This article examines the role of street performers such as ballad singers and charlatans in the publication and sale of cheap printed pamphlets in northern Italian cities during the Renaissance. These mobile and usually socially marginal figures quickly became involved in the printing industry after its initiation in the later fifteenth century, and in this way carried on their established role as crucial cultural mediators, moving texts between different places, different social spheres, and different media. As well as publishing, performing, and selling works such as chivalric ballads, poetic accounts of recent wars, prognostications, and medical remedies, performers also were involved in the dissemination of texts more traditionally considered as ‘high’ literature, belonging to the restricted cultural sphere of the court or salon. In this way, they contributed to the wide dissemination of the works of eminent Renaissance authors, whether those authors approved of it or not. However, growing restrictions on the dissemination of print in the later sixteenth century reduced the freedom of movement of street performers, and diminished the remarkably creative and vibrant literary and performative culture in which they had played a central role.

In the mouths of charlatans. Street performers and the dissemination of pamphlets in Renaissance Italy / Salzberg, R.. - In: RENAISSANCE STUDIES. - ISSN 0269-1213. - STAMPA. - 24:5(2010), pp. 638-653. [10.1111/j.1477-4658.2010.00670.x]

In the mouths of charlatans. Street performers and the dissemination of pamphlets in Renaissance Italy

Salzberg R.
2010-01-01

Abstract

This article examines the role of street performers such as ballad singers and charlatans in the publication and sale of cheap printed pamphlets in northern Italian cities during the Renaissance. These mobile and usually socially marginal figures quickly became involved in the printing industry after its initiation in the later fifteenth century, and in this way carried on their established role as crucial cultural mediators, moving texts between different places, different social spheres, and different media. As well as publishing, performing, and selling works such as chivalric ballads, poetic accounts of recent wars, prognostications, and medical remedies, performers also were involved in the dissemination of texts more traditionally considered as ‘high’ literature, belonging to the restricted cultural sphere of the court or salon. In this way, they contributed to the wide dissemination of the works of eminent Renaissance authors, whether those authors approved of it or not. However, growing restrictions on the dissemination of print in the later sixteenth century reduced the freedom of movement of street performers, and diminished the remarkably creative and vibrant literary and performative culture in which they had played a central role.
2010
5
Salzberg, R.
In the mouths of charlatans. Street performers and the dissemination of pamphlets in Renaissance Italy / Salzberg, R.. - In: RENAISSANCE STUDIES. - ISSN 0269-1213. - STAMPA. - 24:5(2010), pp. 638-653. [10.1111/j.1477-4658.2010.00670.x]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/321849
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