GRAZZINI, Anton Francesco (Il Lasca)

Anton Francesco Grazzini was an academic and writer whose short stories and dramas composed in the Florentine vernacular explore themes of social life in the tradition of Boccaccio. Grazzini's academic and literary interests in his native city of Florence led him to become one of the founders of the Accademia degli Umidi in November 1540, in which he was given the pseudonym "Lasca" that he retained for the remainder of his career. In the following year the circle changed its name to the Accademia Fiorentina, and Grazzini remained affiliated with this group close to the court of Cosimo I* and held several offices in it until 1547, when he was expelled because his linguistic theories differed from those espoused at court. He was finally readmitted in 1566 and went on in 1582 to become one of the founders of the Accademia della Crusca. The vicissitudes of Grazzini's career must be understood against the climate of the granducal court of Tuscany, whose aesthetic values became increasingly linked with es­tablished classical idioms, in contrast to Grazzini's more urban, vernacular, nat­uralistic, and experimental interests.
Grazzini wrote religious, Petrarchan, and pastoral verse, but more notably his interest in urban spectacle inspired carnival songs and madrigals with a partic­ularly Tuscan flavor and often comical good humor. In this same vein he edited a number of books, including Primo libro dell'opere burlesche del Berni e di altri in 1548, I sonetti del Burchiello, et di messer Antonio Alamanni in 1552, and finally an edition of Tutti i trionfi, carri, mascherate ossia canti carnasci-aleschi from the time of Lorenzo the Magnificent to 1559. His satiric wit is displayed in poems addressed to literary adversaries such as Giambattista Gelli.*
Grazzini is best known for his novelle and his comedies conveyed in the vivid Florentine speech of his day. In imitation of and counterpoint to Boccaccio's Decameron, Grazzini creates a frame for his tales in which, instead of the ver­dant villa environs of Boccaccio's brigata, the five young men and five women who narrate Grazzini's tales do so from the familiar setting of the mercantile city of Florence in winter during the last three days of carnival. The Cene,as the collection of twenty-two completed tales is titled, moves toward a crescendo, building from small and simple tales toward grand ones over the three nights' dinners. In keeping with his anticlassical sentiments against the pedantry that had crept into Florentine culture through its imitation of antiquity, Grazzini's novelle are conveyed in simple, lively, and humorous fashion drawn from more local and contemporary conditions.
Grazzini's comedies Il frate, La gelosia, La spiritata, La strega, La pinzo-chera, La sibilla, Iparentadi, L'arzigogolo, and La monica (of the last of which only the prologue survives) also convey his preference for the Florentine and the modern over the models of Aristotle, Horace, and Terence. In one play he pointedly draws his readers' attention to the setting of the plot in the shadow of Brunelleschi's dome and prefaces another with the reminder that "in Florence, in Pisa, in Lucca one does not live as they did in ancient times in Rome and in Athens."
R. Rodini, Antonfrancesco Grazzini, Poet, Dramatist, and Novelliere, 1503-1584, 1970.
Luci Fortunato DeLisle

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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