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Historicizing Italian literature in the early sixteenth century: Pietro Bembo’s Prose


This article analyzes Bembo’s evolving outlook in his understanding of pre-Petrarchan authors during the redactions of his Prose nelle quali si ragiona della volgar lingua. It compares and contrasts all passages where Bembo’s views on the early poetic tradition manifest themselves and their revisions both in the autograph manuscript and in the 1525 editio princeps. The comparative analysis presented shows that Bembo was progressively perfecting the historicizing perspective presented in his work, and that he did this thanks to the acquisition of new knowledge and new sources and his own growing interest and attentiveness to the earlier poetic tradition.

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