale, 2003. Discourse to Lady Lavinia His Daughter Concerning the Manner in Which She Should Conduct Herself When Going to Court as Lady-in-Waiting to the Most Serene Infanta, Lady Caterina, Duchess of Savoy. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press (1st ed. 1586, Ragionamento [...] a D. Lavinia sua figliuola, della maniera del governarsi ella in corte, Turin).
  • Guasco, Annibale (2010). Ragionamento [...] a D. Lavinia sua figliuola, della maniera del governarsi ella in corte (1586), ed. by Helena Sanson, inLetteratura italiana antica, XI, pp.61-140.
  • Marinella, Lucrezia, 1999. The Nobility and Excellence of Women, and the Defects and Vices of Men, ed. by Anne Dunhill. Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press (1st ed. 1600, Le Nobilta et eccellenze delle donne, Venice).
  • Tasso, Torquato, 1997. Discorso della virtù feminile e donnesca, ed. by Maria Luisa Doglio. Palermo: Sellerio (1st ed. 1582. Discorso della virtù feminile e donnesca, Venice).
  • Vives, Juan Luis, 2000. The Education of a Christian Woman: A Sixteenth-Century Manual, ed. by Charles Fantozzi. Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press (orig. 1524, De Institutione foeminae Christianae [] libri tres. Antuerpiae: apud Michaelem Hillenium Hoochstratanum; translated into Italian in 1546, De l'Ufficio del Marito [...] De l'istitutione de la femina christiana, Venice; Lodovico Dolce's 1545 Dialogo [] della institution delle donne draws heavily from Vives' work).
  • Very useful is also Zonta, Giuseppe, 1913. Trattati del Cinquecento sulla donna. Scrittori d'Italia. Bari: G. Laterza e figli, which collects several 16th-century treatises.

Other reading:

  • Bornstein, Diane, 1980 (ed.). The Feminist Controversy of the Renaissance. Delmar, New York: Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints.
  • Duby, Georges e Perrot, Michelle, 1991 (eds). Histoire de la femme en Occident. Paris: Plon, 5 vols (also Engl. transl. A History of Women in the West).
  • King, Margaret, 1988. 'La donna nel rinascimento', in Garin, Eugenio, (ed.). L'uomo del Rinascimento. Roma/Bari: Laterza, 273-327.
  • King, Margaret, 1991. Women of the Renaissance. Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Maclean, Ian, 1980. The Renaissance Notion of Woman: A Study in the Fortunes of Scholasticism and Medieval Science in European Intellectual Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Panizza, Letizia, 2000 (ed.). Women in Italian Renaissance Culture and Society. Oxford: Legenda, European Humanities Research Centre, University of Oxford.
  • Rogers, Mary, and Tinagli, Paola, 2005. Women in Italy, 1350-1650. Ideals and Realities. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Sanson, Helena, 2007. Donne, precettistica a lingua nell'Italia del Cinquecento. Firenze: Accademia della Crusca (in particular the 'Introduction' and chapters 1, 2, 3).
  • Zancan, Marina, 1986. 'La donna', in Letteratura Italiana Einaudi, ed. by A. Asor Rosa 1982-, Torino: Einaudi, vol. 5, 'Le questioni', 765-827.
  • Zarri, Gabriella, 1996 (ed.). Donna, disciplina e creanza cristiana dal XV al XVII secolo: studi e testi a stampa. Roma: Edizioni di storia e letteratura.

Topic 6. Michelangelo, Vittoria Colonna and the Private Gift [This topic is cross-listed with It9]

This topic examines an exchange of spiritual gifts of poetry and drawings between the poet Vittoria Colonna and the artist Michelangelo Buonarroti. It considers the way in which the gifts were given and received, and what their intended uses and meanings might have been. It also considers the relative efficacy of artworks and poems as personal, devotional tools. 

Suggested texts:

  • Vittoria Colonna, Sonnets for Michelangelo (Chicago, 2005)
  • Michelangelo Buonarroti, Rime (any modern Italian edition, or parallel text translation)
  • Various presentation drawings by Michelangelo, as well as a number of painted works on panel attributed to his workshop (to be presented in the lectures)

Other reading:

  • Abigail Brundin, 'Vittoria Colonna and the Poetry of Reform', Italian Studies, 57 (2002): 61-74
  • Emidio Campi, Michelangelo e Vittoria Colonna. Un dialogo artistico-teologico ispirato da Bernardino Ochino, e altri saggi di storia della Riforma (Turin: Claudiniana, 1994)
  • Robert J. Clements, ed. and trans., Michelangelo. A Self-Portrait. Texts and Sources (New York: New York University Press, 1968)
  • Una Roman D'Elia, 'Drawing Christ's Blood: Michelangelo, Vittoria Colonna, and the Aesthetics of Reform', Renaissance Quarterly, 59 (2006): 90-125
  • Roberto Fedi, '"L'immagine vera": Vittoria Colonna, Michelangelo, e un'idea di canzoniere', Modern Language Notes, 107 (1992): 46-73
  • Silvia Ferino-Pagden, ed., Vittoria Colonna: Dichterin und Muse Michelangelos. Catalogue to the exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 25 Feb. - 25 May 1997 (Vienna: Skira, 1997) [Reproductions of Michelangelo's drawings for Colonna are in this book, no need to tackle the German text!]
  • Alexander Nagel, 'Gifts for Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna', Art Bulletin, 79 (1997): 647-68.