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Toscana

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In Tuscany, especially in the Middle Ages, popular love poetry existed. A school of imitators of the Sicilians was led by Dante da Maiano, but its literary originality took another line — that of humorous and satirical poetry. The democratic form of government created a style of poetry which stood strongly against the medieval mystic and chivalrous style. Devout invocation of God or of a lady came from the cloister and the castle; in the streets of the cities everything that had gone before was treated with ridicule or biting sarcasm. Folgóre da San Gimignano laughs when in his sonnets he tells a party of Sienese youths the occupations of every month in the year, or when he teaches a party of Florentine lads the pleasures of every day in the week. Cenne della Chitarra laughs when he parodies Folgore's sonnets. The sonnets of Rustico di Filippo are half-fun and half-satire, as is the work of Cecco Angiolieri of Siena, the oldest humorist we know, a far-off precursor of François Rabelais and Michel de Montaigne.

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