Author Archives: DM

Spunti e Ricerche vol.32 (2017)

Volume 32 (2017) of Spunti e Ricerche has just been published, edited by Gregoria Manzin, Annamaria Pagliaro and Antonio Pagliaro. It includes articles by Cristiano Bedin, Gianluca Cinelli, Giulia Guarneri, Stefania Lucamante, Marilyn Migiel, Christian Moretti, Emanuele Occhipinti, Patrizia Piredda, Daniela Shalom Vagata and Anita Virga, as well as book reviews. The Table of Contents can be viewed here.  Print and/or electronic copy of the whole volume, or electronic copies of individual articles, can be purchased via the website.


A Renaissance Royal Wedding 1518-2018

From 17 March to 13 May 2018 Oxford’s Bodleian Library’s new Weston Building will host an exhibition entitled A Renaissance Royal Wedding, marking the 500th anniversary of a landmark sixteenth-century match. On 18 April 1518 the Italian princess Bona Sforza married Sigismund I, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, in Cracow cathedral. The lavish nuptials forged links of politics and kinship between the Jagiellonian dynasty of Central Europe and the top families of Renaissance Italy, opening up new channels of communication between the Polish capital and the cities of Italy’s far south – a dynamic exchange of people, books and ideas which continued for decades. Bona Sforza (1494-1557) was a Milanese-Neapolitan princess, from 1518 queen of Poland and from 1524 duchess of Bari, in Puglia, and thus Italian ruler in her own right. King Sigismund (1467-1548) was the scion of a large royal house which, at its peak c. 1525, ruled half of Europe, from Prague to Smolensk. Their wedding was attended by dignitaries and scholars from across Christendom, and their five children – who later ruled in Poland-Lithuania, Sweden and Hungary – presented themselves throughout their lives as Polish-Italian royalty. Bona herself remains a controversial, high-profile figure in Polish memory to this day.

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Terra matta returns to Australia

The autobiography of Vincenzo Rabito (1899-1981), 1027 closely-packed pages of vivid description in a mix of Italian, Sicilian dialect and rabitese, has appeared in versions for the page (Terra matta, Einaudi 2007), stage (directed and performed by Vincenzo Pirrotta) and screen (terramatta;, directed by Costanza Quatriglio with a script by her and Chiara Ottaviano), presented in Australia in 2013 and 2015. A second, very different, version for the stage, by the actor-director Stefano Panzeri, will be performed in Melbourne on Tuesday  13 March  2018  at 6:30pm at the Museo Italiano in Carlton (free entry; RSVP essential). It will also be presented, under the title Oltreoceano, in Sydney on Friday 16 March at 6.30pm at the Canada Bay Club, incorporating not only extracts from Rabito’s text but also the stories of emigration offered by Italian members of the audiences at Panzeri’s performances in Europe and Latin America.

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Translators in Quattrocento Italy

A recent study by Andrea Rizzi, Vernacular Translators in Quattrocento Italy: Scribal Culture, Authority, and Agency (Brepols, 2017), explores the role of translators in the literary culture of 15th century Italy, covering not only superstars such as Leonardo Bruni but also obscure writers from throughout the Italian peninsula. It offers a novel history of the use of the Italian language alongside Latin in a period when high culture was bilingual; it sheds light on Renaissance self-fashioning and on the patronage system (far less studied in literature than in art); and it addresses the question of how translators went about convincing readers of the value of their work in disseminating knowledge that would otherwise be inaccessible to many. The book will be launched by Professor Brian Richardson (Leeds) on Wednesday 14 March 2018 at 6.15pm in the Arts Hall, Old Arts, The University of Melbourne. It is a free event (RSVP here) and refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Trudie Molloy.

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Flourishing in Italian: approaches to teaching and learning

The latest Special Issue (40:2) of the Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, entitled ‘Flourishing in Italian. Positive Psychology approaches to the teaching and learning of Italian in Australia‘ and edited by Antonia Rubino (Sydney), Antonella Strambi (Flinders) and Vincenza Tudini (South Australia),  presents innovative applications of a Positive Language Education perspective to the teaching and learning of Italian in Australia. The issue is based on papers presented at the ACIS Conferences in Adelaide (2013) and Sydney (2015), which highlight a shared interest in the contribution of L2 teaching and learning to students’ pychological, emotional, and social wellbeing, referred to as flourishing (Seligman, 2012). This Special Issue demonstrates the innovative power and responsiveness of Italian language teaching and research to international trends in education; it offers examples of how Positive Psychology can address the widespread concern for student wellbeing by informing L2 teaching and learning and by constituting a solid research framework.       Continue reading


Iris Origo remembered

In the latest issue  (8 February 2018) of the London Review of Books there’s a long review of Iris Origo’s The Merchant of Prato. Daily Life in a Medieval Italian City, first published in English in 1957, translated into Italian with an introduction by Luigi Einaudi in 1958 and now republished in English as a Penguin Classic. Its republication accompanies the reappearance of several of Origo’s books in 2017 thanks to the Pushkin Press: her well-known War in Val d’Orcia (1947; translated into Italian in 1968 with a preface by Piero Calamandrei), the previously unpublished A Chill in the Air dealing with the years 1939-1940, and her autobiography Images and Shadows: Part of a Life (1970).  Those three books convey brilliantly not only her family ancestry in Ireland and the USA but also her life in Italy; she grew up in Fiesole and moved to La Foce in southern Tuscany when she married Antonio Origo in 1924. La Foce was an unpromising half-ruined estate in the Val d’Orcia, 3500 hectares cultivated by mezzadri in 57 poor farms, which she and her husband determined, successfully,  to revive. Her books on Bernardino da Siena, Byron and Leopardi may have slipped from sight; but the accounts she left of her wartime years in La Foce are a lasting testimony to survival and solidarity in conditions of capricious power, lawlessness and extreme danger.

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Lectureship in Italian Studies at ANU

The Australian National University will appoint a Lecturer in Italian Studies (Level B, fixed term 3 years) who has an active research agenda in one or more of the following areas: translation studies; film and media studies, Italian literature, theatre and/or cultural studies, or cross-cultural communication. The position is located in the School of  Literature, Languages and Linguistics; the capacity to teach into the School’s other Modern European Language programs may be an advantage. The appointee will be expected to take on the role of Convenor of Italian Studies and contribute to the School’s teaching programs in Italian Studies and in his or her area of specialisation at all levels (undergraduate, Honours, MA and PhD).  The closing date for applications, submitted online here,  is 18 March 2018.   Continue reading

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Convivio: new edition and translation

Andrew Frisardi   Independent scholar

My edition and first fully-annotated translation of one of Dante’s ‘minor’ works, Convivio: A Dual-Language Critical Edition, has recently been published by Cambridge University Press. It is hard to explain in a few words what the Convivio, composed by Dante in exile between 1304 and 1307, is like since it is as unique as most of his works. Let me just say that Dante as the quintessential poet-scholar is his truly unpredictable poet-scholarly self in this book. He gives prose commentaries on three of his own long poems, which are in the book as well, and is mind-bogglingly innovative and visionary with what he does with that. I highly recommend it for an experience of what the poetic intelligence can do when it is operating on all levels, as well as for getting closer to Dante’s thought in the Divine Comedy.    Continue reading

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10th Biennial ACIS Conference: 7-10 February 2019, Victoria University of Wellington

The 10th ACIS Biennial Conference will take place on 7-10 February 2019 at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, on the theme Navigazioni possibili: Italies Lost and Found. Separated by oceans and continents, with profoundly different cultures, histories and languages, what connects Italy, its antipodes, and points in between? Even within Italy, how do those who inhabit the peninsula also inhabit its many pasts? What does it mean to navigate these spatial and temporal distances and how might we reimagine Italian Studies and its cultural, historical and linguistic reference points across them? The organisers invite paper and panel proposals that consider these and related questions from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives within the broad field of Italian Studies. Continue reading


A Racist Brooch? The Venetian origins of a royal jewel

Catherine Kovesi   University of Melbourne

In reportage of Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace and the arrival of Meghan Markle and her fiancé Prince Harry, worldwide news focused on the item of jewellery worn by Princess Michael of Kent. Immediately branded as a ‘racist’ piece of jewellery in so-called ‘blackamoor’ style, many of these reports were also at pains to emphasise Princess Michael’s father’s association with the SS and to portray this fashion statement as a blatant affront to Harry’s choice of bride, a woman of part African-American heritage. Princess Michael hastily apologized for wearing the piece and said she would not wear it again. But this explosion of journalistic outrage obscures a much more interesting story  ……     Continue reading

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