Italian Renaissance, Intellectual/Cultural/
Social History of Early Modern Europe
Phone: 613-533-6000, ext: 74375
Office: Watson Hall 238
Ph.D., A.M. History, Harvard University (2000)
B.A./M.A., Classics, Trinity College Dublin (1992)
D.L.L. Latin, Università Pontificia Gregoriana (Rome) (1988)
Anthony D'Elia works on the intellectual and social history of the Italian Renaissance, specializing in humanism, the history of the classical tradition, neo-Latin literature, rhetoric, political propaganda, war, masculinity, gender, sexuality, and women. His current book-project, The Soul of Sigismondo Malatesta: Pagan Virtue in Renaissance Italy explores humanist literature and art in the court of Sigismondo Malatesta (1417-1468), Lord of Rimini, as a limit case in the central problem of the Renaissance, whether the recovery and imitation of classical pagan literature and culture created a fundamental clash with Christian values in fifteenth-century Italy. Sigismondo was a flagrant example of the tension between high pagan culture and Christian society in the Renaissance. Sigismondo was notorious for his libido, his military conduct, and his disrespect for Christianity. By examining the pagan themes so prominent in his court literature, the book provides a fuller picture of an important Renaissance ruler, reveals the extent of the influence of classical pagan ideas, and explores the relationships and tensions between poetry and life. It complicates the idea of Renaissance by examining the extent to which pagan ideas permeated ethics and religious thought, influenced sexuality and gender relations, and affected the way Italians lived and saw their lives. Professor D'Elia's previous book, A Sudden Terror: The Plot to Murder the Pope in Renaissance Rome (Harvard University Press, 2009), focuses on an important episode in Renaissance history, when twenty intellectuals were arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for over a year for plotting to murder Pope Paul II in 1468. The book begins with the plot, arrest, and torture of the humanists; then explores the possible causes of the conspiracy as revealed in the interrogation questions, including such different motives as Church reform, republicanism, paganism, homoeroticism and sodomy, and allying with the Turkish Sultan Mehmet II. The concluding chapters describe the pain, desperation, and loneliness that the humanists suffered in prison and the failure of pagan and Christian philosophy to console them. The book redefines humanism as a dynamic communal movement focused on the living word in dialogue, debate, and practice. His first book, The Renaissance of Marriage in Fifteenth-Century Italy (Harvard University Press, 2004) explores how in advocating an ideal of marriage and sexuality, Italian humanists offered an alternative to Christian asceticism and prepared the ground for the Reformation's rejection of holy virginity. By focusing on ideas about marriage and the biographies of writers the book studies the ways that intellectuals in the Renaissance conceived of themselves, their families, and the society in which they lived. He has translated Bartolomeo Platina, Lives of the Popes, Volume One: Antiquity (Years 1 to 461 AD) (The I Tatti Renaissance Library, Harvard University Press, 2008), and is working on Platina, Lives of the Renaissance Popes, for the same series. Professor D'Elia's next research project will explore the idea of Sparta in the Italian Renaissance. He will focus on Spartan masculine and feminine ideals, education, and politics, and how Renaissance Italians understood these often radically different ideas in their own historical contexts.
The Italian Renaissance, year-long fourth-year seminar
Social and Cultural Change in Early Modern Europe, year-long second-year seminar
Renaissance and Reformation Europe, term-long lecture course
Intimacy, Sexuality, and Deviance in Early Modern Europe, term-long third-year seminar
The Intellectual Origins of the West, year-long first year lecture/tutorial course
Principal fields for graduate supervision:
Italian Renaissance (Intellectual, Social, Cultural).
Machiavelli's World and the Renaissance, graduate seminar
A Sudden Terror: The Plot to Murder the Pope in Renaissance Rome (Harvard University Press, 2009) http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/DELSUD.html
Bartolomeo Platina, Lives of the Popes, Volume One: Antiquity (Years 1 to 461 AD) (The I Tatti Renaissance Library, Harvard University Press, 2008) -- Translation, Latin Edition, Notes and Introduction. See the webpage for this: http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/PLALI1.html On the series, see http://www.hup.harvard.edu/itatti/index.html
The Renaissance of Marriage in Fifteenth-Century Italy (Harvard University Press, 2004). For abstract and reviews see website:http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/DELREN.html
"Stefano Porcari's Conspiracy against Pope Nicholas V in 1453 and Republican Culture in Papal Rome." The Journal of the History of Ideas (April 2007).
"Heroic Insubordination in the Army of Sigismondo Malatesta: Petrus Parleo's pro milite, Machiavelli, and the uses of Cicero and Livy." In Humanism and Creativity in the Italian Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Ronald G. Witt, eds. C. S. Celenza and K. Gouwens (Leiden: Brill, 2006), 31-60. "Genealogy and the Limits of Panegyric: Turks and Huns in Fifteenth-Century Epithalamia." The Sixteenth Century Journal 34.4 (Winter 2003): 973-991.
"Genealogy and the Limits of Panegyric: Turks and Huns in Fifteenth-Century Epithalamia."The Sixteenth Century Journal 34.4 (Winter 2003): 973-991.
"Marriage, Sexual Pleasure, and Learned Brides in the Wedding Orations of Fifteenth-Century Italy." Renaissance Quarterly55.2 (Summer 2002): 379-433. (Awarded the Nelson Prize for best article in Renaissance Quarterly in 2002.)
"The Renaissance University" in The International Journal of the Classical Tradition, (Fall 2005), 269-277. [Actual Publication; Summer 2006]
Review Essay on Alison Knowles Frazier, Possible lives: authors and saints in Renaissance Italy (2005) for The Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook (Fall 2006), 111-116.
Review Essay on Jennifer Speake and Thomas G. Bergin (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Renaissance and the Reformation (New York: Facts on File, Inc. 2004), for The International Journal of the Classical Tradition (Spring 2006), 621-624.
Erasmus's Controversies (CWE, Vol. 84), ed. N. H. Minnich & D. J. Sheerin (University of Toronto Press, 2005), University of Toronto Quarterly (forthcoming).
Ronald G. Musto, Apocalypse in Rome: Cola di Rienzo and the Politics of the New Age (Berkeley:University of California Press, 2003), Renaissance Quarterly (Summer 2004).
The Cultural Politics of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici, ed. Konrad Eisenbichler (Ashgate, 2001), Canadian Journal of Historical Research (Summer 2003).
Dale Kent, Cosimo De' Medici and the Florentine Renaissance: The Patron's Oeuvre (Yale UP, 2000), Canadian Journal of Historical Research (Summer 2002).
The Pagan Renaissance of Sigismondo Malatesta (SSHRC funded book-length project).
Bartolomeo Platina, Lives of Christ and the Popes,The Renaissance. Contracted for The I Tatti Renaissance Library, Harvard University Press (http://www.hup.harvard.edu/itatti/index.html). Translation, Latin Edition, Notes and Introduction.
Lila-Wallace Reader's Digest Fellow at Villa I Tatti,The Harvard University Center for the Italian Renaissance, Florence, Italy (2009-2010)
SSHRC Standard Research Grants (2009-2012; 2005-2008)
Frances A. Yates Fellowship at The Warburg Institute, University of London (2000)
Fulbright-IIE Fellowship, Rome, Italy (1997-1998)