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Erasmian Rhetoric of Dialogue and Declamation and the Staging of Persuasion in Antonio Brucioli's Dialogi della morale filosofia

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The Dialogi della morale filosofia by Antonio Brucioli (1487–1566), a Florentine humanist exiled in Venice, contain significant reworkings of Erasmian material. In the first edition (1526) Brucioli includes a dialogue version of Erasmus' declamation Encomium matrimonii; in the second edition (1537–1538) he recasts the colloquy Coniugium. While critics have discussed Erasmus' influence on Brucioli in the context of religious renewal, this article assesses the influence of Erasmian rhetoric on Brucioli's Dialogi from a literary perspective, namely in connection with early sixteenth-century developments of the dialogue genre in Italy. It argues that several of Brucioli's dialogues reveal an early application in the Italian literary context of Erasmian dialogical and declamatory strategies that exploit the mimetic value of the spoken exchange. Brucioli successfully valorizes these strategies to create a rhetorical “staging of persuasion” for the sake of the propagation of classical moral wisdom. The final part of this article establishes a connection between Brucioli's attempts to create a praxis of speaking on moral philosophy through dialogue and Erasmus' experiments with vivid spoken exchange in the Colloquia's earliest form as Familiarum colloquiorum formulae (1522).


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