Tag Archives: Naples

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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Dream, delete, disappear?

ca58a1fd-a718-4756-8792-3821e261006e-bestSizeAvailableA recent issue of the TLS (11 Sept) carries a long review of the work of Elena Ferrante, prompted by the appearance of the English translation of her Neapolitan quartet’s final volume, The Story of the Lost Child. The reviewer, Lidija Haas, deals with the book’s relation to its predecessors, emphasising Ferrante’s particular style in sensibility: how glittering surfaces cover putrescent rubbish, the violent dog untamed beneath the gorgeous skin. Haas also refers to the perceptive placing of Ferrante in an Italian feminist tradition by Dayna Tortorici (‘Those Like Us: On Elena Ferrante’ in n+1, issue 22) as well as to an interview with the author in the Paris Review (2015, no.212).

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Blogs we like #7

The latest issue of ReadingItaly, the blog of the Reading University postgraduate forum in Italian Studies, is devoted to Naples.cropped-logoscritte-univ-01 It contains a discussion of Naples as a ‘rainbow city’ (Lorenza Gianfrancesco, RHUL, who has a particular interest in academies, printing and publishing) alongide a piece on Naples as an ‘ordinary city ‘ (Nick Dines, Roma 3, whose recent book on Naples is entitled Tuff City). Stefano Bragato (Reading) relives the progressive rock scene in the city in the 1970s – an interesting discussion to set beside Mathias Stevenson’s recent post on Italian reggae and its local roots. And Thomas Denman (Reading), studying early 17th century Neapolitan art and involved in the Italian academies project described in an earlier post, signals several recent books, conferences and workshops devoted to aspects of early modern Naples.

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