Literature, Politics and Historiography in the Italian Renaissance (part II)

UNIL principal investigator

Prof. Simone Albonico, Faculty of Arts

UNIPD principal investigator

Prof. Franco Tomasi, DISLL


Joint seminar / conference involving early-stage researchers


The Project aims at providing opportunities for both discussion and research with the specific goal of studying the relationships existing between early-modern literary forms and their historical and political dimension. These relationships are often neglected by scholars, who have often just focused their attention on the formal aspects of the texts. In fact, the full appreciation of the historical context will further our understanding of the meaning of a literary work and allow a more thorough understanding of the deep meaning of the texts, as well as a more nuanced reading of the historical, political and cultural events of the Italian Renaissance.


The aim of the project as a whole is to raise critical attention to the need to assume a historical perspective in our field of studies and to acknowledge that Renaissance literature isn’t an abstract construction – as it’s still often characterized – but an artistic experience deeply-rooted in the political context, in particular in that of the Italian Wars, which profoundly destabilized the Italian reality and the intellectuals even more, inasmuch as they lost at the same time their social and cultural function and had to find new ways to affirm the values of art.
The conference dedicated to the figure of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza does not only aim at offering a new profile of the figure of the Spanish ambassador in relation to Italian and Spanish political, literary and artistic events, but it also wants to offer a methodological contribution to the enhancement and promotion of the study of ambassadors as leading figures of the Italian Renaissance, whose complex role and importance can only be grasped through an interdisciplinary view. An agreement to publish the proceedings of the conference is already in place with the book series 'Dunamis. Studies in the empowerment of early-modern representation' of the publisher Brepols.

The conference about 'Geography and History' aims to contribute to a significant renewal of the critical approach to 16th-century poetry by including in the presentations of these works an adequate description of the book form they assumed (which is often neglected), and by taking a closer look, also in relation to political and historical events, at the actual evolution of a fundamental literary experience of the Italian tradition. An agreement with the journal 'Italique', published by Droz through the Fondation Barbier-Mueller pour l'étude de la poésie italienne de la Renaissance in Geneva, is already in place to publish the proceedings of the conference.

Both projects are deeply connected to the project about Poetry, History and Politics in the Italian Renaissance (1492-1555), for which we received a subsidy in the context of last year’s call, and all these works will carry on for many years to come; therefore the positive outcome of this request would enhance even more the collaboration and open new perspectives thanks to the participation of many scholars specialised in Italian Renaissance lyric as well as in other disciplines (History, Art History, Book History, etc.), which will also strengthen the position of Padua and Lausanne’s Universities as leading centres for the study of Lyric and of the relationship between history and literature during the Renaissance.

Potential for follow-up activities

Participants in the ‘Diego Hurtado de Mendoza al crocevia delle culture’ conference will be able to benefit from the data available in Archivi del Rinascimento, edited by Simone Albonico and Franco Tomasi together with Paolo Procaccioli (University of Tuscia) and Emilio Russo (Sapienza University of Rome). The engine web platform gathers some of the most important catalogues of Renaissance printed and manuscript materials and many innovative digital projects about Renaissance literature.
Participants in the 'Geography and History' conference will be able to benefit from the data available in Lyra, a tool for the description of printed books and rhyming manuscripts created in Lausanne; and they in turn will be able to contribute, before and after the conference, to enrich the database with new descriptions. Lyra flows into the portal.

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