ABSTRACT

For fifty years after the death of Petrarch and Boccaccio, Italian scholars continued to unearth the Latin past and, with the aid of such teachers of Greek as were available, to explore the largely unknown literature of Greece. The immediate results lay, however, rather in the improved and more Ciceronian form of their Latin writing than in any developments in the realm either of Greek scholarship or of the latino volgare, the common language of the Peninsula. During this time more centres of learning grew up to challenge Florence and Bologna. Now Rome, Naples, Ferrara, and Padua competed for the services of scholars. But, though the reputation of the Tuscan poets slowly grew there was no movement towards imitating them. At best their idiom came to be recognized as the literary language of Italy and other dialects yielded before it. The one outstanding name in the Tuscan writing of this interregnum is that of Franco Sacchetti (c.1330–1400) a follower of Boccaccio, and the author of a collection of vigorous popular tales, the Trecento Novelle (300 Tales), also of much light poetry which was set to music by the composers of the new Florentine school.