Category Archives: Publications and reviews

Climb every mountain: the life of Felice Benuzzi (1910-1988)

Rory Steele launchMelbourne’s Italian Institute of Culture and Connor Court Publishing will be launching The Heart and the Abyss – The Life of Felice Benuzzi by Rory Steele, who will be present for the occasion, on Thursday 18 August at 6 pm at the Italian Institute, 233 Domain Road, South Yarra (rsvp to Bruno Mascitelli or phone (03) 9214 5363). Felice Benuzzi (1910-1988) represented Italy as a swimmer (breaststroke), colonial adminstrator and diplomat. His best-known exploit, recounted in his No Picnic on Mount Kenya (1947) and here in an interview for the RAI (1987), was to break out of his POW camp in 1943 to scale the second-highest mountain in Africa, with no maps and only handmade gear, returning to the camp to report to a bemused British commandant seventeen days later (the col between Point Dutton and the Petit Gendarme on Mount Kenya was named Benuzzi Col in his honour). Decorated for bravery in combat, he served as consul in Berlin and ambassador to Uruguay, ending his career as Head of the Italian Delegation for the Antarctic. A passionate mountaineer, he was a founder-member of the environmental group Mountain Wilderness. The author of this biography, Rory Steele, was Australia’s ambassador to Italy 1997-2001.

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‘A sickly poet of high reputation’

220px-Leopardi,_Giacomo_(1798-1837)_-_ritr._A_Ferrazzi,_Recanati,_casa_LeopardiThat was Giacomo Leopardi as described by an English diarist who met him in Florence in 1831. The latest issue of the TLS (July 8) has a review by Joseph Luzzi of recent translations of Leopardi: the Zibaldone (edited by Michael Caesar and Franco D’Intino, translated by Kathleen Baldwin et al) and Passions (a selection of reflections on the emotions, translated by Tim Parks). The reviewer concludes: ‘It is not easy making one’s way through so conflicted and labyrithine a mind and the risk of losing oneself is great – but, to quote Leopardi, it is sweet to be shipwrecked in such a sea’. Yale UP hosts a conversation with Parks in which he talks about Passions; and the blog/podcast TLS Voices carries Parks’ reading from Leopardi on desperation as well as his thoughts on translating the writer.

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Objects in Italian life and culture

9781349948741In 2014 Paolo Bartoloni (NUI, Galway) gave a series of lectures in Australia on material culture and objects in the context of migration, multiculturalism, and transnational culture. The book containing some of the work he presented is about to be published as Objects in Italian Life and Culture: Fiction, Migration, and Artificiality (Palgrave Macmillan). Two of the five chapters focus on Australia. The chapter on migration is based on the exhibition Belongings: Post-WW2 Migration Memories and Journeys at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney, and the chapter ‘Multicultural and Transcultural Objects’ is a discussion of the Italian Forum in Sydney. The other three chapters provide a discussion of theoretical perspectives on material culture (“Meaningful Places”), objects in literature and cinema (“Fictional Objects”), and the adaptation of tradition and authenticity in contemporary culture (“Objects as Props”).

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Italian Cinema: special issue of FULGOR

7fbb78_783f57d50c2240d4b0f23be547a41fbeA special issue on Italian cinema (vol. 5, issue 1, April 2016) has just been published by FULGOR, the Flinders University Languages Group Online Review. The issue, guest-edited by Luciana d’Arcangeli with support from Laura Lori and Stefano Bona, covers a wide range of topics: trends in contemporary Italian cinema (Vito Zagarrio), including the treatment of gender and socio-sexual identity (Luciana d’Arcangeli); the presence of Italians in the early history of the Australian film industry (Gino Moliterno); a comparison of the texts and sub-texts of the films made by Italian directors in China between 1957 and 2012 (Stefano Bona); an analysis of the encounters between migrant Italians and indigenous Australians in Diego Cienetiempo’s Far Away is Home. La Storia di Clely (2012) (Matteo Dutto); and an interpretation of Costanza Quatriglio’s film of Vincenzo Rabito’s autobiography Terra matta (David Moss). FULGOR is a peer-reviewed journal affiliated with the Department of Languages and Applied Linguistics, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. Back issues can be found here.

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Anthology on Italian Independent Cinema: CfP

VS-NoTextThis is a call for papers to be included in the anthology Italian Independent Cinema: Legacies and Transformations: proposals of c.200 words, accompanied by a brief author bio, should be submitted as soon as possible to Carlo Coen (York University) and Anthony Cristiano (University of Toronto). Independent cinema in Italy has received only sporadic attention in the form of single essays on related topics; no systematic critical study in Italian or English exists. While in North America ‘independent cinema’ is generally defined as the creative and production practices standing outside, or in opposition to, Hollywood mainstream cinema, that definition fails to capture the different setting and history of independent cinema in European countries. The practices and meanings of independent cinema in the Italian peninsula demand the study of specific manifestations of cinematic independence.

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Places of the Italian Fantastic: cities, houses, mountains

nebbia_veneziaThe latest issue of ReadingItaly is devoted to the literature of the fantastic. Beatrice Sica (UCL) examines Bontempelli’s and Buzzati’s Milano fantastica in which Bontempelli imagined the Piazza del Duomo – ‘occupata non da altro che da basse capanne, in mezzo a suono di ferrame, perché tra le capanne s’aggiravano vasti guerrieri baffuti con risa oscene’ – as the warrior camp of Belloveso, the city’s alleged founder. Silvia Zangrandi (IULM) looks at the ways Venice – ‘suspended between reality and imagination … populated by angels … where streets spring up and dissolve overnight, new canals take the place of earth’ – has been portrayed in works by Marinetti, Morante, Winterson and Buzzati. Matthew Reza (Oxford) recalls Buzzati’s love of the mountains and dislike of the city – ‘bolgia infernale di perdizione e alienazione, regno dell’ipocrisia, della menzogna, dell’egoismo, dove i sentimenti e le angosce peggiori trovano il miglior terreno per attecchire’. Paola Roccella (Warwick) points to the ambiguities, thresholds and Gothic motifs in Landolfi’s Racconto d’autunno, drafted in a decaying manor in Pico Farnese in 1946.

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1914-1918: centenario e commemorazioni

copertina grande guerraL’Italia sta commemorando in molti modi e in molti luoghi il centenario della guerra 1914-1918. La mostra al Vittoriano a Roma nel 2014, per esempio, partendo da un archivio digitale, riunì materiali spesso inediti riguardanti la partecipazione italiana: scritture di guerra (illustri ma anche lettere di soldati dal fronte); documenti diplomatici; foto e filmati, compreso il primo docu-film della storia del cinema italiano, ‘Eroi del mare nostro‘ (Istituto Luce, 1927); e il lavoro dei tribunali militari. Adesso è uscito un e-book, Gli iblei nella Grande Guerra, (BAPR/Cliomedia Officina)  scaricabile gratis qui, che ripercorre la storia degli arruolati di una delle province più lontane dal fronte principale – Ragusa (allora circondario di Modica). Sul totale di c.33.000 arruolati i caduti furono 3.541, metà per ferite, un quarto per malattie, un quinto disperso senza lasciare traccia.

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Creative writing: Mosaici 2015

logoThe 2015 Creative Writing edition of Mosaici – Learned Online Journal of Italian Poetry has been published and is available online here. The poems and essays in the 2015 edition, directed by Theodore Ell, address two themes: Poesie e saggi ispirati a Mario Luzi e la sua generazione and Poesia come risveglio di memorie perdute. The contributions represent a wide array of styles and genres and are the work of authors writing in Italian and English in Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. The contributors are Marta Arnaldi, Marco Ausili, Gian Matteo Baldi, Stefano Bellin, Mario Ceroti, Maurizio Masi, Tommaso Meozzi, Mena Mitrano, Paola Musa, Paolo Rigo, Margherita Scattolari, Luigia Sorrentino and Paolo Totaro.

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Spunti e Ricerche, vol. 30, 2015

Spunti cover 2015The publication of vol. 30 (2015) of Spunti e Ricerche, ‘The Shaping of Memory’, is imminent. It contains articles by Mirna Cicioni (Telescopes, Microscopes and Film Reels: Memory and History in Three Testimonies of Jewish Childhoods in Italy, 1938-45), Rossella Riccobono (‘Il filo di Arianna’: La stanza del figlio and the Healing Value of Nanni Moretti’s Cinema of Poetry), Sergio Russo (Un’indagine nella memoria: Per una lettura de Il soffio della valanga di Santo Piazzese), Sonia Floriani (Verso la costruzione di una memoria postcoloniale italiana? Linee di analisi fra letteratura e sociologia) and Maria Sergi (From Raw Emotions to Narrative Transformations: A psychoanalytic interpretation of the horse trope in Gianna Manzini’s narrative), plus book reviews by Patrizia Sambuco, Stephen Kolsky, Michela Barisonzi, Brian Zuccala and Antonio Pagliaro. For information on how to order a copy contact Antonio Pagliaro.

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Access Granted: Modern Languages and Issues of Accessibility at University

Josh Brown/Marinella Caruso   UWA

imagesDiscussion about how to monitor and increase participation in languages study has been growing in the UK, the US and Australia, particularly in higher education. Levels of enrolment in modern languages at universities around the world have come to be described in terms of ‘crisis’ or even ‘permanent crisis’. In Australia the new degree structures implemented by the University of Melbourne in 2008 and the University of Western Australia in 2012 have bucked this trend. The reforms introduced by those two universities have led to unprecedented levels of enrolment in languages, and are the focus of current research we are undertaking at UWA. The question of how to increase access to language study will be the subject of an article to appear in the journal Language Learning in Higher Education later this year.

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