Studies in Honour of Mark Davie
Preface by Danielle Hipkins and Luciano Parisi xiii
Preface Intellectual dialogue is at the centre of Mark Davie’s book Half-Serious Rhymes. Firstly, Mark shows how Luigi Pulci’s poem Morgante is the result of his interaction with an anonymous text (Orlando), re-discovered by Pio Rajna in 1869, which at times Pulci followed word for word. His was ‘a creative dialogue with an earlier text’ (p. 18), a fruitful relationship high- lighting Pulci’s ‘characteristic ability to derive the verbal stimuli he needs from a pre-existing text’ which works even with the most unpromising text (p. 96). Secondly, Pulci created an original formula, with a mixture of styles and traditions, ‘a new genre of narrative poetry, characterised by the pres- ence in the text of a self-aware narrator able to exploit his relationship with his material and with his audience, resulting in a high level of topicality, verbal humour and parody’ (p. 27). As Mark says, ‘both Boiardo’s Orlando innamorato and Ariosto’s Orlando furioso, to name only the outstanding examples of a hugely successful genre, owe a large and conspicuous debt to the Morgante’ (p. 7). Pulci expected to be surpassed by those coming after him. His poem was also meant to be a contribution to a collective enterprise: Altri verrà con altro stile e canto, con miglior cetra, e più sovrano artista; io mi starò tra faggi e tra bifulci che non disprezzino le muse de’ Pulci.1 We have used the word ‘dialogue’ to indicate so far a marked form of intertextuality or the mixture of continuity and innovation that...
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