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Grant number like: FEL-262356-19

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Nathalie Hester
University of Oregon (Eugene, OR 97403-5219)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020

Inventing America in Baroque Italy: Columbus, Vespucci, and New World Epic

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on 16th- and 17th-century Italian epic poems about the Spanish conquest of the Americas.

“Inventing America in Baroque Italy” examines the ways in which, at a time when most of the Italian peninsula was a colony of Spain, seventeenth-century Italian poets represent Italy’s role in the exploration and conquest of the Americas. Taking as its corpus eleven epic poems written in the Italian vernacular between 1596 and 1650, my book considers the relationship between baroque epic poetry and local politics; between Italian poems about the Americas and Spanish colonialism; and between literary production and emerging notions of Italian identity. A principal argument of this study is that the heated debates about representing Columbus and Vespucci as epic heroes inevitably point to concerns about Europe’s global expansion and Italy’s role in that expansion. This project sheds light on texts that have not received adequate attention in studies of early modern European colonialism and in scholarship on the reception of the Americas in seventeenth-century Italy.