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A History of Literary Criticism in the Renaissance

Has been the main design of the essay


then, has been the main design of the essay; but furthermore, as is indicated in the title, I have attempted to point out the part played by Italy in the growth of this neo-classic spirit and in the formulation of these neo-classic principles. The influence of the Italian Renaissance in the development of modern science, philosophy, art, and creative literature has been for a long time the subject of much study. It has been my more modest task to trace the indebtedness of the modern world to Italy in the domain of literary criticism; and I trust that I have shown the Renaissance influence to be as great in this as in the other realms of study. The birth of modern criticism was due to the critical activity of Italian humanism; and it is in sixteenth-century Italy that we shall find, more or less matured, the general spirit and even the specific principles of French classicism. The second half of the design, then, is the history of the Italian influence in literary criticism; and with Milton, the last of the humanists in England, the essay naturally closes. But we shall find, I think, that the influence of the Italian Renaissance in the domain of literary criticism was not even then all decayed, and that Lessing and Shelley, to mention no others, were the legitimate inheritors of the Italian tradition.

This essay was submitted to the Faculty of Philosophy, Columbia University, in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of

Philosophy. The bibliography at the end of the essay indicates sufficiently my obligations to preceding writers. It has been prepared chiefly for the purpose of facilitating reference to works cited in the text and in the foot-notes, and should be consulted for the full titles of books therein mentioned; it makes no pretence of being a complete bibliography of the subject. It will be seen that the history of Italian criticism in the sixteenth century has received scarcely any attention from modern scholars. In regard to Aristotle's _Poetics_, I have used the text, and in general followed the interpretation, given in Professor S. H. Butcher's _Aristotle's Theory of Poetry and Fine Art_, a noble monument of scholarship vivified by literary feeling. I desire also to express my obligations to Professor Butcher for an abstract of Zabarella, to Mr. P. O. Skinner of Harvard for an analysis of Capriano, to my friend, Mr. F. W. Chandler, for summaries of several early English rhetorical treatises, and to Professor Cavalier Speranza for a few corrections; also to my friends, Mr. J. G. Underhill, Mr. Lewis Einstein, and Mr. H. A. Uterhart, and to my brother, Mr. A. B. Spingarn, for incidental assistance of some importance.

But, above all, I desire to acknowledge my indebtedness to Professor George E. Woodberry. This book is the fruit of his instruction; and in writing it, also, I have had recourse to him for assistance and criticism. Without the aid so kindly accorded by him, the book could hardly have been written, and certainly would never have assumed its present form. But my obligations to him are not limited to the subject or contents of the present essay. Through a period of five years the inspiration derived from his instruction and encouragement has been so great as to preclude the possibility of its expression in a preface. _Quare habe tibi quidquid hoc libelli._

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