Josh Brown Stockholm University
Renaissance Italy saw the creation of the Italian language and of most major European standard languages. In Italy itself, no political centre dominated the entire peninsular, so no standard language was immediately obvious. The dialect chosen for the standard had the most prestigious literary tradition – Florentine. The existing literature has shown how Florentine emerged as a dominant variety in Lombardy – a wealthy region particularly interesting for its mix of political centralisation and persisting local traditions – but it has focussed on literary texts, leaving an entire period of language evolution and variation unexplored in the belief that models of language variation and changes of literary standards will suffice to explain linguistic phenomena in non-literary texts. This bias has recently been discussed by Adam Ledgeway from the University of Cambridge in a lecture at NYU Florence. In my earlier research I looked at the spread of Tuscan in a corpus of non-literary merchant texts sent from Milan in the late 14th century. I am now extending this project to the analysis of the letters of a Milanese nun, Margherita Lambertenghi (?-1454), to produce an innovative conceptualisation of processes of language change in late medieval Lombardy. Continue reading
The philosopher Remo Bodei will be giving talks in Melbourne and Sydney in March. Time, eternity, history: Dante, Petrarch, Machiavelli is the title of his talk (in English) at the Italian Cultural Institute, 233 Domain Rd, South Yarra, on Thursday 9 March at 6.30pm (free, booking essential). On Friday March 10, at Co.As.It. – Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton, he will be talking (in Italian) on Pirandello e la dissoluzione della personalità (free, booking essential), a lecture to mark the 150th anniversary of Pirandello’s birth. He will also be giving this talk in Sydney on 13 March, 4 – 5.30pm, in the Dept of Italian at the University of Sydney (registration here). On March 15, 6 – 7.30pm, he will talk on Memory and Forgetting: A Conflicting Complicity at the State Library of New South Wales (Metcalfe Auditorium, Macquarie Building: information for registration here) . For details of the contents of the talks Continue reading
Four research projects related wholly or partly to Italy have been funded for 2017 and beyond by the Australian Research Council. In an exploration of the cultural history of capitalism Nic Baker (Macquarie) will be analysing how merchants and gamblers took financial risks, rational and irrational, in Renaissance Italy. Nick Eckstein (Sydney) will use the health records of the door-to-door ‘Visitation’ of every poor household in plague-ridden Florence in 1630 to illuminate everyday urban life as experienced by the otherwise voiceless inhabitants. John Gagné (Sydney) will be mapping the social and cultural effects of paper’s introduction to Europe from 1200-1800, focusing on both intended (censorship, document suppression, prohibitions) and unintended (fires, rot, vermin) loss of documents and its consequences for repression and reinvention. Jaynie Anderson, Shane Carmody and Max Vodola (Melbourne) will track the unstinting efforts of the first Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, James Goold (1812-1886), an Irishman educated in Italy, to use his collection of books and Italian Baroque paintings to convey the intensity of European religious experience to congregations at risk of distraction by the gold discovered in Victoria in 1851.
In 1450 or thereabouts a Florentine goldsmith, Matteo di Bartolomeo Rustici, began to write down the story of a perhaps imaginary journey to the Holy Land a decade earlier. He relied heavily on his favourite readings, copying and abridging them, illustrating his accounts of places and events with detailed watercolours, frequently digressing from his main storyline to include instructions on Christian doctrine for pilgrims, potted biographies of saints, tales associated with the places visited, recommendations of cures for tarantula bites …. the result, in the words of Kathleen Olive and Nerida Newbigin, editors of the critical edition of the Codice Rustici, recently published (Olschki 2016) with a facsimile of the original and collection of essays, ‘resembling the worst kind of research uncritically cobbled together from internet sources’. The beautifully illustrated story of the text’s survival and its own journey towards publication is told by the editors here.
In the century before the first printed English translation of Machiavelli’s The Prince appeared in 1640, at least four translations in English had circulated in manuscript form. The only one which was not anonymous was produced in Scotland ‘virtuously and valiantlye and with great and magnanime courage’ by William Fowler, poet, courtier and former spy who enjoyed the company of heretics and was therefore attracted to the task of diffusing a text under Papal ban. Alessandra Petrina (University of Padova), author of Machiavelli in the British Isles (Ashgate, 2009) will give a talk under that title, co-sponsored by the Museo Italiano and the Faculty of Arts of the University of Melbourne, at the Museo Italiano, 189 Faraday Street, Carlton, on Thursday, 22 September 2016 from 10:00 – 11.3oam. The talk will focus on Anglo-Italian relations in early modern Europe and the reception of a book that was often used as a tool to learn the Italian language. Professor Petrina will complement it with a session from 12:00 – 1:30pm providing a contemporary view on the teaching of English in primary and secondary schools in Italy.
Registration is now open for the international conference Translators and Printers in Renaissance Europe: Framing Identity and Agency, to be held at the Institute for Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, on 29-30 September 2016 (registration here). The European Renaissance witnessed a new significance accorded to the tasks of textual translation and the printing and dissemination of the resultant works—whether religious tracts, literary or historical works, or popular manuals of instruction. As a consequence, the same period saw a dramatic increase in the importance, even prestige, claimed by translators, both women and men, for their skills. Translators and printers made these claims in frontispieces, prefaces, letters of dedication, and the like. In their direct appeal to the reader, such framing devices yield rich information about the material culture of sixteenth-century books, and the scope of translators’ endeavours. The conference explores the self-presentational strategies of sixteenth-century European translators and printers, and the tensions and ambiguities therein. Through analysis of paratextual material, it aims to illuminate the self-views of sixteenth-century translators, and their own accounts of their role as authoritative agents of cultural exchange, national and transnational acculturation (paper abstracts here).
An international conference, Translators and Printers in Renaissance Europe: Framing Identity and Agency, to be held at the IMLR, University of London, 29–30 September 2016, is calling for papers (details below). The European Renaissance witnessed a new significance accorded to the tasks of textual translation and the printing and dissemination of the resultant works: religious tracts, literary and historical works, and popular manuals of instruction. As a consequence the same period saw a dramatic increase in the importance, even prestige, claimed by translators, both women and men, for their skills. Translators and printers made these claims in frontispieces, prefaces, letters of dedication, and the like. In their direct appeal to the reader, such framing devices yield rich information about the material culture of sixteenth-century books, and the scope of translators’ endeavours.
Sally Grant New York
Here is an item from a recent issue of the newsletter Enfilade that will interest ACIS readers (Enfilade is edited by the tireless and ineffably charming Craig Hanson who keeps everyone in eighteenth-century studies, especially art and architecture, informed about what is going on in the way of exhibitions, conferences and publications). It signals the opening this week of a Venetian painting exhibition, In Light of Venice: Venetian Painting in Honor of David Rosand, at the Otto Naumann Gallery, New York, which lasts until 12 February 2016. The title recalls the distinguished art historian of Renaissance Venice who died in 2014 and in whose honour a new Italian professorship is to be established at Columbia University. Some of the profits from the exhibition will be donated to the David Rosand Tribute Fund at the university to support the position.
A one-day international conference, Words of Violence in Early Modern Italy, will be held at Palazzo Rucellai, Florence, on 11 December 2015, 9.00am-6.00pm. It will focus on written injurious words: humanist invectives, religious and political smear, slanderous libels and pasquinades. Social historians have engaged with the meanings and practices of verbal slur, gossip, and physically violent acts such as homicide, suicide, and punch-ups. This conference explores instead the conventions of written texts and how hurling textual insults was an effective (and affective) way to establish identity and gain consensus across diverse social echelons. The conference will qualify the type of violence unleashed by these slanderous texts and examine the connection between page and social context, as suggested by Judith Butler. In order to comprehend which words wound, one needs to understand the ritualization of linguistic injury and a sphere of practice that goes beyond the moment of utterance or the written page.