ALESSANDRO TASSONI (1565-1635), Italian poet, was a native of Modena, where he was born and died. From 1599 till 1608 he was secretary to Cardinal Ascanio Colonna, and in this capacity saw some diplomatic service; he was afterwards employed for some time in similar occupations by Charles Emmanuel, duke of Savoy. His best-known literary work is a burlesque epic entitled La Secchia Rapita, or "The Rape of the Bucket" (1622), the reference being to a raid of the Modenese upon the people of Bologna in 1325, when a bucket was carried off as a trophy. As in Butler's Hudibras, many of the personal and local allusions in this poem are now very obscure, and are apt to seem somewhat pointless to the general reader, but, in spite of Voltaire's contempt, it cannot be neglected by any systematic student of Italian literature (see Carducci's edition, 1861). Other characteristic works of Tassoni are his Pensieri Diversi (1612), in which he treats philosophical, literary, historical and scientific questions with unusual freedom, and his Considerazioni sopra it Petrarcha (1609), a piece of criticism showing great independence of traditional views.
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