GIOVANNI DELLA CASA (1503-1556), Italian poet, was born at Mugillo, in Tuscany, in 1503. He studied at Bologna, Florence and Rome, and by his learning attracted the patronage of Alexander Farnese, who, as Pope Paul III., made him nuncio to Florence, where he received the honour of being elected a member of the celebrated academy, and then to Naples, where his oratorical ability brought him considerable success. His reward was the archbishopric of Benevento, and it was believed that it was only his openly licentious poem, Capitoli del forno, and the fact that the French court seemed to desire his elevation, which prevented him from being raised to a still higher dignity. He died in '556. Casa is chiefly remarkable as the leader of a reaction in lyric poetry against the universal imitation of Petrarch, and as the originator of a style, which, if less soft and elegant, was more nervous and majestic than that which it replaced. His prose writings gained great reputation in their own day, and long afterwards, but are disfigured by apparent straining after effect, and by frequent puerility and circumlocution. The principal are - in Italian, the famous Il Galateo (1558), a treatise of manners, which has been translated into several languages, and in Latin, De officiis, and translations from Thucydides, Plato and Aristotle.
A complete edition of his works was published at Florence in 1707, to which is prefixed a life by Casotti. The best edition is that of Venice, 1752.
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