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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

• Decameron (1353)
• Witty, bawdy tales
about ten young
people fleeing
Florence during the
Black Death.
• Learned Greek
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
Thomas a Kempis
• The imitation of Christ
• Member of the
Brethren of the
Common Life
• One of the greatest
works of all Christian
devotional literature.
Desiderius Erasmus
• Praise of Folly (1509)
You bore me. • The quintessential
northern humanist
• Ridiculed attitudes of
his time, including
superstition, and
greed, especially in
the church.
• Erasmus was “Prince
of the Humanists”
Niccolo Machiavelli
• The Prince (1515) YAAHH
• Guidelines to
acquiring and
maintaining political
• “any means
necessary; means to
an end”, “fox and
lion”, fear v. love
• Controversially
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
• 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
• On the Revolutions of
Heavenly Bodies
• Challenged Aristotle’s
geocentric theory.
• Began the
heliocentric revolution
in astronomy.
Francis Bacon
• The advancement of Learning (1605)
• Advocate of the inductive method
• Developed the scientific method of
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
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
• 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
• “Essays”
• 1680
• Famous essays, developed format for
modern essays.

• Tolerance
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
• 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
• Analyze the impact of Renaissance literature on
the later enlightenment thinkers in terms of
human rights, political power, and economic
• 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
• 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
• Divine Comedy
• The Book of Cortier
• Autobiography
• Utopia
• Praise of Folly
• Don Quixote
• First Folio
• The Prince