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Lucretius and the Early Modern$
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David Norbrook, Stephen Harrison, and Philip Hardie

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198713845

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198713845.001.0001

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Poetic Flights or Retreats? Latin Lucretian Poems in Sixteenth-Century Italy

Poetic Flights or Retreats? Latin Lucretian Poems in Sixteenth-Century Italy

Chapter:
(p.90) (p.91) 4 Poetic Flights or Retreats? Latin Lucretian Poems in Sixteenth-Century Italy
Source:
Lucretius and the Early Modern
Author(s):

Yasmin Haskell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198713845.003.0005

This chapter offers a reappraisal of Latin Lucretian and anti-Lucretian poems in sixteenth-century Italy by Aonio Paleario, Marcello ‘Palingenio’ Stellato, Lodovico Parisetti, Jr, Scipione Capece, and Giordano Bruno. It asks ‘why Lucretius’ and ‘why Latin’? The literary and ideological commitment to Lucretius of these Cinquecento authors varies considerably. Individual poems are to greater and lesser extents natural-philosophical, moralizing, polemical, and apocalyptic. It is argued that, in spite of some common themes, chiefly the immortality of the soul, they cannot be viewed retrospectively as a unified tradition. Nevertheless, the recurring motif of the spiritual or intellectual flight proves a useful key to unlocking the appeal of Lucretius’s poem for sixteenth-century Italian writers of Latin philosophical poetry in a time of religious uncertainty.

Keywords:   Lucretius, neo-Latin, didactic poetry, Aonio Paleario, Marcello Palingenio Stellato, Lodovico Parisetti Jr, Scipione Capece, Giordano Bruno, spiritual, immortality of soul

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