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A Local Habitation and a Name

Albert Russell Ascoli

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234288
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241231 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823234288.001.0001
A Local Habitation and a Name

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Focusing on major authors and problems from the Italian fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, from Petrarch and Boccaccio to Machiavelli, Ariosto and Tasso, this book examines the unstable dialectic of “reality” and “imagination,” as well as “history” and “literature.” The book identifies and interprets the ways in which literary texts are shaped by and serve the purposes of multiple, intertwined historical contexts, and it equally probes the function of such texts in constructing, interpreting, critiquing, and effacing the histories in which they are embedded. Throughout, the book poses the theoretical and methodological question of how formal analysis and literary forms can at once resist and further the historicist enterprise. Along the way the book interrogates the mechanisms of historical periodization that have governed for so long our study of what is sometimes called the “Renaissance,” sometimes the early modern period. It also addresses the period's own unstable version of the literature/history opposition, the place of gendered discourse in the construction of historical narratives (and vice versa), the elaborate formal strategies by which poets and intellectuals negotiate their relations to power, and, finally, the way in which proper names (of authors, works, and exemplary characters) serve as points of negotiation between individual identity and social order in the Renaissance.

Keywords: Italian middle ages; Renaissance; literature and history; literary history; imagination; formalism; historicism; individual; society; gender; intellectuals; power

Book.  384 pages. 

Subjects: Literature

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Table of Contents

Introduction in A Local Habitation and a Name

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Machiavelli's Gift of Counsel in A Local Habitation and a Name

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<i>Clizia</i>'s Histories in A Local Habitation and a Name

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