Simone Testa – Italian Academies – Facebooks. A Work in Progress

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Event Date: 17 – 18 September 2011
British Library Conference Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB

The Italian Academies 1525–1700 Project presents:

THE FIRST INTELLECTUAL NETWORKS OF EARLY MODERN EUROPE

This major international conference is being hosted as part of the AHRC funded research project The Italian Academies 1525-1700: the first intellectual networks of early modern Europe.

Academies represent a vital and characteristic dimension of early modern culture.
There were ca. 600 Academies in Italy in the period 1525-1700. Frequently international in membership, and in correspondence with scholars across Europe, they were fundamental to the development of the intellectual networks later defined as the ‘République des Lettres’, and to the dissemination of ideas in early modern Europe. Their membership included pioneering scientists, writers, artists, political thinkers, and representatives of both sexes and all social classes. The interests of the Academies ranged from the humanities, to the figurative and performance arts, natural sciences and medicine; many were interdisciplinary in their outlook and activities.

However, the social and cultural phenomenon of the Italian Academies has hitherto attracted relatively little research due in part to the wide range of their interests and difficulties in accessing relevant information.

The conference aims to explore research questions raised by the activities of Academies in this period.

Simone Testa (Royal Holloway, London) – Italian Academies – Facebooks. A Work in Progress

This paper explores concepts of social and intellectual network, sociability, and literary production in seventeenth century Italy. Focus will be on two volumes, containing academicians’ biographies and portraits, published in 1647 by the Venetian Accademia degli Incogniti, and in 1672 by the Bolognese Accademia dei Gelati. The paper suggests that the two works are linked through the presence of one person in both academies, and compares the representation of some academicians – members of both academies – in each one of the two volumes. Eventually, the paper suggests that the two publications initiated the fashion of a literary genre aimed at publicizing to the wider public the lives and deeds of specific academies’ members.

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