Il 9 maggio

Oggi è il giorno per ricordare due persone molto diverse uccise il 9 maggio del 1978: Aldo Moro, ucciso dalle BR; Peppino Impastato, dalla mafia. Sulla vita e sulla morte di Moro è stato scritto moltissimo; un utile riassunto del dibattito nazionale e internazionale sulla natura e sulle cause della violenza politica che l’ha ucciso è di Giovanni Mario Ceci, Il terrorismo italiano. Storia di un dibattito (Carocci, 2013).  Gli scritti sulla mafia, meglio sulle mafie, sono ovviamente molto più numerosi. Adesso, su La Repubblica, c’è un blog, Mafie, a cura di Attilio Bolzoni, che oggi apre con una lettera di Tina Montinaro al marito, caposcorta di Giovanni Falcone e ucciso con lui 25 anni fa nella strage di Capaci. In questi ultimi anni il dibattito sulle mafie si è ampliato in seguito all’inchiesta ‘Mafia Capitale’ a Roma, dove i problemi della definizione e dell’evoluzione del fenomeno sono diventati di nuovo centrali. Questi temi sono analizzati con dovizia di dettagli nei dieci contributi all’ultimo fascicolo della rivista Meridiana (87, 2016) intitolato ‘Mafia Capitale’.

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ASIO AND ITALIAN ‘PERSONS OF INTEREST’

ASIO and Italian ‘Persons of Interest’. A History of Sydney’s Federation of Italian Migrants and their Families (FILEF) (Connor Court, 2017) will be the topic of a discussion with its author, Gianfranco Cresciani, at the Co.As.It. Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Melbourne, on Wednesday 17 May 2017, 6.30pm (booking free here). When an organisation was an ‘ethnic’ one, drawing support, ideas and inspiration from its foreign mentor, claims of sedition, treason, subversion and of being un-Australian were levelled at it without hard evidence, justified only by the abysmal ignorance of the motivations, aspirations and actual policies pursued by the organisation. In the case of the Federation of Italian Migrants and their Families (FILEF) in Sydney, its members were spied upon by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), ostracised by a large part of the Italian migrant community and its media, embarrassingly acknowledged by Italian diplomatic and consular representatives, fearful of losing their jobs because of their political beliefs, demonised by the Australian Establishment as the Trojan Horse of Italian communism. After forty years of militancy, time has come to record FILEF’s journey through Australian and migrant politics, welfare, arts, education and union activities.

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Oltre i confini: Italia transnazionale

BEYOND BORDERS. Transnational Italy/OLTRE I CONFINI. Italia Transnazionale, an exhibition curated by Viviana Gravano and Giulia Grechi, will open at the Co.As.It Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Melbourne, on Thursday 4 May 2017 at 6.30pm (free, registration here). It will be introduced by Loredana Polezzi (Cardiff University) and Rita Wilson (Monash University), with a performance by Luci Callipari-Marcuzzo. The exhibition is part of TML – Transnationalizing Modern Languages. Mobility, Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Cultures, a major international research project which includes collaborations with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (London), J. Calandra Institute in New York, Co.As.It Melbourne and other partners. The project looks at the Italian communities established in the UK, the US, Australia, South America, Africa and at the migrant communities of contemporary Italy. After Rome, London and New York, the adapted version of the exhibition will be open at the Museo Italiano from 4-27 May, accompanied by a photographic project, Italy is Out, by Mario Badagliacca who has worked as artist in residence for the project in London, New York and Buenos Aires.

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‘Tradurre è un bacio’

nicola_gardini_2Nicola Gardini, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at Oxford University, author of novels, poetry collections, literary essays, and translations of poetry from English (W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Emily Dickinson among others), Latin (Ovid and Catullus), and Greek (Marcus Aurelius), will be in Sydney to share his experience of translation and to illuminate the nature of translation as a poetic process. On Wednesday 12 April, 5.00-6.30 pm, in the Dept of Italian, Sydney University, he will be in conversation with Marco Sonzogni (Victoria University of Wellington), a specialist in the poetry of Montale and Heaney. Gardini’s Viva il latino (Garzanti, 2016) has been on Italy’s bestselling list for months; its English translation will published in Australia by Text. His new book explores Ovid’s imagination and will appear at the beginning of May (Garzanti).

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Language Variation in Renaissance Italy

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

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La ballata delle balàte in Australia

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Vincenzo Pirrotta will shortly return to Australia to present his play La ballata delle balàte at the Street Theatre in Canberra on 5 April (7.30pm, registration here) and on 7-8 April at the Italian Forum in Leichhardt, Sydney  (7.30pm, registration here). On 6 April at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Sydney (6.00-9.00pm, registration here) Pirrotta will introduce and discuss the play.  La ballata delle balàte is a one-hour monologue in Sicilian dialect (English surtitles), written, interpreted and directed by Pirrotta accompanied by music by Giovanni Parrinello performed by Dario Sulis. The protagonist is a mafioso fugitive who in his hideout proclaims his faith in God while at the same time following the cruel logic of the mafia. The play offers a profound reflection on the relation between mafia and religious devotion with its staging marking the duality between sacred and profane (the blood of Christ and of mafia victims cohabit in the mafioso’s mind) and culminating in the adoration of a monstrance containing a characteristic form of mafia instruction (pizzzini).  The hideout becomes for the mafioso a kind of place of worship, made out of church candles, a table and two chairs, where he prays wearing a crown of thorns and a noose around his neck.  Continue reading

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Italian women in Australian science

212b490a-cd51-472c-b505-0d0674ee04ddIn Italy and Australia women comprise a significant percentage of PhD graduates and early career researchers in science. However the presence of women in senior positions in universities and research institutes is low: less than 20% in Australia and less than 10% in Italy despite the fact that approximately 30% of researchers there are women. Clearly gender equality in the sciences, especially among its senior managers, is a considerable way off. On Thursday March 9 at 6.00 pm the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Sydney, Level 4, 125 York St.  will host a free event, Italian Women of Science,  at which Australian scientists of Italian origin will share their research interests and offer some insights into the career paths that they have pursued from Italy to Australia. Continue reading

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‘A sort of Roman saint’

250px-giuseppe_gioachino_belli‘The greatest poet of the 19th century’ (1976) …. ‘one of the three major revelations of my later life’ (1990) … ‘to read the entire corpus is to be overwhelmed. One dares to speak about greatness’ (1992). Who can this poet be? Aha .. ‘aromatic Roman speech haloed by a sonnet’ (1977). That’s a clue – except that the poet himself corrected anyone who described his language as ‘Roman’ – ‘no, it’s romanesco’. This isn’t a competition so the cast can be revealed. The poet is Giuseppe Gioachino Belli (1791-1863) and the writer praising him is Anthony Burgess (1917-1993). The novelist is quoted by Paul Howard in this week’s TLS  (22 Feb, p.15) in a long introduction to an apparently unpublished essay by Burgess entitled ‘Belli into English’ (ibid., p.16). Overcoming his initial shock at Belli’s obscenity and blasphemy, Burgess had made translations of a selection from GGB’s s 2279 sonnets for his novel Abba Abba. But, acknowledging that the poet was ‘a sort of Roman saint’, Burgess found the work of translating him very hard: ‘Belli remains as one of the proofs that poetry is fundamentally untranslatable’.

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Dante, Petrarch, Machiavelli, Pirandello: Remo Bodei in Melbourne and Sydney

imagesThe 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

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