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This article demonstrates a systematic connection between the novelty of Petrarch’s authorship and his self-definition as an exile. Petrarch employs the unusual term exilium/esilio to substantiate his unprecedented claim that literature is a legally valid officium (civic role). Following Dante, Petrarch grounds his exilic authorship in the Christian discourse of peregrinatio: life as pilgrimage through exile. But Petrarch’s new officium allows him a measure of control over literary creation that no prior Italian writer had enjoyed. This is especially true of the “Canzoniere,” Petrarch’s compilation of his vernacular lyrics, whose singularity functions as a proxy for its author’s selfhood.
This article focuses on the contribution of anti-Jewish themes to political ideals and reality in the works of two leading Venetian patrician humanists — Ludovico Foscarini and Paolo Morosini. The article demonstrates that their literary attacks on Jews were shaped by classical, patristic, medieval, and humanist texts, and by the experience of service to the state. It also demonstrates that their work contributed to debates about the toleration of Jews in Venetian territory and can be linked to the humanist engagement with Judaism at a critical point for both phenomena in the fifteenth century.
The great sculptor Vincenzo Danti wrote one of the longest poems to have survived from a Renaissance artist, but the text’s close thematic and conceptual connections to its author’s art have gone entirely unnoticed. What Danti’s poem and sculpture share, this essay argues, is a concern with mystified identity. Danti’s poetic sensibility stands at odds with the biographical frameworks that typically guide the interpretation of Renaissance art and literature. At the same time, his example shows how much there is to be gained from an investigation of how artists learned to be writers, and of what came of those efforts.
Taking a cue from a fleeting reference to Japan in a remarkably idiosyncratic sixteenth-century language manual, this essay explores the knowledge about Japan that circulated in England before first formal contact took place between the two nations in 1613–14. The cumulative record of fleeting intersections and near-forgotten moments when the two nations came into each other’s circuit demands a reassessment of current conceptualizations of the travel encounter, juxtaposing the traditional view of encounter as a singular significant event, with one that acknowledges the encounter’s rootedness in long-running processes of knowledge making and circulation.
In the post-Tridentine period, conflicts in cathedrals revealed social dynamics that extended beyond the cathedral walls. Cathedral chapters had to deal with the competition of ecclesiastic as well as secular institutions, involving bishops, Inquisition officials, monks, and members of lay confraternities and city councils. All of them competed to preserve or advance their privileged place in a society of orders, and these rivalries often emerged in public ceremonies. Rituals thus provided a promising setting for power struggles. More than merely local episodes, these conflicts illustrate the rebalance of power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that characterized the early modern state.