The aim of this study, is to establish the scope and preferences of the reception of Lucretius in the Italian Quattrocento and, especially, Cinquecento (XI).1 The book consequently reexamines the regard in which the Epicurean poet was held by the Italian humanists in the light of a generous selection of previously ignored philosophical, poetic and preceptive texts, which definitively throw overboard the opinio communis that the influence of Lucretius in Catholic Europe after the Counter-Reformation was an anodyne one. For the fact is that his fortune in Europe, in spite of being one of the most fruitful and attractive, as was recently underlined by M. v. Albrecht (2002), has not yet been sufficiently researched. The extent of his influence in Italy has received constant critical attention, but in such a dispersed manner that no satisfactory answer has been proposed for a question of the utmost importance for other areas of European philology: how highly was Lucretius really regarded by the Italian humanists? This study undertakes this desideratum by looking into the poetic, philosophical and medical treatises of the period. In so doing it manages to harvest a collection of opinions proceeding from different humanistic disciplines which offer a much more closely defined picture of the place occupied by the work and figure of Lucretius than has hitherto been provided by a swarm of articles more concerned with commenting on dispersed echoes. The book is structured into four thematic sections, divided into several chapters, which detail by way of excursus numerous facets of the influence of Lucretius. In the first section, titled "Di soavi licor gli orli del vaso: fortuna di un topos tra antichità e Rinascimento" (3-96), the book studies the Graeco-Latin tradition and the reception in the Italian Renaissance of the simile which defines didactic literature as a sugared pill, to which Lucretius gave perhaps the most perfect and seminal expression in I 936-42, as is made clear in the imitatio which introduces the section, taken from the Gerusalemme liberata (I 3, 6) of T. Tasso. In the analysis the book focuses on the three basic applications of this locus communis, which is labeled "honey-pharmakon", in the course of the Western tradition: one of them positive, its main proponents being Xenophon and Lucretius in defending the philosophical nature and pedagogic utility of poetry; another eclectic and rooted in Plutarch, who was at once cautious and favorable with regard to poetry as a pedagogical tool for young people, and, finally, a hostile interpretation, based on the opinions of the Church Fathers, attacking the gentile poets as a corrupting influence, since their sweetened poetry poisoned the Christian doctrine. In the second section, "Venere, la Vergine e la voluttà: i codici della ricezione di Lucrezio nel Cinquecento" (97-180), the book begins by tackling the historical paradox that the most impious philosopher-poet of Antiquity was never included in the Indices librorum prohibitorum, and presents texts of great documentary and exegetic value. The book shows how, in spite of the apparent permissiveness, those writers who dealt with Lucretius to any extent had to repudiate the Epicurean heresies publicly and in the strongest terms. This protestation became a necessarily dissembling procedure for humanists like Pietro Vettori or Sperone Speroni, who felt real fervor not only for the poetry of Lucretius but also for his philosophy. It then investigates the auctoritas of Lucretius in the poetics of the 16th century, tackling that burning question among humanists of whether Lucretius was more of a poet than a philosopher or both at the same time, a doubt raised by the notion advocated in Aristotle's Poetics that poetry was imitation. The book then examines the hymn to Venus, centering on the different proposals to explain it which it inspired in the Cinquecento and on its Nachleben as a Christianized hymn model, whether to sing the praises of the Virgin Mary or to celebrate the angels. Of particular interest is the digression on the erotic reading of book IV of the DRN in the Italian Renaissance, in that it shows how Lucretian erotology fused with the neo-Platonic counterpart of Ficino and eventually became the doctrine with the greatest influence in the love poetry of the European Renaissance. Finally, from amorous physiology the book goes on to assess the auctoritas of Lucretius in the medical treatises of the Cinquecento, paying particular attention to the work of the physician Girolamo Mercuriale, who emended a locus criticus of Galen with the help of the Roman Epicurean. The third and fourth sections make up the second thematic block of the work, devoted almost exclusively to the reminiscence of Lucretius in the work of T. Tasso, the Italian Virgil. Under the heading "Tasso, Lucrezio e l'idea di poesia" (181-206), the book examines how the allegory of "honey-pharmakon" adopts different modulations in Tasso's poetic treatises, depending on the poet's evolution as regards theory, and how, of all the many existing formulations, that of Lucretius was the one with the greatest impact. The last part, titled "La memoria poetica lucreziana nell'opera di Tasso" (207-266), comments on the imitations by Tasso of different passages of Lucretius, especially in his Gerusalemme liberata. The book investigates the background to Tasso's familiarity with Lucretius, which is traced back to his father, the poet B. Tasso. The latter possibly had DRN in his library and in his work L'Amadigi had emulated stellar verses of the Epicurean (I 1-9 and I 936-42). Of particular interest is the examination of the possible scepticism of Tasso in religious matters, as the book takes up one of the most attractive polemics of the Cinquecento which had Lucretius as its target. For many moralists the Latin poet, even though he sang of the Epicuri deliramenta, was a powerful agent of atheism and heterodoxy. And in this they were by no means off the mark.

Di soavi licor gli orli del vaso. La fortuna di Lucrezio dall'Umanesimo alla Controriforma / Prosperi, Valentina. - (2004), pp. 1-274.

Di soavi licor gli orli del vaso. La fortuna di Lucrezio dall'Umanesimo alla Controriforma

PROSPERI, Valentina
2004

Abstract

The aim of this study, is to establish the scope and preferences of the reception of Lucretius in the Italian Quattrocento and, especially, Cinquecento (XI).1 The book consequently reexamines the regard in which the Epicurean poet was held by the Italian humanists in the light of a generous selection of previously ignored philosophical, poetic and preceptive texts, which definitively throw overboard the opinio communis that the influence of Lucretius in Catholic Europe after the Counter-Reformation was an anodyne one. For the fact is that his fortune in Europe, in spite of being one of the most fruitful and attractive, as was recently underlined by M. v. Albrecht (2002), has not yet been sufficiently researched. The extent of his influence in Italy has received constant critical attention, but in such a dispersed manner that no satisfactory answer has been proposed for a question of the utmost importance for other areas of European philology: how highly was Lucretius really regarded by the Italian humanists? This study undertakes this desideratum by looking into the poetic, philosophical and medical treatises of the period. In so doing it manages to harvest a collection of opinions proceeding from different humanistic disciplines which offer a much more closely defined picture of the place occupied by the work and figure of Lucretius than has hitherto been provided by a swarm of articles more concerned with commenting on dispersed echoes. The book is structured into four thematic sections, divided into several chapters, which detail by way of excursus numerous facets of the influence of Lucretius. In the first section, titled "Di soavi licor gli orli del vaso: fortuna di un topos tra antichità e Rinascimento" (3-96), the book studies the Graeco-Latin tradition and the reception in the Italian Renaissance of the simile which defines didactic literature as a sugared pill, to which Lucretius gave perhaps the most perfect and seminal expression in I 936-42, as is made clear in the imitatio which introduces the section, taken from the Gerusalemme liberata (I 3, 6) of T. Tasso. In the analysis the book focuses on the three basic applications of this locus communis, which is labeled "honey-pharmakon", in the course of the Western tradition: one of them positive, its main proponents being Xenophon and Lucretius in defending the philosophical nature and pedagogic utility of poetry; another eclectic and rooted in Plutarch, who was at once cautious and favorable with regard to poetry as a pedagogical tool for young people, and, finally, a hostile interpretation, based on the opinions of the Church Fathers, attacking the gentile poets as a corrupting influence, since their sweetened poetry poisoned the Christian doctrine. In the second section, "Venere, la Vergine e la voluttà: i codici della ricezione di Lucrezio nel Cinquecento" (97-180), the book begins by tackling the historical paradox that the most impious philosopher-poet of Antiquity was never included in the Indices librorum prohibitorum, and presents texts of great documentary and exegetic value. The book shows how, in spite of the apparent permissiveness, those writers who dealt with Lucretius to any extent had to repudiate the Epicurean heresies publicly and in the strongest terms. This protestation became a necessarily dissembling procedure for humanists like Pietro Vettori or Sperone Speroni, who felt real fervor not only for the poetry of Lucretius but also for his philosophy. It then investigates the auctoritas of Lucretius in the poetics of the 16th century, tackling that burning question among humanists of whether Lucretius was more of a poet than a philosopher or both at the same time, a doubt raised by the notion advocated in Aristotle's Poetics that poetry was imitation. The book then examines the hymn to Venus, centering on the different proposals to explain it which it inspired in the Cinquecento and on its Nachleben as a Christianized hymn model, whether to sing the praises of the Virgin Mary or to celebrate the angels. Of particular interest is the digression on the erotic reading of book IV of the DRN in the Italian Renaissance, in that it shows how Lucretian erotology fused with the neo-Platonic counterpart of Ficino and eventually became the doctrine with the greatest influence in the love poetry of the European Renaissance. Finally, from amorous physiology the book goes on to assess the auctoritas of Lucretius in the medical treatises of the Cinquecento, paying particular attention to the work of the physician Girolamo Mercuriale, who emended a locus criticus of Galen with the help of the Roman Epicurean. The third and fourth sections make up the second thematic block of the work, devoted almost exclusively to the reminiscence of Lucretius in the work of T. Tasso, the Italian Virgil. Under the heading "Tasso, Lucrezio e l'idea di poesia" (181-206), the book examines how the allegory of "honey-pharmakon" adopts different modulations in Tasso's poetic treatises, depending on the poet's evolution as regards theory, and how, of all the many existing formulations, that of Lucretius was the one with the greatest impact. The last part, titled "La memoria poetica lucreziana nell'opera di Tasso" (207-266), comments on the imitations by Tasso of different passages of Lucretius, especially in his Gerusalemme liberata. The book investigates the background to Tasso's familiarity with Lucretius, which is traced back to his father, the poet B. Tasso. The latter possibly had DRN in his library and in his work L'Amadigi had emulated stellar verses of the Epicurean (I 1-9 and I 936-42). Of particular interest is the examination of the possible scepticism of Tasso in religious matters, as the book takes up one of the most attractive polemics of the Cinquecento which had Lucretius as its target. For many moralists the Latin poet, even though he sang of the Epicuri deliramenta, was a powerful agent of atheism and heterodoxy. And in this they were by no means off the mark.
9788884191960
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