Knowledge of 16th century poetics has grown very slowly in the English-speaking world, and much that has been written on the subject reflects the critical preconceptions of our own age. Yet it is the 16th century's own preconceptions which are so necessary and useful to our understanding of then artistry and artistic achievement of the literary works of that period. It is important for us to know firsthand what the literary perceptions of 16th century writers and readers were, because that century stands squarely in the middle of the greatest outpouring of literature in Western history - the early modern, pre-Romantic period. To help answer this need, this major work of Renaissance literary criticism is now available in a new English translation, based on the revised edition of 1606. Unlike the works of certain of his contemporaries, Viperano's De Poetica is not primarily concerned with defending poetry as a superior literary form - rather, he focuses on the historical aspects of the development of poetry, the theoretical bases of poetic art, and the practical matters concerning the reading and writing of poems. It is the fullness and breadth of his poetics along with a refreshing conciseness which recommend Viperano to the modern student as a guide to the attitudes of 16th and 17th century Western Europeans towards literature.
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The Author to the Reader
On the origin and merits of poetry
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