"Writing a literary history (or a chapter of it) from the point of view of images represents an attempt both innovative and ambitious. The project aims at bringing a theoretical and practical contribution to a vast transdisciplinary discussion concerning: 1) forms and functions of the word/image relation in Renaissance visual and literary culture; 2) the status of Ariosto’s Orlando furioso as a canonized model (in literary, figurative and editorial field); 3) intersection between humanistic culture and new information technologies. Within the framework of a ‘visual history’ of the Italian Classics, Furioso appears as a crucial episode: in the long run, it established a successful editorial format for the 16th-century narrative poems; it turned out to be very fortunate in a broad European context and it influenced other literary and figurative traditions. The project is aimed at interpreting Furioso as a core of a huge cultural galaxy, exemplary to those who intend to interpret the literature as a transdisciplinary experience. The main goal is the building up of a digital archive which will collect: a) the most important 16th-century illustrated editions of Furioso; b) the illustrated editions of predecessors, followers and imitators of the poem, together with translations in volgare of the Classics and romance rewritings in verse. Thanks to a synoptic presentation of the iconographic corpora present in the analysed editions, it will be possible to compare the various ways in which the illustrators read and understand its text and contribute to guide its reading by the public. Such documents will be collected and made researchable in complex cross-research options that will be available in a digital archive meant to explore the Furioso’s canonizing function, from the point of view of images and printing format. This new outlook will help to redefine the text-oriented approach, bringing a better understanding of the ways through which such canonization occurs."
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