Wear and Tear of the Spanish Regime and Resumption of Italian Life Part 4

In France there was the Ménage who worked to write about the origins of the Italian language: and this stimulated the Florentine Data to try the enterprise, because his city and the academy, although he was in excellent relationship with the Ménage, he had the honor of primacy. And it was like a competition. This question of the Italian language and of the superiority of the Italian or French language at that time heated up the spirits on both sides of the Alps. Italian. Therefore, even while at that time the study and knowledge of classics, already decayed, returned to be appreciated and promoted, the use of writing in Italian was becoming more and more widespread, even by those who previously used Latin. And this, in the name of new needs of the spirit that turned to geography, history, Italian literature; in the name of the sciences that could hardly adapt to that language; and also certainly the pride of Italians,

Nor was the dispute between Italians and foreigners only over the language, and only in this area did Italians feel stimulated to do and innovate. At Menzini the Poetic Art  (1688) is suggested by certain verses of Boileau. He wants to keep up the prestige of Italian writers. Fontanini made an apology for Tasso in 1701 against his father Bouhours. Al Muratori, who announces an educational work for young people and a vindicator of Italian honor against the French (that is, the one that will be a few years after the work  of the perfect Italian poetry), Zeno responds by approving. A few years later, the desire not to lag behind the French, the tedium of seeing almost only French dramas on Italian theaters, pushed Martelli to his attempts at Italian tragedies. In short, the controversy was open, with all the greater fervor on the part of the Italians since many of the French opponents were Jesuits. On the one hand, rather an aggressive and disparaging spirit; on the other, a rather defensive effort. But there was also a tendency to affirm primates, to point out what the French owed to Italy when they took their first steps and imitated or copied verses and prose and entire works of Italians. In the friction, the literary love for Italy was heated, at the same time that the foundations of Italian literary history were being laid. Even in the most serious scholarly activity, there were contacts and sparks between Italians and foreigners. At the end of the century, several Dutch, German and, moreover, French scholars came to Italy, visited libraries, entered into correspondence with Italians.

According to remzfamily, their work in Italy was felt as a silent accusation and a silent reproach. And then, they could do those explorations with honor for them and for Italy! And some, really, set to work, keeping an eye on what was done in Italy after the 15th century, as well as what was done in France and other countries, especially from Montfaucon and Mabillon, whose most that of true teaching was an example and stimulus. Thus arose the purpose of the monastic history of Italy, the purpose of the episcopal splendor of Italy or Sacred Italy , the drawing of Italian antiquities in the Middle Ages, of the Italian medieval chronicles, of the annals of Italy. In this time, the rich Italian historiographical production on the facts of the vast world has slowed down. Conversely, the Italian historical material begins to be intensively cultivated, the soil of the homeland is worked in depth. National sentiment, so far almost only literally posed, begins to deepen and substantiate itself, it begins to become an exciter of actions. What is being done is increasingly referred to the good and honor of a homeland that belongs to all Italians. In this, Muratori, who at the end of the seventeenth century is already at work, deserves the praise of a highly representative man. He was unable, at the very beginning of the 1700s, to implement his longed-for  literary republic, that is, a union of all Italian men of literature and study, aimed at promoting literature and science and philosophy in Italy, facilitating relations between lovers of art and knowledge, raising the reputation of the country, facing the French and Germans and putting themselves at the their level where ours was lowest. The cosmopolitan ideal of culture which had already appeared in the 15th century and will re-emerge again in the 18th century, precisely in all the epochs of political and social crisis, in which the bond of citizen to his homeland or to the institutions that embody it. But it was born a few years later, also thanks to the work of Muratori, Fontanini, Vallisnieri, etc., and under the direction of A. Zeno, the  Journal of Italian writers del Maffei, who proposed to defend the intellectual work of Italians and put it in value. In any case, Muratori was a great plow, a great researcher and rediscoverer of Italy to the Italians, who from then on saw it before their eyes with its bones and its pulp, with all the chronological and geographical determinations of him. Of course, many things changed or were preparing themselves in this field of feelings and ideas between the 17th and 18th centuries.

Wear and Tear of the Spanish Regime and Resumption of Italian Life 4