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Self-Exegesis at The Margins: Boccaccio's TESEIDA DI NOZZE D'EMILIA
Roberta Ricci, Bryn Mawr College

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Scrittura, riscrittura, autoesegesi: Voci autoriali intorno all'epica in volgare: Boccaccio, Tasso. (Book) [show prizes]
Title: Scrittura, riscrittura, autoesegesi: Voci autoriali intorno all'epica in volgare: Boccaccio, Tasso.
Author: Roberta Ricci
Abstract: This study examines the presence and connections of four different literary codes --that of the author who writes, the author who comments his own work, of the reader, and of the literary critic—in two poems remarkable for their place within the cultural panorama of early-modern Italian literature: Boccaccio’s Teseida and Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata. The idea of reflecting upon one’s own art is probably as old as literature itself and has its sense of participation in a wider literary tradition because it serves to overcome the medieval distinction between those who agunt de arte (the critics) and those who agunt per artem (the writers). Comments and marginalia written by authors as explanations of their own work add a new literary dimension to the richness of the text itself because this exegesis opens up issues concerned with critical inquiry, questions of authorship and readership, and the complexity of reception. Such issues are especially relevant for the genre of the epic poem, which was authoritative and fertile through the centuries and yet also particularly problematic in the first centuries of the Italian language.
Year: 2010
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: In the history of the epics in Tuscan vernacular, Boccaccio’s public, prolix, and learned glosses written in the third person, on one hand, and Tasso’s private, complex, and ambivalent letters addressed to the intellectuals working at the Curia Romana, on the other, not only continue to raise philological, chronological, and theoretical issues connected to the genre par excellence, but also open a fruitful line of investigation on the authorial process of artistic invention and on literary self-consciousness. Both Boccaccio, the author of the first new epic poem in ottava, and Tasso, the author of the last canonical instance of this type, face difficulties in reconciling imitation of classical texts and innovation of that same tradition: difficulties that they both attempt to solve by the writing of these self-commentaries. These texts are examined focusing on the negotiations between such theories and practices, taking into account that they coexist and, simultaneously, clash.
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Review by Madison U. Sowell. Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 64, 2011. This intriguing study of authorial commentary surrounding Boccaccio's Teseida and Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata exemplifies the value of utilizing a blend of primary and secondary sources to accomplish serious research. Roberta Ricci divides her learned book into a lengthy introduction (focusing on methodology and hermeneutics), two chapters (one on Boccaccio's medieval poem and the other on Tasso's Counter-Reformation epic), two appendices, tavole (color illustrations of consulted manuscripts), and an Index Nominum. Succinct but impressive bibliographies accompany the main sections. .... I recommend this erudite book warmly not only to Boccaccio and Tasso specialists but also to scholars interested in the gamut of medieval and early modern autoexegesis. © COPYRIGHT 2011 The Renaissance Society of America
Publisher: Edizioni ETS, 2010. 258 pp..
Type: Multi-author monograph
ISBN: 978–88467257