I dialogi di Messer Speron Sperone

Autore: SPERONI, Sperone (1500-1588)

Tipografo: heirs of Aldus Manutius

Dati tipografici: Venezia, 1542

8vo (152x94 mm). [2], 176 leaves. Collation: A10 B-Y8. Printer's device on title page and last leaf verso. Errata, register and colophon on l. Y8r. Italic type. 18th-century stiff vellum, spine with morocco lettering piece (small portion on the lefthand side missing), sprinkled edges. On the front flyleaf manuscript note “Costò £ 18 di Modena”. Small repairs to title and last leaf with no loss, slightly stained at the beginning and at the end of the volume, all in all a good copy.

First edition, dedicated by Daniele Barbaro to Ferdinando Sanseverino, Prince of Salerno, of most of Speroni's dialogues, including the famous Dialogo delle lingue, which was basically plagiarized by J. Du Bellay in his Deffence et illustration de la langue françoise (Paris, 1549) (cf. P. Villey, Sources italiens de la Deffense et illustration de la langue françoise de Joachim du Bellay, Paris, 1908; see also I. Navaratte, Strategies of Appropriation in Speroni and Du Bellay, in: “Comparative Literature”, 2;2, Spring 1989, pp. 141-154).

From this first edition only the Dialogo della vita attiva e contemlativa and the second part of the Dialogo della rhetorica were basically omitted. The dialogues included therefore are: Dialogo d'amore; Della dignità delle donne; Del tempo di partorire delle donne; Della cura famigliare; Della usura; Dialogo della discordia; Dialogo delle lingue; Dialogo della rhetorica, libro primo; Dialogo delle laudi del Cathaio villa della S. Beatrice Pia degli Obici; Dialogo intitolato Panico et Bichi.

“From 1542 to 1546, editions of the Dialoghi appeared almost annually from the “casa de' figliuoli di Aldo” press of Venice. The 1544 edition also carries the date 1545, indicating a possible delay between the preparation and actual appearance of this edition. Also in 1546, the first French translation of Della cura famigliare and Della dignità delle donne appeared, accompanied by some precepts regarding marriage by Plutarch (Lyon, Jean de Tournes). The next Aldine edition was produced in 1550 and in 1551 Claude Gruget's translation of the Dialoghi was published in Paris by Estienne Groulleau. The next few Italian editions are from the years 1552 (Venice, Aldo), 1558 (Venice, Domenico Giglio), 1560 (Venice, Francesco Lorenzini da Torino), 1564 (Venice, Comin da Trino di Monferrato). These early editions are all based on the first edition of 1542, with no changes in content. All Italian editions contain the following works in the same order: the Dedicatoria di Daniele Barbaro; Dialogo d'amore; Della dignità delle donne; Del tempo di partorire delle donne; Della cura famigliare; Della usura; Dialogo della discordia; Dialogo delle lingue; Dialogo della rhetorica, libro primo; Dialogo delle laudi del Cathaio villa della S. Beatrice Pia degli Obici; Dialogo intitolato Panico et Bichi. The two French editions do not adhere to this scheme: the 1546 edition contains only two of Speroni's dialogues, while the 1551 edition contains all of the dialogues of the original edition, but not Daniele Barbaro's Dedicatoria. In its place there is one by Gruget, as well as a sonnet and an Ode by Marc Antoine de Muret on Speroni's dialogues.  The posthumous publications begin with the 1596 expanded edition by Ingolfo de' Conti (Venice, Roberto Meietti) […] As was the case with many letterati of the period, Speroni's dialogues circulated among friends in manuscript form for a number of years before publication. They were often read aloud or performed in order to elicit commentary and to stimulate further discussion. This was certainly true among the members and associates of such academies as the Paduan Accademia degli Infiammati of which Speroni was leader (principe) from the winter of 1541 to the spring of 1542. This erudite association grew out of a desire to pursue learned discussions in a setting that differed from the strict formality of the Paduan Studio and the more highly stylized environment of the courts. It was intended to be a semi-formal setting where literary, philosophical and scientific topics would be discussed in the vernacular. Its brief existence, from approximately 1540 to 1543, marked a significant phase in the history of literary activity in the area. This was due, in part, to the broad membership of this academy which spread beyond the confines of the Venetian territory. It attracted statesmen, philosophers, and writers who had been regularly drawn to the area from other parts of Italy and Europe by the cultural and political allure of the Republic of Venice and the Studio of Padua since the early sixteenth century. Despite Speroni's reluctance to publish his dialogues […] Daniele Barbaro collected the manuscripts that were in circulation and, together with Marcantonio Moresini, published them in one volume in Venice in 1542 at the house of Antonio and Paolo Manuzio without the author's written consent. Despite his seeming indifference, Speroni did not hesitate to express reservations regarding the quality of this edition that  subsequently went through numerous reprints. In Apologia I, he declares that the Manuzios ‘li stamparono molte volte, e tutte in forma assai bassa; né mai da me li conobbero, né io da loro mai pur un solo non ebbi in dono di quei libretti' (Opere I, Rome, 1589, 295) […]

Barbaro's introduction to the first edition is significant for three reasons. In the first place, it gives proof of the high esteem in which Speroni and his opinions were held. Secondly, the introduction sheds light on the internal dynamics of the Accademia degli Infiammati which were characterized by a relatively uninhibited exchange of works and ideas among its members. It also reveals Barbaro's concern for Speroni's neglect of his manuscripts which had resulted in others' attempts to claim them as their own works. Although he is not mentioned by name in the Introduction, the implicit reference regarding plagiarism is to Alessandro Piccolomini, author of the Institutione […] These and other borrowings caused the publication of the Dialoghi to be carried out in haste. Speroni's edition received the copyright (privilegio) from the Venetian Consiglio dei Dieci a mere four days after the one granted for Piccolomini's publication, despite the fact that the Institutione was authorized for publication eighteen days before the Dialoghi. This seems due, in part at least, to an attempt to have Speroni's work in circulation as quickly as possible after Piccolomini's, with the intention of bringing to everyone's attention the Institutione's unauthorized indebtedness to the Dialoghi […] Also significant is the omission of the Dialogo della vita attiva e contemlativa, mentioned in the fede, from the first edition. This seems due to the fact that, since Giovan Francesca Valier (Valerio), one of the dialogue's chief interlocutors, had been implicated in a political conspiracy against the Republic of Venice in 1537, it would not have been appropriate to have him appear as the champion of the active life […] The third significant aspect of the introduction to the edition is the fact that it was written by Daniele Barbaro. Twenty years later, as Patriarch of Aquilea, Barbaro was consulted regarding the Index of Prohibited Books. On 30 January and 20 February 1562 he took part in the Council of Trent's discussion concerning the classification of all materials relevant to the restriction of book publication and to their potential placement on the Index. His observations showed that he was determined to mete out reasonable sentences. He insisted for example, that a work not be placed on the Index merely because it was published by a press that was considered ‘heretical'. He also called for a clear distinction to be made between works that promoted heresy and those that encouraged lascivious conduct, and insisted that the Council not punish famous writers ‘retroactively' by placing on the Index works from their youth, which might reflect more the intemperance of an immature mind than the reasoned reflections of a mature adult. In fact, the 1542 edition of the Dialoghi had been discussed in Index circles since at least 1574, the year of their mention in the Avviso alli librari, and consequently when Speroni began his Apologia. The Dialoghi were formaly placed on the Index in Parma in 1580, then again in Rome in 1590, with the comment that they should remain on the list until expurgated. They were also included in the Roman Index of 1593 […] Speroni's Dialoghi were widely read, referred to, and commented on by scholars and intellectuals in sixteenth-century Italy. The characters who populate his dialogues are, almost exclusively, those people with whom the author came into contact and exchanged ideas throughout his lifetime. They were eminent letterati, artists, scholars, philosophers,  statesmen and prelates. Speroni was involved in correspondence with most of these men and not infrequently he appeared as either an interlocutor or cited authority in a number of dialogical works of the sixteenth century […]

The works that comprise Speroni's ‘dialoghi d'amore' are Dialogo d'amore, Dialogo della dignità delle donne, Dialogo di Panico e Bichi, and Dialogo dellelaudi del Cataio. In addition to the theme of love, these works share the common feature of representing discussions which take place in locations controlled by female characters. The setting of the Dialogod'amore is the Venetian residence of the courtesan Tullia d'Aragona. In this work, the discussions on love are influenced by the setting in terms of the fundamental concepts of distance and absence. The other three dialogues take place at Beatrice Pio degli Obizi's villa of Cataio, just outside Padua. Of these, only the reported dialogue within Dialogo della dignità delle donne actually seems to take place at the Cataio villa. On the other hand, in DialogodiPanicoeBichi the interlocutors do not appear to cross the threshold of the house; they remain in an undetermined setting and refer to Cataio as a place that Panico wishes to avoid because the sight of Beavice Pio causes him much distress. Marcantonio Moresini and Porzia of Dialogo delle laudi del Cataio walk across the grounds of the villa, but never actually enter it. These dialogues were written by Speroni in his youth, between 1520 and 1528, when he was employed as professor of philosophy at the university of Padua […] Speroni's love dialogues figure prominently in the Apologia since it was primarily on the basis of the accusations of impiety levelled against certain passages in them that he was inspired to write his theoretical tract on the dialogue […] Although Tullia d'Aragona was already a well-known and celebrated ‘literary' courtesan of the early Cinquecento, her reputation had received a heavy blow from that Roman episode. Her appearance in Speroni's dialogue is significant because his emphasis on the intellectual and artistic aspects of her personality helped to save her reputation […] In fact, in Speroni's dialogue it is Tullia who directs the discussions on love between herself and the other characters. Also significant is the setting of the dialogue. Although there is no explicit indication, the discussions appear to take place at Tullia's Venetian residence where, as she had done in Rome, she attracted a circle of artists and scholars to her literary salon. By setting the discussions on love between Tullia and [Bernardo] Tasso, both of whom are poets as well as lovers, in Tullia's Venetian salon, Speroni has chosen a location in which real love and its literary treatment come together and, inevitably, conflict […] As in the Dialogo d'amore, the treatment of the traditions of the love lyric and the trattato d'amore in Speroni's Dialogo della dignità delle donne is tinged with a subtle irony. Similarly, the same themes of departure, absence, and the search for an adequate medium of expression for the love experience are relevant. This dialogue opens in an undisclosed place where Michele Barozzi intrudes on Daniele Barbaro's lovesick daydreaming about Beatrice Pio degli Obizi […]  The theme of concealing and revealing is also at the basis of the brief Dialogo di Panico e Bichi. In the undisclosed setting that Fournel declares is suggestive of a kind of antechamber at Cataio, the two interlocutors mentioned in the title discuss whether it is better to conceal or openly reveal one's amorous intentions to the beloved. Girolamo Panico, a minor poet who is also blind, is in love but incapable of expressing his feelings. Consequently, he requests the advice of his friend, Annibale Bichi. The initial exchange reveals the dilemma of the love-struck Panico and boldly underlines the ludic quality of amorous discourse. There is a reference to a game of backgammon between Panico and Beatrice Pio who, at this point, remains the unamed beloved […] In Dialogo delle laudi del Cataio, the struggle for expression between realistic and idealized love surpasses the confines set out in the previous love dialogues to include the interlocutors' physical surroundings. In this rather short dialogue, there are two speakers, Marcantonio Moresini and Porzia, one of Beatrice Pio's damigelle. Here, the actual grounds of the villa of Cataio are evoked and transformed into a veritable landscape of love by the Petrarchan imagery used by Moresini. In the opening scene, Moresini encourages Porzia to stay with him and allow Beatrice Pio, Luigi Alemanni and Benedetto Varchi to walk ahead of them […] In the DialogodellelaudidelCataio, Speroni created a marvelous living landscape as a portrait of Beatrice Pio that exists in a kind of symbiotic relationship with the loved object. The landscape surrounding Cataio lives and breathes like Beatrice Pio and, because it too is in love with her, it reflects the many aspects of her personality […] With Dialogo delle laudi del Cataio, Speroni added the final brushstroke to the landscape of love which all of his ‘dialoghi d'amore' combine to form. In this particular dialogue, literary tradition and the physical setting are combined in order to compose a vision of love that will reveal the true nature of traditional amorous discourse […]

In Dialogo della famigliare and Dialogo del tempo di partorire delle dolle Speroni displays an acute awareness of the different rhetorical strategies employed in the distinct genres, especially regarding the ambiguity of spatio-temporal markers. In these compositions he forms an intriguing mixture that borrows from both the dialogue and the letter. These works are certainly epistolary in nature since, in the place of interlocutors who are engaged in a conversation, there is merely an addressee. At the same time, they are not to be confused with Speroni's lettere familiari because the linguistic register and intellectual discourse are higher than the ones he normally employed in his usual epistolary exchanges. The epistolary dialogues are more erudite re-elaborations of some of his domestic concerns composed in the literary style that, while more similar to the one he reserved for his dialogues, tends to be more readily accessible. The Dialogo della cura famigliare is addressed to his godchild Cornelia Cornaro, the daughter of his friend Giovanni, on the day of her wedding to Pier Moresini in 1533. We know that this dialogue was composed between 1533 and 1535 because, in his reference to it in Apologia II, Speroni declares, ‘il qual dialogo già quaranta anni, se ben mi ricordo, scrissi in Vinegia' (Opere I, 314). This places the Dialogo della cura famigliare in approximately the same time period as the love dialogues which are vaguely echoed in the background. The epistolary nature of the Dialogo della cura famigliare means that its primary goal of providing instruction in the ways of running a household and ensuring harmony in the family is achieved by a means that would seem to deny any form of open discussion […] In the second epistolary dialogue, Dialogo del tempo del partorire delle donne, Speroni also points to the difficulties encountered when the search for truth is thwarted by ambiguity. Although the expressed aim of this work is the truth behind childbirth, the ramifications of his investigations expand to involve a natural phenomena. He qualifies his opening declaration that childbirth is a ‘bella materia da ragionare' by stating that ‘intorno al quale ogni mediocre intelletto può discorrer probabilmente … ma pochi sono o niuno, il quale con ragioni infallibili sia bastante di ritrovarne la verità' (Opere, 1-64). Childbirth is accepted by Speroni as an appropriate topic for discussion because, as a result of the conflict between scientific and philosophical tracts on the one hand and natural history on the other, the human gestation period is said to last anywhere from six to fourteen months. This confusion establishes the topic as fertile ground for a discussion of the means of understanding nature. The fundamental point to the discussion revolves around the issue of truth, or rather, the conflict between true and true-seeming […]

The dialogues on discord and usury, the only examples of paradoxical dialogues written by Speroni, are set in undetermined locales where the interactions between gods and men are characterized by doubt and ambiguity. Like Lucian, Speroni is, at times, intellectually eclectic. He also expresses a certain amount of skepticism regarding humanity and its constant attempts to delve deeply into truth that always remains out of reach. However, unlike the classical dialogist, Speroni's iconoclasm and subversive nature are not indicative of a wholesale disregard of any particular philosophical school. Speron's paradoxical dialogues are examples of literary experimentation […] Speroni's paradoxical dialogues appear to have been composed between the years 1537and 1540, although some clarifications are required concerning the dating. In the first place, the Dialogo dell'usura, in the complete form we know it today, was begun in 1537 but completed only in 1574. The version that was printed in the 1542 edition lacked the reply of Ruzzante (Angelo Beolco) who is mentioned as an interlocutor. In its original form then, the work seemed more like an oration than a dialogue […]

The historical identifiable interlocutors of Dialogo delle lingue are Pietro Bembo, Lazzaro Bonamico, Giovanni Lascaris, and Pietro Pomponazzi. There are also two unnamed characters, the Roman courtier and the Paduan student. The dialogue purports to recount an actual debate concerning the validity of vernacular Italian, its courtly and regional variants, and classical Latin and Greek […] The choice of Charles V's Bolognese coronation by Pope Clement VII in Bologna as the historical background to Dialogo delle lingue, Dialogo della retorica, and Dialogo della vita attiva e contemplativa is noteworthy […] In Dialogo delle lingue, Speroni presents the debate concerning the viability of classical Latin and Greek, Tuscan, and the vernacular of the courts by placing in direct opposition the viewpoints of the men who congregated at Bologna for the coronation. The characters who promote different linguistic ideals reflect the competing linguistic ideologies of the times. Lazzaro Bonamico, the professor of Latin and Greek at Padua, maintains the classical ideal that was the dominant ideology of the Quattrocento. Pietro Bembo insists on the dignity and elegance of Trecento Tuscan (by grafting onto it the rules of classical Latin). The Roman courtier insists on a practical language that reflects the composite reality of the Italian courts. The Paduan student of Pietro Pomponazzi approaches the issue philosophically, asserts the importance of substance over form, and hence firmly defends verba over res […]” (R. Buranello, From the locus menus to the locus ambiguus: Sperone Speroni and the Setting of Renaissance Dialogue, Dissertation thesis, University of Toronto, 1999, pp. 80-88, 101, 160-166, 178, 187, 190-191, 194, 200, 205-206, 213, 217-218, 249-250, 253-254).

“È ormai un dato bene accertato l'apporto che alcuni di questi intellettuali [Alessandro Piccolomini, Leone Orsini, Daniele Barbaro, Vincenzo Maggi, Bernardino Tomitano, Mariano e Celso Sozzini, e gli esuli fiorentini Ugolino Martelli e Benedetto Varchi] recarono alla formazione di un linguaggio filosofico e scientifico in ‘volgare', attestato dai Dialoghi dello stesso Sperone che, per molti aspetti, rappresentano uno dei tentativi più interessanti di proporre con gli strumenti dell'ironia e lo schermo del ‘basso parlare', argomenti ormai difficilmente discutibili senza il cauto uso delle risorse popolaresche e del lessico dei vari volgari. A queste risorse era ricorso, del resto, più volte proprio il Pomponazzi che alcuni degli ‘Infiammati' avevano avuto come loro maestro di filosofia ed al quale lo Sperone, nel Dialogo delle lingue, attribuì le idee più nuove e radicali sulla natura delle lingue […] [Nel Dialogo delle lingue] si delinea una distinzione assai significativa tra il volgare ‘poetico' e ‘oratorio' e l'altro, concretamente e realmente parlato nelle sue varietà regionali e destinato a diventare il necessario ‘strumento' del sapere, non condizionato dal ‘modello' letterario bembesco e privo di qualsiasi adornamento e ‘modulo' retorico. Per lo Speroni, questo ‘volgare' che egli chiama ‘lombardo', alludendo alle parlate settentrionali usate maggiormente nei più importanti centri universitari, possiede, infatti, tutte le ‘facoltà che potranno permettergli di propagare le verità proprie della filosofia e della scienza, sempre identiche, immutabili e del tutto indifferenti alla mutevole molteplicità delle lingue. Se sembra riconoscere al volgare ‘toscano' una funzione squisitamente ‘letteraria', nell'ambito di una raffinata educazione retorica, è altrettanto fermo e deciso nel riconoscere la dignità degli altri linguaggi con i quali gli uomini comunicano quotidianamente tra di loro e che avranno, senza dubbio, la capacità di far conoscere la verità della filosofia e della scienza ad un uditorio assai più vasto di quello costituito dai pochi dotti che conoscono il latino e dai ‘letterati' nutriti dalla lettura del Petrarca e del Boccaccio” (C. Vasoli, Sperone Speroni: la filosofia e la lingua: l'ombra del Pomponazzi e un programma di volgarizzamento del sapere, in: “Il volgare come lingua di cultura dal Trecento al Cinquecento, Atti del Convegno internazionale, Mantova, 18-20 ottobre 2001”, Florence, 2003, pp. 31-342).

“Composto intorno alla prima metà degli anni '30, incompiuto, il Della Retorica è l'ottavo della editio princeps aldina dei Dialogi (1542), dove occupa le cc. 131v-160r, preceduto dal Delle lingue, che si legge alle cc. 105v-131r: assieme a quest'ultimo e al dialogo Della vita attiva e contemplativa escluso dalla raccolta, forse per volontà di Daniele Barbaro, forma un trittico che, come ha osservato Valerio Vianello, ‘è scandito in tre movimenti successivi (la questione della lingua volgare, le modalità di pertinenza della letteratura, il ruolo del letterato nella società), perché lo Speroni è incline a scavare con giri concentrici intorno a un motivo per illustrare le sfumature del proprio pensiero'. Ad accumunare i tre dialoghi è l'ambientazione bolognese, al tempo in cui si preparava il Convegno tra Clemente VII e Carlo V, incoronato re d'Italia il 22 febbraio 1530 e, due giorni dopo, imperatore: quello della retorica, in particolare, collocandosi nel novembre del 1529, sembra precedere di un giorno la vicenda inscenata nel Della vita attiva e contemplativa, al quale lo apparenta anche la presenza dei personaggi che, direttamente o indirettamente, partecipano alla discussione: Giovan Francesco Valier (Valerio) e Marcantonio Soranzo, gentiluomini veneziani, e soprattutto Antonio Brocardo (1550 ca.-1531). Veneziano anch'egli, amico di Speroni (che lo evoca anche nel Dialogo d'amore) e allievo di Pietro Pomponazzi, maestro dello stesso Speroni, fu autore di un ridotto e raffinato canzoniere, che, nella sua varietà tematica e soprattutto metrica, ci restituisce l'immagine di un testimone eccentrico della poesia cinquecentesca […] Le affinità tra il Della retorica e il [dialogo erasmiano] Ciceronianus vanno al di là di casuali coincidenze: non solo il resoconto di Brocardo e quello erasmiano mostrano analogie sul piano del lessico e delle situazioni comunicative, ma i punti di distanza del primo dal secondo si comprendono appieno solo se li si intende come differenze, come consapevoli prese di distanza dal quadro descritto nel Ciceronianus, che riguarda appunto la scrittura umanistica in latino, in funzione di un suo riadattamento al contesto volgare. Né si può sottostimare il fatto, ovvio solo in apparenza, che i due testi sono accumunati, prima ancora che dalla forma dialogica, dal trattamento ironico della vicenda. Se a ciò si aggiunge che il Ciceronianus è presente, seppure in maniera più puntiforme (ma non perciò meno incisiva), in un insieme ampio di scritti speroniani […] non sembra sussistere ragione alcuna per voler disconoscere la fonte […]” (A. Cotugno, La scienza della parola: retorica e linguistica di Sperone Speroni, Bologna, 2018, pp. 38-47).

Born in Padua on April 12, 1500, Speroni studied in Padua and Venice, eventually graduating in philosophy at the University of Padua in 1518. As early as 1520 he was appointed lecturer in logic in Padua, having among his pupils Bernardo Navagero, who later became one of his closer friends. The lectures must have been appreciated as in 1523 the Senate gave him the extraordinary chair of philosophy. Speroni, however, preferred to interrupt his university career to follow the teachings of Pietro Pomponazzi in Bologna, remaining there until the philosopher's death in 1525. Returning to Padua, he resumed his teaching activities for another three years, alternating his academic commitments with frequent Venetian sojourns, during which he made the acquaintance of some of the leading figures in the literary life of the time, including Pietro Aretino, Bernardo Tasso, Antonio Brocardo, Pietro Bembo, and Bernardo Cappello. The death of his parents in 1528 forced Speroni to assume responsibility for the entire family, thereby ending his academic teaching, which was already becoming increasingly burdensome for him. The numerous family duties did not, however, prevent him from cultivating his interests and engaging in intense civic and oratorial activity. Elected a member of the city council in 1532, the following year he was deputy to the “Magistratura dei Sedici”, a position he would hold alternately until 1548; he was also president, in 1542, of the “Fondaco delle pelle e del cuoio” located on the island of Giudecca, and served as “provveditore” in matters of convents and public health. In February 1530 he participated, together with Antonio Brocardo, Bernardo Navagero and Luigi Priuli, in the celebrations for the coronation of Charles V in Bologna, as a guest of the local Venetian ambassador Gaspare Contarini, who was also an old companion during the university years in Bologna. In 1540 the Accademia degli Infiammati was founded in Padua, of which he was the major animator as well as the last of its ‘principi' (princes), succeeding Alessandro Piccolomini in October 1541. In the front of the Infiammati, Speroni gave also a public reading of his famous tragedy Canace, first published in Venice, without the author's consent, in 1546.  The 1550s were marked by mourning, health problems and renewed judiciary troubles, but also by Speroni's first and much-desired trip to Rome. The stay was brief but decisive, as his love for this city would never fade. The opportunity to return to Rome presented itself again in the late 1560s, and this time the stay was longer and allowed him to get in touch with the local intellectuals and to join the Accademia delle Notti Vaticane, of which he was also a prince. In 1570 he sojourned in Pesaro, invited by his friend Guidubaldo to the wedding of the latter's son, Francesco Maria II Della Rovere, to Lucrezia d'Este, and in late 1573 he went to Rome again to celebrate the election as pontiff, under the name of Gregory XIII, of Ugo Boncompagni, a fellow member of the Noctes Vaticanae. In 1574 the Inquisition's first attacks on his Dialoghi began as a consequence of an anonymous complaint of contempt of public morality. Booksellers in Rome were prohibited to sell the work and Speroni defended the controversial points first verbally, then with a written Apologia that he sent to his friends Antonio Riccoboni in Padua and Alvise Mocenigo in Venice to have copies circulated. Recalled to Padua in 1578 to settle some affairs, among the last literary activities to which Speroni devoted himself in the last years of his life was the defense of Dante in the literary diatribes that had recently arisen around the poet's authority. Speroni died in Padua in June 1588 (cf. L. Piantoni, Speroni, Sperone, in: “Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani” vol. 93, 2018, s.v.).

Renouard, 125.7; Edit 16, CNCE53856; B. Lamanna, A Good Woman, a Good Wife: Strategies of Idealization in Sperone Speroni's ‘Dialogo della Dignità delle Donne', in: “Idealizing Women in the Italian Renaissance”, E. Brizio-M. Piana, eds., Toronto, 2022; M. Sgarbi, The Italian Mind: Vernacular Logic in Renaissance Italy (1540-1551), Leiden-Boston, 2014; R. Leushuis, Speaking of Love: the Love Dialogue in Italian and French Renaissance Literature, Leiden-Boston, 2017; T. Katinis, Latin and Vernacular Interplay: Lazzaro Bonamico as Author and Character of Sperone Speroni's ‘Dialogo delle lingue', in: “Neo-Latin and the Vernaculars: Bilingual Interactions in the Early Modern Period”, A. Winkler-F. Schaffenrath, eds., Leiden-Boston, 2019; W.A. Rebhorn, Renaissance Debates on Rhetoric, Ithaca, N.Y., 2000; T. Katinis, Sperone Speroni and the Debate over Sophistry in the Italian Renaissance, Leiden-Boston, 2018; R. Buranello, From the Locus Amoenus to the Locus Ambiguus, Sperone Speroni and the Setting of Renaissance Dialogue, Toronto, 1999; J.-L. Fournel, Les dialogues de Sperone Speroni: libertés de la parole et règles de l'écriture, with a preface by M. Pozzi, P. Borsa, ed., Milan, 2014; Sperone Speroni, Padua, 1989.