Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Literary Sources I




Key Reading

Machiavelli, Niccolò, The Mandrake Root (1518)

Seminar Questions

  • What do dialogues, letters, plays, poems, and tales reveal about social values?
  • What do dialogues, letters, plays, poems, and tales reveal about cultural values?

Secondary Reading

Andrews, Richard, Scripts and scenarios : the performance of comedy in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 1993)

Cavallo, Jo Ann, The Romance Epics of Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso: From Public Duty to Private Pleasure (Toronto, 2004)

Clough, Cecil H., 'The Cult of Antiquity: Letters and Letter Collections', in C.H. Clough (ed.), Cultural Aspects of the Italian Renaissance: Essays in Honour of Paul Oskar Kristeller (Manchester 1976), pp. 33–67.

Clubb, Louise George, Italian Drama in Shakespeare's Time (New Haven, 1989)

Cox, Virginia, The Renaissance Dialogue: Literary Dialogue in its Social and Political Contexts, Castiglione to Galileo (Cambridge, 1992)

Dowden, Ken, and Niall Livingstone, eds, A Companion to Greek Mythology (Chichester, 2011).

Farrell, Joseph and Paolo Puppa (eds), A History of Italian Theatre (Cambridge, 2006)

Guillén, Claudio, 'Notes toward the Study of the Renaissance Letter', in Barbara Kiefer Lewalski (ed.) Renaissance Genres: Essays on Theory, History, and Interpretation (Cambridge 1986), pp. 70–101.

Hulliung, Mark, 'Machiavelli's Mandragola: A Day and A Night in the Life of a Citizen', Review of Politics 40 (1978), 32-57.

Martines, Lauro, Society and History in English Renaissance Verse (Oxford, 1985) [About English poetry but raises issues which are applicable to Italian poetry]

Martines, Lauro, Strong words : writing and social strain in the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, 2001)

Najemy, John M., Between Friends: Discourses of Power and Desire in the Machiavelli-Vettori letters of 1513-1515 (Princeton, N.J., 1993)

Rice-Henderson, Judith, ‘On reading the rhetoric of the Renaissance Letter’, in Heinrich F. Plett (ed.), Renaissance Rhetoric (Berlin-New York, 1993), 143-162.

Quint, David, 'Humanism and Modernity: A Reconsideration of Bruni's Dialogues', Renaissance Quarterly 38/3 (1985), 423-45.

Ruggiero, Guido, 'Mean Streets, Familiar Streets, or The Fat Woodcarver and the Masculine Spaces of Renaissance Florence', in Roger J. Crum and John T. Paoletti (eds), Renaissance Florence: A Social History (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 295-310.

Schutte, Anne Jacobson, "The lettere volgari and the crisis of evangelism in Italy," Renaissance Quarterly 28, no. 4 (1975): 639 - 688.


Primary Sources

Alberti, Leon Battista, Momus, trans. Sarah Knight (Cambridge, Mass., 2003)

Aretino, Pietro, Aretino's Dialogues, trans. Raymond Rosenthal (Toronto, 2005)

Aretino, Pietro, Selected Letters, trans. George Bull (Harmondsworth, 1976)

Arisoto, Ludovico, Orlando furioso, trans. Barbara Reynolds (Harmondsworth, 1975)

Bembo, Pietro, Lyric Poetry, Etna, ed. and trans. Mary P. Chatfield (Cambridge, Mass., 2005)

Boccaccio, Giovanni, The Decameron, ed. and trans. G. H. McWilliam, 2nd ed. (Harmondsworth, 1995)

Boiardo, Matteo Maria, Orlando innamorato, trans. Charles Stanley Ross (Berkeley, 1989)

Bruni, Leonardo, The Humanism of Leonardo Bruni: Selected Texts, ed. and trans. Gordon Griffiths, James Hankins, and David Thompson (Binghamton, N.Y., 1987)

Buonarotti, Michelangelo, Poems and Letters, trans. Anthony Mortimer (Harmondsworth, 2007)

Castiglione, Baldesar, The Book of the Courtier, ed. Daniel Javitch, trans. Charles S. Singleton (New York, 2002)

Filelfo, Francesco, Odes, ed. and trans. Diana Robin (Cambridge, Mass., 2009)

Filelfo, Francesco, On exile, ed. Jeroen de Keyser, trans. W. Scott Blanchard (Cambridge, Mass., 2013)

Fonte, Moderata, The Worth of Women: wherein is clearly revealed their nobility and their superiority to men, ed. and trans. Virginia Cox (Chicago, 1997), pp. 1-23.

Fonzio, Bartolomeo, Letters to Friends, ed. Alessandro Daneloni, trans. Martin Davies (Cambridge, Mass., 2011)

Franco, Veronica, Poems and Selected Letters, ed. and trans. Ann Rosalind Jones and Margaret F. Rosenthal (Chicago, 1998), pp. 1-22.

Galilei, Galileo, Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences, trans. Henry Crew and Alfonso de Salvio (Norwich, N.Y., 2001)

Giannetti, Laura, and Guido Ruggiero (eds and trans) , Five Comedies from the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, 2003)

Humanist Comedies, trans. Gary R. Grund (Cambridge, Mass., 2005)

Humanist Tragedies, trans. Gary R. Grund (Cambridge, Mass., 2011)

Kirkham, Victoria (ed. and trans.), Laura Battiferra and her Literary Circle : An Anthology (Chicago, 2006)

Machiavelli, Niccolo, The Chief Works and Others, trans. Allan Gilbert, 3 vols (Durham, NC, 1965) [See vol. 2 for Machiavelli's letters, plays, and poetry]

Manetti, Giannozzo, Biographical Writings, ed. and trans. Stefano U. Baldassarri and Rolf Bagemihl (Cambridge, Mass., 2003)

Marinella, Lucrezia, The Nobility and Excellence of Women, and the Defects and Vices of Men, ed. and trans. Anne Dunhill with an introduction by Letizia Panizza (Chicago, 1999)

Martines, Lauro, An Italian Renaissance Sextet: Six Tales in Historical Context, trans. M. Baca (Toronto, 2004).

Medici, Lorenzo de', Selected Poems and Prose, ed. Jon Thiem, trans. Jon Thiem et al. (University Park, Pa., 1991)

Penman, Bruce et al. (trans.), Five Italian Renaissance Comedies (Harmondsworth, 1978)

Petrarca, Francesco, Invectives, ed. and trans. David Marsh (Cambridge, Mass., 2003)

Petrarch, Letters of Old Age, trans. Aldo S. Bernardo, 2 vols (Baltimore, 1992)

Petrarch, Letters on Familiar Matters, trans. Aldo S. Bernardo, 3 vols (New York and Baltimore, 1975-85)

Petrarch, Selections from the Canzoniere and Other Works, ed. and trans. Mark Musa (Oxford, 1985)

Rabil, Arthur, Jr. (ed. and trans. ), Knowledge, Goodness, and Power: The Debate over Nobility among Quattrocento Italian Humanists (Binghamton, NY, 1991)

Sacchetti, Franco, 'Novels', from Thomas Roscoe, trans., The Italian Novelists (London, 1824)

Strozzi, Alessandra, Selected Letters, ed. Heather Gregory (Berkeley, 1997) [Available online]

Tasso, Torquato, The Liberation of Jerusalem, trans. Max Wickert, with an introduction and notes by Mark Davie (Oxford, 2009)

Vignali, Antonio, La cazzaria : The Book of the Prick, ed. and trans. Ian Frederick Moulton (New York, 2003)

Web Resources

Greek Mythology Link 

Iconography links

Sources for studying early modern letters from the Warburg Institute