As an international scholar and resident of Italy who has observed and shared the experiences of Italian women for the past twenty years, Alba Amoia has positioned herself perfectly to report to English-speaking audiences the great range and variety of writing produced by twentieth-century Italian women. Her personal contact with many of the authors she discusses lends further immediacy to her study.
Rather than focusing exclusively on contemporary living authors, Amoia discusses writers from the early part of the twentieth century as well, linking them with later writers spanning twentieth-century Italy’s literary movements and political, social, and economic developments. Yet the connections and contradictions that bind and divide these women are only beginning to be established because Italy is still a splintered country in which perceptions of Italian women as a historical group have only begun to crystallize. While feminine voices resound on the Italian literary scene, only recently has feminine authority made itself felt in the professional and institutional worlds.
The eleven writers in this volume criticize the female role in Italian society, externalize women’s unconscious needs, and offer unusual examples of feminine creativity. Amoia provides a critical treatment of each author, incorporating the accepted opinion of Italian and other critics. She isolates recurrent and fundamental themes in each author’s literary career: linguistic repression by males, personal frustration in the realm of "householditude," and disorientation within Italy’s unbalanced institutions and hierarchies still strongly anchored in archaic structures.
Amoia begins her discussion with two illustrious predecessors of Italy’s contemporary women writers: the 1926 Nobel Prize winner Grazia Deledda and the premier literary feminist Sibilla Aleramo. Continuing in chronological order, Amoia discusses Gianna Manzini, Lalla Romano, Elsa Morante, Natalia Ginzburg, Rosetta Loy, and Dacia Maraini. Amoia concludes her exploration of Italian women writers with three journalists: Matilde Serao, Oriana Fallaci, and Camilla Cederna.
Essentially, Amoia has provided a collection of succinct and accessible monographs featuring pertinent biographical information and extensive bibliographies. She discusses each author’s most representative works, seeking to give readers both a sense of these women as writers and an understanding of their significance in the male-dominated literary scene.
Recognized in America chiefly for his films, Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922–1975) in fact reinvented interdisciplinarity in postwar Europe. Pasolini self-confessedly approached the cinematic image through painting, and the numerous allusions to early modern frescoes and altarpieces in his films have been extensively documented. Far less understood, however, is Pasolini’s fraught relationship to the aesthetic experiments of his own age. In Against the Avant-Garde, Ara H. Merjian demonstrates how Pasolini’s campaign against neocapitalist culture fueled his hostility to the avant-garde. An atheist indebted to Catholic ritual; a revolutionary communist inimical to the creed of 1968; a homosexual hostile to the project of gay liberation: Pasolini refused the politics of identity in favor of a scandalously paradoxical practice, one vital to any understanding of his legacy. Against the Avant-Garde examines these paradoxes through case studies from the 1960s and 1970s, concluding with a reflection on Pasolini’s far-reaching influence on post-1970s art. Merjian not only reconsiders the multifaceted work of Italy’s most prominent postwar intellectual, but also the fraught politics of a European neo-avant-garde grappling with a new capitalist hegemony.
Spaghetti with meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, margherita pizzas, ricotta and parmesan cheeses—we have Italy to thank for some of our favorite comfort foods. Home to a dazzling array of wines, cheese, breads, vegetables, and salamis, Italy has become a mecca for foodies who flock to its pizzerias, gelateries, and family-style and Michelin-starred restaurants. Taking readers across the country’s regions and beyond in the first book in Reaktion’s new Foods and Nations series, Al Dente explores our obsession with Italian food and how the country’s cuisine became what it is today.
Fabio Parasecoli discovers that for centuries, southern Mediterranean countries such as Italy fought against food scarcity, wars, invasions, and an unfavorable agricultural environment. Lacking in meat and dairy, Italy developed foodways that depended on grains, legumes, and vegetables until a stronger economy in the late 1950s allowed the majority of Italians to afford a more diverse diet. Parasecoli elucidates how the last half century has seen new packaging, conservation techniques, industrial mass production, and more sophisticated systems of transportation and distribution, bringing about profound changes in how the country’s population thought about food. He also reveals that much of Italy’s culinary reputation hinged on the world’s discovery of it as a healthy eating model, which has led to the prevalence of high-end Italian restaurants in major cities around the globe.
Including historical recipes for delicious Italian dishes to enjoy alongside a glass of crisp Chianti, Al Dente is a fascinating survey of this country’s cuisine that sheds new light on why we should always leave the gun and take the cannoli.
Although Herman Melville is typically considered one of America’s earliest cosmopolitan writers, scholarship has focused primarily on his involvement with the South Seas, England, and the Holy Land. In American Risorgimento: Herman Melville and the Cultural Politics of Italy, Dennis Berthold extends Melville’s transnational vision both geographically and historically by examining his many references to Italy and Rome in the context of the Risorgimento, Italy’s long quest for independence and political unity.
Melville’s contemporaries, notably Margaret Fuller and Henry T. Tuckerman, recognized the similarities between the Risorgimento and America’s struggle for national identity, and the influx of exiles from the failed Italian revolutions of 1820 and 1831 made Melville’s New York a hotbed of Risorgimento sympathies. Literary and political expostulations on Italy’s plight combined to create a distinctively American view of the Risorgimento that Melville elaborated in his fiction through allusions, characterizations, and direct commentary on Roman history, Dante, Machiavelli, Pope Pius IX, and Giuseppe Mazzini.
Melville followed the unfolding drama of Italian nationalism more closely than any other major American writer and found in it tropes and themes that fueled his turn to poetry, particularly after his visit to Italy in 1857. The Civil War, a crisis for American nationalism as urgent and profound as the Risorgimento, reinforced the symbolic parallels between the United States and Italy and led Melville to meditate on Giuseppe Garibaldi and other Italian patriots in one of his longest poems.
Melville’s literary appropriations of Italian history, art, and politics demonstrate that transnational cultural exchanges are not confined to later American writing but originate with the country’s earliest authors and their recognition that any national literature worthy of the name must incorporate a broad international frame of reference.
Dennis Berthold is professor of English at Texas A&M University, College Station.
A seventeenth-century play showing the reality of life for women.
Valeria Miani’s Amorous Hope is a play of remarkable richness, subtlety, and verve. It presents a scathing exposure of society’s double-standards and it champions women’s dramatic agency by centering on the bleak reality they often faced, a reality that attempted to harm and silence its victims. The play’s salient episodes reflect realities modern women still face today.
Miani’s literary achievements attest to her emergence as a cultural protagonist alongside Europe’s most talented women writers, such as Isabella Andreini, and she challenged the premodern notion that a woman’s eloquence is an indication of her sexual promiscuity.
Founded in 1983, Annali d’italianistica has become synonymous with timely and fundamental scholarship on Italy’s literary culture, employing broad historical, cultural, and literary perspectives that are of interest to a wide variety of scholars. Published annually and monographic in nature, the journal uses as its point of departure the study of Italian literature and the Humanities more generally to foster scholarly excellence at all levels. Annali d’italianistica is receptive to a variety of topics, critical approaches, and theoretical perspectives that cross disciplinary boundaries and span several centuries, from the beginning of Italy’s cultural history to the present.
Founded in 1983, Annali d’Italianistica has become synonymous with timely and fundamental scholarship on Italy’s literary culture, employing broad historical, cultural, and literary perspectives that are of interest to a wide variety of scholars. Published annually and monographic in nature, the journal uses as its point of departure the study of Italian literature and the Humanities more generally to foster scholarly excellence at all levels. Annali d’Italianistica is receptive to a variety of topics, critical approaches, and theoretical perspectives that cross disciplinary boundaries and span several centuries, from the beginning of Italy’s cultural history to the present.
Ovid’s Fasti, his poem on the Roman calendar, became especially influential during the fifteenth century as a guide to classical Roman culture. Ovid’s treatment of mythological and astronomical lore, his investigation of anniversaries and customs, and his charting of monuments and history offered humanist poets and intellectuals an abundance of material to unravel. They could identify with Ovid as vates operosus, or hard-working seer–poet, suggesting both researcher and inspired authority.
Angela Fritsen’s Antiquarian Voices:The Roman Academy and the Commentary Tradition on Ovid’s Fasti offers the first study of the Renaissance exegesis and imitation of Ovid as antiquarian. Fritsen analyzes the Fasti commentaries by Paolo Marsi (1440–1484) and Antonio Costanzi (1436–1490) as well as the connections between the two works. It situates Ovidian Fasti studies in the Roman Academy under the mentorship of Pomponio Leto. Nowhere could the investigation of the Fasti be carried out better than in Rome. The humanists had a guide to the City in Ovid. They also regarded the Fasti as well suited to the ideology of the ancient Roman imperium’s renewal in modern papal Rome.
Antiquarian Voices illustrates how in reviving the Fasti, the humanists returned Rome to its original splendor. The book demonstrates that the humanists were eager to relate the Fasti to their antiquarian pursuits—as well as to their rising personal fame.
Arms and the Woman: Classical Tradition and Women Writers in the Venetian Renaissance by Francesca D’Alessandro Behr focuses on the classical reception in the works of female authors active in Venice during the Early Modern Age. Even in this relatively liberal city, women had restricted access to education and were subject to deep-seated cultural prejudices, but those who read and wrote were able, in part, to overcome those limitations.
In this study, Behr explores the work of Moderata Fonte and Lucrezia Marinella and demonstrates how they used knowledge of texts by Virgil, Ovid, and Aristotle to systematically reanalyze the biased patterns apparent both in the romance epic genre and contemporary society. Whereas these classical texts were normally used to bolster the belief in female inferiority and the status quo, Fonte and Marinella used them to envision societies structured according to new, egalitarian ethics. Reflecting on the humanist representation of virtue, Fonte and Marinella insisted on the importance of peace, mercy, and education for women. These authors took up the theme of the equality of genders and participated in the Renaissance querelle des femmes, promoting women’s capabilities and nature.
Long celebrated as one of “the Three Crowns” of Florence, Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–75) experimented widely with the forms of literature. His prolific and innovative writings—which range beyond the novella, from lyric to epic, from biography to mythography and geography, from pastoral and romance to invective—became powerful models for authors in Italy and across the Continent.
This collection of essays presents Boccaccio’s life and creative output in its encyclopedic diversity. Exploring a variety of genres, Latin as well as Italian, it provides short descriptions of all his works, situates them in his oeuvre, and features critical expositions of their most salient features and innovations. Designed for readers at all levels, it will appeal to scholars of literature, medieval and Renaissance studies, humanism and the classical tradition; as well as European historians, art historians, and students of material culture and the history of the book. Anchored by an introduction and chronology, this volume contains contributions by prominent Boccaccio scholars in the United States, as well as essays by contributors from France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The year 2013, Boccaccio’s seven-hundredth birthday, will be an important one for the study of his work and will see an increase in academic interest in reassessing his legacy.
This study develops a new interpretation of The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio’s masterpiece, which has found new popularity in the wake of COVID. Dino S. Cervigni offers an inclusive and novel reading of the collection, theorizing that the first ninety tales offer a parodic rewriting of the Christian Middle Age, while the last ten tales craft a reconstruction of society based on human and liberal principles such as generosity and sacrifice.
Still relevant to this day, The Decameron offers a notable description of the bubonic plague of 1348 which devastated Western Europe—drawing striking parallels with the current global pandemic. Furthermore, Boccaccio’s concluding message applies to all of us in the present moment, plunged as we are into a world of intellectual and ethical chaos, exhorting us to practice forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, mutual acceptance, and generous open-mindedness. No other book on The Decameron offers such a relevant, up-to-date reading of the classic work.
Well, gentlemen, here’s a tale that people have told time and again . . . .
So begins the title story in this collection of fifty Sicilian folk and fairy tales edited and translated by noted folklore scholar Jack Zipes. But while some of the stories may sound as if they’ve been told time and again—such as variations on Cinderella and Puss in Boots—many will enchant English-language readers and storytellers for the first time. From “The Pot of Basil” to “The Talking Belly,” “The Little Mouse with the Stinky Tail” to “Peppi, Who Wandered out into the World,” the stories in Catarina the Wise range from simple tales of getting a new dress or something good to eat to fantastical plots for outwitting domineering husbands, rescuing impoverished fathers, or attracting wealthy suitors (frequently the Prince of Portugal). Many feature strong, clever women (usually daughters who become queen). Many are funny; many are wise. Some are very, very strange.
As Zipes relates, the true story of their origins is as extraordinary as the tales themselves. Born to a poor family of sailors in Palermo, Giuseppe Pitrè would go on to serve with Garibaldi, become a traveling country doctor, and gather one of the most colossal collections of folk and fairy tales of the nineteenth century. But while his work as a folklorist rivaled that of the Brothers Grimm, Pitrè remains a relative unknown. Catarina the Wise highlights some of the most delectable stories at the heart of his collection. Featuring new, original illustrations, this book is a beautiful, charming treasure for any fan of story, storytelling, and heroines and heroes living happily ever after—sometimes.
Mary Jo Bona reconstructs the literary history and examines the narrative techniques of eight Italian American women's novels from 1940 to the present. Largely neglected until recently, these women's family narratives compel a reconsideration of what it means to be a woman and an ethnic in America.
Bona discusses the novels in pairs according to their focus on Italian American life. She first examines the traditions of italianitá (a flavor of things Italian) that inform and enhance works of fiction. The novelists in that tradition were Mari Tomasi (Like Lesser Gods, 1949) and Marion Benasutti (No Steady Job for Papa, 1966).
Bona then turns to later novels that highlight the Italian American belief in the family's honor and reputation. Conflicts between generations, specifically between autocratic fathers and their children, are central to Octavia Waldo's 1961 A Cup of the Sun and Josephine Gattuso Hendin's 1988 The Right Thing to Do.
Even when writers choose to steer away from the familial focus, Bona notes, their developmental narratives trace the reintegration of characters suffering from a crisis of cultural identity. Relating the characters' struggles to their relationship to the family, Bona examines Diana Cavallo's 1961 A Bridge of Leaves and Dorothy Bryant's 1978 Miss Giardino.
Bona then discusses two innovative novels— Helen Barolini's 1979 Umbertina and Tina De Rosa's 1980 Paper Fish— both of which feature a granddaughter who invokes her grandmother, a godparent figure. Through Barolini's feminist and De Rosa's modernist perspectives, both novels present a young girl developing artistically.
Closing with a discussion of the contemporary terrain Italian American women traverse, Bona examines such topics as sexual identity when it meets cultural identity and the inclusion of italianitá when Italian American identity is not central to the story. Italian American women writers, she concludes, continue in the 1980s and 1990s to focus on the interplay between cultural identity and women's development.
Andrea Cavalletti Seagull Books, 2019 Library of Congress HT609.C3813 2019
In 1936, Walter Benjamin defined the revolutionary class as being in opposition to a dense and dangerous crowd, prone to fear of the foreign, and under the spell of anti-Semitic madness. Today, in formations great or small, that sad figure returns—the hatred of minorities is rekindled and the pied-pipers of the crowd stand triumphant.
Class, by Andrea Cavalletti, is a striking montage of diverse materials—Marx and Jules Verne, Benjamin and Gabriel Tarde. In it, Cavalletti asks whether the untimely concept of class is once again thinkable. Faced with new pogroms and state racism, he challenges us to imagine a movement that would unsettle and eventually destroy the crowd.
This book considers some of the main adaptations of the character of Cleopatra for the Renaissance stage, travelling from Italy to England to arrive finally to Shakespeare. It shows how each reading of the story of Cleopatra is unique to and expressive of the culture which produced it, even as writers drew from the same sources from Antiquity. For the first time texts belonging to different cultures, rigorously presented, are brought into dialogue on such questions as moral standpoint, gender and the representation of the exotic. Moreover, through the fascinating figure of Cleopatra, the reader is able to explore the development of Renaissance tragedy, in its commercial and non-commercial versions. Ultimately both questions at the heart of this study - concerning Cleopatra's identity and her translation into theatre - converge to be (dis)solved by Shakespeare.
Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy has, despite its enormous popularity and importance, often stymied readers with its multitudinous characters, references, and themes. But until the publication in 2007 of Guy Raffa’s guide to the Inferno, students lacked a suitable resource to help them navigate Dante’s underworld. With this new guide to the entire Divine Comedy, Raffa provides readers—experts in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Dante neophytes, and everyone in between—with a map of the entire poem, from the lowest circle of Hell to the highest sphere of Paradise.
Based on Raffa’s original research and his many years of teaching the poem to undergraduates, The CompleteDanteworlds charts a simultaneously geographical and textual journey, canto by canto, region by region, adhering closely to the path taken by Dante himself through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. This invaluable reference also features study questions, illustrations of the realms, and regional summaries. Interpreting Dante’s poem and his sources, Raffa fashions detailed entries on each character encountered as well as on many significant historical, religious, and cultural allusions.
There is no artist more celebrated than Michelangelo. Yet the magnificence of his achievements as a visual artist often overshadow his devotion to poetry. Michelangelo used poetry to express what was too personal to display in sculpture or painting. John Frederick Nims has brought the entire body of Michelangelo's verse, from the artist's ardent twenties to his anguished and turbulent eighties, to life in English in this unprecedented collection. The result is a tantalizing glimpse into a most fascinating mind.
"Wonderful. . . . Nims gives us Michelangelo whole: the polymorphous love sonneteer, the political allegorist, and the solitary singer of madrigals."—Kirkus Reviews
"A splendid, fresh and eloquent translation. . . . Nims, an eminent poet and among the best translators of our time, conveys the full meaning and message of Michelangelo's love sonnets and religious poems in fluently rhymed, metrical forms."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"The best so far. . . . Nims is best at capturing the sound and sense of Michelangelo's poetic vocabulary."—Choice
"Surely the most compelling translations of Michelangelo currently available in English."—Ronald L. Martinez, Washington Times
Scholars have often viewed the Hundred Years’ War (c. 1337–1453) between England and France as sharpening animosity and isolationism. Further, medievalists have often characterized translator–source relationships as adversarial. In Continental England, Elizaveta Strakhov develops a new model, reparative translation, as a corrective to both formulations. Zeroing in on formes fixes poetry—and Chaucer as a leading practitioner—she shows that translation played two essential, interrelated roles: it became a channel for rebuilding fragmented communities, and it restored unity to Francophone cultural landscapes fractured by war. Further, used in particular to express England’s aspirational relationship to Francophone culture despite the ongoing war, translation became the means by which England negotiated a new vision of itself as Continental rather than self-contained. Chaucer’s own translation work and fusion of Francophone and Italian humanist influences in his poetry rendered him a paradigmatic figure for England’s new bid for Continental relevance. Interpreting Chaucer’s posthumous canonization as a direct result of reparative translation, Strakhov shows how England’s transition from island to Continental constituent problematizes our contemporary understandings of nation-bound authors and canons.
In Dante and the Limits of the Law, Justin Steinberg offers the first comprehensive study of the legal structure essential to Dante’s Divine Comedy. Steinberg reveals how Dante imagines an afterlife dominated by sophisticated laws, hierarchical jurisdictions, and rationalized punishments and rewards. He makes the compelling case that Dante deliberately exploits this highly structured legal system to explore the phenomenon of exceptions to it, crucially introducing Dante to current debates about literature’s relation to law, exceptionality, and sovereignty.
Examining how Dante probes the limits of the law in this juridical otherworld, Steinberg argues that exceptions were vital to the medieval legal order and that Dante’s otherworld represents an ideal “system of exception.” In the real world, Dante saw this system as increasingly threatened by the dual crises of church and empire: the abuses and overreaching of the popes and the absence of an effective Holy Roman Emperor. Steinberg shows that Dante’s imagination of the afterlife seeks to address this gap between the universal validity of Roman law and the lack of a sovereign power to enforce it. Exploring the institutional role of disgrace, the entwined phenomena of judicial discretion and artistic freedom, medieval ideas about privilege and immunity, and the place of judgment in the poem, this cogently argued book brings to life Dante’s sense of justice.
Dante’s Gluttons: Food and Society from the Convivio to the Comedy explores how in his work medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) uses food to articulate, reinforce, criticize, and correct the social, political, and cultural values of his time. Combining medieval history, food studies, and literary criticism, Dante’s Gluttons historicizes food and eating in Dante, beginning in his earliest collected poetry and arriving at the end of his major work. For Dante, the consumption of food is not a frivolity, but a crux of life in the most profound sense of the term, and gluttony is the abdication of civic and spiritual responsibility and a danger to the individual body and soul as well as to the collective. This book establishes how one of the world’s preeminent authors uses the intimacy and universality of food as a touchstone, communicating through a gastronomic language rooted in the deeply human relationship with material sustenance.
Dante’s Volume from Alpha to Omega brings together essays written by internationally recognized scholars to explore the poet’s encyclopedic impulse in light of our own frenzied information age. This comprehensive collection of essays, coedited by Carol Chiodo and Christiana Purdy Moudarres, examines how Dante’s spiritual quest is powered by an encyclopedic one, which has for more than seven centuries drawn a readership as diverse as the knowledge his work contains. The essays investigate both the intellectual and spiritual pleasures that Dante’s Commedia affords, underscoring how, through the sheer breadth of its knowledge, the poem demands collective and collaborative inquiry. Rather than isolating the poetic or theological strands of the Commedia, the book acts as a bridge across disciplines, braiding together the well-worn strands of poetry and theology with those of philosophy, the sciences, and the arts. The wide range of entries within Dante’s poetic summa yield multiple opportunities to reflect on their points of intersection, and the urgency of the convergence of the poem’s aesthetic, intellectual, and affective aims.
One of the greatest works of world literature, Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy has, despite its enormous popularity and importance, often stymied readers with its multitudinous characters, references, and themes. But until now, students of the Inferno have lacked a suitable resource to guide their reading.
Welcome to Danteworlds, the first substantial guide to the Inferno in English. Guy P. Raffa takes readers on a geographic journey through Dante’s underworld circle by circle—from the Dark Wood down to the ninth circle of Hell—in much the same way Dante and Virgil proceed in their infernal descent. Each chapter—or “region”—of the book begins with a summary of the action, followed by detailed entries, significant verses, and useful study questions. The entries, based on a close examination of the poet’s biblical, classical, and medieval sources, help locate the characters and creatures Dante encounters and assist in decoding the poem’s vast array of references to religion, philosophy, history, politics, and other works of literature.
Written by an established Dante scholar and tested in the fire of extensive classroom experience, Danteworlds will be heralded by readers at all levels of expertise, from students and general readers to teachers and scholars.
With a celebrated food writer as host, a delectable history of Roman cuisine and the world—served one dish at a time.
“There is more history in a bowl of pasta than in the Colosseum,” writes Andreas Viestad in Dinner in Rome. From the table of a classic Roman restaurant, Viestad takes us on a fascinating culinary exploration of the Eternal City and global civilization. Food, he argues, is history’s secret driving force. Viestad finds deeper meanings in his meal: He uses the bread that begins his dinner to trace the origins of wheat and its role in Rome’s rise as well as its downfall. With his fried artichoke antipasto, he explains olive oil’s part in the religious conflict of sixteenth-century Europe. And, from his sorbet dessert, he recounts how lemons featured in the history of the Mafia in the nineteenth century and how the hunger for sugar fueled the slave trade. Viestad’s dinner may be local, but his story is universal. His “culinary archaeology” is an entertaining, flavorful journey across the dinner table and time. Readers will never look at spaghetti carbonara the same way again.
In The Enemy in Italian Renaissance Epic, Andrea Moudarres examines influential works from the literary canon of the Italian Renaissance, arguing that hostility consistently arises from within political or religious entities. In Dante’s Divina Commedia, Luigi Pulci’s Morgante, Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, and Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata, enmity is portrayed as internal, taking the form of tyranny, betrayal, and civil discord. Moudarres reads these works in the context of historical and political patterns, demonstrating that there was little distinction between public and private spheres in Renaissance Italy and, thus, little differentiation between personal and political enemies.
Published by University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Lucrezia Marinella (1571–1653) is, by all accounts, a phenomenon in early modernity: a woman who wrote and published in many genres, whose fame shone brightly within and outside her native Venice, and whose voice is simultaneously original and reflective of her time and culture. In Enrico; or, Byzantium Conquered, one of the most ambitious and rewarding of her numerous narrative works, Marinella demonstrates her skill as an epic poet.
Now available for the first time in English translation, Enrico retells the story of the conquest of Byzantium in the Fourth Crusade (1202–04). Marinella intersperses historical events in her account of the invasion with numerous invented episodes, drawing on the rich imaginative legacy of the chivalric romance. Fast-moving, colorful, and narrated with the zest that characterizes Marinella’s other works, this poem is a great example of a woman engaging critically with a quintessentially masculine form and subject matter, writing in a genre in which the work of women poets was typically shunned.
As speaking animals, we continuously make use of an unassuming grammatical particle, without suspecting that what is at work in its inconspicuousness is a powerful apparatus, which orchestrates language, signification, and the world at large. What particle might this be? The word not.
In Essay on Negation, Paolo Virno argues that the importance of the not is perhaps comparable only to that of money—that is, the universality of exchange. Negation is what separates verbal thought from silent cognitive operations, such as feelings and mental images. Speaking about what is not happening here and now, or about properties that are not referable to a given object, the human animal deactivates its original neuronal empathy, which is prelinguistic; it distances itself from the prescriptions of its own instinctual endowment and accesses a higher sociality, negotiated and unstable, which establishes the public sphere. In fact, the speaking animal soon learns that the negative statement does not amount to the linguistic double of unpleasant realities or destructive emotions: while it rejects them, negation also names them and thus includes them in social life. Virno sees negation as a crucial effect of civilization, one that is, however, also always exposed to further regressions. Taking his cue from a humble word, the author is capable of unfolding the unexpected phenomenology of the negating consciousness.
This translation brings the complete works of three minor but important Italian poets — Dante’s contemporaries at the turn of the 14th century — to English speakers for the very first time. Taken together, the three authors sketch an idealized portrait of courtly life juxtaposed to the gritty, politically fractured world of northern Italy’s mercantile urban centers in which they lived. One poet, Folgore di San Gimignano, idealizes court life during the period; the second, Cenne da la Chitarra, looks at it more realistically and parodies Folgore; and the third, Pietro dei Faitinelli, takes inspiration from Folgore’s political writings and focuses on the politics of the times. The juxtaposition of the three poets in this work is effective and arguably shows them to be a poetic school. Tournaments, dinner tables, and public squares spring to life through vivid, material details, which should catch the interest of cultural historians and literary scholars alike. This translation is especially deft at reproducing the rich variety of culinary and sartorial vocabulary offered by the poets, and the translations of Pietro dei Faitinelli are especially well-executed.
As the long sixteenth century came to a close, new positive ideas of gusto/taste opened a rich counter vision of food and taste where material practice, sensory perceptions and imagination contended with traditional social values, morality, and dietetic/medical discourse. Exploring the complex and evocative ways the early modern Italian culture of food was imagined in the literature of the time, Food Culture and the Literary Imagination in Early Modern Italy reveals that while a moral and disciplinary vision tried to control the discourse on food and eating in medical and dietetic treatises of the sixteenth century and prescriptive literature, a wide range of literary works contributed to a revolution in eating and taste. In the process long held visions of food and eating, as related to social order and hierarchy, medicine, sexuality and gender, religion and morality, pleasure and the senses, were questioned, tested and overturned, and eating and its pleasures would never be the same.
“Since it is the case that you are now just beginning that journey that I have for the most part as you see completed, that is, the one through mortal life, and loving you so very much as I do, I have proposed to myself—as one who has been many places—to show you those places in life where, walking through them, I fear you could easily either fall or take the wrong direction.”
So begins Galateo, a treatise on polite behavior written by Giovanni Della Casa (1503–56) for the benefit of his nephew, a young Florentine destined for greatness.
In the voice of a cranky yet genial old uncle, Della Casa offers the distillation of what he has learned over a lifetime of public service as diplomat and papal nuncio. As relevant today as it was in Renaissance Italy, Galateo deals with subjects as varied as dress codes, charming conversation and off-color jokes, eating habits and hairstyles, and literary language. In its time, Galateo circulated as widely as Machiavelli’s Prince and Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier. Mirroring what Machiavelli did for promoting political behavior, and what Castiglione did for behavior at court, Della Casa here creates a picture of the refined man caught in a world in which embarrassment and vulgarity prevail. Less a treatise promoting courtly values or a manual of savoir faire, it is rather a meditation on conformity and the law, on perfection and rules, but also an exasperated—often theatrical—reaction to the diverse ways in which people make fools of themselves in everyday social situations.
With renewed interest in etiquette and polite behavior growing both inside and outside the academy, the time is right for a new, definitive edition of this book. More than a mere etiquette book, this restored edition will be entertaining (and even useful) for anyone making their way in modern civilized and polite society, and a subtle gift for the rude neighbor, the thoughtless dinner guest, or the friend or relative in need of a refresher on proper behavior.
A Ghost in Trieste
Joseph Cary University of Chicago Press, 1993 Library of Congress DG975.T825C37 1993 | Dewey Decimal 914.539304929
Gem of the Adriatic, Trieste sparkled and beckoned through the pages of poets and novelists. Drawn there in search of literary ghosts, of the poet Umberto Saba and the novelists Italo Svevo and James Joyce, Joseph Cary found instead a city with an imaginative life of its own, the one that rises, tantalizing from the pages of this book. The story of Cary's travels, A Ghost in Trieste, is also a tale of discovery and transformation, as the bustling world of port and airplane, baggage and trams and trains becomes the landscape of history and literature, language and art, psychoanalysis and the self.
Here is the crossroads of East and West. A port held in turn by the Romans, the Venetians, the Austrians, the Germans, the Slavs, and finally the Italians, Trieste is the capital of nowhere, fertile source of a unique literary florescence before the First World War. At times an exile home and an exiled city. "I cannot claim to have walked across it all,:" wrote Saba, the poet of Trieste in 1910 of the city Cary crosses and recrosses, seeking the poetry of the place that inspired its literary giants. Trieste's cultural and historical riches, its geographical splendor of hills and sea and mysterious presence unfold in a series of stories, monologues and literary juxtapositions that reveal the city's charms as well as its seductive hold on the writer's imagination. Throughout, literary and immediate impressions alike are elaborated in paintings and maps, and in handsome line drawings by Nicholas Read.
This "clownish and adolescent Parsifal," this Trieste of the "prickly grace," this place "impaled in my heart like a permanent point," this symbol of the Adriatic, this "city made of books" — here the book remakes the city. The Trieste of allusions magically becomes a city of palpable allure, of warmth and trying contradictions and gritty beauty. Part travel diary, part guide book, part literary history, A Ghost in Trieste is a brilliant introduction to an extraordinary time and place. In Joseph Cary, Trieste has found a new poet, and readers, a remarkably captivating companion and guide.
The Governance of Friendship: Law and Gender in the DECAMERON by Michael Sherberg addresses two related and heretofore unexamined problems in the pages of the Decameron: its theory of friendship and the legal theory embedded in it. Sherberg shows how Aristotle’s Ethics as well as Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica inform these two discourses, at the intersection of which Boccaccio locates the question of gender relations which is one of the book’s central concerns.
Through a series of close readings at all three levels of the text—the author’s statements, the frame narrative, and the stories themselves—Sherberg shows how Boccaccio exposes and explores gender tensions rooted in a notion of the patriarchal household, which finds its own rationale in the natural-law postulate of the inferiority of women. Relying on the writings of the great twentieth-century legal theorist Hans Kelsen, Sherberg demonstrates how through the complex architecture of the Decameron Boccaccio dismantles the logic of natural law, exposing it instead as a rhetoric used by men to justify their control of women.
The Governance of Friendship aims well to advance our understanding of Boccaccio as an intellectual: not only steeped in the key texts of his time, but also at the forefront of critical thinking about such issues as law and gender which will play out over the coming centuries and beyond.
Millions of immigrants were drawn to American shores, not by the mythic streets paved with gold, but rather by its tables heaped with food. How they experienced the realities of America’s abundant food—its meat and white bread, its butter and cheese, fruits and vegetables, coffee and beer—reflected their earlier deprivations and shaped their ethnic practices in the new land.
Hungering for America tells the stories of three distinctive groups and their unique culinary dramas. Italian immigrants transformed the food of their upper classes and of sacred days into a generic “Italian” food that inspired community pride and cohesion. Irish immigrants, in contrast, loath to mimic the foodways of the Protestant British elite, diminished food as a marker of ethnicity. And East European Jews, who venerated food as the vital center around which family and religious practice gathered, found that dietary restrictions jarred with America’s boundless choices.
These tales, of immigrants in their old worlds and in the new, demonstrate the role of hunger in driving migration and the significance of food in cementing ethnic identity and community. Hasia Diner confirms the well-worn adage, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”
The enduring "black legend" of the Italian Counter-Reformation, which has held sway in both scholarly and popular culture, maintains that the Council of Trent ushered in a cultural dark age in Italy, snuffing out the spectacular creative production of the Renaissance. As a result, the decades following Trent have been mostly overlooked in Italian literary studies, in particular. The thirteen essays of Innovation in the Italian Counter-Reformation present a radical reconsideration of literary production in post-Tridentine Italy. With particular attention to the much-maligned tradition of spiritual literature, the volume’s contributors weave literary analysis together with religion, theater, art, music, science, and gender to demonstrate that the literature of this period not only merits study but is positively innovative. Contributors include such renowned critics as Virginia Cox and Amedeo Quondam, two of the leading scholars on the Italian Counter-Reformation.
Published by University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Looking at the historic Italian American community of East Harlem in the 1920s and 30s, Simone Cinotto recreates the bustling world of Italian life in New York City and demonstrates how food was at the center of the lives of immigrants and their children. From generational conflicts resolved around the family table to a vibrant food-based economy of ethnic producers, importers, and restaurateurs, food was essential to the creation of an Italian American identity. Italian American foods offered not only sustenance but also powerful narratives of community and difference, tradition and innovation as immigrants made their way through a city divided by class conflict, ethnic hostility, and racialized inequalities.
Drawing on a vast array of resources including fascinating, rarely explored primary documents and fresh approaches in the study of consumer culture, Cinotto argues that Italian immigrants created a distinctive culture of food as a symbolic response to the needs of immigrant life, from the struggle for personal and group identity to the pursuit of social and economic power. Adding a transnational dimension to the study of Italian American foodways, Cinotto recasts Italian American food culture as an American "invention" resonant with traces of tradition.
The Baroque period was crucial for the development of art theory and the advancement of the artistic academy. This collection of primary sources brings this important period to life with significant documents and texts. It conveniently assembles major texts, which are otherwise available only in scattered publications. The lives of leading artists--Caravaggio, El Greco, among others---are discussed by their contemporaries, while Bellori, Galileo, Pascoli, and others write on art theory and practice. The documents provide fascinating glimpses of the period's artistic self-image.
Outside of Italy, the country’s culture and its food appear to be essentially synonymous. And indeed, as The Italian Way makes clear, preparing, cooking, and eating food play a central role in the daily activities of Italians from all walks of life. In this beautifully illustrated book, Douglas Harper and Patrizia Faccioli present a fascinating and colorful look at the Italian table.
The Italian Way focuses on two dozen families in the city of Bologna, elegantly weaving together Harper’s outsider perspective with Faccioli’s intimate knowledge of the local customs. The authors interview and observe these families as they go shopping for ingredients, cook together, and argue over who has to wash the dishes. Throughout, the authors elucidate the guiding principle of the Italian table—a delicate balance between the structure of tradition and the joy of improvisation. With its bite-sized history of food in Italy, including the five-hundred-year-old story of the country’s cookbooks, and Harper’s mouth-watering photographs, The Italian Way is a rich repast—insightful, informative, and inviting.
Natalia Ginzburg, arguably the most important woman writer of postwar Italy, always spoke of herself with irrepressible modesty. Yet the woman who claimed she "never managed to climb up mountains" in fact wrote the history of twentieth-century Italy with her sparse and captivating prose, chronicling Fascism, war, and the Nazi occupation as well as the intimacies of family life.
Ginzburg's marriage to Leone Ginzburg, who met his death at the hands of the Nazis for his anti-Fascists activities, and her work for the Einaudi publishing house placed her squarely in the center of Italian political and cultural life. But whether writing about the Turin of her childhood, the Abruzzi countryside, where her family was interned during World War II, or contemporary Rome, Ginzburg never shied away from the traumas of history-even if she approached them only indirectly, through the mundane details and catastrophes of personal life.
Intensely reserved, Ginzburg said that she "crept toward autobiography stealthily like a wolf." But she did openly discuss her life and her work in an extraordinary series of interviews for Italian radio in 1990. Never before published in English, It's Hard to Talk about Yourself presents a vivid portrait of Ginzburg in her own words on the forces that shaped her remarkable life-politics, publishing, literature, and family. This fluid translation will join Ginzburg's autobiography, Family Sayings, as one of the most important records of her life and, as the editors write in their preface, "the last, unexpected, original book by Natalia Ginzburg."
The issue of a woman’s place—and the possibility that she might stray from it—was one of early modern Italy’s most persistent social concerns. Ladies Errant takes as its starting point the vast literature of this era devoted to the proper conduct and education of women. Deanna Shemek uses this foundation to present the problem of wayward feminine behavior as it was perceived to threaten male identity and social order in the artistic and intellectual articulations of the Italian Renaissance. Seeing errancy as an act of resistance rather than of error, Shemek carries her study beyond the didactic and prescriptive literature on femininity in early modern Italy to an arena in which theories about femininity are considered jointly with real and fictional instances of women’s waywardness. As prostitutes, warriors, lovers, and poets, the women of Shemek’s study are found in canonical texts, marginal works, and popular artistic activity, appearing, for instance, in literature, paintings, legal proceedings, and accounts of public festivals. By juxtaposing these varied places of errancy—from Ariosto’s chivalric Orlando furioso to the prostitutes’ race in the Palio di San Giorgio—Shemek points to the important contact between elite and popular cultures in early modernity, revealing the strength and flexibility of a gender boundary fundamental to early modern conceptions of social order.
In her Letters on Natural Philosophy, published originally in Krakow in 1584, Camilla Erculiani proposed her new theory of the natural causes of the universal flood in the biblical book of Genesis. Erculiani weaves together her understanding of Aristotelian, Platonic, Galenic, and astrological traditions and combines them with her own observations of the world as seen from her apothecary shop in sixteenth-century Padua. This publication brought Erculiani to the attention of the Inquisition, which accused her of heresy, silencing her for centuries.
This edition presents the first full English translation of Erculiani’s book and other relevant texts, bringing to light the cultural context and scientific thought of this unique natural philosopher.
This volume examines the behavior of clitics both in Italian and in certain southern Italian dialects in order to show that, even within a single language, clitics exhibit different properties. Monachesi argues against the existence of a special class 'clitics' whose elements exhibit variable behavior. Instead, she decomposes and assimilates their properties to those of well established categories. Motivations are thus provided for treating Italian object clitics as affixes. It is shown that both their morphosyntactic and their phonological behavior argue in favor of this assumption. Under this view, a lexicalist analysis is proposed which takes into account the phonological, morphological, and syntactic properties of Italian clitics.
Disease—real or imagined, physical or mental—is a common theme in Western literature and is often a symbol of modern alienation. In Literary Diseases, a comprehensive analysis of the metaphorical and symbolic force of disease in modern Italian literature, Gian-Paolo Biasin expands the geography of the discussion of this important theme. Using as a backdrop the perspective of European experiences of the previous hundred years, Biasin analyzes the theme of disease as a reflection of certain sociological and historical phenomena in modern European novels, as a metaphor for the world visions of selected Italian novelists, and especially as a vehicle for understanding the nature and function of fiction itself. The core of Biasin’s study is found in his discussion of the works of four major Italian writers. In his criticism of the novels of Giovanni Verga, who stood at the center of many complex developments in the nineteenth century, he examines the antecedents of modern Italian prose. He then scrutinizes the works of Italo Svevo and Luigi Pirandello, who together inaugurated the modern novel in Italy. Of particular interest is his exploration of their critical use of psychoanalysis and madness climaxed by apocalyptic visions. He then discusses the prose of Carlo Emilio Gadda, which epitomizes the problems of the avant-garde in its experimentalism and expressionism. Biasin utilizes a broad spectrum of critical approaches—from sociology, psychoanalysis, and different trends in modern French, American, and Italian literary criticism—in shaping his own methodology, which is a thematic and structural symbolism. He concludes that disease in literature should be considered as a metaphor for writing (écriture) and as a cognitive instrument that calls into question the anthropocentric values of Western culture. The book, with its textual comparisons and unusual supporting examples, constitutes a significant methodological contribution as well as a major survey of modern Italian prose, and will allow the reader to see traditional landmarks in European fiction in a new light.
As a pandemic swept across fourteenth-century Europe, the Decameron offered the ill and grieving a symphony of life and love.
For Florentines, the world seemed to be coming to an end. In 1348 the first wave of the Black Death swept across the Italian city, reducing its population from more than 100,000 to less than 40,000. The disease would eventually kill at least half of the population of Europe. Amid the devastation, Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron was born. One of the masterpieces of world literature, the Decameron has captivated centuries of readers with its vivid tales of love, loyalty, betrayal, and sex. Despite the death that overwhelmed Florence, Boccaccio’s collection of novelle was, in Guido Ruggiero’s words, a “symphony of life.”
Love and Sex in the Time of Plague guides twenty-first-century readers back to Boccaccio’s world to recapture how his work sounded to fourteenth-century ears. Through insightful discussions of the Decameron’s cherished stories and deep portraits of Florentine culture, Ruggiero explores love and sexual relations in a society undergoing convulsive change. In the century before the plague arrived, Florence had become one of the richest and most powerful cities in Europe. With the medieval nobility in decline, a new polity was emerging, driven by Il Popolo—the people, fractious and enterprising. Boccaccio’s stories had a special resonance in this age of upheaval, as Florentines sought new notions of truth and virtue to meet both the despair and the possibility of the moment.
You would as well look for blood in a corpse as for the least shred of decency in a man . . .
Without help from their wives, men are just like unlit lamps . . .
Just think of them as an unreliable clock that tells you it’s ten o’clock when it’s in fact barely two . . .
A man without a woman is like a fly without a head . . .
These are but a small selection of the quips bandied about at this lively gathering of women. The broad topic at hand is the relative pros and cons of men, and the cases in point range from pick-up artists to locker-room talk, and from double standards to fragile masculinity.
Yet this dialogue unfolds not among ironically misandrist millenials venting at their local dive bar, but rather among sixteenth-century women—variously married, widowed, single, and betrothed—attending a respectable Venice garden party. Written in the early 1590s by Moderata Fonte, pseudonym of the Renaissance poet and writer Modesta Pozzo, this literary dialogue interrogates men and men’s treatment of women, and explores by contrast the virtues of singledom and female friendship. As the women diverge from their theme—discussing everything from astrology to the curative powers of plants and minerals—a remarkable group portrait of wisdom, wit, and erudition emerges.
A new introduction by translator Virginia Cox and foreword by Dacia Maraini situate The Merits of Women in its historical context, written as it was on the cusp of Shakespeare’s heyday, and straddling the centuries between the feminist works of Christine de Pizan and Mary Wollstonecraft. Elegantly presented for a general audience, this is a must-read for baby feminists and “nasty women” alike, not to mention the perfect subtle gift for any mansplaining friend who needs a refresher on the merits of women . . . and their superiority to men.
Italian immigrants to the United States and Argentina hungered for the products of home. Merchants imported Italian cheese, wine, olive oil, and other commodities to meet the demand. The two sides met in migrant marketplaces—urban spaces that linked a mobile people with mobile goods in both real and imagined ways.
Elizabeth Zanoni provides a cutting-edge comparative look at Italian people and products on the move between 1880 and 1940. Concentrating on foodstuffs—a trade dominated by Italian entrepreneurs in New York and Buenos Aires—Zanoni reveals how consumption of these increasingly global imports affected consumer habits and identities and sparked changing and competing connections between gender, nationality, and ethnicity. Women in particular—by tradition tasked with buying and preparing food—had complex interactions that influenced both global trade and their community economies. Zanoni conveys the complicated and often fraught values and meanings that surrounded food, meals, and shopping.
A groundbreaking interdisciplinary study, Migrant Marketplaces offers a new perspective on the linkages between migration and trade that helped define globalization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Emma Dante’s passionate and brutal plays stem from a need to confront important familial and societal realities in contemporary southern Italy. Her twenty-first century tales challenge stereotypes of the country and stage acts of resistance against the social, political, and economic conditions of Sicily. The seven works in this anthology paint a complex image of the peninsula through stories of disenfranchisement, misogyny, deep-set bigotry, and religious hypocrisy that reveal economic disparities between the north and south of the country, oppressive gender relations, and deep rooted mafioso-like attitudes. Dante’s lyrical and visceral storytelling oscillates between the humorous and the tragic aspects of everyday life, undertaking an irreverent subversion of the status quo with its extreme physicality and unsettling imagery.
This exquisite first English translation of Emma Dante’s work enables English-speaking readers, theatre scholars, and directors alike to encounter character-driven “civic theatre” with its portraits of individuals existing at the fringes of Italy. Ultimately, it allows us to “listen” to those who are not given a voice anywhere else.
Many great writers have been fluent in multiple languages but have never been able to escape their mother tongue. Yet if a native language feels like home, an adopted language sometimes offers a hospitality one cannot find elsewhere.
My Language Is a Jealous Lover explores the plights and successes of authors who lived and wrote in languages other than their mother tongue, from Samuel Beckett and Vladimir Nabokov to Ágota Kristóf and Joseph Brodsky. Author Adrián N. Bravi weaves their stories in with his own experiences as an Argentinian-Italian, thinking and writing in the language of his new life while recalling that of his childhood. Bravi bears witness to the frustrations, the soul-searching, the pain, and the joys of embracing another language.
My Secret Book
Francesco Petrarca Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PQ4496.E29S33 2016 | Dewey Decimal 853.1
Petrarch was the leading spirit in the Renaissance movement to revive literary Latin, the language of the Roman Empire, and Greco-Roman culture in general. My Secret Book reveals a remarkable self-awareness as he probes and evaluates the springs of his own morally dubious addictions to fame and love.
The fields of cookery and medieval food continue to draw the attention of those interested in a panoramic picture of aristocratic and bourgeois social life in the late Middle Ages. In the fifteenth century, wealthy courts in the Italian peninsula led all of Europe in gastronomical achievement. The professional cooks in the service of the Este, Medici, and Borgia families were the most advanced masters of their craft, and some of them bequeathed a record of their practice in manuscript collections of recipes.
Outstanding among these early cookbooks is the one written by an anonymous master cook in Naples toward the end of the century. In its 220 recipes, one can trace not only the Italian culinary practice of the day but also the very refined taste brought by the Catalan royal family when they ruled Naples. This edition—with Terence Scully’s introduction touching on the nature of cookery in the Neapolitano Collection, and English translation of and commentary on the recipes—will give the reader a glimpse into the rich fare available to occupants and guests of one of the greatest houses of late medieval Italy.
The Neapolitan Recipe Collection offers a particularly delicious slice of the primary documentation necessary for understanding the nature of medieval society and one of its most important aspects.
A natural heir of the Renaissance and once tightly conjoined to its study, continental philosophy broke from Renaissance studies around the time of World War II. In The Other Renaissance, Rocco Rubini achieves what many have attempted to do since: bring them back together. Telling the story of modern Italian philosophy through the lens of Renaissance scholarship, he recovers a strand of philosophic history that sought to reactivate the humanist ideals of the Renaissance, even as philosophy elsewhere progressed toward decidedly antihumanist sentiments.
Bookended by Giambattista Vico and Antonio Gramsci, this strand of Renaissance-influenced philosophy rose in reaction to the major revolutions of the time in Italy, such as national unity, fascism, and democracy. Exploring the ways its thinkers critically assimilated the thought of their northern counterparts, Rubini uncovers new possibilities in our intellectual history: that antihumanism could have been forestalled, and that our postmodern condition could have been entirely different. In doing so, he offers an important new way of thinking about the origins of modernity, one that renews a trust in human dignity and the Western legacy as a whole.
Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922–75) was one of the most important Italian intellectuals of the post–World War II era. An astonishing polymath—poet, novelist, literary critic, political polemicist, screenwriter, and film director—he exerted profound influence on Italian culture up to his untimely death at the age of fifty-three. This revised edition of what the New York Times Book Review has called “the standard Pasolini biography” introduces the artist to a new generation of readers.
Based on extensive interviews with those who knew Pasolini, both friends and enemies, admirers and detractors, Pasolini Requiem chronicles his growth from poet in the provinces to Italy’s leading “civil poet”; his flight to Rome in 1950; the scandalous success of his two novels and political writing; and his transition to film, where he started as a contributor to the golden age of Italian cinema and ended with the shocking Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. Pasolini’s tragic and still unsolved murder has remained a subject of contentious debate for four decades. The enduring fascination with who committed the crime—and why—reflects his vital stature in Italy’s political and social history.
Updated throughout and with a new afterword covering the efforts to reopen the investigation—and the legal maelstrom surrounding Pasolini’s demise—this edition of Pasolini Requiem is a riveting account of one of the twentieth century’s most controversial, ever-present iconoclasts.
Although Francesco Petrarca (1304–74) is best known today for cementing the sonnet’s place in literary history, he was also a philosopher, historian, orator, and one of the foremost classical scholars of his age. Petrarch: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works is the only comprehensive, single-volume source to which anyone—scholar, student, or general reader—can turn for information on each of Petrarch’s works, its place in the poet’s oeuvre, and a critical exposition of its defining features.
A sophisticated but accessible handbook that illuminates Petrarch’s love of classical culture, his devout Christianity, his public celebrity, and his struggle for inner peace, this encyclopedic volume covers both Petrarch’s Italian and Latin writings and the various genres in which he excelled: poem, tract, dialogue, oration, and letter. A biographical introduction and chronology anchor the book, making Petrarch an invaluable resource for specialists in Italian, comparative literature, history, classics, religious studies, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance.
Petrarch and His Legacies
Edited by Ernesto Livorni and Jelena Todorovic Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2021
This book gathers cutting-edge articles by prominent scholars reflecting on Petrarch’s poetry and his long legacy, from the Renaissance to the present day. The scholars engaged in this volume read Petrarch in the context of his own world and with a variety of theoretical and critical approaches, never overlooking the opportunity for an interdisciplinary reading that combines poetry and visual arts. The volume includes scholars from the United States and Europe (Italy, in particular), thus offering the opportunity to compare different theoretical approaches.
The articles in the second half of the volume celebrate Petrarch’s legacies beyond the historically fundamental Renaissance Petrarchism, while exploring the presence of Petrarch’s poetry in several cultural realities. The scholars also read Petrarch with necessary attention to new disciplines such as digital humanities. The richness of the volume lies in these innovative perusals of Petrarch’s works not only through the critical lens of dedicated scholars, but also through their readings of artists who throughout the centuries appreciated and revived Petrarch’s poetry in their own literary endeavors.
Phonetics and Diction in Singing was first published in 1967. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This book provides rules and illustrative examples for the study of songs and operas in the leading foreign languages of musical literature. The author is conductor and chorus master of the Metropolitan Opera. He has drawn the material from his larger book, The Art of Accompanying and Coaching,to provide a handbook or textbook especially suitable for use by voice teachers, singers, students in high schools, colleges, and schools of music, and members of choruses, church choirs, and opera workshops and their directors. Following a general discussion of phonetics and diction in singing there are separate chapters on Italian, French, Spanish, and German phonetics and diction. The text is illustrated with drawings and diagrams of vocal techniques and musical examples.
Soon after the disparate states of the Italian peninsula unified in the 1860s to create a single nation, the nationalist Massimo D’Azeglio is said to have remarked, “We have made Italy, now we have to make Italians.” The Pinocchio Effect draws on a remarkably broad array of sources to trace this making of a modern national identity in Italy, a subject that remains strikingly understudied in the English-speaking world of Italian studies.
Taking as her guiding metaphor the character of Pinocchio—a national icon made famous in 1881 by the eponymous children’s book—Susan Stewart-Steinberg argues that just like the renowned puppet, modern Italians were caught in a complex interplay between freely chosen submission and submission demanded by an outside force. In doing so, she explores all the ways that identity was constructed through newly formed attachments, voluntary and otherwise, to the young nation. Featuring deft readings of the period’s most important Italian cultural and social thinkers—including the theorist of mass psychology Scipio Sighele, the authors Matilde Serao and Edmondo De Amicis, the criminologist Cesare Lombroso, and the pedagogue Maria Montessori—Stewart-Steinberg’s richly multidisciplinary book will set a new standard in Italian studies.
A richly illustrated analysis from one of Europe’s greatest living philosophers.
In Pinocchio, Giorgio Agamben turns his keen philosopher’s eye on the famous nineteenth-century novel by Carlo Collodi. To Agamben, Pinocchio’s adventures are a kind of initiation into life itself. Like us, the mischievous puppet is caught between two worlds. He is faced with the alternatives of submitting to authority or of carrying on, stubbornly indulging his way of being. From Agamben’s virtuoso interpretation of this classic story, we learn that we can harbor the mystery of existence only if we are not aware of it, only if we manage to cohabit with an area of non-knowledge, immemorial and very near. Richly illustrated with images from three early editions of Collodi’s novel, this new volume will delight enthusiasts of both literature and philosophy.
The Pleasant Nights
Giovan Straparola Iter Press, 2015 Library of Congress PQ4634.S7P513 2015 | Dewey Decimal 853.3
In Giovan Francesco Straparola’s The Pleasant Nights, a group of men and women gather together in a villa on the Venetian island of Murano during Carnival to sing songs, tell tales, and solve riddles. A sixteenth-century bestseller, The Pleasant Nights is today a fundamental text for European folk and fairy tale studies, for alongside triumphal and tragic love stories, comical tales of practical jokes, and accounts of witty retorts, Straparola (1480? – 1557?) placed some of the first fairy tales printed in Europe. Straparola’s eloquent female narrators and the fairy tales they recount became a model for a generation of French women writers in Parisian salons, who used the fairy tale to interrogate the gender norms of their day. This book presents the first new and complete English translation of Straparola’s tales and riddles to be published since the nineteenth century.
Reading a range of Italian works, Rubini considers the active transmittal of traditions through generations of writers and thinkers.
Rocco Rubini studies the motives and literary forms in the making of a “tradition,” not understood narrowly, as the conservative, stubborn preservation of received conventions, values, and institutions, but instead as the deliberate effort on the part of writers to transmit a reformulated past across generations. Leveraging Italian thinkers from Petrarch to Gramsci, with stops at prominent humanists in between—including Giambattista Vico, Carlo Goldoni, Francesco De Sanctis, and Benedetto Croce—Rubini gives us an innovative lens through which to view an Italian intellectual tradition that is at once premodern and modern, a legacy that does not depend on a date or a single masterpiece, but instead requires the reader to parse an expanse of writings to uncover deeper transhistorical continuities that span six hundred years. Whether reading work from the fourteenth century, or from the 1930s, Rubini elucidates the interplay of creation and the reception underlying the enactment of tradition, the practice of retrieving and conserving, and the revivification of shared themes and intentions that connect thinkers across time. Building on his award-winning book, The Other Renaissance, this will prove a valuable contribution for intellectual historians, literary scholars, and those invested in the continuing humanist legacy.
Fairy tales are supposed to be magical, surprising, and exhilarating, an enchanting counterpoint to everyday life that nonetheless helps us understand and deal with the anxieties of that life. Today, however, fairy tales are far from marvelous—in the hands of Hollywood, they have been stripped of their power, offering little but formulaic narratives and tame surprises.
If we want to rediscover the power of fairy tales—as Armando Maggi thinks we should—we need to discover a new mythic lens, a new way of approaching and understanding, and thus re-creating, the transformative potential of these stories. In Preserving the Spell, Maggi argues that the first step is to understand the history of the various traditions of oral and written narrative that together created the fairy tales we know today. He begins his exploration with the ur-text of European fairy tales, Giambattista Basile’s The Tale of Tales, then traces its path through later Italian, French, English, and German traditions, with particular emphasis on the Grimm Brothers’ adaptations of the tales, which are included in the first-ever English translation in an appendix. Carrying his story into the twentieth century, Maggi mounts a powerful argument for freeing fairy tales from their bland contemporary forms, and reinvigorating our belief that we still can find new, powerfully transformative ways of telling these stories.
Catherine of Siena (1347–1380) wrote almost four hundred epistles in her lifetime, effectively insinuating herself into the literary, political, and theological debates of her day. At the same time, as the daughter of a Sienese dyer, Catherine had no formal education, and her accomplishments were considered miracles rather than the work of her own hand. As a result, she has been largely excluded from accounts of the development of European humanism and the language and literature of Italy. Reclaiming Catherine ofSiena makes the case for considering Catherine alongside literary giants such as Dante and Petrarch, as it underscores Catherine's commitment to using the vernacular to manifest Christ's message—and her own.
Jane Tylus charts here the contested struggles of scholars over the centuries to situate Catherine in the history of Italian culture in early modernity. But she mainly focuses on Catherine’s works, calling attention to the interplay between orality and textuality in the letters and demonstrating why it was so important for Catherine to envision herself as a writer. Tylus argues for a reevalution of Catherine as not just a medieval saint, but one of the major figures at the birth of the Italian literary canon.
Lucrezia Tornabuoni de' Medici University of Chicago Press, 2001 Library of Congress PQ4664.T59P613 2001 | Dewey Decimal 851.2
The most prominent woman in Renaissance Florence, Lucrezia Tornabuoni de' Medici (1425-1482) lived during her city's golden age. Wife of Piero de' Medici and mother of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Tornabuoni exerted considerable influence on Florence's political and social affairs. She was also, as this volume illustrates, a gifted and prolific poet.
This is the first major collection in any language of her extensive body of religious poems. Ranging from gentle lyrics on the Nativity to moving dialogues between a crucified Christ and the weeping sinner who kneels before him, the nine laudi (poems of praise) included here are among the few such poems known to have been written by a woman. Tornabuoni's five storie sacre, narrative poems based on the lives of biblical figures-three of whom, Judith, Susanna, and Esther, are Old Testament heroines-are virtually unique in their range and expressiveness. Together with Jane Tylus's substantial introduction, these poems offer us both a fascinating portrait of a highly educated and creative woman and a lively sense of cultural and social life in Renaissance Florence.
In the decades before the rise of the Third Reich, “Secret Germany” was a phrase used by the circle of writers around the poet Stefan George to describe a collective political and poetic project: the introduction of the highest values of art into everyday life, the secularization of myth and the mythologization of history. In this book, Furio Jesi takes up the term in order to trace the contours of that political, artistic, and aesthetic thread as it runs through German literary and artistic culture in the period—which, in the 1930s, became absorbed by Nazism as part of its prophecy of a triumphant future. Drawing on thinkers like Carl Jung and writers such as Thomas Mann and Rainer Maria Rilke, Jesi reveals a literary genre that was transformed, tragically, into a potent political myth.
Precious repositories of ancient wisdom? Musty relics of outmoded culture? Timeless paragons of artistic achievement? Hegemonic tools of intellectual repression? Just what are the classics, anyway, and why do (or should) we still pay so much attention to them? What is the literary canon? What is myth, and how do we use it?
These are some of the questions that gave rise to John Kirby's Secret of the Muses Retold. This new study of works by five twentieth-century Italian writers investigates the abiding influence of the Greek and Roman classics, and their rich legacy in our own day. The result is not only a splendid introduction to contemporary Italian literature, but also a lucid and stimulating meditation on the insights that writers such as Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino have tapped from the wellspring of ancient tradition.
Kirby's book offers an impassioned plea for the recuperation of the humanities in general, and of classical studies in particular. No expertise in Greek, Latin, Italian, or literary theory is presumed, and both traditional and postmodern perspectives are accommodated.
With Secular Scriptures: Modern Theological Poetics in the Wake of Dante, William Franke reexamines the role that literature plays in theological revelation. In the modern world, secularism typically means the exclusion of God from the world. Yet Franke, recognizing that secularity itself is built into religion and revelation, argues that theologically sensitive poetry has driven secularization throughout the modern period. The essays in this volume construct a trajectory through modern poetic literature as it struggled with the sense of a loss of the very possibility of theological revelation. Can literature replace religion? Can it do so triumphantly or only mournfully? Is this literary transmogrification of revelation the death of religion or its rebirth in a vital new form? Secular Scriptures examines, through its own original speculative outlook, some of the most compelling exemplars of religious-poetic revelation in modern Western literature. The essays taken as an ensemble revolve around and are bookended by Dante, but they also explore the work of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Leopardi, Baudelaire, Dickinson, and Yeats. Looking both backward and forward from the vantage of Dante, Franke explores the roots of secularized religious vision in antiquity and the Middle Ages, even as he also looks forward toward its fruits in modern poetry and poetics. Ultimately, Franke’s analyses demonstrate the possibilities opened by understanding literature as secularized religious revelation.
Madeleine de l’Aubespine (1546–1596), the toast of courtly and literary circles in sixteenth-century Paris, penned beautiful love poems to famous women of her day. The well-connected daughter and wife of prominent French secretaries of state, l’Aubespine was celebrated by her male peers for her erotic lyricism and scathingly original voice.
Rather than adopt the conventional self-effacement that defined female poets of the time, l’Aubespine’s speakers are sexual, dominant, and defiant; and her subjects are women who are able to manipulate, rebuke, and even humiliate men.
Unavailable in English until now and only recently identified from scattered and sometimes misattributed sources, l’Aubespine’s poems and literary works are presented here in Anna Klosowska’s vibrant translation. This collection, which features one of the first French lesbian sonnets as well as reproductions of l’Aubespine’s poetic translations of Ovid and Ariosto, will be heralded by students and scholars in literature, history, and women’s studies as an important addition to the Renaissance canon.
Chiara Matraini (1515–1604?) was a member of the great flowering of poetic imitators and innovators in the Italian literary heritage begun by Petrarch, cultivated later by the lyric poet Pietro Bembo, and supplanted by the epic poet Torquato Tasso. Though without formal training, Matraini excelled in a number of literary genres popular at the time—poetry, religious meditation, discourse, and dialogue. In her midlife, she published a collection of erotic love poetry, but later in life her work shifted toward a search for spiritual salvation. Near the end of her life, she published a new poetry retrospective.
Mostly available in only a handful of rare book collections, her writings are now adeptly translated here for an English-speaking audience and situated historically in an introduction by noted Matraini expert Giovanna Rabitti. Selected Poetry and Prose allows the poet to finally take her place as one of the seminal authors of the Renaissance, next to her contemporaries Vittoria Colonna and Laura Battiferra, also published in the Other Voice series.
Most people outside Italy know Pier Paolo Pasolini for his films, many of which began as literary works—Arabian Nights, The Gospel According to Matthew, The Decameron, and The Canterbury Tales among them. What most people are not aware of is that he was primarily a poet, publishing nineteen books of poems during his lifetime, as well as a visual artist, novelist, playwright, and journalist. Half a dozen of these books have been excerpted and published in English over the years, but even if one were to read all of those, the wide range of poetic styles and subjects that occupied Pasolini during his lifetime would still elude the English-language reader.
For the first time, Anglophones will now be able to discover the many facets of this singular poet. Avoiding the tactics of the slim, idiosyncratic, and aesthetically or politically motivated volumes currently available in English, Stephen Sartarelli has chosen poems from every period of Pasolini’s poetic oeuvre. In doing so, he gives English-language readers a more complete picture of the poet, whose verse ranged from short lyrics to longer poems and extended sequences, and whose themes ran not only to the moral, spiritual, and social spheres but also to the aesthetic and sexual, for which he is most known in the United States today. This volume shows how central poetry was to Pasolini, no matter what else he was doing in his creative life, and how poetry informed all of his work from the visual arts to his political essays to his films. Pier Paolo Pasolini was “a poet of the cinema,” as James Ivory says in the book’s foreword, who “left a trove of words on paper that can live on as the fast-deteriorating images he created on celluloid cannot.”
This generous selection of poems will be welcomed by poetry lovers and film buffs alike and will be an event in American letters.
Siena: City of Secrets
Jane Tylus University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress DG975.S5T95 2015 | Dewey Decimal 945.581
Jane Tylus’s Siena is a compelling and intimate portrait of this most secretive of cities, often overlooked by travelers to Italy. Cultural history, intellectual memoir, travelogue, and guidebook, it takes the reader on a quest of discovery through the well- and not-so-well-traveled roads and alleys of a town both medieval and modern.
As Tylus leads us through the city, she shares her passion for Siena in novelistic prose, while never losing sight of the historical complexities that have made Siena one of the most fascinating and beautiful towns in Europe. Today, Siena can appear on the surface standoffish and old-fashioned, especially when compared to its larger, flashier cousins Rome and Florence. But first impressions wear away as we learn from Tylus that Siena was an innovator among the cities of Italy: the first to legislate the building and maintenance of its streets, the first to publicly fund its university, the first to institute a municipal bank, and even the first to ban automobile traffic from its city center.
We learn about Siena’s great artistic and architectural past, hidden behind centuries of painting and rebuilding, and about the distinctive characters of its different neighborhoods, exemplified in the Palio, the highly competitive horserace that takes place twice a year in the city’s main piazza and that serves as both a dividing and a uniting force for the Sienese. Throughout we are guided by the assured voice of a seasoned scholar with a gift for spinning a good story and an eye for the telling detail, whether we are traveling Siena’s modern highways, exploring its underground tunnels, tracking the city’s financial history, or celebrating giants of painting like Simone Martini or giants of the arena, Siena’s former Serie A soccer team.
A practical and engaging guide for tourists and armchair travelers alike, Siena is a testament to the powers of community and resilience in a place that is not quite as timeless and serene as it may at first appear.
Sonnets and Shorter Poems
Francesco Petrarch Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PQ4496.E23S58 2012 | Dewey Decimal 851.1
In this volume, David R. Slavitt, the distinguished translator and author of more than one hundred works of fiction, poetry, and drama, turns his skills to Il Canzoniere (Songbook) by Petrarch, the most influential poet in the history of the sonnet. In Petrarch’s hands, lyric verse was transformed from an expression of courtly devotion into a way of conversing with one’s own heart and mind. Slavitt renders the sonnets in Il Canzoniere, along with the shorter madrigals and ballate, in a sparkling and engaging idiom and in rhythm and rhyme that do justice to Petrarch’s achievement.
At the center of Il Canzoniere (also known as Rime Sparse, or Scattered Rhymes) is Petrarch’s obsessive love for Laura, a woman Petrarch asserts he first saw at Easter Mass on April 6, 1327, in the church of Sainte-Claire d’Avignon when he was twenty-two. Though Laura was already married, the sight of her woke in the poet a passion that would last beyond her premature death on April 6, 1348, exactly twenty-one years after he first encountered her. Unlike Dante’s Beatrice—a savior leading the poet by the hand toward divine love—Petrarch’s Laura elicits more earthbound and erotic feelings. David Slavitt’s deft new translation captures the nuanced tone of Petrarch’s poems—their joy and despair, and eventually their grief over Laura’s death. Readers of poetry and especially those with an interest in the sonnet and its history will welcome this volume.
Through six earlier books Karl Kirchwey has rewarded readers with poems of great musicality, visual richness, and historical resonance. Stumbling Blocks: Roman Poems represents a culmination of his “formal mastery”—an honor often too loosely bestowed in contemporary American poetry, but one Kirchwey thoroughly earns.
As in his 1998 New York Times Notable Book The Engrafted Word, the city of Rome becomes a lens through which to understand the contemporary human experience and the upheavals of human loss. Stumbling Blocks takes as its starting point the shattered ancient Roman ruins described in Renaissance poet Joachim du Bellay's celebrated sonnet—a landscape of death feeding upon itself and restored to life in the imagination of each successive generation to salvage its own narratives.
Kirchwey builds new arches and mythological intersections in exquisite poems that take long walks in the Eternal City, through landscapes far away and deep within. This gorgeous collection takes us back in time and brings us forward through our Old and New Worlds, revealing through the religion of art both beauty and atrocity.
Milo De Angelis, born in 1951, is one of the most important living Italian poets. With this volume, Susan Stewart and Patrizio Ceccagnoli bring to English readers for the first time a facing-page edition of his most recent work: his book-length elegy, Theme of Farewell, and the subsequent poems of That Wandering in the Darkness of Courtyards. These two books form a sequence narrating the illness and premature death, in 2003, of the poet’s wife, the writer Giovanna Sicari, a celebrated poet in her own right; they also trace De Angelis’s turn from grief, through time, back to the world. Immediate, perceptive, and woven from the fabric of everyday life in contemporary Milan, the poems never depart from universal human emotions of despair and awakening. Throughout his long career, De Angelis has renewed lyric poetry with the sheer intensity of his forms and insights, and the volumes offered here have won some of the most important Italian literary awards, including the coveted Premio Viareggio.
These inexorable and beautifully crafted translations will be of interest to scholars of contemporary Italian literature, students of contemporary poetry and literary translation, and those who work in comparative literature. Above all, they are bound to speak to any reader in search of a poet writing at the height of his powers of expression.
Dante Alighieri’s long poem The Divine Comedy has been one of the foundational texts of European literature for over 700 years. Yet many mysteries still remain about the symbolism of this richly layered literary work, which has been interpreted in many different ways over the centuries.
The Unexpected Dante brings together five leading scholars who offer fresh perspectives on the meanings and reception of The Divine Comedy. Some investigate Dante’s intentions by exploring the poem’s esoteric allusions to topics ranging from musical instruments to Roman law. Others examine the poem’s long afterlife and reception in the United States, with chapters showcasing new discoveries about Nicolaus de Laurentii’s 1481 edition of Commedia and the creative contemporary adaptations that have relocated Dante’s visions of heaven and hell to urban American settings.
This study also includes a guide that showcases selected treasures from the extensive Dante collections at the Library of Congress, illustrating the depth and variety of The Divine Comedy’s global influence. The Unexpected Dante is thus a boon to both Dante scholars and aficionados of this literary masterpiece.
Published by Bucknell University Press in association with the Library of Congress. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Vengeance of the Victim was first published in 1986. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
More profoundly than any documentary record, the collected fiction of Giorgio Bassani—Il Romanzo di Ferrara — captures a very particular and powerful historical reality: Italian Jewish life under Fascism, especially between the passage of the so-called racial laws in 1938 and the end of World War II. Set primarily in the provincial city of Ferrara, Bassani's narratives interweave themes of death, victimization, betrayal, survival, and artistic production. His best-known novel, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis — and other works that concentrate on the crucial years of 1938-1945—stand at the center of the Romanzo.They are preceded by texts that look back on Jewish life in the liberal era of the Risorgimento, and followed by texts set in the liberated, democratic society of the postwar years. These framing narratives provide a space for remembrance and reflection.
Marilyn Schneider's aim, in Vengeance of the Victim, is to uncover the symbolic layers — historical, spatial, topographical, mythopoeic, allegorical, and sexual — that five Bassani's texts their richness and ambiguity, and in so doing to achieve a full understanding of his work and its representation of the Italian Jewish experience. Death and victimization, which pervade these texts, set in motion a process of artistic renewal that is most fully embodied in the vibrant young Micol Finzi-Contini, Bassani's textual icon and a victim of the Holocaust. Schneider also finds that the narratives, especially the late ones, pay self-reflexive attention to the creation of the text, constructing an authorial persona engaged in an existential, moral, and artistic journey from symbolic death to rebirth. It is the writing subject's successful completion of the journey that constitutes the vengeance of the victim.
First published in Italian in 1968, The World Saved by Kids was written in the aftermath of deep personal change and in the context of what Elsa Morante called the “great youth movement exploding against the funereal machinations of the organized contemporary world.” Morante believed that it was only the youth who could truly hear her revolutionary call. With the fiftieth anniversary of the tumultuous events of 1968 approaching, there couldn’t be a more timely moment for this first English translation of Morante’s work to appear.
Greeted by Antonio Porta as one of the most important books of its decade, The World Saved by Kids showcases Morante’s true mastery of tone, rhythm, and imagery as she works elegy, parody, storytelling, song, and more into an act of linguistic magic through which Gramsci and Rimbaud, Christ and Antigone, Mozart and Simone Weil, and a host of other figures join the sassy, vulnerable neighborhood kids in a renewal of the word’s timeless, revolutionary power to explore and celebrate life’s insoluble paradox.
Morante gained international recognition and critical acclaim for her novels History, Arturo’s Island, and Aracoeli, and The World Saved By Kids may be her best book and the one that most closely represents her spirit.