This paper examines how public conflict and private attack became interfused for Pietro Aretino in 1525, when he sought to intervene in the outcome of the Battle of Pavia – which saw Emperor Charles V take Francis I prisoner – and was the victim of an assassination attempt ordered by the papal datary Gian Matteo Giberti. The outcome of both events was dislocation: Francis I was taken to Madrid, where he was held until he capitulated to the punitive Treaty of Madrid the following year; Aretino fled Rome for Venice, where he was to achieve unrivalled success as the most significant figure in vernacular print culture. Before he was taken to Madrid Francis was held at Pizzighettone (Cremona), where he penned his famous letter to his mother Louise de Savoy lamenting his misfortune. It is exactly this topic of fortune that Aretino treats in his letter to Francis I (proposing patience and fortitude) and his simultaneous letter to Charles V (proposing clemency). This paper argues that Aretino's opportunistic public letters to Charles and Francis (published 1538) were triggered by Francis's own public letter to his mother, and respond to the latter's rhetorical strategies in a manner designed to further Aretino's own ambitions as a non-official public diplomat. This form of political intervention is strikingly different from the vicious pasquinades of Aretino's Roman period, which resulted in his being repeatedly stabbed and left for dead. Both again are public forms: satirical conflict and epistolary diplomacy. It was not until the flight to Venice that Aretino could begin to engage on the international political stage in a way that was more substantial than lampoon. In both the macro-and micro-instances conflict begets travel begets a reflective textual culture.
|Title of host publication||Travel and Conflict in the Early Modern World|
|Editors||Gábor Gelléri, Rachel Willie|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Nov 2020|