The Humanistic Reform and the Italian Book in Vernacular

Italian Palaeography: Writing in Italy from Antiquity to the Renaissance III: The Humanistic Reform and the Italian Book in Vernacular through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (1300 A.D. to 1550 A.D.). 

Dr Laura Nuvoloni (Holkham Hall Library) / Dr Matilde Malaspina 
Full-day. 10:00-17:00
Maximum: 15 students

Italian Palaeography: Writing in Italy from Antiquity to the Renaissance

The course is divided into three separate modules, corresponding to three separate full day sessions. The three sessions are intended as independent from each other and each will provide an in-depth analysis and reading exercises of book and documentary scripts employed in Italy in different periods of time. If taken in combination, the three sessions will offer a broad but detailed overview on the history and protagonists of writing in the Italian peninsula from antiquity to the late Renaissance period.

Each session will provide students with appropriate tools to approach the reading and transcription of manuscript sources in Latin and Italian, including technical information on the genesis and evolution of the scripts, and guidelines for deciphering the abbreviation systems. Part of each session will be dedicated to guided reading exercises. Specific attention will be dedicated to the links between the features and developments of the scripts and the circulation of culture.

The course is open to anyone interested in manuscript production and literacy in Medieval and Renaissance Italy. No previous palaeographical experience is required, but a basic knowledge of Latin and Italian would be useful to benefit from the course in full.

 

Session 3 – The Humanistic Reform and the Italian Book in Vernacular through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (1300 A.D. to 1550 A.D.)

The morning session will focus on the graphic reform introduced by Humanistic culture and on the circumstances of the origin and development of the Humanistic Book in Italy. It will consider Humanistic book script both in its formal (littera antiqua) and cursive (corsiva all’antica) characterisations.

The afternoon session will focus on the different forms of the transmission of vernarcular texts by the main early Italian authors (e.g. Dante and Petrarch) and their cultural significance. It aims at highlighting the coexistence of different material features and scripts in the manuscript circulation of specific vernacular texts in Italy in the 14th and 15th century.

 

Bibliography:

Bernard Bischoff, Latin Palaeography: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, transl. Dáihbí O’Cróinín and David Ganz, Cambridge, 1990;

Bernard Bischoff, Paleografia latina : antichità e medioevo, ed. italiana a cura di Gilda P. Mantovani e Stefano Zamponi, Padova, 1992, with enlarged chapter on abbreviations and punctuation on pp. 218-46;

M.P. Brown, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600, London, 1990;

Albinia C. de la Mare, The Handwriting of Italian Humanists, I-1: Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Boccaccio, Coluccio Salutati, Niccolò Niccoli, Poggio Bracciolini, Bartolomeo Aragazzi of Montepulciano, Sozomeno da Pistoia, Giorgio Antonio Vespucci, Oxford, 1973;

Albert Derolez, Codicologie des manuscrits en écriture humanistique sur parchemin, 2 vols., , Turnhout, 1984;

Albert Derolez, Palaeography of Gothic Manuscript Books: From the Twelfth to the Early Sixteenth Century. Cambridge, 2003;

R. Clemens-T. Graham, Introduction to Manuscript Studies, Ithaca, 2007;

M. B. Parkes, Their Hands before Our Eyes: A Closer Look at Scribes, Aldershot, 2008.