In Looking Back, Becoming Modern: Shifting Discourses on 'Latin Renaissance' in the French and Italian Literary Fields, 1870-1915

Begin - Einde 
2023 - 2026 (lopend)
Vakgroep Letterkunde
European Identity



When we think about the Renaissance, we mainly remember the enticing legacy of its artworks. Yet, the myth of Renaissance as a historical period of ‘rebirth’ has also assumed symbolic values in debates on cultures and nations worldwide, from the USA to Japan. Between the late 19th and the early 20th century, the symbolic framework of Renaissance was highly prominent among French and Italian thinkers who partook in debates that go under the umbrella term of Latin Renaissance. Latin Renaissance defended the dignity of the so-called Latin cultures against the growing prestige of Northern nations and literatures. It also contested Northern-centric visions of Europe that professed the alleged backwardness of Latin Europe. As I will show, the longing for Latin rebirth led French and Italian thinkers to mobilise discursive dichotomies (Renaissance-Reformation, Classicism-Romanticism, etc) that served to delegitimise Northern supremacy and to re-establish their own literatures and cultures. By examining literary and intellectual debates on Latin Renaissance, I will tackle its various interpretations based on nationalism, cosmopolitanism, and classicism. I will prove how the shifting meanings of rebirth mobilised in the debates relied on competing visions of the historical Renaissance & its legacy in literary history. As such, my project opens ground-breaking research paths in the field of European Literary Studies.




Postdoctorale medewerker(s)