Giacopo (Jacopo) Mazzoni - Biography and Works

Giacopo (Jacopo) Mazzoni was born in Cesena, Italy on November 27, 1548. He was educated in Bologna, where he studied Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Rhetoric and Poetics. Later Mazzoni attended the University of Padua in 1563 where he studied philosophy and Jurisprudence.

Jacopo Mazzoni (1548-1598)

Agreeing to his contemporaries, he possessed an extraordinary memory which enabled him to collect an immense learning.

Massoni was reported to have an excellent memory which made him proficient at recalling passages from Dante, Lucretius, Virgil and other in his regular debates with prominent public figures. He became a university professor, first at Macerata and then at Pisa, where he taught philosophy from 1588 to 1597 academic year, and in his first period he met with Galileo, who was then a young mathematics instructor.

Mazzoni talks about the proper objects of imitation that can also be of incredible possible and credible impossible in his “On the Defense of the Comedy of Dante”. For poetry, the subject matter is not only credible and possible. He defines poetry by giving his own definition that poetry is an “imitation” and it is a process of making an ‘idol’. Poetic existence lies in its imitation and beyond imitation it has no existence.

Jacopo Mazzoni read all earlier philosophy. He mainly read the philosophical ideas of Plato and Aristotle. He was very much influenced by Aristotle than Plato. In his critical ideas about poetry, Icatics ideas from Plato and fantastic, ideas from Aristotle one mingled. He takes about poetry He takes What is poetry? How it is produced? What a poet can do? What a poet cannot do?

He says imitation is a main point to create poetry. He talks mainly about the two main features of poetry. Poetry either should be credible impossible or incredible possible. He also opines that "Truth and Falsehood is not the main point in poetry."

Jacopo Mazzoni was called to the University La Sapienza in Rome in 1597, but shortly after accepting the chair had to accompany Cardinal Aldobrandini in Ferrara, and from there to work on a mission to Venice. On his return, he got sick and had himself removed to Cesena, where he died on April 10, 1598.

Jacopo Mazzoni Study Center

On the Defense of the Comedy of Dante

Mimetic Theory: Introduction