Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Clouet père et fils

Clouet père (Jean) et fils (François)

Le Power Point

Beth on La Biblioteca Marciana

Biblioteca Marciana- architect Jacopo Sansovino (Beth Olry)


The Biblioteca Marciana was named after the patron saint of Venice, Saint Mark, and is a library that was built during the renaissance. The architect, Jacopo Sansovino, was originally named Jacopo Tatti. He was an Italian sculptor and architect that introduced the style of the High Renaissance into Venice, where he died in 1570. He was born and baptized in Florence in 1486 and, some considered, predestined for Venetian architecture.
Sansovino was trained in Florence and remained active in Rome. He trained so many sculptors that it was nearly considered a school of its own. Much of the extent of the effect of Venice architecture can be attributed to his exceptional skills.
The Biblioteca Marciana is still one of the oldest surviving public document depositories in Italy.  Its importance to the Renaissance is that it was essential to housing the limited supply of texts that contributed to the reemergence of Classical philosophy and literature. The ancient texts were primarily in Latin and Greek.
Cardinal Basilios Bessarion bequeathed a significant collection to the Biblioteca Marciana in 1468. This alone was quite fortunate for Venice and a mark of distinction. Venice portrayed itself as the center of learning and Classical knowledge by building the ornate library, playing a role as the leading center of Greek studies.
Regarding structure, there is complete and correct use of the Doric and Ionic orders that pleased educated Venetians. The Vitruvian components exemplify Roman iconography. Large Obelisks and naturalistic statues are reminiscent of antiquity. Other notable symbols on the façade are keystone heads, and the joining of engaged columns. This is demonstrative of the similarities between other Roman structures, such as the Colosseum.
Palladio describes it as the “richest and most ornate [building] since Antiquity, which made Venice an extension of Rome.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Devon on Theseus and Hippolyta

Hippolyta and Theseus (Devon Roberts)

Hippolyta & Theseus Played by Eleanor Matsuura & John Hannah

The relationship between Theseus and Hippolyta can be seen changing throughout the play, during which we see Hippolyta take more control in her role. In an essay posted on Scribd called “Women’s Defiance of Social Standards in a Midsummer Night’s Dream: Illusion or Reality,” this change is demonstrated throughout three different verbal reactions.
“These stages are important to demonstrating how Hippolyta gains verbal space and presence during their exchange, so as to change the tone and lower the tension between her and the duke. There are differences in those three moments, regarding who initiates and maintains the dialogue, concerning the tension of the situation and the topic of the conversation.”
The first interaction occurs act one, scene one. Theseus is assertive and reminds Hippolyta of the circumstances of their arrangement, which was “shaped by violence, not love.”  The tone of their second interaction is a bit different, with Hippolyta speaking longer than before and the two of them finding some common ground, such as hunting. The final interaction, in act 5, Hippolyta is the first to speak, and we see the tension fade and the discussion turn to love.
“We see that the topic developed by the future marriage couple is about love, the core reason to marriage. And though, it may be not their own love they speak about, it is a leading excuse to a happy mood and a more appropriate disposition towards their wedding night.”


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Lizzie on MND 5.1

MND 5.1 (Lizzie Britner)

Since most of the action in the play takes place in the first three Acts and the resolution comes in Act IV, Act V is really meant to serve as comic relief. And most of that comic relief comes from the horribly performed play by the rude mechanicals. The play they choose to perform, The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe, is comical because of its heavy irony. The definition of irony is when something happens in the opposite way of what is expected, usually resulting in amusement. To be more specific, dramatic irony occurs when the full meaning or significance of a character’s words is known to the audience or reader, but not to the character themselves.
The play the rude mechanicals perform is ironic in it of itself because it features a lot of misunderstandings and false identity, which is exactly what occurred to the four lovers in the overall play. But one of the specific parts of the rude mechanicals play that I found ironic was the number of times they make reference to an ass, specifically directed at Bottom. In lines 151-153, Theseus says “I wonder if the lion be to speak” and Demetrius responds by saying “No wonder, my lord; one lion may when many asses do,” Demetrius is referring to all of the actors as asses because of how poorly they are performing the play. In our times, they’re acting like what we would call dumbasses. But Demetrius’s specific choice of word makes the scene really ironic because Bottom was literally transformed to have an ass’ head earlier in the play. This irony continues in lines 299-300 when Theseus says “With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover, and yet prove an ass.” Again, I thought this was really ironic since Bottom was actually an ass prior to this performance. The irony of the play within the play adds to the overall theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by demonstrating how unaware all the characters were of the other plot lines that were taking place at the same time. It adds to the comic confusion that is featured throughout the entire play.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Laura on Luis de León

Luis de León (Laura Laudeman)
Luis de León was born in Aragon in 1528 to a wealthy, noble family. He was ethnically Jewish, but his family had converted to Roman Catholicism. When he was fourteen years old, he was sent to the University of Salamanca to study law. There he was introduced to and embraced Humanist ideas. Six months after beginning his studies at Salamanca, León entered an Augustinian convent. Once he had obtained his degrees, he was appointed chair of theology. He was also a respected authority on Hebrew.
            Luis de León’s career at the University of Salamanca coincided with the Counter Reformation of the Catholic Church, and his Humanist philosophies landed him in hot water with Inquisition authorities. After the Council of Trent established the Latin Vulgate as the preferred translation of the Bible, there was controversy among de León’s theologian colleagues at the university about the decision. Several continued to reference Hebrew translations in their courses and academic writing, including de León. He sometimes expressed unorthodox opinions as a result of his knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, and also attracted criticism for his critiques of his colleagues’ “imperfect understanding” of texts, as well as for his numerous translations of sacred Greek and Latin texts into Spanish, which was at the time illegal. He was arrested and imprisoned by the Inquisition in 1592 not for the crime of heresy itself, but for provoking and condoning it. He was treated brutally while in prison, but it was there that he began writing some of his most well-known works. His trial lasted nearly five years, and he was initially found guilty and sentenced to the rack. But, nine days later the decision was reversed and he was acquitted. His position at the university was restored and he was warned to be more cautious in his teaching. De León resigned from his chair, however, and satisfied himself with an adjunct-type teaching position instead.
            Apart from being a friar and an academic, Luis de León is also recognized as one of the great lyric poets of the Spanish Golden Age. Much of his original poetry deals with religious subjects and takes on a sincere, intimate tone, sometimes even expressing feelings of self-doubt. Other poems of his are translations of the work of such classical figures as Horace, Vergil, and Euripides. His original poems and his classical translations are both praised for their melodious sound quality and simple but elegant diction. He is also noted for his two major works of prose,  Los nombres de Cristo (in English, The Names of Christ) and La perfecta casada (in English, The Perfect Wife). Nombres interprets the various names for Christ that are found in the Bible and is written in the dialogue format popularized by another prominent Humanist, Erasmus. Casada is de León’s interpretation of the Proverbs of Solomon and is a didactic moral guide intended for young newlywed women. It paints a picture of the duties of a Christian wife.

 Dégert, Antoine. "Luis de León." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert                                                     Appleton Company, 1910. 23 Feb. 2018 <                                                  09177b.htm>.

Ford, J. D. M. “Luis De León, the Spanish Poet, Humanist, and Mystic.” PMLA, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1899, pp.   267–278. JSTOR, JSTOR, <>

"Luis de León - Other Literary Forms" Literary Essentials: Great Poems of the World. Ed.                                                 Rosemary M. Canfield Reisman., Inc. 2003, 23 Feb, 2018. <http://              >

 Image: Engraving by Pacheco del Rio

Brittani on MND 5.1

MND 5.1 (Brittani Reeves)

At the start of Act V, Scene I, King Theseus and Hippolyta discuss the tale that the lovers have told them of the past night. Hippolyta notes that the story is a rather strange one, while Theseus dismisses it as “more strange than true”. He then goes on to tell Hippolyta that lovers have “seething brains”, similar to madmen and poets. Theseus believes that the lovers’ dream, as well as fairies themselves, are merely imagination. Hippolyta responds to Theseus by saying that she suspects that the story must be something more, seeing that all four lovers had the exact same dream. This exchange between Theseus and Hippolyta offers a glimpse of the two characters; Theseus being the literal, unimaginative male figure and Hippolyta as the dreamy, romantic female.

Photograph Information
Artist: Francis Wheatley (1747-1801)
Type: Oil on canvas

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Kara on Humanism

Humanism (Kara Beasley)

            Humanism is a renaissance cultural movement that turned away from medieval scholasticism and revived interest in ancient Greek and Roman thought. Renaissance Humanism originated in Northern Italy in the 14th century then spread to Western Europe in the 15th and 16th century. Humanism signified a contemporary rebirth. Humans were regarded as optimistic, and humanistic ways promoted new ways of thinking and promoted education. Humans were praised for achievements which were attributed to humanity and effort rather than divine grace. One concern facing Humanism was people were lead towards more time benefitting others in their daily lives rather than otherworldly interests such as the Church. Renaissance Humanism was also a response to the utilitarian approach and what came to be depicted as the “narrow pedantry,” which was associated with medieval scholasticism. Humanists sought to create citizenry able to speak and write with eloquence, and clarity, and they wanted to engage in civic life to persuade people to think more virtuous and prudent actions. Some famous Humanist include, Niccolo Machiavelli (Italian diplomat), Thomas More (philosopher), Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, Nicholas Copernicus, and Galileo.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

David on Luther, Calvin, and the Reformation

Luther, Calvin, and the Reformation (David Jones)

The Reformation, also known as the Protestant Reformation, was the religious revolution that took place in the Western church during the 16th century, between c1517 – c1648. The Reformation began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church and their practices of spreading false doctrine and open abuse of their power. This outcry against their corrupt practices led to the formation of Protestantism and its major branches, which include Lutheranism, Calvinism, Anglicanism, Methodism, and the Baptists.
                The Reformation began on October 31st, 1517, when a rebellious Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of his church after becoming disillusioned by the rampant open corruption of the Roman Church. The Ninety-Five Theses protested the pope’s sale of reprieves from penance, or indulgences. Indulgences were monetary donations to the church in exchange for a written promise from the Pope to reduce a sinner’s time in purgatory. Luther claimed that Bible alone held God’s truth and that the pope had no authority over purgatory, leading to his excommunicating in 1521.
                The foundation of Protestant Reformation lies in the Biblical principles that are taught by Lutheran and other Reformed branches called the Five Solaes. The earliest Solaes, which formed the basis of Lutheranism, advocated that scripture alone is the true word of God (sola scriptura), that faith alone is the only means of salvation, not good works (sola fide), and that salvation comes by divine grace or unmerited favor, not as something merited by the sinner (sola gratia). The spread of Lutheranism’s influence was rapid and by the mid-16th-century, it became the primary belief of northern Europe.
                The second most important figure in the Reformation was John Calvin. He fled to Switzerland where he wrote the “Institutes of the Christion Religion”, which viciously attacked the theological teachings of institutions that Calvin considered unethical, but also described different practices of Christianity, inspiring the ideas that would later become Calvinism. Another important figure residing in Switzerland was John Knox. Influenced by John Calvin, his work led to the establishment of Presbyterianism, a form of Protestant Church government in which the church is administered locally by the minister with a group of elected elders of equal rank. In England, Henry VIII, angry at Pope Clement VII for refusing to grant him an annulment of his marriage, established the Anglican Church, which permitted the beginning of religious change in the country. He declared that he was the ultimate authority in matters relating to the church. The Reformation was not a peaceful movement. There were decades of rebellions and open warfare, decimating nearly 40% of the German population as a result. The Reformation ended with Thirty Years War in 1648.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sierra on finding the love in MND

Finding the Love in MND (Sierra Miranda)

Louis Rhead. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Helena pursues Demetrius. Folger Shakespeare Library. (not after 1918)

Helena and Demetrius (2.1.188-244) 

In Act 2 Scene 1, Helena voices her unrequited love for Demetrius who loves Hermia. Demetrius continuously tells Helena that he does not want her, but Helena chooses to chase him. I have listed a few quotes from this scene.

I am your spaniel, and, Demetrius
The more you beat, me, I will fawn on you:
Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you. 
What worser place can I beg in your love,--
And yet a place of high respect with me, --
Than to be used as your use your dog” (2.1.203-210).

It is not night when I do see your face.
Therefore I think I am not in the night,
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company,
For you in my respect are all the world” (2.1.221-224)

It seems as though Helena is so overcome with her love for Demetrius that she would take maltreatment to continue on with him. This reminds me of the current concept that humans want what they cannot have. Demetrius makes it clear that she is not who he wants, but that has no effect on Helena’s feelings towards him. In today’s terms, Helena is desperate, thirsty, annoying, etc.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Andrew on Midsummer's Eve

                                      William Blake (1786)

Midsummer's Eve (Andrew Patterson)

Midsummer’s Eve is still a holiday that is celebrated but has been changed by Christianity, like Halloween and Christmas. It is of pagan origin and consists of people traveling out into the woods to drink, dance, and play games. In the time of Shakespeare it was illegal in several areas to participate in the festivities due to it being viewed pagan even after changing the name to St. John’s eve.
            Midsummer’s Eve was held for fertility and the harvest. Among the events was a maypole dance. It is still debated on whether or not the maypole is to meant to symbolize the male member, however it still brings it to mind for some. The disappearance of two couples in the Midsummer’s night dream and how they are married the next morning plays into a more literal interpretation of fertility.
            The consumption of alcohol could have similar effects to a love potion. It’s know that drinking occurred during the holiday even if looked down upon. The potion may not be ingested but it still causes people to care less about looks and be more reckless with themselves. Puck’s impression makes more sense to a set of impaired men who give chase despite it being the middle of night.   

Fyodor on the MND Intro

Greenblatt's MND Intro (Fyodor)

Greenblatt’s introduction notes that there’s a dark undercurrent to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, made of “emotional violence, masochism, the betrayal of friendship, the radical fickleness of desire.” He attributes this to the sexual politics present in the story, especially the struggle between men and women. Referencing one play we recently studied, Greenblatt says that here, as in Taming of the Shrew, the struggle is for male domination over women. This is seen best in the testy relationship between Oberon and Titania, with her independence and his attempts to curb it.
The friendships and love between the four young Athenians also succumb to this darkness, thanks to the faeries’ meddling and the ongoing power struggle between Oberon and Titania. The kids turn on one another, and this is usually dealt with in performance in one of two ways – a production can either focus on the comedy, making the insults come off as funny to the audience rather than cruel, or it can emphasize what Greenblatt calls “this play’s more troubling and discordant notes.” This darkness is contrasted with the play’s conclusion, where everything is fixed literally by magic. Greenblatt says that the final outcome doesn’t matter as much to us, the audience, as it does to the characters. Playing it as a lighthearted comedy easily makes us forget the dark things the characters have experienced.
I chose this picture, or rather typographic art, as an example of this underlying darkness. “Though she be but little, she is fierce” (Mid. 3.2.325) is frequently taken out of context. It isn’t a positive description of Hermia, it’s her now-former friend Helena attacking her: “Oh, when she is angry she is keen and shrewd. / She was a vixen when she went to school, / And though she be but little, she is fierce” (Mid. 3.2.323-325). This can easily be played for laughs, and people forget the context of “though she be but little...” but it’s an example of the havoc wreaked on people who were once friends.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Tara on Itallian Renaissance Architecture

Italian Arts & Architecture: Leon Battista Alberti & Lorenzo Ghiberti  (Tara Olivero)

                  (The “Adam and Eve” panel from the Gates of Paradise - Ghiberti, 1452)

Leon Battista Alberti

Leon Battista Alberti, born in 1404 in Genoa, Italy, was a humanist and a Renaissance man; he earned a doctorate in law, studied mathematics and natural sciences, became a playwright, and involved himself in painting and the arts, among other areas of interest. He entered minor holy orders in 1432 and served as a papal servant for most of the rest of his life, with his duties taking him around Italy. He composed a number of treatises, including Della Pittura (On Painting), De Sculptura (On Sculpture), and De re Aedificatoria (On Architecture). Originally published in Latin, Alberti translated Della Pittura and De re Aedificatoria into Italian and re-printed them for a larger circulation. Della Pittura served as an avenue to explain and teach about linear perspective, but it is Alberti’s treatise On Architecture, divided into ten books and officially published in 1485, which has had the greatest lasting impact.

Alberti became interested in architecture in the 1440s and, like Brunelleschi, appreciated and was inspired by ancient Roman architecture as well as the theories of Vitruvius. He also admired the achievements of contemporary architects from Florence, as well as the style of architecture that began emphasizing a more humanist outlook. According to On Architecture, all architecture in a city must work together in order for a city to be unified. Strength, utility, and beauty should be the most important components of architecture, and the harmony of a structure is dependent upon its proportions, which Alberti called concinnitas. This harmony should also mirror nature’s physical laws, as Brunelleschi and Vitruvius believed. Alberti also placed great significance on the use of columns as one of the principal ornamental, rather than structural, elements of architecture. Other popular elements of his designs included triumphal arches and temple fronts, (both inspired by Roman buildings), dim lighting, and windows placed higher up on the walls in order to inspire more pious thoughts through a view of the sky rather than the city. As an architect, Alberti did not concern himself with the execution of his designs but instead preferred to study and write about the theory of architecture. However, some of his creations do exist in physical format: he designed the architecture of the Church of Sant’Andrea in Mantua (1470) as well as the facades for the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimani (1450) and the Church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence (1470).

The latter is one of the greatest examples of Florentine Renaissance architecture. The medieval architecture of the Santa Maria Novella, a convent from the 1300s, already possessed some Gothic features in its building before Alberti added the facade. Mostly bare, the original facade included six tombs of noble citizens, which were immovable, as well as two immovable and arguably unattractive doors. Under Alberti’s design, these elements were harmonized with Renaissance design by enclosing the tombs with more rounded arches, and by replicating their green-and-white marbled pattern throughout the rest of the structure. A sense of harmony also shines through in the geometrical pattern, as the facade is covered with symmetrical geometrical shapes like circles, triangles, and squares, all of which were governed by simple proportions.

Ancient Greek and Roman elements are evident throughout the design: the upper level of the facade includes a temple front (columns holding up a triangular pediment) and the lower level is a form of triumphal arch (arches divided by columns). The facade’s lower level contains two larger pillars, between which sit four ornamental columns decorated with the family emblem of Giovanni Rucellai, the sponsor of the updated facade. There is a large arched portal between the two central columns. The astronomer and cartographer Ignazio Danti was commissioned for other ornamental components: the right side of the facade is a marble astronomical dial, and on the left is a bronze equinoctial armillary. The upper level contains four half-pillars and a large circular window, which was part of the original facade and was kept in Alberti’s design, brought into harmony by surrounding circular decorations. A triangle sits atop the wall, marked with the Dominican symbol of the sun. As a whole, the design of the facade is considered a masterpiece because it is aesthetically pleasing while also seamlessly merging medieval and Renaissance architectural elements.

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Born in Pelago, Italy, in 1378, Lorenzo Ghiberti trained in goldsmithing and painting in his youth. He quickly rose to prominence with his work in bronze, especially when he chose to submit designs for the northern doors of the Florence Baptistery (or Baptistery of St. John), a competition sponsored by the city of Florence in 1401. The two top contenders were Filippo Brunelleschi and Ghiberti. While Brunelleschi worked on his designs in secret, Ghiberti allowed any member of the public to visit his studio, see his work in progress, and give feedback. Because he was able to adjust his designs to suit popular demand, and because his bronze craftsmanship was superior to Brunelleschi’s, he won the commission. The 28 total panels of the doors, most of them focused on the life of Christ in the New Testament, were finished over twenty years later, in 1424.

They were such a success that Ghiberti was commissioned to design the doors for the east facade of the Baptistery, which were intended to portray the Old Testament. Ghiberti took 27 years to design and complete the 17-foot-tall eastern doors, which were scaled down from 28 panels to just 10 larger panels instead. In one, known as the “Adam and Eve” panel, Ghiberti combined four events from the Adam and Eve portions of the Bible into one singular panel. The size of the onlooking angels signifies the differentiation of the four events, as does the groupings of characters in different areas of the panel. Before Ghiberti’s work, the tradition was to only include one specific episode per artistic panel, so these panels significantly shifted the way that narratives could be told. In the “Jacob and Esau” panel, Ghiberti utilized a vanishing point, which was very much a Renaissance advancement, with this clear incorporation of perspective helping achieve greater realism of depth. The “David” panel, showing David battling Goliath, is also one of the more well-known panels.

In terms of craft and materials, bronze was more expensive than marble and far more difficult to cast. Ghiberti would use wax representations to create clay reliefs that he would then use to guide the bronze. Once the bronze panels were out of their molds, he was able to use his training as a goldsmith to hammer, carve, and polish the reliefs. To achieve a golden polish, he combined gold dust with mercury and painted the mixture across the finished reliefs. The panels were heated to burn off the mercury and leave only the gold, which was an incredibly dangerous method but, arguably, aesthetically effective. Most interestingly, when the doors were removed for conservation in the 1990s, conservators realized that the doors were each cast as a single three-ton piece of bronze, instead of creating smaller bronze pieces and molding them together. No one is quite sure how he managed to accomplish this feat, as he did not explain his technique in his autobiography.

The sides of the doors, along the edges of the panels, are framed by 20 prophets and 24 sculpted heads. The eastern doors were finally completed by 1452 and were later called the “Gates of Paradise” by Michelangelo. These doors, which brought realism, emotion, and artistic technique to the stories of the Bible, served as one of the lasting icons of Renaissance art.

Visual Presentation:


Additional Image Credits:

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Zach on MND intro

Intro to A Midsummer Night's Dream (Zach Kieser)

The intro to A Midsummer Night’s Dream mentioned how many advanced rhetorical and literature techniques are used in the play. I wanted to define the ones that the intro mentions which are anaphora, anadiplosis, isocolon, and stichomythia. Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses. Shakespeare pokes fun at how badly people use this technique in Bottom’s unintentionally comedic speech in Act 5, Scene 1 where he says, “O night with hue so black \ O night, which ever art when day is not....” This speech also contains an example of the second technique, anadiplosis, which is the repetition of a word at the end of one clause and at the beginning of another. Shakespeare’s comedic example of this is when Bottom says, “O grim-looked night, O night with hue so black.” The anadiplosis is with the word “night” just as the anaphora was with the word “night”. Shakespeare does not always just mock literature techniques, though. He does seriously use isocolon, which is a figure of speech in which the sentence has two parts with equivalent structure, length, and rhythm. An example of this is in Act 1, Scene 1, when Hermia, declaring that she would rather be a virgin forever than marry Demetrius, says, “So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord.” “So live, so die” is isocolon since both phrases are exactly the same except for one word. Finally, an example of stichomythia, which is where two characters trade lines back and forth and thus create poetry together, occurs between Lysander and Hermia. As they are bemoaning the many obstacles to true lovers getting married, Shakespeare has them take turns saying lines of poetry. Overall, all these techniques reveal how Shakespeare was a master of literary techniques and when he chose to, could use a ton of them in a single play, like A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Romeo and Juliet.

Type: Watercolor
Year: 1870
Artist: John Simmons

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Mariah on Fernando de Herrera

Fernando de Herrera (Mariah Zimmerman)

Fernando de Herrera, also known as El Divino, was born in 1534 in Seville, Spain. Not much is known about the early life of Herrera despite being well known in his native town. There are references to a humble birth, with many claiming that he was born of noble parents of moderate means. With that being said, he was a lyric poet and scholar. He was one of the most prominent figures in the first School of Sevilla (Seville). The School of Sevilla was a group of 16th century Spanish neoclassic poets and humanists that took an interest in rhetoric and the form of language.

Herrera opted to take minor religious orders and was appointed to a benefice in Seville. The income from this position allowed him to spend his life studying and writing. The service that he entered into was that of Don Alvaro de Portugal, Count of Gelves. Herrera fell in love with the Count’s wife, Leonor, who became his muse and to whom many of his poems are dedicated.

Fernando de Herrera published several works. His aristocratic literary ideas were presented in Anotaciones a las obras de Garcilaso de la Vega (1580; “Notes on the Works of Garcilaso de la Vega”). This work praised the innovations of the poet Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as several other poets of Sevilla. Two years later, he published his own poetry titled Algunas obras de Fernando de Herrera (1582; “Some Works of Fernando de Herrera”). In this publication he expanded on the style of Garcilaso de la Vega and began to use culteranismo. Culteranismo was an ornate and affected poetic style which flourished in 16th and 17th century Spain. While Herrera had many poems addressed to Leonor, his most enduring poems are his patriotic odes which included Old Testament rhetoric. Ferrera also composed a history titled Relación de la guerra de Chipre y batalla naval de Lepanto (1572; “Account of the War of Cyprus and the Naval Battle of Lepanto”), and a biography titled Elogio de la vida y muerte de Tomás Moro (1592; “Eulogy on the Life and Death of Thomas More”).

Hallie on Christopher Marlowe

Christopher Marlowe (Hallie Nowak)

Born in Canterbury in 1564, Christopher Marlowe was raised by John and Catherine Marlowe. Marlowe and Shakespeare were born two months apart, and Marlowe was largely inspirational and influential for Shakespeare. Marlowe is known for being a playwright, specifically categorized as the most prominent tragedian of the Elizabethan era. Setting a precedent for dramatic poets to come, Marlowe led even Shakespeare in drama and poetry, specifically in his use of the blank-verse line and language. His magnum opus is the play The Tragicall History of Doctor Faustus. Marlowe received his education from The King’s School, Canterbury, and later received his Bachelors of the Arts from the University of Cambridge. However, the university was hesitant in awarding Marlowe his Master of the Arts degree due to rumors that Marlowe was to prepare for ordination as a Roman Catholic priest from the English college at Rheims. The Privy Council subsequently intervened with this, arguing that Marlowe was faithful in good service to Queen Elizabeth I. Marlowe had notorious creative partnerships with poet Thomas Watson and dramatist Thomas Kyd. The three men became entangled in various acts of unlawful defiance and were arrested for murder, heresy, and blasphemy on different accounts. A warrant was later placed on Marlowe in 1593 for blasphemous writing and what could be considered expressions of atheism, which was highly controversial for Elizabethan-era high-society. Marlowe died shortly after the warrant for his arrest was released, and the means of his death are still shrouded in mystery in regards to whether or not it was directly related to the charges he faced or not.  Marlowe’s literary career, while largely impactful, only lasted six years; his life, only 29 years.

Taylor on Romeo's Soliloquy

Romeo’s Speech “In faith I will…” (Taylor Jones)

            This soliloquy takes place during a pivotal moment in the play; it is Romeo’s final thoughts before his untimely death. Romeo is reflecting on his love for the recently deceased Juliet and how he can’t live without her. In his mind, the only solution to this is to commit suicide. He ultimately drinks the poison to be reunited in with his love in death.  
His thought process during this scene is thought provoking because after carefully reading Romeo’s thoughts one might notice a crucial thing missing; horror and shock. While yes, Romeo is lamenting Juliet’s death, he doesn’t appear to be in disgust and he doesn’t seem very concerned. He appears to be even more in love and goes as far as talking about the worms Juliet will be buried with. This can be seen specifically when Romeo says things like, “With worms that are thy chambermaids; oh, here / Will I set up my everlasting rest” (5.3.109). He is talking about the worms that will be with them where they are buried in a nonchalant way, which is an odd thing to do.
This is a frustrating scene to read because the audience knows that Juliet isn’t actually dead, she just drinks a potion that makes her appear to be dead. The scene becomes even more frustrating because the reader can get hints that she isn’t actually dead and it almost seems like he catches on, but doesn’t quite get there. This is seen in Romeo’s soliloquy because he talks about how beautiful she looks and says that she doesn’t even look dead. More specifically, this reference can be seen on line 92 when Romeo says, “Death that hath sucked the honey of thy breath/Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty” (5.3.92).
The dramatic final event is crucial to the story and considered to be one main reason this play is a tragedy and captivates audiences. Tragedy in literature is different than what people associate with a tragedy in everyday life. In literature, a tragedy is defined as, “a plot in which the protagonist, because of some inherent flaw in his/her character, dies” (Hodgson). This is exactly what happens in this scene in Romeo and Juliet, so it is a perfect example of a tragedy.

Hodgson, John. Understanding Dramatic Tragedy,

Rogers, John. Romeo and Juliet, Act 5, Scene 3. 1888.

Photograph Information

Type: Engraving
Year: 1808-1888
Creator: John Rogers

Information: This is of an engraving of act 5 scene 3 in Romeo and Juliet. The original painting is by E. Courbould. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Brittney on Aldus Manutius

Aldus Manutius (1449-1515) (Brittney Bressler)

Aldus Manutius, born in Italy under the name Teobaldo Mannuci, was an Italian humanist scholar and an important figure in the history of printing, publishing, and typography. In his time, he also founded the “New Academy,” a school that taught Greek studies.
 After studying and teaching in Rome and Ferrara, Manutius founded a printing press in 1494 in Venice. He was enthusiastic about promoting the study of Greek, which led him to hire many Greek scholars and compositors, making Greek the official language of his business. He printed many first editions of classic works, including works by Aristophanes, Thucydides, Sophocles, Herodotus, Xenophon, Euripides, Demosthenes, Plutarch, and some Greek orators. He also printed more contemporary works by humanists like Erasmus, Petrarch, and Italian writer Pietro Bembo, who he happened to know personally. Bembo gave him a medal with an image of an anchor and a dolphin, which eventually became his signature stamp on his printings, symbolizing the idea of “producing much, but slowly.”

The Aldine press was home to many firsts in printing. With the help of his partner Francesco Griffo, he created fonts in Greek and Roman letters, the most prominent being the "Aldine” Roman font. Along with these new fonts came new forms of punctuation, such as the semi-colon. His press also produced pocket sized classical works known as “Aldine” editions, but he referred to them as “libelli portatiles,” meaning “portable little books.” These pocket-sized editions of classics became very popular and were much more affordable than regular editions. In doing this, Manutius seemed to have achieved his goal of promoting the study of Greek classics. 

D'Jara on Andrea Palladio

Andrea Palladio (D’Jara Culpepper)

Regarded as the greatest architect of 16th-century northern Italy, Andrea Palladio was born in Padua, Republic of Venice on 30 November, 1508, and later died in Vicenza in August 1580. Between 1530 and 1538, Count Gian Giorgio Trissino took Palladio under his wing to help him rebuild his (Trissino’s) villa in ancient Roman style with High Renaissance influence.
Villa Trissino represented Trissino’s interpretation of ancient Roman architect Vitruvius and his work, Vitruvius later described by Palladio as “master” and “guide.” 
Portrait of Andrea Palladio, c. 1790, Vicenza, Private Collection
Trissano penned the humanist surname Palladio as a reference to the wisdom of Pallas Athene (Athena). The architectural influences of ancient Rome and High Renaissance combined with his monument and decorative sculpture training in the Mannerist style and altogether became the stylistic foundation for much of his designs. Despite leaving several buildings unfinished and to be finished by his followers as according to the change in stylistic taste after his death, the influence of Palladio’s buildings and publications—I quattro libri dell’architettura (The Four Books of Architecture), 1570—spread on through the centuries, the imitation of his style resulting in the common and widespread style of Palladianism in the 18th century.

"Andrea Palladio.Encyclopedia of World Biography. . 12 Feb. 2018 <>.

Richardson, Margaret Ann. “Andrea Palladio.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 15 Nov. 2017,

Natalie on Star-Crossed Lovers

Star-Crossed Lovers (Natalie Hyska)

Pyramus and Thisbe and Romeo and Juliet are two similar stories that we are all familiar with. Two young star crossed lovers who are forbidden by their families to be wed due to a family rivalry. This makes for a dramatic and wonderful play but what would it be like in today’s society. Both love stories end in tragic death but if these couples were in love in modern times would this still be their fate? What would their love story be like today? Themes in the stories are common in young adult’s lives now such as parental control, Rebellion, marriage, and of course the passion and love. Unfortunately, suicide is not an uncommon thing in our society today. In my personal opinion I think their love story is something very common in young adults today. Many parents have influence on their children’s romantic life and it wouldn’t be strange for a parent of a teenager to dislike the significant other. While it may not be because of a rivalry like in the stories I wouldn’t think it to be uncommon for a parent to be strict and disapprove of the relationship. Many children would rebel because their parents would not allow them to be with the person they love. As for marriage while it isn’t traditional we are seeing marriages occurring later in life. Lastly the suicide ending. While Pyramus and Thisbe didn’t off themselves for the exact same reason (Pyramus killing himself after thinking Thisbe was mauled by a lion and Thisbe killing herself after finding her love dead. And Romeo and Juliet making a suicide pact with poison.) Both couples ended in death and ultimately got their wish and are with each other for eternity.

Megan on Shakespeare's Sources

Where did Shakespeare get his inspiration? (Megan Howard)

Romeo and Juliet is a tragic love story written in beautiful verse and prose with memorable characters. However, the origin is not Shakespeares’ imagination.
In 1562, an English poet, by the name Arthur Brooke, published a poem titled, The Tragicall Historie of Romeus and Juliet. In his poem, Brooke tells the story of the strar-crossed lovers, much as Shakespeare, for it was this poem which inspired Shakespeare to develop and write Romeo and Juliet. A significant difference between the two forms of storytelling is the style of language being used. Brooke has a much drier storytelling than Shakespeare. It is in comparison of these two literary documents which one can truly appreciate Shakespeares’ wit and sense of humor.
And again, Arthur Brooke did not originate this story. In his address to the reader before his poem, Brooke gives credit to a Matteo Bandello, an Italian writer, work Novelle. It is here which the story is first written down. Bandello wrote novellas in his spare time, as throughout his life he held the positions of a monk, solider, diplomat, and bishop. He in fact led the way in changing the structure of the 16th century narrative literature. He lived a large portion of his life in Milan, before an attack on the city led to Bandello to flee to France. It is here which his reputation spread.
A brief description of a novella such as Bandello’s works. Novellas were short, well-structured narratives which often were realistic and satiric in tone. They were based on local events that were humorous, political, or amorous in nature. Bandello developed the novella into a psychologically subtle and highly structured short tale.
This is important as I hypothesize when Shakespeare is claimed to be a great Italian, it is because of his terrific sense of maintaining the spirit and nature of old Italian tales which he used for inspiration.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Matteo Bandello Italian Monk and Writer, Britannica Encyclopaedia. 2018. Web. Feb. 2018.
Brooke’s Romeus and Juliet. British Library. Web. Feb. 2018.