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Save the date: RSA 2016 – Boston – 3 panels

Summary: Aristotle in the Italian Vernacular: Rethinking Renaissance and Early-Modern Intellectual History (c. 1400–c. 1650). Panel 1

Description: Papers by Cotugno, Refe and Ribaudo
Start: 2016-03-31 13:30:00-04:00
End: 2016-03-31 15:00:00-04:00
Location: RSA, Park Plaza, Longfellow room, 4th floor

Cotugno: This paper focuses on the Paduan philosopher and man of letters Sperone Speroni (1500-1588), who played a fundamental role in the vernacularization of the works of Aristotle in sixteenth-century Italy. Along all his life, Speroni produced a substantial number of dialogues and discourses on the most diverse topics, such as ethics, language, and rhetoric. The hybrid dramatic form of his Dialogi (1542), in which the characters speak directly, without being introduced or interrupted by the author, makes it difficult to distinguish both Speroni’s own ideas and his remodelling of Aristotle’s thought. By contrasting some sections of the Dialogi and of Speroni’s speculative treatises, the Discorsi, this paper aims at investigating the author’s peculiar approach to philosophy in its connections with the contiguous field of rhetoric. The role played by different literary forms in reshaping Speroni’s ideas will be particularly investigated.

Refe: With this paper an outline of the main differences of approach between Latin Aristotelian translations and the Vernacular ones in the Renaissance will be provided. What were the translators’ declared objectives? What were their methods of presenting philosophical materials with regard to their target audience? What were their translation techniques? To evaluate the aims of these kinds of works and the approach adopted in the treatment of Aristotle’s text, both the translators’ correspondence and some specific treatises on the subject prove to be fundamental. The prefaces, the prolegomena, and the dedicatory epistles of the translations provide further elements fit to shed light on purposes and methods and to identify the relationships and polemics of the translators with scholars of theirs and previous generations; within these paratextual elements it is possible to find some important clues which must be interpreted in light of the texts and the context of their production.

Ribaudo: The aim of this paper is to explain what Aristotelianism meant in the Spositione to Lodovico Castelvetro’s Inferno (1569-70), not only in relation to the undiscussed references to Aristotle’s Poetics, but also focusing on the argumentative strategies used in the comments on the terzine and in the construction of the gloss. In the Poetics Castelvetro deals with a crucial issue, the relationship between poetry and history, focusing on the problem of ‘verosimilitudine’ in terms of internal coeherence of the mythos and of its adaptation to external reality: the verosimilitudine is what the public believes it is possible. Commenting Dante’s Inferno, Castelvetro strictly enforces these principles and uses the rhetoric as a logical tool. The comparative analysis of some passages from the commentary to Poetics and the Spositione to Inferno aims at investigating the role played by rhetoric, introduced in its own right in the Aristotelian Organon by the new sixteenth century dialectic.

Summary: Aristotle in the Italian Vernacular: Rethinking Renaissance and Early-Modern Intellectual History (c. 1400–c. 1650). Panel 2

Description: Papers by Stefano Gulizia, Craig Martin and Dario Tessicini
Start: 2016-03-31 15:30:00-04:00
End: 2016-03-31 17:00:00-04:00
Location: RSA, Park Plaza, Longfellow room, 4th floor

Gulizia: This paper aims at a re-evaluation of the mathematician Bernardino Baldi (1553—1617), prompted by the intersection of his scientific, literary, and antiquarian interests. My central argument is that Baldi’s activity in Urbino should be seen both as supporting evidence of spurious Aristotelian materials, and as one historical juncture of craft secrecy and printing. Based on these representation practices and their information management, I propose to look, in sequence, at Baldi’s translation of the Automata by Hero of Alexandria, at his In Mechanica Aristotelis exercitationes, and finally at a lesser-known cosmographical collection in vernacular, La Nautica. As a result, we find that Baldi ushered a complicated network of mechanical and textual archaeologies, and that, in his hands, the didactic poem became an important genre of early science alongside translations and commentaries, because it offered an epic memorialization of impolite humor similar to Galileo’s early dialogues.

Martin: Although few of Cesare Cremonini’s commentaries on Aristotle were printed, portions of his commentary on the Meteorology were not only printed but also translated into the vernacular in a volume attributed to the physician Troilo Lancetta. This translation was printed along with extracts from Cardano as well as Galenic and Hippocratic writings. Lancetta’s inclusion of passages from Cremonini’s commentary on the Meteorology demonstrate the work’s importance for medical theory. This compilation shows that part of the interest in Cremonini’s works at the time was due to the perceived relevance of the contents of this book to some divisive questions in medicine, which were, in turn, connected to important debates in natural philosophy, such as the role of divine providence in natural philosophy, the feasibility of judicial astrology, and the extent the world is materially determined.

Tessicini: This paper will explore the reception of Aristotle’s Meteorologica in the Italian vernacular taking into consideration both its translation (by Antonio Brucioli in 1555), and several of its less known adaptations, paraphrases and interpretations (at times in the form of academic discorsi or philosophical dialogues). In the wake of current historiography on ancient and Renaissance meteorology, and through the analysis of works such as Fausto da Longiano’s Meteorologia, cioè Discorso delle impressioni (1542), Tommaso Tomai’s Dialogo meteorologico (1566), and Niccolò Gozze’s Discorsi (1584), the aim is to investigate how, at least in the case of the Meteorologica, 1) translation was seen in relation with (and perhaps as one of) different forms of textual reception, and 2) the availability of the work in the vernacular corresponded to the interests and concerns of its intended public.

Summary: Aristotle in the Italian Vernacular: Rethinking Renaissance and Early-Modern Intellectual History (c. 1400–c. 1650). Panel 3

Description: Papers by Nicholas Stone Villani, Teodoro Katinis and Marco Sgarbi
Start: 2016-03-31 17:30:00-04:00
End: 2016-03-31 19:00:00-04:00
Location: RSA, Park Plaza, Longfellow room, 4th floor

Stone Villani: Historians of political thought have long been concerned with the recovery of Aristotle’s Politics. For many, it signalled the re-emergence of the idea that ‘political philosophy constitutes an independent discipline.’ For some it give way to early-modern republicanism. My intention here is to abstract from these discussions and to explain, instead, why Aristotle’s Politics remained a persistent and flexible tool in the Renaissance. I do so by examining three Renaissance vernacular Aristotelian commentaries on the Politics, that is Antonio Brucioli’s Dialogi, Bernardo Segni’s Trattato dei governi, and Antonio Scaino La politica d’Aristotile. Scholars have often held that translations Aristotle’s Politics in the vernacular were more a cultural than a political act. I argue, instead, that the Politics was often used in the Renaissance as a useful manual on how to govern and safeguard the constitution and was considered to be one of the most complete and sophisticated mirrors for princes.

Katinis: This paper presents the objectives and the potential outcomes of my Marie Skłodowska-Curie project on Sperone Speroni (1500-1588) and the Rebirth of Sophistry in the Italian Renaissance and explores the connection with other projects on related subjects, with specific regard to research on the vernacular Aristotelianism. Beginning with Speroni’s works, my project aims to track down and map the diffusion of ancient sophists from the 15th through the 17th century in the works of the Italian authors, through translations, commentaries, and original works. I am particularly interested in the authors who rehabilitate ancient sophistic perspectives and propose them as valuable approaches at their time in a variety of fields, including ethics, politics, poetics, arts, and sciences. The history of the “sophistic Italian Renaissance,” in the span of time from Leonardo Bruni to Jacopo Mazzoni, still needs to be brought to light.

Sgarbi: Niccolò Vito di Gozze (1549-1610) was a philosopher, scientist and statesman from the Republic of Dubrovnik (Ragusa), one of the most flourishing sixteenth-century maritime centers of the Mediterranean. His philosophical interests range from problems like “beauty”, “love” and the “immortality of the soul” to the exegesis of philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and Averroes. His experience as seven-times rector of the Republic influenced his political and economic theories towards a peculiar form of realism and pragmatism. In the Governo della famiglia (1589) and in Dello stato delle republiche secondo la mente di Aristotele (1591), starting from the interpretation of Aristotle’s Economics and Politics, against the dominant mercantilistic view, Vito di Gozze developed interesting liberal ideas on “State”, “equality”, “trades”, “richness”, “labour” and “money”, which are the subject of this paper.


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