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Francesco Berni (ca. 1497 - May 26, 1536) was an Italian poet. He is credited for beginning what is now known as "Bernesque poetry", a serio-comedic type of poetry with elements of satire.

Contents

Biography

Life

Berni was born about 1497 at Lamporecchio, in Bibbiena, a district of Tuscany lying along the Upper Arno.

His father Nicolò was a notary of a long-established Florentine family, but excessively poor. At an early age he was sent to Florence, where he remained until his nineteenth year and wrote a pastoral play, Catrina. In 1517 he set out for Rome, in the service of Bernardo Dovizi, Cardinal Bibbiena. After the cardinal's death (1520), he was thrown on his own devices. At the time of the election of Adrian VI he circulated witty lampoons, for which he was obliged for a time to leave Rome. Later he returned to accept a situation as clerk or secretary to Giovanni Matteo Gilberti, datary to Clement VII. The duties of his office, for which Berni was in every way unfit, were exceedingly irksome to the poet, who, however, made himself celebrated at Rome as the most witty and inventive of a certain club of literary men, who devoted themselves to light and sparkling effusions.

So strong was the admiration for Berni's verses, that mocking or burlesque poems have since been called poesie bernesca. About the year 1530 he was relieved from his servitude by obtaining a canonry in the cathedral of Florence. In that city he died in 1536, according to Romantic tradition poisoned by Duke Alessandro de Medici, for having refused to poison the duke's cousin, Ippolito de' Medici; but considerable obscurity rests over this story.

Works

Berni stands at the head of Italian comic or burlesque poets. For lightness, sparkling wit, variety of form and fluent diction, his verses are unsurpassed. Perhaps, however, he owes his greatest fame to the recasting (Rifacimento) of Boiardo's Orlando innamorato. The enormous success of Ariosto's Orlando furioso had directed fresh attention to the older poem, from which it took its characters, and of which it is the continuation. But Boiardo's work, though good in plan, could never have achieved wide popularity on account of the extreme ruggedness of its style.

Berni undertook the revision of the whole poem, avowedly altering no sentiment, removing or adding no incident, but simply giving to each line and stanza due gracefulness and polish. His task he completed with marvellous success; scarcely a line remains as it was, and the general opinion has pronounced decisively in favour of the revision over the original. To each canto he prefixed a few stanzas of reflective verse in the manner of Ariosto, and in one of these introductions he gives us the only certain information we have concerning his own life. Berni appears to have been favorably disposed towards the Reformation principles at that time introduced into Italy, and this may explain the bitterness of some remarks of his upon the church. The first edition of the Rifacimento was printed posthumously in 1541, and it has been supposed that a few passages either did not receive the author's final revision, or have been retouched by another hand.

The success of Berni's Rifacimento was so great that the original text by Boiardo fell into oblivion for three centuries. Only in the nineteenth century did Anthony Panizzi discover in the British Museum Library the authentic Orlando Innamorato and publish it.

Trivia

  • A partial translation of Berni's Orlando was published by W.S. Rose (1823).
  • A street in Florence has been named after him (via Francesco Berni)

References

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Francesco Berni (ca. 1497May 26, 1536) was an Italian poet credited for beginning what is now known as "Bernesque poetry", a serio-comedic type of poetry with elements of satire.

Sourced

  • Let him look to it, who is pleased with the game of Tarocco, that the only signification of this word Tarocco, is stupid, foolish, simple, fit only to be used by Bakers, Coblers, and the vulgar, to play at most for the fourth part of a Carlino, at Tarocchi, or at Trionfi, or any Sminckiate whatever: which in every way signifies only foolery and idleness, feasting the eye with the Sun, and the Moon, and the twelve (signs) as children do.
    • Mention made on the Tarocchi in his Capitolo del Gioco della Primiera col Comento di messer Pietropaulo da San Chirico (1526).

External links

Wikipedia
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FRANCESCO BERNI (1497-1536), Italian poet, was born about 1497 at Lamporecchio, in Bibbiena, a district lying along the Upper Arno. His family was of good descent, but excessively poor. At an early age he was sent to Florence, where he remained till his 19th year. He then set out for Rome, trusting to obtain some assistance from his uncle, the Cardinal Bibbiena. The cardinal, however, did nothing for him, and he was obliged to, accept a situation as clerk or secretary to Ghiberti, datary to Clement VII. The duties of his office, for which Berni was in every way unfit, were exceedingly irksome to the poet, who, however, made himself celebrated at Rome as the most witty and inventive of a certain club of literary men, who devoted themselves to light and sparkling effusions. So strong was the admiration for Berni's verses, that mocking or burlesque poems have since been called poesie bernesca. About the year 1530 he was relieved from his servitude by obtaining a canonry in the cathedral of Florence. In that city he died in 1536, according to tradition poisoned by Duke Alessandro de' Medici, for having refused to poison the duke's cousin, Ippolito de' Medici; but considerable obscurity rests over this story. Berni stands at the head of Italian comic or burlesque poets. For lightness, sparkling wit, variety of form and fluent diction, his verses are unsurpassed. Perhaps, however, he owes his greatest fame to the recasting (Rifacimento) of Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato. The enormous success of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso had directed fresh attention to the older poem, from which it took its characters, and of which it is the continuation. But Boiardo's work, though good in plan, could never have achieved wide popularity on account of the extreme ruggedness of its style. Berni undertook the revision of the whole poem, avowedly altering no sentiment, removing or adding no incident, but simply giving to each line and stanza due gracefulness and polish. His task he completed with marvellous success; scarcely a line remains as it was, and the general opinion has pronounced decisively in favour of the revision over the original. To each canto he prefixed a few stanzas of reflective verse in the manner of Ariosto, and in one of these introductions he gives us the only certain information we have concerning his own life. Berni appears to have been favourably disposed towards the Reformation principles at that time introduced into Italy, and this may explain the bitterness of some remarks of his upon the church. The first edition of the Rifacimento was printed posthumously in 1541, and it has been supposed that a few passages either did not receive the author's final revision, or have been retouched by another hand.

A partial translation of Berni's Orlando was published by W. S. Rose (1823).


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