Ovid and to a lesser extent Theocritus gave nourishment and dignity to the epic-lyric poems, such as the Tiberine Nymph by Francesco Maria Molza, elegant, harmonious, perfused with a poetic idyllic sense, and the Stanze di Luigi Tansillo, a lyricist with a beautiful vein, in where the warm, colorful and voluptuous southern inspiration of Ovid, Pontano and Sannazzaro reappears. An attempt was made to sanction lyricism with the reproduction of elegiac and Horatian Latin meters (it was Claudio Tolomei with the Rules of the new poetry and with Verses his and many others modeled on those, 1539); unsuccessful and vain attempt, because the veneration that surrounded Petrarch, critically exalted and practically imitated by the great archimandrite of sixteenth-century literature, Bembo, elevated Petrarchism and consequently Bembism to an almost classical dignity. And after the strangeness of Tebaldeo and Serafino Aquilano, Petrarch or Bembesca was all the lyricism of the sixteenth century, a poor imitation of motifs and forms, an expression of souls that had nothing of their own to express. Few of the sixteenth-century lyricists who said something new in their rhymes, or something old with a personal accent: besides Tansillo, Galeazzo di Tarsia; the great Michelangelo, in whose best rhymes, rough and disharmonious, quivers the struggle of high noble vigorous thought with the word, to him not as ready to answer as marble and color; Vittoria Colonna, who in the newly posed Petrarchian forms transfused the tremor of her feminine sentiment as a pious widow and the anxiety of her religiosity; the young Paduan Gaspara Stampa, who has sonnets of immediacy, of a disconcerting realism, of a passion, and perhaps no one else, not wanting to exalt too many mediocre ones in some discreet way or for some singular reason.
According to lawschoolsinusa, the novella, a modest form of art, born to amuse the brigades, did not strictly have classical examples on which to model itself. But Boccaccio had already conferred classical dignity on it with the organic solidity of the structures and the admirable variety of his style. In fact, all the sixteenth-century storytellers have an eye on Boccaccio, even if each one tries to give his stories a special character. Almost all the twenty-two short stories that make up Lasca’s Dinners are comic, weak in invention, Florentine graceful and alive in the figuration of people and scenes; fantastic, those that Gianfrancesco Straparola gathered in the Pleasant Nights , often faithfully following the plot of popular fairy tales; simple pungent lights those of Agnolo Firenzuola, an exquisite Tuscan reducer ofGolden donkey of Apuleius and, through a Latin remake, of the Panciatantra in the first dress of the speeches of animals; mostly of a fictional type those of Matteo Bandello, the most fruitful of the sixteenth-century storytellers. In his 214 short stories, each preceded by a letter of dedication, all the aspects of Italian life, all the attitudes of conscience are represented in a hundred ways, most happily where the nature of the subject (lucky events, strange adventures, romance) best suits the aptitudes of the author, vague about the fantastic and the wonderful. However, it is certain that much more historical than artistic is the importance of the Bandellian novels; nor was the intention of their author who wanted to depict the society of his time.
If it was difficult to give a classic coat of arms to the novel, it must have seemed easy to give it to the poem, which boasted so much nobility of epic examples in the ancient world, while the century. XVI had inherited from the XV and honored the plebeian indiscipline of the chivalric poem with magnificent welcome. And if the ingenuity of a reasoning critic were enough to make poetry, the problem would have been solved by Trissino, who between 1547 and 1948 published L’Italia liberata dai Goti in three volumes . The matter comes from Procopio; one, great, accomplished is the action, according to which Aristotle, elected by Trissino as teacher, taught that it must be in the epic poem; they vary it and adorn episodes, supernatural interventions, eruditions, according to the example of Homer, elected “by leader and by idea”. But liberated Italy was born dead.
So at the end of the first half of the century. XVI, the classical starting that the literature of Italy, almost out of spontaneous need, had taken up from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and that Dante had seen as a doctrine, where the study of the classics is necessary to the rhyme that wants to be poet ( De vulg . eloq., II, iv 9, vi 7), had reached an extreme goal by materializing. The whole complex of literary facts that we have reviewed demonstrates this: the formation of moral and historical prose, the solution of the two questions of the literary language, and, more conspicuous than any other, the classical authentication of the new literature, the which had acquired the right to be recognized in the fullness of its dignity, in short, it had created its own coat of arms by accompanying the ancient ones in the canonical regularity not only of language and prose, but of comedy, tragedy, didactic poem, satire, epic poem and, thanks to the two minor, but then held major among the three great fourteenth century artists, lyric and novella. Now comes the theorization of the achievements; but with theorizing, which continues to unfold for over two centuries, the reaction that characterizes the second great period of our literature begins and accompanies it. It is the period in which Italian literature claims its autonomy in theory and in practice, so that in order to be it does not need to ask the ancient sanctions of legitimacy. We say it is romantic from the great fact, not only literary, which closes it and which matures within it.