1st Edition

Voices and Texts in Early Modern Italian Society

ISBN 9780367882136
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
272 Pages

USD $48.95

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Book Description

This book studies the uses of orality in Italian society, across all classes, from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, with an emphasis on the interrelationships between oral communication and the written word. The Introduction provides an overview of the topic as a whole and links the chapters together. Part 1 concerns public life in the states of northern, central, and southern Italy. The chapters examine a range of performances that used the spoken word or song: concerted shouts that expressed the feelings of the lower classes and were then recorded in writing; the proclamation of state policy by town criers; songs that gave news of executions; the exercise of power relations in society as recorded in trial records; and diplomatic orations and interactions. Part 2 centres on private entertainments. It considers the practices of the performance of poetry sung in social gatherings and on stage with and without improvisation; the extent to which lyric poets anticipated the singing of their verse and collaborated with composers; performances of comedies given as dinner entertainments for the governing body of republican Florence; and a reading of a prose work in a house in Venice, subsequently made famous through a printed account. Part 3 concerns collective religious practices. Its chapters study sermons in their own right and in relation to written texts, the battle to control spaces for public performance by civic and religious authorities, and singing texts in sacred spaces.

Table of Contents


List of Music Examples



Stefano Dall’Aglio and Massimo Rospocher



1 The Early Modern Italian Shout

Thomas Cohen

2 Voicing Popular Politics: The Town Crier of Murano in the Sixteenth Century

Claire Judde de Larivière

3 Singing Songs of Execution in Early Modern Italy

Una McIlvenna

4 Moving Words: Everyday Oralities and Social Dynamics in Roman Trials circa 1600

Elizabeth Cohen

5 The Lost Performance: Giannozzo Manetti and Spoken Oratory in Venice in 1448

Brian Jeffrey Maxson

6 Orality and Writing in Diplomatic Interactions in Fifteenth-Century Italy

Isabella Lazzarini



7 Singing Poetry in compagnia in Sixteenth-Century Italy

Philippe Canguilhem

8 Sixteenth-Century Italian Petrarchists and Musical Settings of their Verse

Brian Richardson

9 Serafino Aquilano and the Mask of Poeta: A Denunciation in the Eclogue of Tyrinto e Menandro (1490)

Francesca Bortoletti

10 ‘Civic Performance’ in Renaissance Florence

Paola Ventrone

11 Reading Modern Authors: Aretino as Host and Speroni’s Dialogo dell’amore

Paolo Procaccioli



12 Dantean Devotions: Gabriele Barletta’s ‘Oral’ Commedia in Context

Nicolò Maldina

13 Vernacular Sermons on the Psalms Printed in Sixteenth-Century Italy: An Interface between Oral and Written Cultures

Élise Boillet

14 The Battle for the Piazza: Creative Antagonism between Itinerant Preachers and Street Singers in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy

Massimo Rospocher

15 Orality and Sacred Music in Early Modern Italy

Robert Kendrick

Select Bibliography

Notes on Contri

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Brian Richardson is Emeritus Professor of Italian Language at the University of Leeds, UK. Stefano Dall’Aglio and Massimo Rospocher are Postdoctoral Fellows in Italian Studies at the University of Leeds, UK.