In the period between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, French and Occitan literature was influential in Italy in two distict phases: at first, Italian authors worked to imitate the literary models proposed by French and Occitan authors, then, at a later date, viewed French works as counterparts in a constant dialogue between the emerging literatures of each language.
In the first of these phases, both Occitan trobadour poetry and French-language romances constituted models for early vernacular Italian.
The political context in which this influence developed later contributed to create exchanges and a sort of intracultural dialogue.
In the second phase, in all of the major early Italian authors, the dialogue between French and Italian remains visible and productive, although authors eventually took their own directions, either openly, or more gradually (one notable example is the overt linguistic stance that Dante takes in the Vita Nuova and the Commedia). Ultimatly, because French and Occitan traditions were so firmly accepted in Italian-speaking areas, they constituted more than simple models to imitate, but were rather modes of thinking and writing with which Italian authors felt the need to come to terms, if only to challenge, change, or overcome them.
Click on the links below to investigate the works organized according to the two phases of French and Italian literary interaction:
Phase I: The Period of Imitation (1215?- 1320?)
Italian Troubadors who wrote French, Occitan, or multilingual works:
Pier de la Caravana
Sordello da Goito
French and Occitan authors who wrote in Italy:
Aimeric de Peguilhan
Uc de Saint-Circ
Phase II: The Period of Dialogue (1250 - 1450?)
Dante's Vita Nuova
Brownlee, Kevin. “The Conflicted Genealogy of Cultural Authority: Italian Responses to French Cultural Dominance in ‘Il Tesoretto,’ ‘Il Fiore,’ and ‘La Commedia.’” In Generation and Degeneration:Tropes of Reproduction in Litterature and History from Antiquity through Early Modern Europe. Edited by Valeria Finucci and Kevin Brownlee, 262-286. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001.
Folena, Gianfranco. “La cultura volgare e ‘l’umanismo cavalleresco’ nel Veneto.” In Culture e lingue nel Veneto medievale, 377-394. Padua: editoriale programma, 1990..
Ruggieri, Ruggero.L'umanesimo cavalleresco italiano: da Dante all'Ariosto. 2nd ed., Naples: Fratelli Conte, 1977.
Biscaro, Gerolamo, “Francesco da Barbarino al seguito di Corso Donati,” Nuovi studi medievali1 (1923), 255-262.
Antoine Thomas. Francesco da Barberino et la literature provençale en Italie au Moyen Age. Paris: Thorin, 1883.
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