Full Text

Renaissance Prose Satire: Italy and England

W. Scott Blanchard

Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405119559.2007.00011.x


While many of the critical judgments expressed in Jacob Burckhardt's The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1958) have not survived in the more rigorous and specialized environment for scholarship of the past several decades, at least one of his observations seems to have remained uncontested: that the Italian Renaissance witnessed the birth of a distinctly modern spirit of “wit and satire” ( Burckhardt 1958 : 1.163–82). The production of satirical writing in Italy from roughly the middle of the fifteenth century onwards attests to its popularity in increasingly literate urban milieux, where literature that focused on the contemporary scene (as all satire does) probably held the same level of interest for the consuming public that modern journalism holds today. The use of satire as a genre for the expression of social dissensus and, perhaps most interestingly, its potential as a form of writing that could be flexible, experimental, and even avant-garde, made it an especially appealing form for those who appreciated strong opinions, whether progressive or reactionary, and who found those opinions more easily digestible when spiced with humor, ridicule, or even abuse. And while another of Burckhardt's observations — his thesis concerning the birth of “the individual” in the Italian Renaissance — has been repudiated by many recent historians of culture, we would do well to ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top