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Printed Voices

Printed Voices: The Renaissance Culture of Dialogue

Dorothea Heitsch
Jean-François Vallée
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 280
  • Book Info
    Printed Voices
    Book Description:

    Prevalent but long-neglected genres such as dialogue have recently been attracting attention in Renaissance studies. In view of the pervasive and varied nature of this genre's use in the European Renaissance, it has become crucial to widen the perspective so as to take into account more diverse approaches to this hybrid form. For this reason, Dorothea Heitsch and Jean-François Vallée have assembled a broad collection of essays by international scholars that presents comparative, interdisciplinary, and theoretical inquiry into this neglected area.

    The contributors ? who bring with them different linguistic, cultural, and disciplinary backgrounds ? examine dialogue from a variety of perspectives, taking into account various factors linked to the upsurge of the genre in the Renaissance. These factors include the emergence of a complex and multifarious subjectivity, the advent of modern utopias, the social and political importance of courtliness, the rise of print culture, religious and scientific controversy, the prevalence of pedagogy and rhetorical culture, the ethos of humanism, the gendering of dialogue, and Renaissance 'logocentrism.' Discussed are some of the most important works in Italian, French, German, Neo-Latin, and English, as well as some lesser known texts, makingPrinted Voicesa truly essential volume for the Renaissance scholar.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7874-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xxiv)
    Dorothea Heitsch and Jean-François Vallée

    The dialogue genre was, without doubt, one of the most prevalent forms of writing in the European Renaissance. Countless authors, no matter what their interests or special fields, appreciated the rhetorical and fictional means of representing conversations by way of the written word. Humanists especially were eager to try their hand at dialogues, imitating more or less faithfully, and sometimes conflating or adapting, ancient dialogic models, such as those of Plato, Cicero, and Lucian. In fact, dialogue was ′so widespread during the Renaissance that it seems to represent a fundamental and innovative aspect of its intellectual life,ʹ² writes Eva Kushner...

  5. The Fate of Dialogue

    • Problematizing Renaissance Exemplarity: The Inward Turn of Dialogue from Petrarch to Montaigne
      (pp. 3-24)
      François Rigolot

      In the beginning was Petrarch′sSecretum, a literary form of conversation which took place between two exemplary characters, Francis and Augustine, and proved to have an immense impact on later humanist sensibility. Arguably, for the first time in the European tradition, the search for truth was powerfully rooted in a scenario characterized by a doubling of the self. Dialogue served to dramatize the value attached to the ′inward turn′ of the psyche, a notion that has remained profoundly associated with Renaissance Geistgeschichte. No matter how excessively idealized Burckhardt′s version of humanist individuality may have been,⁴ it was certainly a crucial...

  6. The Utopia of Dialogue

    • Dialogue, Utopia, and the Agencies of Fiction
      (pp. 27-41)
      Nina Chordas

      Dialogue and utopia in the early modern period have not traditionally been discussed in terms of each other. Yet the two arguably greatest utopias of the Renaissance – Thomas More′s paradigmaticUtopiaand Tommaso Campanella′sCity of the Sun– are written as dialogues; and, though later utopias of the period no longer employ dialogue directly, I would suggest that the form continues to haunt them. Clearly, then, a connection exists between early modern dialogue and the texts that elaborate the alternative worlds staged by their authors as demonstrable improvements over the social orders of their day: a connection that...

    • The Fellowship of the Book: Printed Voices and Written Friendships in Moreʹs Utopia
      (pp. 42-62)
      Jean-François Vallée

      ʹThe whole Renaissance cherished that wish of reposeful, blithe, and yet serious intercourse of good and wise friends in the cool shade of a house under trees, where serenity and harmony would dwell,ʹ wrote Johan Huizinga.³ This idyllic conversational image illustrates eloquently the passionate predilection of Renaissance scholars and writers, especially humanists, for ʹfriendly dialogue.ʹ Yet, this dialogical proclivity seems to have been more often mediated through the written page than enacted in actual oral interaction. It is indirectly reflected in the humanist fondness for ʹcommunicativeʹ forms of writing: letters, declamations or orations and, of course, most notably, dialogues per...

    • Thomas More′s Utopia and the Problem of Writing a Literary History of English Renaissance Dialogue
      (pp. 63-76)
      J. Christopher Warner

      Treatments of English Renaissance dialogue are few, but they all begin with the same landmark event: the publication of Sir Thomas More′sUtopiain 1516, even thoughUtopiadid not really become a dialogue in English until Ralph Robinson′s 1556 translation. No matter thatUtopiawas originally written in Latin and first printed in Louvain, nor that only the first part of the work, Book I, is in dialogue form:Utopiagives us exactly what we value most in the genre. Thomas More drew deeply on the classical and Continental humanist traditions for inspiration and clever, richly-layered allusions and figures...

  7. Dialogue and the Court

    • The Development of Dialogue in II libro del cortegiano: From the Manuscript Drafts to the Definitive Version
      (pp. 79-94)
      Olga Zorzi Pugliese

      Il libro del cortegianomay be considered the masterpiece of the Renaissance genre of books of conduct.¹ This dialogic treatise, which met with much international success from the sixteenth century on, displays a highly evolved and complex structure that distinguishes it from many other literary dialogues of the period. The author Baldessar Castiglione surpassed his contemporaries in his ability to make the conversations, purportedly occurring at the Montefeltro court of Urbino, appear natural and spontaneous – an achievement which may be due in part to the painstaking care with which he revised and rewrote the work.Il libro del cortegiano...

    • Pietro Aretino between the locus mendacii and the locus veritatis
      (pp. 95-112)

      Pietro Aretino has long been recognized as a harsh satirist, yet an intriguing one with undeniable talent and far-reaching influence. While this may be due primarily to the success of his works of theatre and his famous letters, attention must also be paid to his dialogues for these works reveal much in terms of the literary innovation that accompanied his satire. Although he is most famous for hisDialoguesregarding whoredom (Sei giornate[1534]), his other dialogical works are also deserving of careful consideration.¹ These are theDialogue of the Courts(Ragionamento delle corti[1538]) andThe Talking Cards(Le...

    • From Dialogue to Conversation: The Place of Marie de Gournay
      (pp. 113-134)
      Dorothea Heitsch

      Much research has focused on Marie de Gournayʹs relationship to Montaigne.² That we owe at least one authoritative edition of theEssaisto her (1635) and that she played a major role in the preparation of the first posthumous edition (1595) has been given full credit only recently.³ Moreover, the kindred spirit, friend, and admirer of Montaigne employs certain reading practices in her preface to the 1595 edition of theEssaisthat she will regret as well as defend in the reprints that she prepares of this work and in her own texts. Marie de Gournay thus makes very good...

  8. Dialogues with History, Religion, and Science

    • ʹTruth Hath the Victoryʹ: Dialogue and Disputation in John Foxeʹs Actes and Monuments
      (pp. 137-156)
      Joseph Puterbaugh

      Controversies of belief and authority in the wake of the Reformation generated the wide publication of catechisms and dialogues in sixteenth-century England. These texts were written and published to edify and persuade on issues of ecclesiastical discipline, church reform, and religious identity.¹ Dialogue, as a literary form, spoke eloquently to Catholics, Protestants, and Puritans engaged in these controversies primarily because dialogue can disguise the source of controversial opinion. By dramatizing voices, authors can deflect direct responsibility for provocative points of view, and place self-condemning speech into the mouths of opponents, a strategy as old as Plato and Lucian.² For Protestant...

    • Miltonʹs ʹHenceʹ: Dialogue and the Shape of History in ʹLʹAllegroʹ and ʹIl Penserosoʹ
      (pp. 157-174)
      W. Scott Howard

      Virtually all of Miltonʹs works of poetry and prose refashion their respective literary genres and rhetorical modes as they progress.² That distinction is especially true of his well-loved ʹtwinʹ poems, ʹLʹAllegroʹ (i.e., ʹthe cheerful manʹ) and ʹIl Penserosoʹ (i.e., ʹthe contemplative manʹ). Readers have questioned the generic status of these two texts since their original publication in 1645 and have not unreasonably sought to affiliate the poems with an apparently inexhaustible array of literary forms, themes, and cultural discourses.³ There has also been considerable discussion as to whether the poems constitute two separate texts, or one longer work.⁴ ʹLʹAllegroʹ and...

    • Hobbes, Rhetoric, and the Art of the Dialogue
      (pp. 175-190)
      Luc Borot

      Thomas Hobbes was educated in an academic culture whose intellectual framework was dominated by rhetoric and dialectic.¹ As translator and teacher, Hobbes was an active participant in that culture. In middle life, he converted to the new science under the influence of Euclid and Galileo, and he wrote his first works on philosophy and political philosophy according to their methods. In later life, he began to write dialogues.² He wrote several treatises in dialogue form: theSeven Philosophical Problems(1662);A Dialogue between a Philosopher and a Student of the Common Laws of England(1664), in which the ʹcommon-law mindʹ...

  9. The Purpose of Dialogue

    • Francesco Barbaroʹs De re uxoria: A Silent Dialogue for a Young Medici Bride
      (pp. 193-205)
      Carole Collier Frick

      In 1416 Lorenzo deʹ Medici (II Vecchio), younger brother of Cosimo deʹ Medici, Pater patriae of Florence, married Ginevra Cavalcanti, the daughter of Giovanni, head of the old aristocratic house of Cavalcanti.¹ Ginevraʹs age at the time of her wedding is not known, but we can guess that she was perhaps fifteen or sixteen, to Lorenzoʹs twenty.² On the occasion of this young manʹs betrothal, he was presented with a gift from a friend and contemporary, the Venetian humanist Francesco Barbaro. The gift was a manuscript – atrattatowritten in Latin, which Barbaro had entitledDe re uxoria, or...

    • Dialogue and German Language Learning in the Renaissance
      (pp. 206-226)
      Nicola McLelland

      Language study shared no less than other spheres of endeavour in the popularity of the dialogue in the Renaissance. Indeed, the dialogue had (and has) an additional practical importance for language practitioners, one which has given it a place in language learning since antiquity. It imitates, more or less convincingly, the form of a spoken exchange, so that unlike other written forms, it not only presents ideas, but alsorepresentsthe means – the linguistic forms – that communicates those ideas.² The Renaissance language learner could model his (for it nearly always washis) language usage on what he found...

  10. The Subject of Dialogue

    • Renaissance Dialogue and Subjectivity
      (pp. 229-242)
      Eva Kushner

      The thoughts which follow attempt to situate themselves at the meeting point of two problematics central to the study of the early modern period. The first, both literary and philosophical, concerns a genre, the dialogue, so widespread during the Renaissance that it seems to represent a fundamental and innovative aspect of its intellectual life. The second, also both literary and philosophical, is the problematic of subjectivity, of vital interest to us because it is important to know whether it is true, as has long been thought, that the concept of the human person emerges from the Renaissance expanded, liberated, strengthened;...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 243-274)
  12. List of Contributors
    (pp. 275-278)
  13. Index Nominum
    (pp. 279-286)
  14. Index Rerum
    (pp. 287-291)