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Renaissance Literature. PowerPoint by Rose Massett, Sam Rubinroit, and Gianna Fote. Dante Alighieri. Divine Comedy (1315) An epic poem written in vernacular Italian. Divided into three parts. Dante’s journey through Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. Giovanni Boccaccio.

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Powerpoint by rose massett sam rubinroit and gianna fote

Renaissance Literature

PowerPoint by

Rose Massett,

Sam Rubinroit,

and Gianna Fote

Dante alighieri
Dante Alighieri

  • Divine Comedy (1315)

  • An epic poem written in vernacular Italian.

  • Divided into three parts.

  • Dante’s journey through Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise.

Giovanni boccaccio
Giovanni Boccaccio

  • Decameron (1353)

  • Witty, bawdy tales about ten young people fleeing Florence during the Black Death.

  • Learned Greek

Francesco petrarch
Francesco Petrarch

  • 1304-1374

  • Developed the Italian sonnet, a poem of fourteen lines, divided into a group of eight and a group of six, with each having its own rhyme scheme.

  • Became an important figure in literary humanism, he was involved in the search for long- lost or forgotten Latin manuscripts.

Thomas a kempis
Thomas a Kempis

  • The imitation of Christ (1423)

  • Member of the Brethren of the Common Life

  • One of the greatest works of all Christian devotional literature.


  • Individualist and rebel

  • Gargantua and Pantegruel (1532)

  • Satirical fantasies in which two giants live unrestrained lives.

  • Considers serious questions of philosophy, education, and politics.

Desiderius erasmus
Desiderius Erasmus

  • Praise of Folly (1509)

  • The quintessential northern humanist work.

  • Ridiculed attitudes of his time, including ignorance, superstition, and greed, especially in the church.

  • Erasmus was “Prince of the Humanists”

You bore me.

Niccolo machiavelli
Niccolo Machiavelli

  • The Prince (1515)

  • Guidelines to acquiring and maintaining political power.

  • “any means necessary; means to an end”, “fox and lion”, fear v. love

  • Controversially amoral.


Thomas moore
Thomas Moore

  • Utopia (1516)

  • Described an ideal society based on reason, tolerance, and religion free of ignorance and superstition.

  • Contrasted the perfect society with the evils existing in his own society.

  • Books we have read that were influenced by Moore: 1984, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451

Baldassare castiglione
Baldassare Castiglione

  • Book of The Courtier (1528)

  • How to become a “Renaissance man”.

  • Gentlemen should be fluent in Greek and Latin and write both the vernacular and classical languages.

Nicolaus copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus

  • On the Revolutions of Heavenly Bodies (1543)

  • Challenged Aristotle’s geocentric theory.

  • Began the heliocentric revolution in astronomy.

Francis bacon
Francis Bacon

  • The advancement of Learning (1605)

  • Advocate of the inductive method

  • Developed the scientific method of experimentation.

William shakespeare
William Shakespeare

  • “First Folio” (1623)

  • The “First Folio” was a collection of his first 36 dramas.

  • Comedic, tragic, and historic plays.

  • Delved into the entire range of the human experience.

Benvenuto cellini
Benvenuto Cellini

  • Autobiography (1558)

  • An honest egotist and an important writer||

  • Revealing autobiography outlining the frankness of his sexual and other exploits

Miguel de cervantes
Miguel de Cervantes

  • Don Quixote (Part I 1605; Part II, 1615)

  • Don Quixote is a gentle satire of medieval chivalry, but also demonstrates a more broader perspective of human nature

  • Miguel de Cervantes was a contemporary of William Shakespeare; both men died within a few days of each other

Miguel de montaigne
Miguel de Montaigne

  • “Essays”

  • 1680

  • Famous essays, developed format for modern essays.

  • Tolerance

Martin luther
Martin Luther

  • “Ninety-Five Theses” (1517)

  • The theses were intended to be a challenge to the other scholars to debate the issues of indulgences

  • Created with the intent to reform the church

  • Set the Protestant Reformation in motion.


  • P:

    Renaissance literature such as Machiavelli’s The Prince laid the foundation for modern day Politics.

  • E:

    Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations contributed to the concept of Laissez faire and popularized Capitalism.

    • R: Thomas a Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ is one of the most influential religious works ever written.


  • S:

    The Book of the Courtier by Castiglione set out a code for good social behavior.

  • I:

    Intellectual feats, like the establishment of the heliocentric system, were accomplished in Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of Heavenly Bodies.

  • A:

    Francesco Petrarch created the Italian sonnet, a new form of artistic literary expression.

Essay prompt
Essay prompt

  • Analyze the impact of Renaissance literature on the later enlightenment thinkers in terms of human rights, political power, and economic stability.

  • Many enlightenment thinkers were inspired by their Renaissance predecessors, including Rousseau and Locke with natural rights, Montesquieu and the balance of power, and Adam Smith and Laissez faire.

Top 10 authors
Top 10 Authors

  • Francesco Petrarch

  • Benvenuto Cellini

  • Alighieri Dante

  • Nicolaus Copernicus

  • Desiderus Erasmus

  • Miguel de Cervantes

  • Martin Luther

  • Thomas Moore

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

  • William Shakespeare

Top ten pieces of literature
Top Ten Pieces of Literature

  • Divine Comedy

  • The Book of Cortier

  • Autobiography

  • Utopia

  • Praise of Folly

  • Don Quixote

  • First Folio

  • The Prince