Renaissance Literature

Cervantes: Don Quixote

Don_Quichotte_Honoré_Daumier cc Wikipedia user YelkrokoyadeDon Quixote is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes, published in two volumes in 1605 and 16015. It is one of the most highly regarded novels ever written, and its satire of earlier prose romances influenced the realism of the developing form.

The title character is an elderly gentlemen of La Mancha who is driven out of his wits by his reading of popular chivalric romances, and embarks on a series of picarasque adventures, accompanied by the more worldly Sancho Panza. The work has been subjected to many interpretations. Some suggest that like the earlier picaresque genre, it reflects the breakdown of feudalism and the emergence of commercial society.

Don Quixote at Amazon

Free online texts

English translations

Gutenberg: The History of Don Quixote, Part One | Part Two, translated by John Ormsby (1885). HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.

Gutenberg: The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Peter Motteux. HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.

Internet Archive: The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, translated by John Ormsby (1885). EPUB, TXT, MOBI (Kindle) and PDF formats.

University of Adelaide: Don Quixote, translated by John Ormsby (1885), with illustrations by Gustav Doré. HTML, EPUB and MOBI (Kindle) formats.

Wikisource: English translation by John Ormsby. HTML and other formats.

Spanish texts

Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes: Don Qvixote [sic] de la Mancha. First Part. Second part. Edition of Rodolfo Schevill and Adolfo Bonilla. HTML format.

Centro Virtual Cervantes: Don Quijote de la Mancha. HTML format.

Wikisource: Spanish text. HTML and other formats.

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Boccaccio: The Decameron

John_William_Waterhouse_-_The_DecameronThe Decameron is a collection of stories by Giovanni Boccaccio, probably completed around 1353. It is set during the Black Death in Florence some years before, following a group of seven women and three men who flee the city for a deserted villa, passing the time by telling each other a series of tales over ten days.

This provides the occasion for a hundred stories, drawn from a variety of sources, in what would be one of the most influential uses of the frame-story device in Western literature.

The Decameron at Amazon

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Decameron, translated by John Payne. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Decameron, translated by J.M. Rigg. Vol. I | Vol II. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Decameron, translated by John Florior. Vol. I. | Vol II. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Decameron (Chatto & Windus edition, 1922). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The Decameron, translation attributed to John Florio (1620). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: The Decameron. Payne (1886) and Rigg (1903) translations. HTML and other formats.

Italian texts

Letterature Italiana: Decameron. PDF format.

Libero: Decameron - HTML format.

Wikisource: Decameron - HTML and other formats.

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Ariosto: Orlando Furioso

Jean_Auguste_Dominique_Ingres_-_Roger_Delivering_AngelicaOrlando Furioso (English: The Rage of Roland) is an Italian epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto, published between 1516 and 1532. It is a contuation of Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, and continues its adaptation of legendary matter from the Matter of France, recounting the sturggle between Charlemagne's paladins and the saracens.  It's popularity, and wide influence in European literature, largely eclipsed that of the earlier work.

Orlando Furioso at Amazon

Free online texts

English translations

Gutenberg: Orlando Furioso, translated by William Stewart Rose. Multiple formats.

Online Medieval and Classical Library (Internet Archive): Orlando Furioso. HTML format.

University of Adelaide: Orlando Furioso, translated by William Stewart Rose. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Orlando Furioso, translated by William Stewart Rose (currently incomplete). HTML and other formats.

Italian texts

Gutenberg: Orlando Furioso. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Orlando Furioso. Vol I | Vol II. | Vol. III. Multiple formats.

Libero: Orlando Furioso. HTML format.

Wikisource: Orlando Furioso. HTML and other formats.

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Torquato Tasso: Jerusalem Delivered

Charles_Errard _Renaud_abandonnant_ArmideJerusalem Delivered (Italian: Gerusalemme Liberata) by Torquato Tasso is an epic poem published in 1581, recounting a almost completely fictionalised version of the first crusade. One of the few quasi-historical characters is the knight Tancredi, who corresponds to the Italo-Norman crusader Tancred, Prince of Galilee.

The work enjoyed immediate and lasting success, in part because of its contemporary resonances at a time of conflict between Western European powers and the Ottoman Empire. It has frequently provided a subject for the visual arts and literary adaptations.

Jerusalem Delivered at Amazon

Free online texts

English translations

Gutenberg: Jerusalem Delivered, translated by Edward Fairfax (c.1635). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Jerusalem Delivered, translated by Edward Fairfax. National Alumni edition. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Jerusalem Delivered, translated by J. H. Wiffen. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Jerusalem Delivered, translated by John Hoole. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Jerusalem Delivered, translated by Edward Fairfax. Multiple formats.

Italian texts

Internet Archive: Gerusalemme Liberata. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Gerusalemme Liberata. HTML and other formats.

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Matteo Maria Boiardo: Orlando Innamorato

Orlando_innamoratoOrlando Innamorato (English: Orlando in Love) by Matteo Maria Boiardo is an incomplete epic poem publish in Italian between 1483 and 1495. It chronicles the adventures of Orlando, a romanticised version of legendary Carolingian hero Roland, and particularly his pursuit of the beautiful Angelica.

The work had a powerful influence on later Italian poets, notably Ariosto, who wrote the sequel Orlando Furioso, and Tasso, who borrowed elements for his Gerusalemme Liberata. Ariosto's success overshadowed Boiardo's original to such an extent that it was almost completely lost until its rediscovery in the nineteenth century.

Orlando Innamorato at Amazon

Free online texts

English translations

Gutenberg: Orlando Innamorato. Prose translation with poetic extracts by William Stewart Rose. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Orlando Innamorato. Prose translation with poetic extracts by William Stewart Rose. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Orlando Innamorato. Prose translation with poetic extracts by William Stewart Rose. Multiple formats.

Italian texts

Gutenberg: Orlando Innamorato. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Orlando Innamorato. Multiple formats.

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Spenser: The Faerie Queene

800px-Etty_Britomart_1833The Faerie Queene is an epic poem by Edmund Spenser in six books, of which the first three were published in 1590, with the rest appearing in 1596. Spenser drew on Arthurian legend and contemporary Italian epic to create a poem celebrating the court of Elizabeth I, who appears in the form of the Faerie Queene herself, Gloriana, whose knights pursue a series of quests with strong allegorical elements.

The Faerie Queene at Amazon

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Faerie Queene, Book I. HTML, EPUB, Kindle and TXT formats. See also this alternative edition.

Internet Archive: Spenser's Faerie Queene, illustrated by Walter Crane. George Allen (1895-97). EPUB, TXT, MOBI, PDF and other formats.

Internet Archive: The Faerie Queene, Vol. I | Vol. II. Clarendon Press (1909). EPUB, TXT, MOBI, PDF and other formats.

Internet Archive: The Faerie Queene, Vol. I | Vol II. Everyman's Library Edition (1910). EPUB, TXT, MOBI, PDF and other formats.

University of Adelaide: The Faerie Queene. HTML, EPUB, TXT and Kindle formats.

Wikisource: The Faerie Queene - incomplete. HTML and other formats.

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Francis Bacon: New Atlantis

Truth-timeNew Atlantis is an unfinished utopian novel by Francis Bacon (1561-1626). It is presented as the account of a group of sailors shipwrecked on the coast of Bensalem, a mythical island somewhere to the west of Peru. The description of Bensalem's institutions, notably the 'House of Salomon', allows Bacon to set out his ideas for the organisation of a scientific research university, a vision which had some influence on the development of the Royal Society during the seventeenth century.

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Free online texts

Biblioteca Augustana: Nova Atlantis. Latin text. HTML format.

Gutenberg: New Atlantis. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The Advancement of Learning and New Atlantis. (Oxford, 1906). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Essays Civil and Moral and The New Atlantis by Francis Bacon, Areopagitica and Tractate on Education by John Milton and Religio Medici by Thomas Brown. Harvard Classics, Vol 3. EPUB, TXT, MOBI and PDF formats.

Online Library of Liberty: Ideal Empires and Republics. Rousseau’s Social Contract, More’s Utopia, Bacon’s New Atlantis, Campanella’s City of the Sun, with an Introduction by Charles M. Andrews (1901). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: New Atlantis, Harvard Classics edition. HTML and other formats.

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Francis Bacon: Novum Organum

Houghton_EC.B1328.620ib_-_Novum_organum_scientiarumThe New Organon (Latin: Novum Organum) is a Latin treatise on scientific method by Francis Bacon (1561-1621). Published in 1620, it was intened to form form part of a greater work which was never completed, the Instauratio Magna. Its title reflects Bacon's critique of ways thinking influenced by Aristotle's Organon, which he sought to replace with the experimental method and inductive reasoning.

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Free online texts

Bartleby: The New Organon Or, True Directions Concerning the Interpretation of Nature. English translation by James Spedding, Robert Leslie Ellis and Douglas Denon Heath. HTML format.

Early Modern Texts: The New Organon, adapted and translated into more modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Novum Organum; Or, True Suggestions for the Interpretation of Nature, translated by Joseph Devey. Multiple formats. 

Hanover College: Novum Organum. English translation by Basil Montague (1854). HTML format.

Internet Archive: The Works of Francis Bacon, Vol IV (1858). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Novum Organum. Latin text. HTML format.

Liberty Fund: Novum Organum. English translation by Joseph Devey. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The New Organon, translated by James Spedding, Robert Leslie Ellis, and Douglas Denon Heath (1863). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Latin text and multiple translations. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: Baconian Science. Melvyn Bragg with Patricia Fara, Stephen Pumfrey and Rhodri Lewis.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Francis Bacon (1561 -1626).

Librivox: The New Organon - public domain audiobook.

PhilPapers: Francis Bacon - open access papers.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Francis Bacon.

Wikipedia: Novum Organum

YouTube/60 Second Philosophy: The New Organon overview.

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Aristotle: The Organon - The foundational body of work on logic and scientific method whose authority Bacon sought to overturn.

John Aubrey: Brief Lives - includes a life of Bacon.

 


Thomas More: Utopia

UtopiaUtopia by Thomas More inaugurated a new literary genre on its first publication in Latin at Louvain, Belgium in 1516. It's title, from a Greek term meaning 'nowhere', has become the established term for any imaginary, ideal Commonwealth.

Utopia took inspiration from the voyages of discovery of More's own day, being ostensibly the account of Raphael Hythloday, a traveller with Amerigo Vespucci. In book 1, Hythloday and More discuss the role of the philosopher in civic life, touching on many of the ills of contemporary Europe. Hythloday introduces his account of the idealised society he encountered on the island of Utopia in book 2. The Utopian system of common property contrasts sharply with the enclosures then underway in contemporary England, and the sharpness of the book's satire may have contributed to its publication on the continent, under the editorship of Erasmus.

Utopia at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Bartleby: Utopia - Harvard Classics, Vol. 36, Part 3. HTML format.

Gutenberg: Utopia. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Utopia, Robinson translation and Latin text (1895). Multiple formats.

Marxists.org: Utopia. 1901 Cassell & Co. edition. HTML format.

Online Library of Liberty: Ideal Empires and Republics. Rousseau’s Social Contract, More’s Utopia, Bacon’s New Atlantis, Campanella’s City of the Sun, with an Introduction by Charles M. Andrews (1901). Multiple formats.

Open Utopia - 2016 translation, including letters, commendations and marginalia, with Creative Commons license. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Utopia. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Latin text and English translation by Gilbert Burnet (1901). HTML format.

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Erasmus: In Praise of Folly

Marginal_Drawings_for_The_Praise_of_Folly_(3) _by_Hans_and_Ambrosius_HolbeinIn Praise of Folly (Latin: Moriae Encomium or Stultitiae Laus) is an essay originally written by the great Dutch classicist Desiderius Erasmus while staying in London with Sir Thomas More, who is the subject of a punning reference in its Latin title.

The work is written from the perspective of Folly herself, whose self-praise provides the vehicle for a wide-ranging satire of contemporary society.

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Free online texts

Christian Classics Ethereal Library: In Praise of Folly, translated by John Wilson (1688). Multiple formats.

Fordham University Modern History Sourcebook: In Praise of Folly. Single page HTML format.

Gutenberg: In Praise of Folly. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: In Praise of Folly, translated by John Wilson. Clarendon (1913). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: In Praise of Folly, translated by John Wilson. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Latin text and English translation. HTML and other formats.

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