Sperone Speroni and the Debate over Sophistry in the Italian Renaissance


In Sperone Speroni and the Debate over Sophistry in the Italian Renaissance Teodoro Katinis mines a number of little or unstudied primary sources and offers the first book on the rebirth of ancient sophists in the Italian literature of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, from Leonardo Bruni to Jacopo Mazzoni, with a focus on the Italian writer and philosopher Sperone Speroni (1500-1588). Katinis convincingly argues that Speroni is a unique case of an early modern thinker who explicitly rejected Plato’s demonization and defended the public role of the sophistic rhetoric, which enhanced the debate over the sophistic arts and scepticism in a variety of fields and anticipated some of the most revolutionary modern thoughts.
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Biographical Note

Teodoro Katinis, Ph.D. (2015) Johns Hopkins University and Ph.D. (2004) Roma Tre University, is Research Professor of Italian Literature (Department of Literary Studies, Ghent University) and Marie Curie Alumnus. He has published one monograph and several articles on Renaissance authors.

Table of contents

Preface Acknowledgments Introduction 1 Fifteenth-century Perspectives on Ancient Sophists  1.1 The Ancients and the Humanists  1.2 Gorgias Redivivus  1.3 Protagoras and Humanist Literature  1.4 Marsilio Ficino’s Interpretation of Sophists  1.5 Toward the 16th Century 2 Speroni and the Sophists  2.1 Orator et Philosophus  2.2 Defense and Rehabilitation of Sophistry  2.3 The Dialogo della retorica 3 Speroni’s Practice of Sophistic Rhetoric  3.1 From Theory to Practice  3.2 Antilogies  3.3 Rhetoric in Dialogues 4 The Debate on Dante and Sophistic Poetry  4.1 Looking at the Debate on Dante from a New Perspective  4.2 Tasso’s Concern about Poetry: An Overview of the Late Cinquecento  4.3 Crafting Idols: Jacopo Mazzoni’s Poetics  4.4 Dante among Sophists and Skeptics  4.5 Ut Pictura Poesis: Mazzoni, Speroni, Comanini Conclusion Appendix: Two Trattatelli of Speroni for Sophistry Bibliography Index of Names


All interested in the reception of classical rhetoric and philosophy, Renaissance Platonism and Aristotelianism, early-modern Italian literature, philosophy and intellectual life.