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CANCELED…Dealing with ingratitude in Early Modern Italian Culture (Leonardo, Machiavelli, Ariosto)

Matteo Residori, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

February 28, 2018 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 106 McCormick Hall

Program in Italian Studies

Today no one seems to consider ingratitude as a serious moral issue. If a lack of moral reciprocity remains arguably a generally frustrating experience, accusing someone of being “ungrateful” tends to sound naïve, outdated, slightly melodramatic. We can therefore be surprised to find that the topic of ingratitude is widely spread in fictional and non fictional texts of the 15th and 16th centuries, and that it draws the attention of some major authors of early modern Italian culture, including Leonardo, Machiavelli, Ariosto. Focusing on Orlando Furioso as well as on Leonardo’s writings and on Machiavelli’s literary works, I’ll try to show that the reflections on this topic, although inspired by ancient models, suggest the emerging of a new vision of earthly justice and of a deeper need for personal recognition. I also wish to argue that, by shaping a new kind of authorial identity (instable, resentful, humorous), some of these texts seem to question the traditional relationship between literature and morality.




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