The article tackles the important question of how much was Lucretius actually read in Italian Renaissance given the dangers of Epicurean doctrine for Catholic orthodoxy. Starting with the fact that the De rerum natura was never inscribed in the Index of Forbidden Books, the article explores the subtler ways in which scholars and writers avoided contrasts with the Inquisition adding to their appreciation of Lucretius as a poet a firm refutation of Lucretius as a thinker. Examples of authors who adopted - sooner or later - this ‘dissimulatory code’ are Raphael Francus, Pier Vettori, Vincenzio Borghini, Sperone Speroni Thanks to this quite flimsy precaution, Lucretius circulated as much as the rest of classical literature, although a combination of cautiousness on the part of the authors and active censorship on the part of the Catholic church hindered for a very long time an Italian translation of the De Rerum Natura. Indeed, his peculiar character of poet-philosopher, of physicus, took Lucretius into the hands of rather unusual readers, such as medical doctors, who relished in his description of the plague (DRN VI) and of the physiology of sex (DRN IV). Another favourite passage of the poem was the simile of books I and IV: the author as wise doctor, who smears the cup’s brim with honey so that the bitter remedy of epicurean philosophy might be swallowed by the reader. The simile, that had a long tradition itself, was held as emblematic of the Renaissance debate on the role of poetry and Lucretius’ lines were quoted and translated countless times.Torquato Tasso ensured the Lucretian image’s popularity by using it for the proem of his 1581 masterpiece Gerusalemme Liberata: Other sections of the poem, filtered through Neo-Platonic philosophy, gave subject to paintings by great Renaissance artists: Botticelli and Piero di Cosimo. The last section of the article explores the different poetic incarnations of the Hymn to Venus, which never ceased to fascinate Renaissance and later poets, and was the subject of a restless process of imitation and formularisation (Alamanni, Berni, B. Tasso)

The influence of Lucretius in Italian Renaissance: the Vernacular / Prosperi, Valentina. - (2007), pp. 214-226. [https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521848015]

The influence of Lucretius in Italian Renaissance: the Vernacular

PROSPERI, Valentina
2007

Abstract

The article tackles the important question of how much was Lucretius actually read in Italian Renaissance given the dangers of Epicurean doctrine for Catholic orthodoxy. Starting with the fact that the De rerum natura was never inscribed in the Index of Forbidden Books, the article explores the subtler ways in which scholars and writers avoided contrasts with the Inquisition adding to their appreciation of Lucretius as a poet a firm refutation of Lucretius as a thinker. Examples of authors who adopted - sooner or later - this ‘dissimulatory code’ are Raphael Francus, Pier Vettori, Vincenzio Borghini, Sperone Speroni Thanks to this quite flimsy precaution, Lucretius circulated as much as the rest of classical literature, although a combination of cautiousness on the part of the authors and active censorship on the part of the Catholic church hindered for a very long time an Italian translation of the De Rerum Natura. Indeed, his peculiar character of poet-philosopher, of physicus, took Lucretius into the hands of rather unusual readers, such as medical doctors, who relished in his description of the plague (DRN VI) and of the physiology of sex (DRN IV). Another favourite passage of the poem was the simile of books I and IV: the author as wise doctor, who smears the cup’s brim with honey so that the bitter remedy of epicurean philosophy might be swallowed by the reader. The simile, that had a long tradition itself, was held as emblematic of the Renaissance debate on the role of poetry and Lucretius’ lines were quoted and translated countless times.Torquato Tasso ensured the Lucretian image’s popularity by using it for the proem of his 1581 masterpiece Gerusalemme Liberata: Other sections of the poem, filtered through Neo-Platonic philosophy, gave subject to paintings by great Renaissance artists: Botticelli and Piero di Cosimo. The last section of the article explores the different poetic incarnations of the Hymn to Venus, which never ceased to fascinate Renaissance and later poets, and was the subject of a restless process of imitation and formularisation (Alamanni, Berni, B. Tasso)
9780521848015
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11388/74768
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