The author intends to identify some essential lines of the development of Italian Literature in relation to the increasing importance of political, cultural and administrative institutions.
Taking into consideration the first documents in Italian vernacular, the author tries to ascertain the relevant presence of writers connected to juridical culture. In the struggle between sacerdotium and imperium, notaries and jurists strengthened their culture at the court of King Federico II, where they created new poetical forms.
The laymen literature of the origins, which culminated in the Commedia by Dante, was replaced by the clergymen literature; not only Petrarch and Boccaccio, but also many humanists, until Ariosto, found respectable means of subsistence in the ecclesiastical structures, though not separate from painful conditionings.
Alfieri related back to the lay spirit of Machiavelli and claimed a proud independence for men of letters which was guaranteed by their belonging to aristocracy. Later on writers have been involved in the process of interpenetration between man and state, whereas today they are asked to confront themselves with the power of computer science which widely broadens the possibilities of human knowledge.