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THE DEBATE ON SONG IN THE ACCADEMIA FIORENTINA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 September 2002

Robert Nosow
Affiliation:
Cary, NC

Extract

For James Haar on his 70th Birthday

The sixteenth century in Italy was a time when academies of all kinds flourished as venues, and often as arbiters, of literature and high culture. A casual look at the academies might give the impression that they were mostly social in nature, that they functioned as a pastime for bored aristocrats and ambitious letterati. As originally constituted, the Accademia degli Umidi, founded 1 November 1540, indeed fitted this description, but with one difference characteristic of Florentine society - it was organised by twelve men of various social classes with a common interest in poetry and language. The academy expanded considerably under the patronage of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici and on 25 March 1541 was reconstituted as the Accademia Fiorentina. Its avowed purpose was to promote the Tuscan language as an instrument of literature and knowledge, in an age when mastery of Latin was required of any educated man. In advancing the cause of vernacular literature, the Accademia Fiorentina, like other academies of the time, greatly extended the programme of Italian humanism, making available the fruits of humanist thought and enquiry to a larger public.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press

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