Pietro Aretino: Subverting the System in Renaissance Italy: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Pietro Aretino: Subverting the System in Renaissance Italy

1st Edition

By Raymond B. Waddington


270 pages

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Hardback: 9781409464358
pub: 2014-01-08
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The essays gathered together in this volume follow the career of the sixteenth-century courtier-poet Pietro Aretino. Part One introduces the author during the 1520s in Rome with his remarkable first comedy, La Cortigiana. With Aretino’s move to Venice (1527), he found a congenial life-long home in which he could flourish. Yet the transition from courtier poet to poligrafo, vernacular writer for the popular press, was slow and difficult before he adopted a new career model derived from Erasmus; even then, he contemplated abandoning Italy for the Ottoman Empire. Part Two examines his work as a satirist in the mid-thirties with the Ragionamenti, the dialogues that branded him a pornographer when the satiric targets lost their immediacy. He augmented the satiric writings by creating the visual persona of a satirist in various media - woodcut author portraits in books, engravings, and particularly portrait medals. The complementary, verbal-visual relationship is the subject of this pairing. Aretino’s religious writings have not been taken seriously until quite recently. The two essays presented here trace Aretino’s associations with Erasmians, spirituali, heretics, and apostates, arguing that his own convictions were sincere, suggesting that he became a Nicodemite during the gathering Counter-Reformation repression of the 1540s. The concluding essays consider two examples of Aretino’s continuing influence in different media, visual arts and literature: on the brilliant, eccentric artist, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, and on a great English comedy, Ben Jonson’s Volpone.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Part I Rome: Introduction, Cortigiana (La cortigiana, 1525); A mask for Aretino (Una maschera per Aretino). Part II Venice: Meretrix est stampificata: gendering the printing press; Pietro Aretino: the new man of letters; Go East: Pietro Aretino’s flirtation with Constantinople. Part III The Satirist: Aretino’s prostitutes: the ragionamenti; A satirist’s impresa: the medals of Pietro Aretino. Part IV Religion: Pietro Aretino, religious writer; Aretino, Titian, and ’La Humanità di Christo’. Part V Influence: Before Arcimboldo: composite portraits in Italian medals; Volpone: Aretino’s Venice and Jonson’s Aretino; Index of names.

About the Author

Raymond B. Waddington is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California, Davis, USA.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at Michael.Greenwood@informa.com

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General