Article Title

Italian Renaissance Drama in the Eighteenth Century


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

In 1687 a Jesuit lexicographer and literary theorist, Père Dominque Bouhours, published in Paris a series of four dialogues entitled La manière de bien penser dans les ouvrages de l'esprit. To the unprejudiced reader it is an agreeable attempt to apply certain standards of taste and reason to the analysis of poetry, with examples drawn from the literatures of France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy compared to similar passages in classical authors. Tasso is the Italian poet most frequently cited, and though many passages of the Gerusalemme are praised, some are blamed, not without reason, as too extravagant, and one of the interlocutors ends by hoping that he has enabled his friend to distinguish, using Boileau's phrase, the gold of Virgil from the tinsel of Tasso. The work went through seven editions before 1691, and at last came to the attention of a group of Italian scholars and authors who read it with resentment. Prominent among them was the Marchese Giuseppe Orsi of Bologna, a poet who numbered among his friends L. A. Muratori of Modena, Apostolo Zeno of Venice, Scipione Maffei of Verona, and Giusto Fontanini who, originally of Venice, had sought employment in Rome.

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