1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dolce, Ludovico

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DOLCE, LUDOVICO, or Luigi (1508–1568 or 1569), Italian writer, was a native of Venice, and belonged to a family of honourable tradition but decadent fortune. He received a good education, and early undertook the task of maintaining himself by his pen. Translations from Greek and Latin epics, satires, histories, plays and treatises on language and art followed each other in rapid succession, till the whole number amounted to upwards of seventy works. But he is now mainly memorable as the author of Marianna, a tragedy from the life of Herod, which was recast in French by Tristan and by Voltaire, and still keeps a place on the stage. Four licentious comedies, Il Ragazzo (1541), Il Capitano (1545), Il Marito (1560), Il Ruffiano (1560), and seven of Seneca’s tragedies complete the list of his dramatic efforts. In one epic—to translate the title-page—“he has marvellously reduced into ottava rima and united into one narrative the stories of the Iliad and the Aeneid”; in another he devotes thirty-nine cantos to a certain Primaleone, son of Palmerius; in a third he celebrates the first exploits of Count Orlando; and in a fourth he sings of the Paladin Sacripante. A life of the emperor Charles V. and a similar account of Ferdinand I., published respectively in 1560 and 1566, are his chief historical productions; and among his minor treatises it is enough to mention the Osservazioni sulla lingua volgare (1550); the Dialogo della pittura (1557); and the Dialogo nel quale si ragiona del modo di accrescar la memoria (1552).