‘Who the Devil taught thee so much Italian?’, Jason Lawrence
Jason Lawrence

‘Who the Devil taught thee so much Italian?’

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This book offers a comprehensive account of the methods and practice of learning modern languages, particularly Italian, in late sixteenth and early seventeenth century England. It is the first study to suggest that there is a fundamental connection between these language-learning habits and the techniques for both reading and imitating Italian materials employed by a range of poets and dramatists, such as Daniel, Drummond, Marston and Shakespeare, in the same period.
The widespread use of bilingual parallel-text instruction manuals from the 1570s onwards, most notably those of the Italian teacher John Florio, highlights the importance of translation in the language-learning process.
This study emphasises the impact of language-learning translation on contemporary habits of literary imitation, in its detailed analyses of Daniel's sonnet sequence 'Delia' and his pastoral tragicomedies, and Shakespeare's use of Italian materials in 'Measure for Measure' and 'Othello'.
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358 printed pages
Original publication
2013

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