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City Culture And The Madrigal At Venice

by Martha Feldman

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Book Description
Martha Feldman's exploration of sixteenth-century Venetian madrigals centers on the importance to the Venetians of Ciceronian rhetorical norms, which emphasized decorum through adherence to distinct stylistic levels. She shows that Venice easily adapted these norms to its long-standing mythologies of equilibrium, justice, peace, and good judgment. Feldman explains how Venetian literary theorists conceived variety as a device for tempering linguistic extremes and thereby maintaining moderation. She further shows how the complexity of sacred polyphony was adapted by Venetian music theorists and composers to achieve similar ends.
At the same time, Feldman unsettles the kinds of simplistic alignments between the collectivity of the state and its artistic production that have marked many historical studies of the arts. Her rich social history enables a more intricate dialectics among sociopolitical formations; the roles of individual printers, academists, merchants, and others; and the works of composers and poets. City Culture offers a new model for situating aesthetic products in a specific time and place, one that sees expressive objects not simply against a cultural backdrop but within an integrated complex of cultural forms and discursive practices.

From the Inside Flap
"An extremely impressive achievement. . . . The book is overwhelming in its attention to both detail and the larger picture. It should have a tremendous impact on the field."--Susan McClary, author of Feminine Endings

"All future discussion of the Italian madrigal . . . will be profoundly indebted to Feldman's musical sensitivities and perceptiveness, to her wide reading in literary theory of the period, and to her extraordinary skill in making musical events palpable."--H. Colin Slim, editor of A Gift of Madrigals and Motets

"With this book Professor Feldman establishes herself as the leading authority on the subjects of the Venetian madrigal and of humanistic musical culture in 16th-century Venice. There is nothing of this scope and quality to be found in previous scholarly literature."--James Haar, author of Essays on Italian Poetry and Music in the Renaissance, 1350-1600

"This marvelously interdisciplinary book illuminates the social and intellectual mobility of sixteenth-century Venetian culture, its intricate weave of private and public civic identities, and the paradoxes and tensions of its quest for diversity and unprecedented fusion of rhetorical principles and expressive idioms in music, poetry, and the other arts. It offers an astounding wealth of information and insight for historians of ideas, literary specialists, and music historians."--William J. Kennedy, author of Authorizing Petrarch

From the Back Cover
"An extremely impressive achievement. . . . The book is overwhelming in its attention to both detail and the larger picture. It should have a tremendous impact on the field." (Susan McClary, author of Feminine Endings)

About the Author
Martha Feldman is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Chicago. She is the editor of Volumes 2, 3, and 10 in the series The Italian Madrigal in the Sixteenth Century.



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