The strangeness I had encountered had to do with content, with elliptical political and social references rather than with terms and phrases that had become obsolete. The picaresque journey that is translation has continued throughout my life. Not only because learning involves translation; I have been profes- sionally involved with translation for many years, in my work, and as a poet.
When I was still in college, I was asked by the poet Sam Hazo, who was one of my English professors at Duquesne University, to translate a few poems of Quasimodo. I did, and that started me on my way, publish- ing them in Choice, a poetry journal edited by John Logan. But that was the beginning and the end for many years. Life intervened.
I had no time write or translate when my kids were little. But when I started working, still part-time and at a research job in anthropology with a flexible schedule, my languages came into play again. I read and translated from ethnogra- phies, some of whom were in French, Italian and Spanish. I have since rendered into English hundreds of individual poems, and I have col- lected some of my translations of modern Italian poets in three books: the poesie-racconti of Giorgio Chiesura, who spent two years in various Ger- man internment camps during WWII; the lyrics of Leonardo Sinisgalli; and most recently the work of Bartolo Cattafi, a Sicilian poet, forthcoming from Chelsea Editions.
I always translated from Italian into English. Not that the language of poetry has much to do with the spoken tongue. Still, the point is valid. Also true that I always write in English, think in English, and have done so for decades, and that I seldom have much chance to speak Italian. Thus, the challenge of reading, digging, understand- ing, of discovering another persona, of hearing another voice is missing, and this, which should make things easier, make them go faster, slows ev- erything down instead.
But I am doing it. Translating by the Numbers by John DuVal I was raised in the faith and discipline of the New Criticism, scruti- nizing, dissecting, and reassembling that exquisite monument, the poem itself. This approach was useful because it taught us to learn from the mas- ters, how they packed the maximum meaning into every word despite the requirements of meter or rhyme.
It was also useful in that we learned to cherish the words of the great craftspeople of our language. Where it failed, I believe, is in not paying due respect to the language itself and the infinite choices it offers of saying almost the same thing, with infinite slight and delightful variations and always a hint that a phrase could be better phrased. For us translators the New Critical approach is still useful in that it encourages us to study each word and each phrase of an original to learn what the original writer has done to make it so wonderfully what it is.
The problem is that it directs us straight to the Slough of Despond, where we stay, sunk and moping unless Faith in the language we are translating into pulls us out. We will not find in English the phrase that G. Belli, for instance, wrote in Romanesco, the dialect of the people of Rome, but given how slowly our minds work and how vast our language is, we can always discover another phrase like it, and then another, and if we keep looking, we may find a better one than the ones we found before.
I had thought the following translation of a poem by Trilussa, another Romanesco poet, was finally and after much struggle finished when I had this down on paper: To Mimi Do you remember our first rendezvous behind the Convent House, alone together in the cloister? Here Carlo kissed Mimi. Twenty years. I saw you once more, just as you had been, wearing a pretty lilac dress. Quindici maggio millenovecento. Eppure, jeri I wrote, Twelve February, nineteen hundred. Here Charley kissed Mary. I think it might have been the chance of rhyming Mary whimsically with a Romanesco word in the original, jeri yesterday , which first inclined me toward the English names.
Also I was fascinated by how, in this poem about the passage of time, the poet had handled words that marked off time: months and years, dates. What difference did the month make when everybody knows that given the right weather in Rome, the noonday sun can glitter as brightly in February as in May?
Trilussa had been Trilussa since he was eighteen. He even signed his name Tri. But he was born Carlo Alberto Salustri. For a poet who described his poetry and his personality as a series of masks, this mention of his almost-forgotten well, forgotten by me anyway!
Vendita libri antichi e rari
Also, as the months went by, it dawned on me that February is not May, no more than age is youth or disillusion hope. Carlo, Mimi, and the month of May too were all written back into the poem. While I was at it, I changed Rosa, who had been Rose in the English, back to her original name, but Paul, whose name in Romanesco was Pasquale, stayed Paul to rhyme with the wall on which he had carved his name. Now, I thought the translation was finished, and I submitted it, just as it appears at the beginning of this article, in a volume of translations from Trilussa for the University of Arkansas Press.
This is one of those few instances in English where what everybody says is an error and what is correct is pedantic. Paul could have been in love with Rosa in or or even in What difference does it make? I could translate by the numbers. Vistas of alternate endings opened before me. To be systematic, I began with I had scored with my first shot. I read the English to myself aloud. The present perfect tense seemed to imply that if only Paul pulled himself together, and did something, he might still come out all right.
Paul was a dead person; I was making him sound like a failure in the business world. I changed the tense. The problem was more than the tense; it was also the too active rhyming verb, done. And do would not do when I got to You might do. Carlo could address his fellow lover across the centu- ries instead of merely meditating on his fate. This was more comic than the Romanesco, but not as kind. In the original, the emotion goes outward; self pity blossoms into sym- pathy. By ending in you rather than me, Carlo seems to be taking not only consolation, but satisfaction in knowing that someone is worse off than he is.
Translating a little closer to the origi- nal might help But there were more numbers. I might try three again, varying the last line: seventeen hundred twenty-three. Four: seventeen hundred twenty-four. What am I feeling sorry for myself for? For some reason I was fond of this solution anyway. Maybe the technical flaws gave it a kind of humor in accord with the sardonic Romanesco, but nobody that I showed it to liked it. Five: seventeen hundred twenty-five. Six: seventeen hundred twenty-six.
Seven: seventeen hundred twenty-seven. But at the end of the sentence, when the sentence could have ended perfectly well without it, even sounds as if the translator stuck it there simply for the rhyme, which he did. Eight: seventeen hundred twenty-eight. Other abstract words, such as predicament or situa- tion or of course state either bring on other associations in conflict with the original or are too vague.
Ten: seventeen hundred ten. It is late in the poem to be introducing an Arkansas accent, rhym- ing been with ten. Same as seven. Twelve: seventeen hundred twelve. Thirteen: seventeen hundred thirteen. Also, it evokes the metaphysical question of whether Paul, having died, is now experiencing Purgatory or worse, a question that has no place in this poem. I wrote more, with rhymes for fourteen, fifteen, sixteen There must be better endings, but mine get worse.
But did my language sound conversational enough throughout the poem? Ma io ero innamorato del Provenzale. Io sono passato attraverso questi cicli, e ne scrissi. Le lingue di queste poesie sono state esplorate, controllate e comparate prima di essere state tradotte Giose Rimanelli. Poesia provenzale in dialetto molisano e lingua. Cosmo Iannone Editore, Isernia La similitudine allegorica mi risporta al traduttore-esegeta. Vedi anche Annalisa Buonocore. Dialettali e Neo dialettali in Inglese. Prefazione di Cosma Siani. Edizioni Cofine, Roma, Intercity, was published by Einaudi in Baldini wrote three theatrical mono- logues: Carta canta, Zitti tutti!
There are no further allegorical, liturgical or philosophical significances to this con-credendo, with prefix? They do not accompany him up onto the stage to confront the huckster-performer wearing the shabby jacket? After fleeing the lower levels of the theater that has flooded with water, the narrator climbs flight-of-stairs after flight-of-stairs, opens door after door, and meets a card-reader with cards all laid out on a table; is this card-reader a man or a woman?
Un bel piatto? The translator wants to get this exactly right. He ex- hales. How can I explain it? He was in great pain. Each word cost him. Not a small plate. Not a huge plate. Is this an evocation of a particular line of po- etry? His most recent collection was awarded the Campana Prize. Each poem moves towards and resists Death. His narrators also wander into anacoluthon, that is to say ending a sentence with a different structure from that with which it began.
His poems employ the rhetorical techniques that form the backbone of argu- ment: indignatio memopsis oiktros, erotesis orcos threnos ara decsis diasymus aposiopesis apostrophe In the end his spine caused great pain, a tall, thin man. Where are you? The translator read it late one night, intending to phone the next day to ask if it was possible to get a copy of the music.
There was a message on the answering machine. The translator was feeding paper into a printer, catching yet more errors. Mumbling and imprecations. Cartridge out of ink. Empty paper tray. A computer talking back: Printing Error. White stacks on floor, packages prepared for release to known addressees to reach the unknown interlocutor. The window was open in Milan. Here it is, he said. Mother of God! I, at St. This is an order! I saw you! Are you blind? Do you need glasses? I was soaked, a faucet?
Damn, could he have hypnotized me too? Small Talk I had bad dreams all night, all these snakes, how did you make this coffee? I was just about do go down to see you, and so have you finished the skirt? I say that, what are they racking their brains about? He is cur- rently on the faculty at Bennington College, where he teaches Italian literature. He also works as a writer of Italian films for DVD release.
The main reason is translation. The English in the translation of the novel regularly tends to- wards the very linguistic medietas Gadda takes every possible step to avoid. It also offers extensive com- mentary in the form of linear notes. The importance of the linguistic elaboration, indisputable in Gadda, are of primary concern to the translator.
Much effort is being made in the present version to preserve the diatypes lexical variety of the original, where possible. Given the impossibility of translating into another language the aura parlativa peculiar to an environment, the translator must, however, try to conserve, in some way, the heterogeneity of registers that the introduction of colloquialisms and dialects represents.
This new translation is a small part of the renewed understanding of this great literary work. Synopsis In Fascist Rome the novel takes place in , the young police in- spector Francesco Ingravallo called don Ciccio for short , a detective-phi- losopher from the southern Italian region of Molise, is called on to investi- gate a jewel theft that has taken place in an apartment building at , Via Merulana. In the building lives a couple, Remo and Liliana Balducci, friends of Ingravallo: the wife, whom Ingravallo admires for her sweetness, and with whom he is perhaps secretly in love, is of a family whose wealth has been built in large measure on speculation during the First World War.
Three days after the robbery, whose investigation is so far inconclusive, Ingravallo is shocked by the news that Signora Balducci has been found murdered in her home. He rushes to the scene and takes part in the preliminary inquiry, wondering whether there is any link between the two crimes.
It also abounds indirectly, via remembered citations from others in speech from the mur- dered Liliana Balducci — an anomaly in a novel where the Signora is central, though largely silent. In all honesty, I just focus on doing my job, as above board as possible. Not a pin! Anyway just to be on the safe side, I chucked it right in this special drawer here I got for that stuff, just right as soon as I got it pried out of the setting with the pliers, without even laying a pinky on it, like.
E come un cappone in mezzo a tanti galli! Il ciondolo doveva consegnarlo a Giuliano in persona. Una parola. A momenti mezzogiorno. Like a capon in the middle of a bunch of roosters! The one you estimated at two thousand lire? I want to give that one away as a present. The one you figured was worth nine and a half thousand?
A magnificent water. You know to whom I mean! Liliana herself had insisted on explaining everything to Amaldi: how the two letters that he was supposed to engrave were linked together, how she wanted the jasperstone to be set: bulging a little from the oval setting: Ceccherelli traced with the nail of his little finger the clean contour of the stone, green, seal mounted, that is to say slightly overhanging the setting, and backed with a thin gold plate, in order to hide and encase the uncut face. Easier said than done.
But after those three depositions in his defense by the three jewelers, that were middling enough, there was the one, better still, by the head teller of the bank: the Banco di Santo Spirito. Round about noon. Ha raggione! Una bella signora come lei. Ed ecco il dente. In dieci anni de matrimo- nio, a momenti, che, che! I medici aveveno parlato chiaro: o lei, o lui. Nice little smell, just take a whiff. Fresh from the Mint.
Just think! I practically played the part of mother when he was a baby. The table, in fact, overflowed onto the shelves, and from there to the cabinets: with people climbing up and stomping down as well as loitering outside: this one smoking, that one flicking away a butt, another hawking phlegm on the walls. Beat the tower of Babel on a shopping day. The doctors had laid it on the line: either her or him. Or both. So that out of those ongoing disappointments, those ten years, or nearly, where the pain, the humiliation, desperation and tears had put down roots; from those use- less years of her beauty those sighs dated, those ahs, those long glances at every woman, not to mention the ones with a baby in the oven!
Er maschietto nostro de quattro chili: un chilo ar mese. Diceveno: avemo portato li con- fetti. Semo giovini. Avemo preso li passi avanti Ragguagli e rapporti di subalterni, parole e carta scritta: disposizioni da dare: telefono. She looked at the girls; returned, in a flash as by deep-felt, despondent signal, the bold glances of young men: a caress or benevolent franchise mentally bequeathed future bequeathers of life: to whoever might bear within him the certainty, the seminal truth, the kernel of secret becom- ing.
The pure assent of a fraternal soul: to those who traced the pattern of life. But out of the dark manger the years stampeded, one after the other, into nothingness. That mania… for forking out double bed-sheets to the maids, insisting on putting up dowries, push- ing folks who asked for nothing better to tie the knot: and then the whim, that took hold of her for days on end, to want to bawl and blow her nose, poor Liliana, if they actually went ahead and did it: as if pricked by jealousy after the fact.
Our eight pound kiddo, two pounds a month. The bride, poor kid, comes in with her guy, preceded by a belly like a hot air balloon at the fireworks at San Giovanni. They said: we brought you the wedding cake. Naturally they were a little embarrassed. It was at this point, his face ashen, that Ingravallo begged leave to shove off: duty calling. Reports and memoranda from subordinates, voiced or in writing: orders to impart: telephone. Roberto De Lucca shoulders sagging, with a bearing that seemed tired, absorbed.
He saw him pull a pack of cigarettes from his pocket, engrossed in unknown cares. The door closed behind him. And now from the talk of the husband, made garrulous by hardship, by his sense of being at the center of attention and collective commiseration A hunter, he was! Saw himself tramping in with a bagged hare, shouldering his gun, muddied boots, panting hounds , needing to get it off his chest after the blow: and holding forth, untrammeled, on the delicacy of the female spirit and that extreme sensitiveness of women in general: which in them, poor things, is widespread.
Buttafavi and Alda Pernetti stairway A , whose brother counted for an extra six. Giorgio Roberti Poet, essayist, translator, editor, founder and presi- dent for thirty years of the Centro Romanesco Trilussa, Giorgio Roberti energetically promoted Romanesco language, culture and poetry. His translation into Romanesco of Er Vangelo seconno S. Marco has been much praised and often reprinted. Note on translation G. Belli, writing sonnets in Romanesco in the early nineteenth cen- tury, gave an example for Italian poets with his sonnets that showed how dialect could convey the energy of conversation more effectively than stan- dard language.
We translators of dialect into English in the United States do not have dialects to convey that energy precisely, so we try to make our verse sound like people talking. This would seem impossible for A Stick in the Eye, a story over twenty-seven centuries old, but Roberti helps with his deft details and his sudden shifts of style, and makes translating his poem a pleasure, though difficult. Come te chiami? Here, taste. You call your country Greater Greece, because you dine on greater grease I guess--and stronger wine!
Tell me what your name is. Corky Screw? Mouse Pill? Tommy Tinkerbell? Anyone will swear I am. But are you single? Do you have a wife? Hitched to the single life. Then the poor fool fell, fell like a stone, like a bull with his throat cut in the Colosseum at a festival. They wanted out. Some promised they were able to slip him a little gift beneath the table; and others talked about friends in high places. Like it or like it not, when all talk ended, all that the lottery threw up were four pathetic bastards no one ever protected.
Che te succede? Chi te fa piagne come un regazzino? Nessuno che me leva, sarvognuno, tutto er punto de vista personale Furious, frantic, fast, Ulysses struck it deeper and turned it like a merry-go-round. At once that moribund volcano hurled forth great eye fragments and little wads of jell out of his monster brain. He yelled a yell enough to raise goose pimples on the world. As he was screaming, Mother Nature frowned, wrinkling her great face, and started to stir and raised up mountains from the level ground. Beholding earth beneath them relandscaped, many a luminous, uneasy star turned into a comet and escaped.
Are you all right? Why have you pulled your cave door shut and hid yourself away from us and out of sight? No One, god damn it! Ear ache? Then, hey, shut the fuck up and quit your belly aching. His poetry has been included in numerous anthologies and published in local, regional and national magazines and newspapers. Note on translation The dialect I have translated is referred to by local people as Lancianese, that is the language of Lanciano, a city of 30, inhabitants in Abruzzo.
Although people familiar with Abruzzese dialects in general have proved helpful, at times I needed to consult with people who grew up in Lanciano in order to obtain the full flavor of a particular word or expression. Lancianese, like all languages, has evolved over time. Some words and expressions are now extinct. E che diceme? Only go backwards or even better stay nailed to the spot where you find yourself! Love and song My love, I would compose for you a song one of those hammered and forged in fire, polished the way it should be and blended with notes that are shiny and passionate.
I speak and afterwards you speak And what do we say? My Life My life: cloudy sky, an annoying wind, a Southern wind, a brooklet of water gathering to go ahead always among the thorns! A sky that often has a hole that at certain times makes like a small window: at daytime, a velvet serenity; at nighttime, a glance of a star. A wind that, sometimes, if it stops leaves the dry leaves by my feet; What do you find that is good? Of a rose the only thing that you can pick up is a leaf!
A brooklet, even that at times, leaves the stains of melancholy and goes, without getting dirty with mud, singing all by itself along the way. The Song To those who no longer sing, the spirit of life is tasteless To those who sing more, the voice of the heart gets more flavor Concetta I Concetta, your petticoat is too hot swinging every which way as you walk! II E vie! La ruzze di Lanciane Bande e campane! Concetta, step more softly as you go: your hem is stirring up the air too much! Concetta, my God, why are you running? II Go ahead!
Take it easy as you walk or the folds of your dress will not fall right! The resentment Lanciano Bands and bells! This is Lanciano: on top of three hills in between the sun and stars with the Maiella almost near and a drop to the other side made of sea. Here is my dear Lanciano exactly the way it is.
Ecche Lanciane: orte e ciardine, chiese e funtane, genta frentane, cante e camine, core a la mane, cipolle e pane ma Pure la guerre! Ma coma va? This is Lanciano: gardens and parks, churches and fountains, Frentane people, songs and walks heart in their hand, onions and bread but Even the war! Snow All ruffled and with those tiny eyes soaked through and through, that wee bitty sparrow under that snowfall, wretched little thing, looked up at the sky and gave out a cry. He looked for pity from saints and angels at least to keep the snow off of the roof?
Bagpipes Snow falls and I hear the sound of footsteps; it is really him, it is the piper that, when I was a kid, just seeing him for me was a good time beyond compare! But how goes it, if one -- is the bagpipe and the other one -- is the song one sings why, why, do the oncoming years go by more than the festival shines through my tears?
He has published articles on Luzi, Montale, Tobino, and film. His translation focuses on Paolo Ruffilli and Davide Rondoni. In these ca- pacities, Rondoni has his finger on the pulse of Italian poetry. Three problems present themselves. First, as a translator, I feel humbled and unnecessary: his poetic language seems so simple that I am almost tempted to overjustify my role by implying things in my rendition that were not implied in the original. Second, in this lyric unpretentiousness, cultural- linguistic differences arise.
How does one reproduce the cadences that follow a rhythm found somewhere between thought and dialogue? How does one translate a word that simultaneously exists as the beginning of a new thought as much as it exists as a continuation of a previous thought? Central Park, fine autunno, alberi di seta elettrica e color sangue nel freddo azzurro del cielo che salgono si aprono poi piano che si spengono, ombra che sta venendo, aria che si oscura.
Senti che grida di barche invisibili. Nella baia nera. Cosa succede in questa poesia? And it starts, the frosty crown of the skyscrapers, to glisten on the more somber throng in the streets. I ask Oonagh: why do you keep your hair like that, grey at thirty. You hear the shouts from invisible boats. In the dark bay. What is it that happens in this poem? Ripartirai con un lieve turbamento, quasi un ricordo e i silenzi delle scansie di oggetti, dei benzinai, dei loro berretti, sentirai alle tue spalle leggero divenire un canto.
Non ho avuto gradoni di pietra su cui disteso perdere sotto il sole il lume della mente, addormentando. My son, my traveler, your hell, your virtue might be your dog-like or angel-like hearing that detects the turning of the planets and a pill falling into a cup two floors below, where two seniors citizens attend to each other. This roaring love will be your father, your real one.
Stop off for a spell in this highway rest-area, from the darkness it will be a pleasure to see you again I had avenues, wide, noisy streets, tall trajectories of by-passes, the open arms of a poor mother veins through which all sorts of things come into the city. I had tree-lined avenues or swift bouts of vertigo between steel walls and tinted glass. But during the night, when night does come, they recast themselves, new avenues shadowy, lonely avenues, when tall streetlamps illuminate them and the latest adverts fade out.
Then they move delicately, branching, perhaps the whole city turns on itself; some end at a castle, others at a cathedral, others dissolve beneath the orange lights of a highway junction — the avenues breath in the night with their wide black plane-trees, their subway gates and sad, singsong lullaby sleeping over the children. E mentre lui cadeva tu bruciavi maternamente. And as he fell you burned maternally. But your arms on the windowsill before turning back to carbon and in a recollection were comets, Brooklyn bridges of love in the night outside of Milan.
And I have taken them [from you, lady, leave those arms to this faraway dance, to the music that I and you from two shores in the shadows eternally share. The guy who for the whole trip stares at the sealed bag in front of him, the girl with the dyed hair and a pierced lip who wants to tell her life story to a stranger. Materia che non crede a se stessa — come questi viaggiatori, nel sonno che ingigantisce i vagoni nella sera.
Matter that does not believe in its own being — like these travelers, in a slumber that amplifies the train cars in the evening. She was also awarded an NEA in translation. Raffaele Carrieri was born in Taranto, and lived a vaga- bond life in his teens and early twenties. He was only 15 when he was wounded, a serious injury to his left hand. He went back to Taranto, but after a brief stay, he sailed again around the Mediterranean visiting various ports including those along the coast of Africa.
He worked at many jobs to support him- self, and on his return to Italy, worked as tax collector for two years. It was during these two years that he started writing poetry, the poems that were collected in Lamento del gabelliere In he went to Paris where he lived for several years among the poets and painters of the time, and where he started writing articles about his travels. He settled for good in Milan , and worked as art critic. In addition to several books of poetry, some of which won awards, including the Premio Viareggio, he wrote many books of art criticism, and biographies and studies of poets, sculptors and painters.
At times, he even identifies with the inanimate. The adolescent search for identity is given body, substance, voice. And all the personae have some- thing in common but are also different. In translating his work, the challenge was in creating a voice that sounded like the Carrieri in my head: restless, homeless, lonely, in dan- ger. A man who often looks over his shoulder, and narrowly escapes; who comes face to face with death and is seriously wounded, his wounded, damaged hand giving him yet another identity. But also a weary man of no age, or even old, who expects nothing, wants nothing.
The challenge was to create this voice, but also to preserve the variation in tone from poem to poem, the simplicity or complexity of narrative, the muted mu- sic. Their short takes and sharp images. Their impatient, hurried runs. Also, the shade and connotations are slightly different in English.
In poems such as these, there is no room to move. Like the poet, I put my trust in the image. Vedevo sul comodino La ciotola di latte Riempirsi di tenebra E questo ancora vedere E distinguere il bianco Dal nero mi dava piacere. Altro non ricordo Di quella sera. Piccola morte So questo, era un soldato Con un paio di scarpe nuove Che accanto gli stavano A vegliarlo giorno e notte.
Each of us knew It was the last evening. My eye and the bowl Were links In the same chain. The day after I survived the other. Small Death I know this: he was a soldier With a new pair of shoes Which kept vigil near him Day and night. He was shot in the chest And every time he coughed He turned his sky-blue eyes To look at the shoes That watched like dogs The infirmary cot.
Non ho niente Non ho niente Proprio niente Che sia mio. Anche le mani Hanno cessato Di essere mie. Even my hands Have ceased to be mine. They belong to this bony gun which in the dark resembles me. Waiting for Nothing Light has not been my friend On the earth nor water my sister. The amiable rain water That like a mother puts to sleep The old tax collector And the young frog.
I would have liked to close the sky Like a simple door To remain all day Hidden in the grass Waiting for nothing. Journal of Italian Translation Poems in English by Rina Ferrarelli translated into Italian Dreamsearch I was back in that other country again last night those narrow streets familiar and strange. I walked on the worn stone in the shadow of houses looking for a door looking for a face and again I woke up too soon.
Back to the Source Granite and river stone worn by walking, wide sloping steps with short rises the steep descent but not the straight path of a torrent sharp turns and small wide bends where walls jut out alleys come in I always go up in my dreams upstream back to the source. At your features, your expression.
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She wanted you to smile off the frame, inside the frame and sometimes you did. Divestiture She unpinned the folds of white linen eloquent of place, loosened the loops and braided knots, and combed her hair into a bun. She untied her apron, took off one by one the pleated skirts, the black jacket with wide velvet cuffs, the padded camisole, the long shirt articulate with lace.
Then stepped into a dress skimpier than a slip, and naked, exposed like that, my grandmother came to America. Linens Plain weaves, twills and herringbones, woven at home linen on linen, linen on cotton. Some are still uncut—a band of warp threads separating one napkin, one towel from the other—but most are decorated with needlepoint lace. Nei tuoi lineamenti, la tua espressione. Gli altri sono tutti ricamati ad intaglio. My mother, the more delicate one, the one who wanted to get away, sat where the light fell on her hands, and pulling out the weft threads her sister had worked into a tight fabric, restructured the space with floss, white on white openwork borders, arabesqued windows.
Rough- or fine-textured, the linens I was saving were meant to survive soaking in hot water and ashes, milling on the rocks. I machine wash them and when the weather is good, hang them outside, the way women still do over there, stretching them into shape while damp. Most are holding up well; a few show signs of wear, but not from use.
It was keeping them safe in a trunk for so many years that weakened the fabric. The Bridge Progress has finally come to the forgotten South. A new superstrada wide and straight as none before bypasses the shelf of road the sharp-angled bridge. The cross by the roadside reminds the few of us who remember fewer all the time of the men who died there hitting the rocks of the stream when their truck went off the road.
Seven men who knew how to do without how to turn in a small place taking nothing for granted. The bridge is crumbling purple flowers grow out of the wall. Ruvidi o fini, i panni che conservavo erano fatti per superare le prove del ranno e delle pietre. Sette uomini che sapevano far senza, che si muovevano nello stesso piccolo spazio senza prendere niente per scontato. Il ponte si sta sgretolando, fiori viola spuntano dal muro.
Broomflowers Chrome yellow against green stems in bunches on the reddish dirt even-spaced rows like a pattern on a quilt. Is this new or have I forgotten as I forgot the nightingale singing in the trees below the wall— what did I know then about nightingales— the row of stones holding the tiles down at the edge of the roof?
On the breeze a whiff of their scent, delicate pleasing. The sun is down now, the sky turning indigo, but their yellow endures on the slope below the parapet. Inside rough bouquets in earthenware jars. Le ginestre Luccicano gialle contro i fusti verdi a mazzi sulla terra rossiccia file diritte e uguali come i disegni delle coperte nostrane. Dentro casa mazzi alla buona in vasi di terracotta. Italian Translation of Poems by W. Ha lavorato per 30 anni presso la Inland Steel Com- pany di Chicago.
City Culture and the Madrigal at Venice
Dal al ha lavorato come tutore in Francia, Portogallo e Majorca. Ma soprattutto rimane un poeta che ci sorprende, che continuamente sorpassa le frontiere di una facile ammirazione. Ha pubblicato: il saggio Animali parlanti. Montale , Litania del perduto Prato , testo a fronte in inglese. Life, when all has been lost and the blame falls on the one who did not throw the rock, the blind man who without that singular limb the leg ripped from the belly in spite of the others, all three straight and strong cannot make his own dog return.
Echo falling from the past whale beached upon the future, maybe remedy to an everyday life such conditional going in peace at the end of the rite. Musicista, traduttrice, scrittrice in italiano, inglese e francese, ha pubblicato racconti e soprattutto poesie: Variazioni belliche , Serie ospedaliera , Documento , Impromptu , Sleep , in inglese. Conto di farla finita con le forme, i loro bisbigliamenti, i loro contenuti contenenti tutta la urgente scatola della mia anima la quale indifferente al problema farebbe meglio a contenersi.
Giocattoli sono le strade e infermiere sono le abitudini distrutte da un malessere generale. Toys are streets and nurses are habits destroyed by a general sickness. Estinguere la passione bramosa! Piazza Nicolai-Merwin-Rosselli-Bigon without passion or wanting to forget it I who burned with passion the passion extinguished in the burning I who burned with pain at seeing passion thus extinguished.
To extinguish covetous passion! To distinguish passion from the true yearning for extinguished passion extinguish everything that is extinguish everything that rhymes with is: extinguish myself, the passion the passion burning so fiercely that it put itself out: Extinguish the passion for self! She is also profoundly interested in poetry and has published three vol- umes: Bartering for Dreams Clessidra, , English translation by Adeodato Piazza Nicolai , Blacklight Maseratense, and Searching for O Panda, On occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Vajont tragedy, she edited the commemorative volume Vajont.
I corpi allungati Salgono le voci al Dio piangente lamento, anime e lance sotto la gola, inchiodano corazze e morsi nel violetto senza pace. Voce solitaria la parola del mondo mi grida dentro, quasi urla. Piazza Nicolai-Merwin-Rosselli-Bigon The Long Bodies Voices lift up to the plangent God lament, souls and lances beneath the throat, nailing breastplates and clamps in the violet without peace.
The mists wrap around the hills prayers, drops of water on the stones. A lonely voice the word of the world that rips me within, almost yells. Others populate the echo of human depth feeding itself on the time and the place, without end. Dressed in black the long bodies are almost lost in the drawn faces of a people consumed by the look of one who is begging for justice no longer in the hour of death but of forgiveness.
Grottesco come stare seduti sul ramo di un albero a parlare da soli. Non so se vale la pena fingere che tutto sia ideale. Paragrafo assurdo: non buttare via la pura finzione. Forse esclude la ragione ma il campo si allarga ovunque ci sia una misura di grandezza, e mentre ci si illude si perdono le radici.
Vorresti il tuo albero quercia di luce con le radici strette nella terra. It is so incredibly distant maybe never a part of this world across what fissure will the camel come to pass? Reality unravels sleepwalking across a surreal landscape, bugs everywhere — blossoming lies with an overview in perspective ascetic glaciers, surviving lymph. Oak Tree or Leaf August flies off like a leaf across the tree tops with someone who blows beneath it to make it fly.
That silvery filament binding spirits to the earth fades away into thin air. You would like your tree as an oak made of light with roots dug deep into the ground. Insistente il falsetto si fa stridulo sapendo di mentire io tu e gli altri. Mattone su mattone costruisci il castello invisibile con le tante serrature a manico.
Nemmeno una nuvola. Non rimane che un feticcio di polvere. Voragine di corvo strapiomba il sereno ma non spezza le radici. Il gesto sonoro segna soltanto una melodia malata. The half-lie scratches insistently aware of its falsehood me you and the others. Brick on brick you build the invisible castle filled with handles and latches. Not even one cloud. What to believe in if all is smoke that pertains to pale longitudes to implausible structures like eddies in the storms?
A fetish of dust hangs behind. The musical touch signals no more than a sickened note dissonance that does not frighten the donkey, its bray makes no sense even if nightly the moon lights up its pelt. In the end what can happen? His translation of Giovanni Raboni will be published this year by Chelsea Editions. Giovanni Raboni, born in Milan in , worked as an editor and critic. His many volumes of poetry are gathered in Tutte le poesie , which was followed by a final collection, Barlumi di storia, in He died in September Giovanni Raboni T he more I have read, thought about, and translated the poetry of Giovanni Raboni, the more convinced have I become that he is one of the great poets, and perhaps the single greatest Italian poet, of our time.
Raboni, I believe, more than fulfills all of these expectations, and it is this depth and variety in his work that I have tried to communicate, both in the book-length selection I am preparing and in the cross-section of that manuscript presented here. In keeping pace with it, I have tried also to keep pace with the smaller effects on which the larger ones often depend—not just the hendecasyllabic undercarriage and the rhymes where they occur , but also the parallelisms, the alliteration, the abrupt tonal shifts, the restless enjambment that characterizes so many of the sonnets, and so on.
Technique, of course, is merely a means to an end, and it is the ends that I have tried most to reflect—the striking and often quirky angle of insight peculiar to his vision and now and then simply peculiar ; the passionate moral, social, and political concern; the preoccupation, at times almost an obsession, with illness and death; the tenderness of late love.
These are the things that impress us most forcefully and remain with us most deeply as we watch Raboni bear witness to the private pains and joys of his life and to the public shames and outrages of his times. Qui, diceva mio padre, conveniva venirci col coltello Ma quello che hanno fatto, distruggere le case, distruggere quartieri, qui e altrove, a cosa serve? Se mio padre fosse vivo, chiederei anche a lui: ti sembra che serva? Lezioni di economia politica Cosa vuoi che ti dica. Uno come lui, capisci, era per forza il nostro uomo con i suoi colletti rotondi e duri, la spilla, le scarpe da vampiro.
Down here, my father said, you were well advised to carry a knife with you Ah yes, the Canal is just a few steps away, the fog was thicker back then, before they covered it Is this the way? Lessons of Political Economy What do you want me to tell you? Bambino morto di fatica ecc. Little Boy Dead of Exhaustion Etc. And you, if by some chance you were to faint, if no one else was there then you might bleed to death.
For which behavior, you sentimentally suggest, he really should be thanked, no amiable or brutal quack having lifted a single finger there to willingly according to our will scrape it away. Personcina Quando dorme se lo chiami muove un orecchio solo. Succhia latte nei sogni dalla sua mamma morta. Morde biscotti. Con le zampe assapora scialli e maglioni. Dorme sui fogli. Usa un libro per cuscino. With love, do you see? He gnaws biscuits. He adores the taste of coffee grounds. He savors with his paws shawls and thick pullovers. He sleeps on leaves. He uses a book for a head cushion.
Gli addii Ogni tanto mi sforzo di ricordarli: il ladro di verdura, il matto, la servante au grand coeur, il medico ecc. Strano gioco, ho paura, e assai poco redditizio. He quivers, green eyes marking the to and fro of pigeons. The Farewells Every once in a while I try to recall them all, the vegetable thief, the madman, and la servante au grand coeur, the physican, etc. How much time has gone by! It hardly serves to swallow sedatives, to numb the nerves and brain, the problem really is the soul, the soul that wants no peace, the stubborn soul insatiable in its burning swoops and swerves through ever more laughably difficult drops and curves in chasms or labyrinths, and we know the soul is not just immortal but immortally immature.
I feel them, lighter than the air, as they graze me, split the goodness of the air, not exiles but commuters of the air in transit between fog and gold. Yes, it is true the curtain is still raised, and every evening there is still a show— but now there are no winners in our plays, no losers, and no blood, and no bouquets. And while you appear preoccupied by a variety of more innocuous tasks, you still permit your eyes to charm and warm themselves in it, brave and foolish as they are Ma cosa dico? Era fascista? What am I saying? Was he a Fascist? Of course he was—the way that those who pounded him were one of them from Masnago and the rest from Induno: by being born there.
Never would those of us who were from those parts be so atrociously innocent again. He is a poet and essayist whose interests range from contem- porary poetry to photography, to cinema and music. He teaches at the Uni- versity of California, San Diego. Most of his life was however spent in Rome, where he was a teacher. His works, carefully exploration into the sparcity of language and expression, generally have dealt with human relations resultant from war, deracination, existential and spiritual conflict. His literary activity included translation from the French of the works of Proust, Baudelaire, Celine, de Maupasant, Genete and Apollinaire.
He came to me deliberately of this I am certain to make a gift of it. I can no longer find trace of it. I see again in the leaving day the thin face whitefluted. The sleeve in lace. The grace, so gentle and germanic in its offering. A wind of impact - an air almost siliceous chills now the room. Is it the blade of a knife? Torment beyond the glass and wood - closed - of the shutter? I can no longer find sign of it. No trace. I ask the morgana. Conosco le cretacee porte che danno sul mare. Sul bosco. Ma i cardini della nascita?
I cardini della morte? Parts - remote - the dawning mouth, but does not speak. She cannot - nothing can - anwer. I no longer hope to find her. I have too jealously irrecoverably hidden her. Reasons The reasons for light. For shadow. I know them. I know the cretaceous doors that lead to the sea. The woods. But the reasons for birth? Like Willaert's madrigals, many of Rore's set full sonnets by Petrarch,. Rice, Jr. John Monfasani and Ronald G. Musto New York, , pp. Yet his madrigals ventured more dramatic and expressive gestures than Willaert's. They contrasted melodies that were sometimes more cantabile than Willaert would invent, at other times rougher and more irregular.
Such biographical fragments as survive about Willaert and Rore might tentatively be related to differences in their music. As a servant to Italian patrons from or and chapelmaster of San Marco from , Willaert's connection with the Venetian establishment seems relatively straightforward. Contemporary accounts saw in him the mythological personification of Venice, an embodiment of the modest reserve demanded of its nobles and figured in its stately images.
In his pupil Girolamo Parabosco's comedy La notte called him "so kind, gentle, and modest that one could set him as an example of all manner of other virtues. Willaert was thus an arm of the state whose position demanded unfaltering loyalty to the republic's self-image and its long-standing ideals. The Procuratori approved Willaert's suitability in the record of his appointment with the epithet "circumspectus vir" a deliberate or cautious man ,  a characterization on which numerous variations were rung in popular literature during his subsequent tenure.
Thus, despite his northern origins — and, as we will see, despite the fact that he enjoyed the private patronage of the elite Florentine nobleman Neri Capponi — Willaert was wholly assimilated to a Venetian image and made instrumental in its representation. Rore's orientation to Venetian cultural and musical habits is far more ambiguous. His biography remains cratered despite information that he probably resided in Brescia from at least until possibly or It seems doubtful that he ever lived in Venice, except perhaps briefly early in his career and then without a regular appointment.
Only two documents allude to such a relationship between them: one, an. Mark's," p. On Rore's trip s to Venice, where he delivered compositions to Capponi, see Chap.
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But these tell us only in fact that in the late forties some people in Venice had begun to describe Rore as a follower of Willaert's practice. It is rather more pointed testimony to an association with Florentine exiles. Yet in their broad contours, if not their idiomatic details, Rore's madrigals of the s embrace a style whose identity is otherwise exclusively the province of composers resident in Venice and the Veneto: Willaert, his students at San Marco — principally Parabosco, Perissone Cambio, and Baldassare Donato — and, beginning in the later s, composers in the Veneto like Giovanni Nasco, Francesco Portinaro, and Vincenzo Ruffo.
Any attempt to explain Venice's effect on the course of secular music through its larger cultural themes, then, will be complicated both by the elusive genealogy of Venetian madrigal writing and by the complex and tacit place its various incarnations occupied in the city's larger cultural patterns. It may be all the more significant, therefore, that one of the few from a Venetian dominion, a native of nearby Chioggia, became the foremost explicator and apologist for the Venetian idiom.
Gioseffo Zarlino, theorist, teacher, and later chapelmaster, played a crucial role in clarifying for later generations the aesthetic impulses and compositional habits of contemporaneous Venetian musicians. His first publication, the imposing Istitutioni harmoniche of , assumed the daunting task of codifying a style whose constant shifts and irregularities made it all but impossible to systematize. In this his role was unique, for his exegeses of Venetian counterpoint, modes, and text setting were only faintly anticipated by his predecessors and abandoned by his successors.
Chief among the former is the Venetian Giovanni del Lago, whose sketchy, derivative writings from around only hint at the new horizons. Without this written witness we would have virtually nothing from the mouths of musicians themselves. More plentiful explanations of Venetian thinking come from literati, whose accounts complement those of del Lago and Zarlino.
Literary figures wrote abundantly on poetics, vernacular style, grammar, imitation, the questione della lingua, and genre, and in a wide range of forms: rhetorical handbooks, letters, commentaries, dialogues, and treatises. The large, rapid production of these. Bonnie J. Blackburn, 2 vols. Chicago, , Yet the term used there is discepolo, like that in the title page of the print, Fantasie, et ricerchari a tre voci RISM 34 also printed by Girolamo Scotto , a term that often meant "follower" i. Ultimately, musical and literary writings of mid-cinquecento Venice illuminate one another, both of them translating Ciceronian precepts of style while imposing on them their own idiosyncrasies and formal demands.
In some way, virtually all these theoretical writings were dominated by the Venetian Pietro Bembo's dialogue on the questione della lingua, Prose della volgar lingua of , a work whose relevance to secular music has been recognized for some time. Bembo's Prose recast Ciceronian rhetorical precepts in the terms of trecento Tuscan literary style. In this study I take Bembo's transformations of Ciceronian canons as central to a tropology of Venice that interconnects civic identity, rhetorical principles, and expressive idioms.
I argue that Bembo merged Venetian mythology with ancient rhetoric in a way that made one particular meaning of decorum — that of moderation — the all-embracing, universal principle of his stylistics; and further, that this principle functioned as an inseparable corollary of variazione, calling the latter into service as a means of tempering extremes in order to avoid too intense an emphasis on any one style or affect. In proposing this scheme Bembo claimed Petrarch as his model for the vernacular lyric.
Bembo's Prose tried to codify and make imitable Petrarch's rime for readers whose linguistic style he hoped to shape. Yet Petrarch's lyrics had already come to hold an unequalled appeal for the indigenous society that formed Bembo's most eager audience. Among the aspects of Petrarchan verse that appealed to Bembo and to the rhetorical culture for which he wrote was its delicate interplay of verbal sounds as Dean Mace has pointed up. This is the facet of his poetics that has commanded the greatest attention of music historians, interested in its effect on contemporaneous madrigalists.
Nonetheless, I argue that Petrarch's continual undercutting of verbal utterance through oxymoron and paradox symbolized even more importantly the reserve on which Venetians claimed to insist in other domains. Coupled with its intricate plays of verbal-psychic wit, this poetics, not surprisingly, entranced a society bound by civic habit to discreet emotional display and simultaneously absorbed in a stylized self-presentation.
By explicating Petrarch in Ciceronian terms, Bembo implicitly located his lyrics in the performative domain. So doing he underscored the concerns and biases of his Venetian readers and granted them what must have seemed a deeply satisfying endorsement and an irrefutable authority. In the succeeding pages I try to enlarge these themes to consider Venice's signal role in steering Italian secular music on a new course. Enlargement in this sense means something like the magnification one gets when peering through a lens.
For in drawing repeatedly on sources like Tomitano's letter that stand outside the immediate business of making madrigals, I try to picture close up the intricate cultural weave of which madrigals were a part and to reconstruct aspects of its palpable form. My aim is not to find in these far-flung sources exact mirrors of the madrigalists' ideals or the aesthetic structures they built. Rather, it is to develop, figuratively speaking, a colloquy between various players in Venice and to discover in the city's multiple texts a way to contemplate the diverse meanings and eclectic processes that involved madrigals in larger cultural patterns.
On the path to finishing this book I received invaluable help from many institutions and countless friends and colleagues. A Fellowship for University Teachers from the National Endowment for the Humanities provided me with an indispensable year's leave from teaching, during which most of the writing was done. To all of these I am deeply appreciative. At the University of California Press I benefited from the expert skills of my acquisitions editor Doris Kretschmer and project editor Rose Vekony and from astute copyediting by Fronia W.
I am grateful for helpful comments I received from two readers solicited by the press, James Haar, a longtime source of stimulating dialogue on Italian madrigals, and Dean Mace. Many of them are thanked in footnotes where it has been possible to point to a particular debt. There are several others whose roles I must acknowledge more specially. Tita Rosenthal offered probing comments and copious bibliographical advice on Chapters 1 through 6 and made Venice an altogether richer place for me.
Gary Tomlinson, at first the advisor on my dissertation, has since been a continual interlocutor on madrigals and histories. He knows how important our conversations have been to me over many years, for which I could not begin to thank him here.
My friend and colleague Howard Mayer Brown gave me many lively conversations and insights on cinquecento music and countless other topics, scholarly and otherwise. Before his sudden death in Venice on 20 February , every page of this book was intended to elicit his sharp reading. At every turn my husband, Thomas Bauman, has contributed his critical acuity as well as his remarkable skills as a writer, linguist, musician, editor, and computer whiz. I have been abashed and touched by his colossal support over all this time. And I have been blessed by the good humor, affection, and patience of Emily and Rebecca Bauman.
Finally a few words about the dedication. I take leave of this project deeply aware that what I have tried to envision in the nexus of people's language, their pictures, their music, and their city had its origins in my parents' house. The example they gave me to imagine worlds beyond our own cannot be measured in words. I dedicate this book to them with the sort of tender appreciation that the frailty of life makes only sweeter. Mid-sixteenth-century Venice was arrayed in such a way that no single mogul, family, or neighborhood was in a position to monopolize indigenous activity in arts or letters.
Venice was a city of dispersal. Laced with waterways, the city took its shape from its natural architecture. The wealthy houses of the large patriciate, scattered throughout the city's many parishes, kept power bases more or less decentralized. Apart from the magnetic force of San Marco — the seat of governmental activities and associated civic ritual — no umbrella structure comparable to that of a princely court brought its people and spaces into a single easily comprehended matrix.
As a commercial and maritime city, Venice offered multiplicity in lieu of centralization. It offered rich possibilities for dynamic interchange between the wide assortment of social and professional types that constantly thronged there — patricians, merchants, popolani, tourists, students, seamen, exiles, and diplomats. Local patricians contributed to this decentralization by viewing the whole of the lagoon as common territory rather than developing attachments to particular neighborhoods — a quality in which they differed from nobles of many other Italian towns. Since most extended families owned properties in various parishes and sestieri the six large sections into which the city still divides , neighborhoods had only a circumscribed role as bases of power and operation; indeed, it was not uncommon for nuclear families to move from one parish to another.
The great exception was patrician women. Their lives outside the home were basically restricted to their immediate parishes, at least so long as their nuclear families stayed in a single dwelling see Romano, pp. In this, Venetian practice reflected generalized sixteenth-century attitudes that tended to keep women's social role a domestic one. We can easily imagine that Venetian salon life profited from the constant circulation of bodies throughout the city, as well as from the correlated factors of metropolitan dispersion and the city's relative freedom from hierarchy.
Palaces and other grand dwellings constituted collectively a series of loose social nets, slack enough to comprehend a varied and changeable population. This urban makeup differed from the fixed hierarchy of the court, which pointed structurally, at least to a single power center, absolute and invariable, that tried to delimit opportunities for profit and promotion. There, financial entrepreneurialism and social advancement could generally be attempted only within the strict perimeters defined by the prince and the infrastructure that supported him.
The lavish festivals, entertainments, and monuments funded by courtly establishments accordingly concentrated, by and large, on the affirmation of princely glory or, at the very least, tended to mirror more directly the monolithic interests of prince and court. With less enthusiastic patrons, like Florence's Cosimo I de' Medici beginning in and thus coinciding with the Venetian period I focus on here , centralization and authoritarian control could straitjacket creative production according to the narrowly defined wishes of the ruling elite. In the worst of cases they could suffocate it almost completely.
Structural differences between court and city that made themselves felt in cultural production were thus enmeshed with political ones. In contrast to the courts, the Venetian oligarchy thrived on a broad-based system of rule and, by extension, patronage. Within this system individual inhabitants could achieve success by exploiting the city in the most varied ways — through business, trade, or maritime interests, banking, political offices, academic and artistic activities.
Such a pliable setup depended in part on numerous legal mechanisms that, formally at least, safe-guarded equality within the patrician rank. Robert S. Iain Fenlon and James Haar, writing on Cosimo I's effect on madrigalian developments in Florence, propose that the end of republican Florence initiated the degeneration of individual patronage dominated by the family. The Medici restoration, they recall, led to an exodus of painters, sculptors, and musicians from the city The Italian Madrigal, pp.
In order to maintain the symmetries of patrician power and an effective system of checks and balances, a large number of magistracies and councils shared the decision-making process, and the vast majority of offices turned over after very brief, often six-month, terms. This made for a cumbersome, mazelike governmental structure that led many observers to comment wryly on the likeness of topography and statecraft in the city. In the late fifteenth century a complex of attitudes guarding against the perils of self-interest found expression in a series of checks advanced by the ruling group to counter the self-magnifying schemes of several doges — schemes epitomized by the building of triumphal architecture like the Arco Foscari, which verged on representing the doge as divinely ordained.
The patriciate ventured if hesitantly to extend these mechanisms to include some nonpatricians. Despite the inequities and stratification that divided nobles from the next rank of residents on the descending social ladder, the cittadini and even more from the still lower popolani , the Venetian aristocracy by tradition and a long-standing formula for republican success had accustomed itself to making certain efforts to appease classes excluded from governmental rule. The success achieved by the mid-sixteenth century in checking the doges' schemes is attested by the English translator of Gasparo Contarini's De magistratibus, Lewes Lewkenor, who showed astonishment that the patriciate reacted as casually to the death of a doge as to the death of any other patrician: "There is in the Cittie of Venice no greater alteration at the death of their Duke, then at the death of any other private Gentleman" pp.
King's interpretation of the interaction of class, culture, and power in quattrocento Venice would argue that the political power of the ruling patrician elite extended far enough into what she calls "the realm of culture" — by which she means the culture of the "humanist group" — as to control them in a unique way see pp. See also Romano, Patricians and "Popolani," pp.
On institutions of charity run by citizens and nobles for popolani see the classic work of Brian Pullan, Rich and Poor in Renaissance Venice: The Social Institutions of a Catholic State to Oxford, , and on confraternities generally in the period, Christopher F. For a study that tries to debunk emphases on Venetian traditions of charity by stressing patrician corruption and the split between civic ideals and reality see Donald E.
Queller's view seems to me equally problematic in invoking an alternate "reality" as true, rather than traversing the dialectics of various realities and representations. They could ship cargo on state galleys. And they maintained the exclusive right to hold offices in the great lay confraternities, the scuole grandi. While many cittadini, as well as plebeians and foreigners, were doomed to frustration in their search for power and position, others experienced considerable social and economic success.
At the very least many had come to view their circumstances as malleable, there to be negotiated with the right manoeuvres. The collective self-identity that promoted various attitudes of equality and magnanimity both within and without the patriciate was expressed with considerable fanfare in official postures. Gradually, the underlying ideals had come to be projected in numerous iconic variations on the city's evolving civic mythology.
By the fourteenth century, for instance, Venice added to its mythological symbolism the specter of Dea Roma as Justice, seated on a throne of lions and bearing sword and scales in her two hands Plate 4. By such a ploy the city extended its claim as the new Rome while reminding onlookers of its professed fairness, its balanced constitution, and its domestic harmony. This conjunction of morality and might was reiterated in a series of bird's-eye maps, the most remarkable of which was Jacopo de' Barbari's famous woodcut of Plate 5. Set at the extremities of its central vertical axis are powerful representations of Mercury atop a cloud and Neptune riding a spirited dolphin Plate 6 — iconography as vital to the city's image as its serpentine slews of buildings and its urban backwaters.
Venice's geography played a real part in encouraging the city's social elasticity. The circuitous structure of the lagoon made for a constant rubbing of elbows between different classes that Venetians seemed to take as a natural part of daily affairs. When the eccentric English traveler Thomas Coryat visited the city in the.
For a single poetic example in which Venice is linked with Justice, see Chap. The peculiar habits Coryat observed among the Venetian aristocracy accord with its ideological rejection of showy displays of personal spending expressly forbidden by strict sumptuary laws — displays that were de rigueur in court towns like nearby Ferrara and Mantua. Big outlays of cash were supposed to be reserved mainly for public festivals that glorified the Venetian community as a whole.
In the private sphere they could be funneled into lasting investments capable of adding to the permanent legacy of an extended family group, but not in theory made for more transitory or personal luxuries. Many individual cases of self-glorifying osten-. But part of their price was a certain dissonance with established mores, which assigned thrift an emphatic place within the official civic scheme.
Coryat himself characterized the idiosyncratic shopping habits of the patriciate — and, we might note, with considerable qualms — as "a token indeed of frugality. It was one ritualized in any number of ways — to cite a single instance, in the conspicuous insistence on modest burials that one finds repeatedly in Counter-Reformational Venetian wills. Both patricians and nonpatricians acknowledged the custom, as evinced by Willaert's quintessentially Venetian request for a burial "con mancho pompa si possa" with as little pomp as possible.
All of these factors — decentralization, an institutionalized egalitarianism in policy if often not in practice , and the substantial presence of foreign exiles, travelers, businessmen, diplomats, and military men — contributed to Venice's prolific artistic and intellectual domestic life. Yet the snug sociological picture of divided authority and pluralistic harmony that we might tend to draw from them tells only part of the story. Personal impulses made strange bedfellows with public ideals, and in Venice the latter took their place as only one set of faiths among many others.
Venice was above all a paradoxical city. Among the deepest instances of its divided consciousness was that Venetians of the early to mid-sixteenth century who linked themselves to high culture lived in a peculiarly ambivalent counterpose to the court culture from which their city's paradigm was supposed to depart.
As a group they prized and flaunted their ideals of freedom, justice, concord, and modesty, while envying much of the apparent exclusivity, homogeneity, and even absolutism that courtly structures seemed to offer. This tension tempered the civic, rhetorical, social, and aesthetic domains that I aim to draw together here. Let me begin to explore it by turning briefly to the Venetians' manifesto of literary style, Pietro Bembo's Prose della volgar lingua. As I show in Chapter 5, Bembo's Prose advanced a smooth, exclusive diction with the same claims to indisputable authority that tend to characterize aspects of sixteenth-century court production.
It translated the harmonious heterogeneity idealized in Venice's oligarchy into the terms of literary style. The temptation to read the Prose as a conflation of courtly values with Venetian civic ones is encouraged by knowledge of Bembo's upbringing and early adulthood. Although he was inculcated with republican ideals, Bembo's youthful experiences with his father, Bernardo, had been tinged with the court.
As a boy in he spent time at the Florentine court of Lorenzo de' Medici, which was attended by the Neoplatonic philosopher.
Marsilio Ficino and the poet-playwright Angelo Poliziano. This, and Bembo's subsequent sojourn at the court of Urbino, helped authorize him to appear as central spokesman on Neoplatonic love in the courtly manual par excellence, Castiglione's dialogue Il cortegiano, first drafted in ; by this time Bembo had already written Books 1 and 2 of the Prose, and he completed Book 3 while serving as papal secretary at still another court, that of Pope Leo X. The intersection of Bembo's biography with Castiglione's text suggests yet another way to consider Venice's codification of courtly values.
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One of the tropes shared by Il cortegiano and the Prose is that of decorum, which dictates that style should always be modified to suit given occasions and subjects. If their shared commitment to decorum did not lead each author to the same linguistic and lexical norms, with Bembo advocating a formal Tuscan that diverged from the lingua cortegiana favored by Castiglione, it nonetheless points to deeper impulses that form a common substratum between them. Such impulses are expressed in the persona Castiglione urges on the ideal courtier, a persona rooted in a gestalt that goes beyond the particular form of any momentary rhetorical stance.
As Wayne A. Rebhorn has claimed, its essence lies in a perpetual desire to conform to whatever subject or situation is at hand. Castiglione elaborates the notion in Book 2, Chap. At bottom he.
Brucker, Renaissance Florence New York, , pp. For a revisionist view that calls into question the elitism and isolationism traditionally thought to typify Ficino's Florentine circle, see Arthur Field, The Origins of the Platonic Academy of Florence Princeton, , esp. Field's argument however is mainly relevant to conditions of the Florentine context itself, for it rethinks realities of the Laurentian court, rather than the modes by which outsiders typically idealized it. Girolamo Arnaldi and Manlio Pastore Stocchi, vol. Robert W. Hanning and David Rosand New Haven, , esp.
All of this stoical decorum adds up to a well-tended, varied performance, as the continuation of Federico's explanation makes clear: "Therefore the courtier must know how to avail himself of the virtues, and sometimes set one in contrast or opposition with another in order to draw more attention to it" emphasis mine. Style was varied for effect. Federico elaborates the idea in a lengthy analogy between the courtier's mixing of virtues and the painter's chiaroscuro. This is what a good painter does when by the use of shadow he distinguishes clearly the light on his reliefs, and similarly by the use of light deepens the shadows of plane surfaces and brings different colors together in such a way that each one is brought out more sharply through the contrast; and the placing of figures in opposition to each other assists the painter in his purpose.
In the same way, gentleness is most impressive in a man who is a capable and courageous warrior; and just as his boldness is magnified by his modesty, so his modesty is enhanced and more apparent on account of his boldness. Yet such contrast must be carried off "discreetly" and without obvious "affectation": that is the key to success, since those slight inflections of display will act to entrance the beholder. Bembo insisted on these qualities for the writer perhaps even more strenuously than Castiglione did for the general courtier. Like Castiglione, Bembo depoliticized.
See also numerous essays in Hanning and Rosand, eds. Ettore Bonora, 2d ed. Bull, p. Ciceronian rhetorical norms in the process, replacing the dynamic involvement with current affairs that inspired Cicero's oratorical model with cerebral ideals of refined detachment. Courtly ways were no more excised from the elastic social fabric of Venice than from its literary norms; rather they existed in varying degrees of comfort side by side with indigenous republican ones.
The model of the princely establishment even had its analogue in the internal structure of the Venetian government. The doge, although an elected official of the state, had minimal control over policy. He stood in for Venetians as a kind of princely surrogate, divested of real political power but heavily imbued with symbolic force. His principal functions were to guard civic values and to maintain an overarching awareness of public issues.
Even the Venetian political historian Gasparo Contarini admitted that the doge's exterior was one of "princely honor, dignitie, and royall appearing shew. The paradox of the doge remains a telling one. As Edward Muir has written, "in this image one can see the nexus at which many of the tensions in Venetian society. Bouwsma, Venice and the Defense of Republican Liberty: Renaissance Values in the Age of the Counter Reformation Berkeley and Los Angeles, , discusses the tendency in cinquecento Venice toward standardization and fixity in academic matters, relating its presence in Bembo to his lack of interest in contemporary events of historical importance pp.
Thomas M. Greene, The Light in Troy: Imitation and Discovery in Renaissance Poetry New Haven, , similarly links the formal perfection sought by Bembo to a "refusal to respond to contemporary history" p. Carlo Dionisotti, Geografia e storia della letteratura italiana Turin, , notes in "Chierici e laici" that Bembo's detachment from political consciousness and service represents a striking break from an earlier Venetian tradition of the scholar-public servant p. Finally, on the Venetian nobility's retreat from the urban realities of commerce, trade, banking, and shipbuilding in the sixteenth century in favor of more idealized existences linked to mainland farming and real estate see Brian Pullan, "The Occupations and Investments of the Venetian Nobility in the Midto Late-Sixteenth Century," in ibid.
The inherent conflict between Castiglione's monarchism and Bembo's republicanism is taken up by Woodhouse, Baldesar Castiglione, pp. Herein lay another paradox to catch Venetians in an existential bind: despite the much-restricted ideological place assigned to luxuria, the city had more than a healthy share of it in domains outside the strictly communal.
This, after all, was the same city that revealed to the artistic world sensuous new realms of color and light and boasted the most beautiful women in Europe. Like its elegant palazzi and gracious waterways, its resistance to invasion, and its invincibility at sea, sensual beauty and luxuriance formed fabled parts of Venetian lore. Many a foreigner commented on the richness and delights to be had in the city, even while remarking on its odd habits of thrift and modesty.
As well as being skilled conversationalists and writers, many of these courtesans were singers, often apparently improvising and accompanying themselves on instruments such as the lute or spinet — this in an age that sheltered women closely and kept most nonpatrician women illiterate. The honest courtesan's success in sixteenth-century Venice thus offers a paradigm for how the city, with its pliable and equivocal social structures, could become an extraordinary resource for inhabitants not born into a full measure of its benefits.
Mayer London, , pp. For further on this see Margaret F. Margaret W. Ferguson, Maureen Quilligan, and Nancy J. Vickers Chicago, , pp. For an important collection of essays emphasizing the resources offered for the fashioning of identity by the ambiguities and social complexities of early modern city life see Susan Zimmerman and Ronald F. Weissman, eds. Nancy K. Miller New York, , pp. A few managed to gain fame through the press, plying the arena of public discourse in order to advance their social and economic positions.
The most remarkable of these women was Veronica Franco, a cittadina and daughter of a procuress who became a major poet in the s and an intimate of the literary salon of Domenico Venier. In one noted instance she parried a detractor by boasting an array of linguistic arms.
Franco's bravura served her well in the ambivalent world that cherished the honest courtesan even as it scorned her. As Margaret F. Rosenthal and Ann Rosalind Jones have shown, in speaking out in areas where women had been largely silenced, vaunting her proficiencies in the verbal arts and challenging her defamer in the terms of a male duel, Franco violated a gendered system of rhetorical orthodoxies. Franco was only one of many nonpatricians who ameliorated their marginal social positions by utilizing the city's opportunities for self-promotion and social. Abdelkader Salza Bari, , no.
Jones, "City Women and Their Audiences," p. Another, outstanding for our purposes, was Willaert's student, the organist, composer, and vernacular author Girolamo Parabosco, a Piacentine who arrived in Venice around Like her, too, he came from a bourgeois family. In the humble words he professed to Giovanni Andrea dell'Anguillara:.
Not his birth but his virtue makes a man worthy of honor, Parabosco claims, not rank but merit. He himself is no nobleman, not to say Tuscan — that is, linguistic aristocratic — but a mere citizen from modest Lombardy. Later in the same capitolo he alludes to his eminent position in the city as if only to thank those in Venice more highly placed than he. Parabosco's was no mean duty. With this prestigious title, Parabosco held a trump card among literary colleagues in the city's populous salons,. The will is an ironic reminder of cinquecento disarticulations between the real and the represented: by contrast with Parabosco's satiric projections of libertinism in the Lettere amorose, Lettere famigliari, and elsewhere see Chap.
Bianchini, not surprisingly, is credulous on this score; see, for example, pp. Probably ducato is a pun "ducat" as well as "duchy". His position placed him conveniently betwixt and between — between professional musicians and literati, between nobles and commoners — a situation that made good capital in Venetian society. Elsewhere Parabosco pressed the view that real nobility came from inner worth and not from birthright. His letter to Antonio Bargo of 18 November affected shock at Bargo's attempt to ingratiate him with an unworthy acquaintance, at his wanting him "to believe that it is a good thing to revere men who live dishonorably, so long as they come from honorable families.
Parabosco answered Bargo in the spirit of familiar vernacular invective that had recently been popularized by Pietro Aretino and followers of his like Anton-francesco Doni. In meting out satiric censure in letters, capitoli, and sonetti risposti, Parabosco engaged in complicated strategies of challenge and riposte, wielding his interlocutors' rhetoric to his own ends. Defending his comedies against certain nameless critics in a letter to Count Alessandro Lambertino, for instance, he shot off a battery of rejoinders, the last of which protested that "some benevolence" should be shown him in the city of Venice, since with all his "study, diligence, and labor.
Some years earlier, writing the literary theorist Bernardino Daniello along similar. Antonio amico carissimo, io ho ricevuto la vostra de vinisette del passato, nella qual havete vanamente speso una grandissima fatica, volendomi far credere che sia ben fatto portar riverenza a gli huomini, che dishonoratamente vivono ancora che usciti di honorevole famiglia. Bargo is almost surely the same as Antonio Barges, a Netherlandish maestro di cappella at the Casa Grande of Venice between at least and when he transferred to Treviso and a close friend of Parabosco's teacher Willaert.
Richard Nice Cambridge, , pt. Heather Dubrow and Richard Strier Chicago, , pp. Letter dated 5 August Again his protestations were voiced in the language of Venetian panegyric as it was handed down in civic mythology — or a quasi-satiric inflation of it. Apart from his position on the issue of love, he insisted, he "always spoke of the aged with infinite reverence, especially in this sanctified and blessed Venice, today sole defense of Italy and true dwelling of faith, justice, and clemency, in which there are an infinite number [of old people], any one of whom with his prudence could easily govern the Empire of the whole world.
With these paradoxical rhetorical stances, writers like Franco and Parabosco could avail themselves of transgressive possibilities inherent in the diverse literary genres newly stimulated by Venetian print, yet still align themselves with the prevailing power structure. They were at once iconoclasts and panderers. In both roles they seized the chance to shape their own public images, as Franco told her adversary so unequivocally. Doni, the plebeian Florentine son of a scissors maker, represented at its most venal the phenomenon of making capital of the social breach. After an unsatisfying start as a monk, he fled Florence for the life of a nomadic man of letters, arriving in Piacenza in and in Venice the following year.
But I hearten myself with having as much patience to die as they have the stupidity to live. As if to underscore his irreverent manipulation of printed words and the contradictory strategies that the two of them crafted, Doni's letter then made out as if to return Parabosco's laudatory sonnet with a matching risposta. Like Parabosco's, Doni's skill at social climbing played a role in Venetian madrigalian developments, if one more mercenary than musical.
He possessed a rudi-. Girolamo Parabosco [Venice, ], fol. The letter, undated, comes from the First Book, which was first printed in as Lettere amorose. Venier's stanza set by Donato, Chap. Doni's eclecticism depended on the city's flexible structures. It leaned away from the elitist, totalizing aesthetic of Bembo toward the grittier, more syncretistic one that the city paradoxically made possible.
This is evident in his most famous joining of musical and literary worlds, the Dialogo della musica, published in by Girolamo Scotto shortly after Doni's arrival in Venice, in which he playfully recreated the casual evenings of an academic assembly. As noted by Alfred Einstein and James Haar, the first of the Dialogo' s two parts is unmistakably set in provincial Piacenza, where a circle that formed around the poet Lodovico Domenichi took on the title Accademia Ortolana.
Only Arcadelt and da Milano had no strong known connection with Venice. Doni was always fascinated by this sort of academic life. He gives an account of current academies in the last pages of his Seconda libraria Venice, In between they freely interpolate sight-readings of music — mainly madrigals. At the outset the interlocutors decide on the style of their encounters with characteristic self-consciousness.
Once Doni enters the expanded world of Venice in Part 2, new personalities double his resources. Now eight interlocutors are present: Bargo and Michele from Part 1, a woman called Selvaggia, the composers Parabosco and Perissone, Domenichi and Ottavio Landi from Piacenza, and the composer Claudio Veggio, who seems to have been connected with both cities.
Pieces handed out from Michele's pouch [ carnaiolo ] now accommodate up to all eight of those present. Once again the speakers begin with reflections on their relations to one another and remarks on their use of conventions, all the while laughing at their own bows and curtsies. Tanto ch'io son nel numero delle donne onorate e che per mio amore si fa questa musica, io vi ringrazio e v'ho tropp'obbligo e con Parabosco e con tutti. Dico appunto baie, come tu hai cominciato di servidore e di certe cose, che fra noi non s'usano alla reale da' musici, da' pittori, scultori, da' soldati e da' poeti.
Dialogo della musica, p. At this they move on. Doni continues to aim for the informal realism of a private academy, moving the speakers in and out of their commitment to the discourse and sustaining their self-conscious scrutinies. After the initial gallantries Parabosco announces that their company has been ordered to speak about a beautiful woman by Grullone and Oste. Since neither Grullone nor Oste is there, they sing instead a madrigal about a donna bella set by the obscure Noleth.
This prompts a trifling speech by Domenichi on what makes a woman beautiful, in the course of which Doni quotes his own epistolary eulogy of the Piacentine beauty Isabetta Guasca — probably the real-life name of the Dialogo 's Selvaggia. In this way Doni presents the salon not only as a dynamic space for arbitrating different styles and tempers but as a vehicle for self-display and self-fashioning. The salon thus functioned like the occasional and intertextual verse of Franco and Parabosco. Salons encouraged the sort of juggling for position and exposure common to places of barter.
The nobility who formed the salons' main patrons were more receptive to ambitious commoners than they had been before. And by the mid-sixteenth century the means for winning intellectual and artistic recognition within the bustling city had become more diversified and more ample than ever.
Not surprisingly, ambitions proved only more fierce as a result. The ascendency of the private salon following on the heels of Venetian print culture brought quick changes of players, fast renown, rapid dissemination of ideas and artifacts, and above all pressures to excel and adapt quickly to new fashions.
The idea of the marketplace, then, is not just metaphorical, for marketplace economies held a material relevance in the city's salons. The salon was not only the concrete locus of patronage, with all that winning patronage entailed; even more crucially, the busy commercial aspect of the city — with its large mercantile patriciate, its steady influx of well-heeled and cultivated visitors, and its thriving presses — increasingly animated. On Guasca see Haar, "Notes on the Dialogo della musica, " p. Another Piacentine and favorite poet of early madrigalists, Luigi Cassola, addressed her in his Madrigali Venice, , verso of penultimate folio.
For the extensive popular literature containing similar encomia of women see Chap. New Haven, , pp. The heterogeneity and lack of fixity that typified these salons were interwoven threads in a single social fabric. The very immunity of private groups to concrete description, so confounding to the modern historian, lies at the core of their identity. One of their defining characteristics, this loose organization and openness to change was essential to forming competitive groups. Private gatherings in salons, though often described in contemporary literature as accademie a term I use here , were in fact only distant predecessors of more formalized academies that proliferated later in the century.
Instead, they protected their cultural cachet in the safe seclusion of domestic spaces, where discussion, debate, and performance were private. Rather than demanding fixity from either their activities or adherents, they thrived on the easy accommodation and continual intermingling of new ideas and faces. This is true both of academies that concentrated on literary enterprises in the vernacular — poetry, letters, plays, editions, and treatises on popular theories of love and language  — and of those musical academies linked to the circle of Willaert.
The gatherings of Venetian noblemen like Marcantonio Trivisano and Antonio Zantani or of transplanted Florentines like Neri Capponi and Ruberto Strozzi are all known only from scattered accounts and allusions. By reducing them all for convenience to the single epithet academy, I mean to stress their historical relationship to the later groups, but not to confuse their structures with the formalized ones of those later academies.
The generic names applied to academic salons during this time were as changeable as their makeups — accademia, ridotto, adunanza, or cenacolo. Still informative if partly outdated , particularly because they incorporate less-fixed academic groups, are the older studies of Michele Battagia, Delle accademie veneziane: dissertazione storica Venice, , and Michele Maylender, Storia delle accademie d'Italia, 5 vols.
Bologna, See also Achille Olivieri, "L'intellettuale e le accademie fra ' e ' Verona e Venezia," Archivio veneto, 5th ser. Outside this pattern are a very few public-minded and philologically oriented academies that grew up earlier in the century; in the early cinquecento this includes the Neacademia of Aldus Manutius, devoted to Greek scholarship, and at midcentury the Accademia Veneziana, also known as the Accademia della Fama, devoted to an encyclopedic agenda of learning and publication.
In the remainder of Part 1, I try to depict the textures of vernacular patronage in Venice by focusing on the private worlds of figures such as these. Chapter 2 begins with the pair of Florentine exiles Capponi and Strozzi, apparently the main private benefactors of Willaert and Rore, respectively, from about the late s until the mids. As rich aristocrats and singers of domestic music, they represent a kind of private patronage that shunned the popularizing commodifications made by the likes of Parabosco.
They stand in sharp opposition to another foreign patron, Gottardo Occagna, who sponsored prints of vernacular music and letters in Venice from about to Fictitious printed letters to Occagna from Parabosco that feigned public displays of private diversions suggest he colluded with vernacular artists in mounting the Venetian social ladder.
Central to my assessments of both Occagna and the other protagonist of Chapter 3, the patrician Zantani, are the ways in which social images were fashioned through the rhetoric of Petrarchan love lyrics. The juxtaposition of Occagna's and Zantani's cases shows that while those outside the Venetian patriarchy might invert this rhetoric to mobilize their positions, the local aristocracy sought out ennobling texts and images to reinforce their status claims. Zantani probably promoted some of the many encomia of his wife that were made in the rhetoric of Petrarchan praise, and he engineered several printed volumes that could bring him renown, not least an anthology with four of the madrigals from Willaert's then still unpublished Musica nova corpus.
All of these figures are maddeningly elusive to our backward gaze. It is only in Chapter 4, with the salon of another native patrician, Domenico Venier — a friend of vernacular music whose palace was the literary hub of midcentury Venice — that we come to see the full richness of exchange, the gala of personalities, the competitive forces they set in motion, and the fruitful intersection of art and ideas that the flexible social formation of Venice allowed. Throughout much of the s and beyond Venice sheltered a colony of exiled Florentines, the fuorusciti.
As a group, the fuorusciti were highly aristocratic and educated, well versed in music and letters, and eminently equipped to indulge expensive cultural habits. Before long he had established what became the most sophisticated musical academy in Venice, headed by Willaert and graced by the acclaimed soprano Polissena Pecorina. Like other private patrons, Capponi seems to have gathered his academists under his own roof, where they flourished in the early s and almost surely premiered much of Willaert's Musica nova.
Another Florentine, Ruberto Strozzi, lodged intermittently in the city during the thirties and forties in the course of far-ranging business and political errands that accelerated after his family was banished from Florence in The portion of the Frari's archive at I-Vas designated "Scuola dei fiorentini" lacks items for the years to For an informative essay emphasizing the literary aspect of Florentine exiles in Venice see Valerio Vianello, "Tra Firenze e Venezia: il fenomeno del fuoruscitismo," in Il letterato, l'accademia, il libro: contributi sulla cultura veneta del cinquecento, Biblioteca Veneta, no.
See further on Capponi's genealogy in n. Agee was cautious about concluding definitively that the Neri Capponi of musical fame is the same as the one appearing in many Strozzi letters, but cross-references in the letters combined with Passerini's genealogy cited in n. Canciano along the lovely Rio dei Santissimi Apostoli Plate 7. In the early to mid-forties, as he tore about Italy and France, Ruberto is known to have bought up madrigals and motets by Cipriano de Rore.
The coincidence of the Florentine presence in Venice with the flourishing of Venetian madrigals was fateful. Florentines made their way into Venice following a long history of political strife in their own city, whose republican edifice by then had collapsed. During the years spent in Florence, these exiles had sustained a long tradition vigorously promoting Italian vocal music. It was only natural that they should have continued it once abroad.
The patronage of both Capponi and Strozzi was aggressively acquisitive, seeking sole ownership of important new settings. But their interest was not mere collection. Each was groomed in gentlemen's musical skills and moved in patrician circles that practiced part singing. In both political and artistic realms the vicissitudes and imaginative powers of Ruberto's father had played a dominant role — a role that is critical for our understanding of the next generation's construction of this heritage and its relationship to Venetian music.
Ruberto was the son of Filippo di Filippo Strozzi, the most prominent Florentine banker of the first third of the century and, by many reckonings, for most of his life the richest man in Italy. Niccolini, Filippo Strozzi, tragedia Florence, , p. Sagredo believed that the Strozzi house was "quella ora del Weber dove altre volte era la famosa Biblioteca Svajer" p. This house stands at the Ponte di San Canciano by the so-called Traghetto di Murano and is now numbered in the sestiere of Cannaregio.
See further in Giuseppe Tassini, Alcuni palazzi ed antichi edifichi di Venezia storicamente illustrati con annotazioni Venice, , pp. Lino Moretti Venice, , p. For an English text see the trans. Gargani Florence, , who claimed that "nella ricchezza fu solo, e senza comparazione di qualsivoglia uomo d'Italia" p. Ruberto and Neri were thus first cousins, and Filippo Strozzi, Neri's uncle. By the mid-thirties, however, owing to Strozzi clashes with the new duke, Alessandro de' Medici, Filippo's family and its immediate associates had been cast into a restless and embittered exile.
In the course of this, Filippo's banking interests were managed from abroad, mostly by employees from the ranks of the fuorusciti. Venice was just one of several cities that received substantial Strozzi business, along with Rome, Naples, Lyons, and Seville. To clarify the precarious social and political situation in which Filippo, his family, and their Florentine allies found themselves in the s, it is necessary to look briefly back over the long-standing Strozzi relationship with the Medici.
In , during Florence's next-to-last republic, the headstrong Filippo became engaged to Clarice de' Medici. At that time her family was banished from the city. The engagement was a brash move on Filippo's part that drew horror and fury from his half-brother Alfonso and members of the extended Strozzi clan, who held at the time at least tentative favor with the Ottimati government.
With the Medici restoration of Filippo found himself ideally placed to exploit the financial interests and favor of Clarice's uncle Giovanni, who assumed the papacy as Leo X the following year. In the decades up to Filippo bankrolled two Medici popes in his role as papal financier, culminating in with his dowering of a Medici bride for the future king of France, Henry of Orleans, at the staggering sum of , scudi. Note, however, Agee's cautions concerning some apparent genealogical confusion in her discussion of these marriages, "Ruberto Strozzi," p.
Pompeo Litta Milan, , which is variously ordered and bound in the different copies that survive. The copy in I-Vas includes 14 vols. Luigi Passerini , in vol. Neri's grandfather is described there as a very rich banker who opened a banking house at Lyons. Our Neri, born 6 March , appears as the oldest of ten children. On a single occasion in , at the institution of the College of the Knights of St. Peter, Giulio de' Medici, then Pope Clement VII, awarded him eleven titles of the office of knight in return for credits totaling 9, ducats; he divided them among four of his sons, giving three to Ruberto.
Until Clement VII's death in September Filippo's political position experienced only one real setback when he abandoned Rome for Florence shortly before the sack in to take the helm of popular republican leadership. Having failed in that role, he was temporarily forced to pursue interests abroad. But by he had reforged Medici bonds in Florence and Rome and resumed principal residence in the latter city.
It was only after several years of renewed papal collaboration that Filippo's seemingly unbreakable financial edifice began to crack with the death of the pope — Filippo's primary debtor and Medici supporter. Filippo still boasted a sprawling empire and had much to protect in the continued prestige of the Strozzi family. But any goodwill toward them that remained among Medici at home was dwindling fast. Filippo's wealth and leverage among princes posed an immediate threat to the collateral line of the Medici headed by the dissolute Duke Alessandro, now in firm — and monarchical — command of the patria with imperial support.
Alessandro grew increasingly suspicious of Filippo and his sons. At last, in December , shortly after Clement's death and after various skirmishes that took the family again out of Florence, Alessandro declared them rebels. Filippo's story merges at this juncture with that of members of the younger generation who are my main concern here. In August , after a two-year stay in his palazzo at Rome, Filippo finally retired to Venice. Goaded on by Piero, he also began to organize troops for an assault against the Medici, only to be captured in his first major attempt in the Tuscan hills of Montemurlo on 31 July.
The Florentine historian Jacopo Nardi recounted that Filippo's sons retreated the next day toward Venice, tired and defeated and with no alternative but to take stock of their situation and await a better opportunity to strike. Pietro Stromboli Florence, , pp. III , fol. V , fol.