Albert Russell Ascoli is Gladys Arata Terrill Distinguished Professor in the Department of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Along the way Ascoli 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. He 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.
The book brings to culmination two decades of a major scholar's thinking about some of the most important figures and questions that shaped the Renaissance, with emphasis on the question of history, both the historical context of literature and the writing of literary history.
Originally published in 1987.
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