Pulci, LUIGI, Italian poet, b. at Florence, August 15, 1432; d. at Padua in 1484. The Pulci gave many interesting writers to the history of Italian letters in the earlier period of the Renaissance. Luigi’s brothers, Luca and Bernardo, as well as the latter’s wife, also poetized. Luigi frequented the household of Lorenzo it Magnifico, who was very fond of him, and helped him in a material way, a debt which he repaid by imitating certain verses of his patron and fellow-poet. Some attempt has been made to convict him of heterodoxy, because of rather free passages in his most famous work. Those who have engaged in this attempt have failed to realize that Pulci was an inveterate joker and that the passages in question figure among the least serious of the poem. He had all the burlesquing and parodying instincts of his time, and spared no man or institution when the whim was on him. His chief title to fame is the chivalrous romantic poem, “Morgante”, which on the basis of two antecedent Italian documents gives the history of Roland’s peripatetic adventures, and marks a first serious attempt at an artistic treatment of the Carlovingian epic matter imported from France. Dealing ostensibly with the adventures of a giant, Morgante, the author is far more concerned with the wandering career of Orlando, Rinaldo, and other legendary heroes of Charlemagne‘s court. The lesser compositions of Pulci are greatly inferior to “Morgante”. They include the “Beca da Dicomano”, which is a burlesque treatment of the idyll in verse, and follows the example set by Lorenzo’s “Nencia da Barberino”; the octaves on the “Giostra” of Lorenzo; a number of briefer lyrics (strambotti, rispetti, sonetti); a prose tale; and a “Confessione” in terza-rima, which has too much the air of a parody of parts of Scripture.
J. D. M. FORD