chapter  11
16 Pages

“Dark is Light” – From Italy to England: Challenging Tradition through Colours

Renaissance English authors, and particularly Shakespeare, approached Italian culture with two contrasting attitudes. On the one hand, the immense Italian patrimony was felt as something stable, “finished”, a stone monument weighing on England’s developing culture. English authors had either a submissive response to this monument, resulting in imitation, or a contrary one that resulted in intentional deviation from the “model”, when not explicitly parodying it. On the other hand, Italy was not just something “past”, perceived as complete and ready to be observed, either in awe or with impatience, but something “in motion”. Italian influence on early modern England therefore emerges as an evolving and active force, continually generating a dialectical interchange in which the opposition to the dominant and static models was in turn part of an innovative current of thought to which Italy contributed.