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Studying Academic Discussions on the Art of Poetry in Late Renaissance Florence: An Interactive Website (2020-)

This project pursues a collaborative digitally based investigation in the field of early modern European aesthetics. It focuses on the Accademia degli Alterati – an academy of about 140 members active from 1569 to c. 1630. This secretive but well-networked academy was one of the most innovative and productive scholarly institutions of late Renaissance Florence. Though the members only rarely published their writings in print, they preserved all sorts of manuscript traces of the work they collectively accomplished within their academy.

The research project will focus on two volumes of manuscript materials from the Accademia degli Alterati, both currently held in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence. These volumes hold the traces of a set of activities, designated as "censure", which consisted in the production of anonymous poems by the academicians, which were then contradictorily evaluated by two "censors" appointed by the regent of the academy. These volumes give unique access to the Alterati’s collective laboratory, allowing us to explore the members of the Alterati and explore not only how they drafted poems, but also how they extensively discussed the art of poetry and its relations to more general and wide-ranging aesthetic questions. No other documentation of this nature, emanating from asixteenth-century academic community of such renown and sophistication, is known to exist.

Participating Researchers