Lodovico Dolce, Renaissance Man of Letters

ISBN: 0-8020-4159-0 (cloth) $55.00

This book, published by the University of Toronto Press, is the first comprehensive critical study of the literary works of Lodovico Dolce, a sixteenth-century Venetian humanist, famous in his own time for a wide variety of literary enterprises, but known today primarily for his Dialogue on Painting. Despite the fact that Dolce produced several hundred volumes bearing his name—whether as author, editor, translator or critic—and gained universal renown in his own century, standing out as an exemplar of the ideal scholar and writer, few today recognize his significance as one of the major promulgators of culture in Cinquecento Italy.

An author like Dolce, active in nearly every field available to the humanist of the day, is a good mirror of the varied activities and fields of interest of Renaissance authors—a compendium, as it were, of the age. The traditional epithet most often affixed to his name— "the indefatigable"— was well deserved, for in total productivity he far surpassed all other sixteenth-century poligrafi.

Aside from his significance as a representative figure of his time, however, Dolce is interesting for his individual contributions to Italian literature and for that reason this analytical study attempts to shed more light on his truly creative works, which either are too often disparaged or have slipped into unmerited oblivion. Particular attention is paid to his chivalric romances, comedies, tragedies, prose dialogues, and treatises.

Just as important is his work as a disseminator of knowledge. For thirty-six years, Dolce worked for the Venetian presses (most often Giolito), being personally responsible for over 25% of the books published in Venice during that time. The works that passed through his hands seem not only to have responded to public demand but to have captured and directed the interests of sixteenth-century readers. As the most active writer and editor for the largest and most productive Venetian press, Dolce played a decisive role in both the formation and diffusion of late Cinquecento culture.

This title can be ordered from the University of Toronto Press web site (http://www.utppublishing.com).