Aloe, Carla (2012)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
My thesis examines the literary and cultural perception of the New World in Tommaso Stigliani’s Mondo nuovo, a seventeenth century Italian epic poem about the discovery of America.
In his depiction, Stigliani merges a detailed description of America with characters and situations that are closer to the realities of life in Europe in the 1600s, creating a bridge between the two continents. Stigliani’s America is an allegory of the old world and the poet used it to construct a critique of the society of the day. The description of the newt that lives in the Rio de la Plata is a way to make fun of his competitor Giambattista Marino; the execution of the amazons in the poem is a criticism of the behavior of his patron Ranuccio Farnese; the mad people of the island of Brandana mirror the behaviour of all the princes and courtiers who occupy every European Renaissance court. And since it is a poem, the shrewd poet can always defend himself by saying that the Mondo nuovo is, in part, a fictional work.
According to Stigliani, the new world with all its faults such as cannibalism and the freedom of sexual mores is, despite everything, better than the corruption and flaws which he finds in his contemporary Europe.
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