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Taylor Institution

£50 (£36 students)

Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72) is one of the best known figures of the Italian Renaissance, often seen as the prime example of a ‘Renaissance man’ (the all-round personality who is expert in both the arts and sciences, according to a definition coined by the nineteenth-century historian Jacob Burckhardt). The sixth centenary of Alberti’s birth in 2004 saw a huge upsurge of interest in this humanist, and one of the most significant new themes to emerge from that revival is the author’s insistence on humour in his works. Before the centenary, one of the main champions of Alberti’s importance was the British scholar Cecil Grayson, who held the Serena Chair of Italian at Oxford from 1958 to 1987. In the 1960s and ’70s Grayson published a monumental three-volume edition of all of Alberti’s vernacular writings, still a standard reference-point for these works, and he also established the texts of several of the Latin compositions. This conference addresses both of these topics, namely Alberti’s humour and Grayson’s contribution to Alberti studies. It gathers together major international experts on Alberti from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and it takes place, fittingly, in Oxford, in the faculty where Grayson carried out his fundamental work on Alberti.

Please note that conference papers will be in English or in Italian, as indicated by their title


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Monday 26 June

9.00-9.20 Registration and coffee
9.20-9.30 Opening remarks
9.30-11.00 Session 1 (Chair: Marco Dorigatti)
Francesco Furlan (C.N.R.S. & I.U.F., Paris) - Grayson studioso insigne dell’Alberti
Michel Paoli (Université de Picardie) - Gli studi albertiani dopo Grayson (1990-2010)
11.00-11.30 Coffee
11.30-12.30 Session 2 (Chair: Martin McLaughlin)
Roberto Cardini (Centro Studi sul Classicismo, Prato) - Comicità e umorismo da Boccaccio ad Alberti
12.30-2.00 Lunch
2.00-3.30 Session 3 (Chair: Nicola Gardini)
James Hankins (Harvard University) - Political Satire in Alberti’s Momus
David Marsh (Rutgers University) - Ludens cum leone: Echoes of Martial in Alberti’s Work
3.30-4.00 Coffee
4.00-5.30 Session 4 (Chair: Hartmut Wulfram)
Caspar Pearson (University of Essex) - Reading Alberti: Classical Architecture and Humourless Laughter
Elisabetta Di Stefano (Università di Palermo) - La finestra e lo specchio: Alberti e i dispositivi della visione
5.30-6.30 Wine reception

Tuesday 27 June


Session 5 (Chair: Elena Lombardi)
Mariangela Regoliosi (Centro Studi sul Classicismo, Prato) - Un’orazione funebre umoristica: il Canis dell’Alberti
Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College) - Quadrivial Comedy in Alberti's Musca
Hartmut Wulfram (Universität Wien) - Alberti’s Attack on Virgil in the Musca

11.00-11.30 Coffee

Session 6 (Chair: Francesco Furlan)
Andrea Piccardi (University of Łódź) - La religione in Alberti fra umorismo e ironia
Alberto Giorgio Cassani (Accademia di Belle Arti, Venezia) - Nei panni di Buto. Il lusus nei dialoghi in volgare dell'Alberti

1.00-2.00 Lunch
2.00-3.30 Session 7 (Chair: Paola Tomè)
Marta Celati (University of Oxford) - Ironia, storiografia e critica politica: la Porcaria coniuratio
Stefano Cracolici (Durham University) - Alberti and the Game of Love
3.30-4.00 Concluding remarks

This event is sponsored by Magdalen College, the Société Internationale Leon Battista Alberti, Artes Renascentes, Universität Wien, the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages (University of Oxford) and David Rowe