Academic journal article Seventeenth-Century News

The Poetics of Patronage: Poetry as Self-Advancement in Giannantonio Campano

Academic journal article Seventeenth-Century News

The Poetics of Patronage: Poetry as Self-Advancement in Giannantonio Campano

Article excerpt

The Poetics of Patronage: Poetry as Self-Advancement in Giannantonio Campano. By Susanna de Beer. Proteus: Studies in Early Modern Identity Formation, 6. Turnhout: Brepols, 2013. xxxii + 431 pages. 120 [euro]. On one level, this book is a study of the poetry of Giannantonio Campano (1429-1477), a protege of Cardinal Bessarion who was well known in his own day as a Latin poet. Campano made his way through life with his pen, which allows de Beer to make of him an object lesson in the practice of patronage during the Renaissance. Campano's literary themes therefore emerge within the nexus of the social relationships in which he participated. He was educated in the kingdom of Naples, with the support of the Pandoni family. He next turns up in Perugia, where the Baglioni, the ruling family of the city, obtained for him a professorship at the university there. After entering clerical service, he was supported by Pope Pius II (the humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini) and Cardinal Giacomo degli Ammannati, then by the papal condottiere Federico da Montefeltro. Not all his efforts to find a patron were successful--his offer of service to Ferrante I, king of Naples, was not accepted--but in general the patronage system allowed him to make of his life a work of art that was inextricably intertwined with his poetry.

As de Beer shows, patronage as a literary system during the Renaissance is little understood today. Drawing on the works of Bourdieu, de Beer notes that a person's power or status was defined by the sum of his or her economic, social, and cultural capital. Patronage was a way in which capital could be exchanged to the mutual benefit of both parties, with the patron offering primarily social and economic capital and the writer offering cultural capital. This provides a satisfying framework for the analysis of poetry like Campano's, which has been too easily dismissed as flattery whose value does not survive the occasion for which it was written. Each poem was at the same time a gift to a patron, an element with which to communicate and negotiate with the patron, and a means to establish a patronage relationship with a wider audience. Campano's literary strategies emerge from his efforts to function on these three levels, reinforced with an eye on the classical patronage discourse that helped legitimate Campano as a poet because it gave him a role in the revival of antiquity that was so highly valued in his day. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.