The Florentine poet Antonio Malatesti (1610–1672) earned a brief but significant mention in the earliest history of Italian literature for his contributions to the renewal of the sonnet form in two genres, enigmatography and dithyrambic poetry. In more recent times, his name has cropped up most frequently because of a sequence of fifty bawdy sonnets entitled La Tina: equivoci rusticali, which Malatesti dedicated and presented to the young John Milton on the occasion of his visit to Florence in 1638. The dedication manuscript disappeared soon after Milton’s death and remained practically unknown until 1757, when it was found on a bookstall in London and copied as a curiosity. Then it disappeared again, and some scholars even suggested that it had never existed. The present critical edition is based on the rediscovered autograph manuscript dedicated to Milton. The sonnets are furnished with linguistic footnotes and prefaced by a note on the author from a previously unknown copy by Giuseppe Baretti (1719–1789). A comprehensive introduction sheds light on the history of the manuscript, using new archival research, and it contributes to a wider understanding of Malatesti’s minor but exemplary position in the history of seventeenth-century Italian literature.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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