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The Renaissance Dialogue: features, authors and themes

Academic year 2020/2021
Professor: Giovanna Rizzarelli


February 2020 - June 2020
Total hours: 40
Hours of lectures: 40
Hours of supplementary teaching: 0

Examination procedure



PhD students


The class shall focus on the genre of literary dialogue, which enjoyed extraordinary success across the 16th century. In fact, not only many authors of our Renaissance have written dialogues concerning the most different themes, but also the huge attention for this genre is witnessed by the important treatises devoted to it in that period.

Starting from the main theoretical works on the dialogical form and the definition of its features, the class shall analyze some of the most well-known sixteenth-century dialogues (from the Asolani by Bembo to the Civil conversation by Guazzo). The analysis of these texts will take a thematic angle, which will allow to reflect on one of the peculiarities of this genre during the 16th century. A helpful thematic standpoint is provided by the representations of the act of reading in Renaissance dialogues. During the Renaissance, in fact, the imaginary of reading played a privileged role within these works. Focusing on the different representations of readers and reading will therefore allow to grasp the main features of some of the most significant sixteenth-century dialogues.


Bibliographical references

Cox, V., The Renaissance Dialogue. Literary Dialogue in its Social and Political Contexts, Castiglione to Galileo, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1992. 

Forno, C., Il «libro animato»: teoria e scrittura del dialogo nel Cinquecento, Torino, Tirrenia, 1992. 

Girardi, R., La società del dialogo. Retorica e ideologia nella letteratura conviviale del Cinquecento europeo, Bari, Adriatica, 1989.

Hempfer, K.W. e Traninger, A. (a cura di), Der Dialog im Diskursfeld seiner Zeit: von der Antike bis zur Aufklärung, Stuttgart, Franz Steiner, 2010.

Hempfer, K.W. (a cura di), Poetik des Dialogs: Aktuelle Theorie und rinascimentales Selbstverständnis, Stuttgart, Franz Steiner, 2004 

Kushner, E., Le dialogue à la Renaissance: histoire et poétique, Genève, Librairie Droz, 2004.

Snyder, J.R., Writing the Scene of Speaking: Theories of Dialogue in the Late Italian Renaissance, Stanford (Calif.), Stanford University Press, 1989.