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Monday, February 9, 2015

Un(s)even: Source & target

(by Selkis; a detail)

Noble, learned women were an important percentage of Ariosto's and Tasso's audiences (listeners and/or readers), as well as a rising class in Renaissance society. It had already been so, in part, in the Late Middle Ages: see Dante's references to his readers in the Convivio, although he seemed to forget about this "women's cultural liberation" in the Divine Comedy.

As for Tasso's Il Mondo Creato, not only were ladies pointed out by him as a meaningful part of his audience, but they were at the origin of the poem itself; more precisely, the literary project was worked out after some Biblical conversations with the mother of a friend of his, Count Giovanni Battista Manso, in Naples. Manso would then be a host of John Milton during the latter's Grand Tour in Italy as a young man, and the Briton would write the poem Mansus in his memory.