Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Alessandro Tassoni
Italian poet, born at Modena in 1565; died there in 1635. He spent his life in the service of prelates and princes in Italy, acting as secretary or in some similar capacity. His fame depends chiefly upon the undoubted success of his mock-heroic poem, the "Secchia rapita" (1614), which deals in a pretendedly serious way with a mighty struggle between the citizens of two adjoining towns in Italy over the purloining of a well-bucket. The comic and the serious are skilfully blended throughout and the methods of the ancient epic description are faithfully copied. While in a measure the poem develops germs of the mock-heroic already perceptible in Italian literature back as far as the fourteenth century, it is more particularly significant as marking a natural outcome of poetizing on chivalrous, romantic subjects, such as Ariosto and Tasso had treated, once these subjects ceased to be regarded with any degree of seriousness as meet for artistic treatment. The "Secchia rapita" belongs to the same category as the ancient "Battle of the Frogs and Mice", Lope de Vega's "Gatomaquia", Boileau's "Lutrin" and Pope's "Rape of the Lock", and ranks worthily with them. The patriotic Italian's dislike of the arrogant invading Spaniard is clear in his "Filippiche contra gli Spagnuoli"; his views on literary criticism and his disapproval of the bad taste Of his time may be seen in his "Considerazioni sopra le rime del Petrarca" and his "Pensieri diversi". There are various editions of the "Secchia rapita", e. g., Paris (1622); Modena (1744), with a life by Muratori; Florence (1861), with a study by Carducci; Florence (1887); with the addition of certain minor writings in prose and verse.
RONCA, La Secchia rapita di Alessandra Tassoni (Caltanisetta, 1884); CHICCO, L'umorismo e la Secchia rapita (Parma, 1894).
J. D. M. FORD.