Monday, December 28, 2015

New titles, December 2015

The end of 2015 sees the publication of two new titles. The first is Guido A. Guarino’s first English translation of The Complete Literary Works of Lorenzo de’ Medici. Lorenzo de’ Medici (January 1, 1449–April 9, 1492), known as Lorenzo the Magnificent, was the scion of the powerful and wealthy Medici family. A diplomat, politician, patron and friend of artists and humanists, he was also ruler of Florence from December 2, 1469 until his death. Although he died at the age of forty-three and ruled for only twenty-three years, he was well recognized for his importance to the Florentine High Renaissance, and his death coincided with the end of its golden age and with the onset of renewed strife among the Italian city-states.

Lorenzo was also an author and particularly a poet. He wrote in a variety of forms, from sonnets to short stories and from eclogues to ballads. His material included love poems, comic works and devotional and philosophical discourses. His reputation as a writer has been the subject of substantial critical work, especially in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

In this volume, Guido A. Guarino presents, for the first time, the entire corpus of Lorenzo’s literary achievement in English translation. This edition provides a fresh opportunity for a thorough re-evaluation of Lorenzo’s endeavors in the light of contemporary scholarship and new critical methodologies.

The second is Luigi Pirandello’s Henry IV in a new English translation by Mary Ann Witt and Martha Witt. The play opened less than a year after Pirandello’s revolutionary theatrical achievement, Six Characters in Search of an Author. The title of the later play suggests a historical drama, recalling Shakespeare’s great history plays. Yet Henry IV is instead anti-historical in that it “plays with” history, presenting historical events not as sequential and true, but as simultaneous and as an imaginary refuge. Henry IV (whose real name is not given) lives in a fake medieval castle where everyone must wear the costume of a historical figure. He is a twentieth-century Italian aristocrat whose madness traps him in the role of the Holy Roman Emperor, the German Henry IV, who reigned from 1056 until 1105. 

Numerous comparisons have been made between Pirandello’s Henry IV and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The affinities between their protagonists include madness, along with the pretense of madness, involving a consummate theatricality. Like other “mad” Pirandello characters, the man consumed by the role of Emperor Henry IV has been judged to be insane by a society that he judges to be insane. Madness, for Pirandello, can reveal a particular lucidity that gives access to truths not evident to “normal” people.

Pirandello’s one-act play The License (La Patente, 1918), presents an earlier version of this theme. Its main character, Rosario Chiarchiaro, may be mad or pretending to be mad as he also dons a costume and prepares to play a role for the rest of his life, the role of a purveyor of the “evil eye” — his means of self-defense against a society consumed by hypocrisy and superstition.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Patronage, Gender & the Arts Published

We are happy to announce that Italica Press has just published Patronage, Gender & the Arts in Early Modern Italy: Essays in Honor of Carolyn Valone, edited by Katherine A. McIver and Cynthia Stollhans.
The articles in this volume celebrate the work and legacy of Carolyn Valone, professor of Art History,  teacher, mentor and friend to many. Valone’s publications on “matrons as patrons” and “pie donne” became influential, ground-breaking work in the 1990s. Her continuing research on women as patrons of art and architecture has pioneered a methodological approach that many scholars have followed. Contributions include:
Katherine A. McIver & Cynthia Stollhans, Introduction. Brenda Preyer, The “Wife’s Room” in Florentine Palaces of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. Katherine A. McIver, Locating Power: Women in the Urban Fabric of Sixteenth-Century Rome. Kimberly L. Dennis, A Palace Built by a Princess? Olimpia Maidalchini Pamphilj and the Construction of Palazzo Pamphilj in Piazza Navona. Lisa Passaglia Bauman, The Rhetoric of Power: Della Rovere Palaces and Processional Routes in Late Fifteenth-Century Rome. Sheila ffolliott, Artemisia Conquers Rhodes: Problems in the Representation of Female Heroics in the Age of Catherine de’ Medici. Anne Jacobson Schutte, Elite Matrons as Founders of Religious Institutions: Ludovica Torelli and Eleonora Ramirez Montalvo. Marilyn Dunn, Nuns, Agents and Agency: Art Patronage in the Post–Tridentine Convent. Kimberlyn Montford, Musical Marketing in the Female Monasteries of Early Modern Rome. Suzanne B. Butters, A Monster’s Plea. Meghan Callahan, Preaching in a Poor Space: Savonarolan Influence at Sister Domenica’s Convent of la Crocetta in Renaissance Florence. Cynthia Stollhans, The Pious Act of an Impious Woman: The Courtesan Fiammetta as Art Patron in Renaissance Rome. Elizabeth S. Cohen, More Trials for Artemisia Gentileschi: Her Life, Love and Letters in 1620. Michael Sherberg, Mr. Cellini Goes to Rome. Craig A. Monson, “Un Monsignore troppo abbondo contro le monache”:  Alfonso Paleotti Meets His Match. Gretchen E. Meyers, Suis manibus fecerat: Queen Dido as a Producer of Ceremonial Textiles. Elissa Weaver, What to Wear in the Decameron and Why It Matters.
Includes a Bibliography of Carolyn Valone’s Works and a complete index.
The volume in the latest in our series, Italica Studies in Art & History.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Kevin Poole Interviewed on YouTube

Kevin Poole was recently interviewed by Yale University’s Marilyn Wilkes for “The MacMillan Report” on his recent English edition of The Chronicle of Pseudo-Turpin. Dr. Poole reviews the story of Pseudo-Turpin, his translation and his analysis. He discusses his interest in the work for teaching and research and stresses the importance of such works in the Compostela and Roland cycles in the context of Christian-Muslim relations.

Poole notes that, while completely fictitious, the text was presented as a genuine work from the circle of Charlemagne, making broad truth claims as an eyewitness account to Crusade history. Its author surrounded his tale with the authority of Charlemagne’s life and reign, noting that the hundreds of copies produced in the Middle Ages — both in Latin and in various vernaculars — only reinforced and broadened its popularity through its local and national variations. Its appeal was thus both historical and fictitious, linking the lives and aspirations of its audience to its sacred, secular and mythical histories.

Poole and Wilkes discuss the manuscript tradition, the identification and use of the original version in Compostela’s Codex Calixtinus, and the popularity of Compostela itself and the medieval and modern pilgrimage to that sacred site. They talk about the history of the manuscript, its recent theft and recovery, access to the book, modern research methods and the text’s various transcriptions and modern translations.

Why is the story important today? Again Poole stresses the history of Crusade and Jihad, their ideological underpinnings, and modern variations on such thought systems. Historical analysis, Poole argues, can trace the origins of such beliefs and thus better understand our own contemporary actions and discourse. Poole’s book is also an important reflection on the uses and abuses of history in the past and today.

It’s a delightful twenty-minute conversation on YouTube. Take a look!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Holy Land in the Middle Ages

In a region often caricatured by the images and rhetoric of crusade and jihad, it’s important to realize that through most of its medieval history the Holy Land was host to countless curious and devout travelers of all three faiths. They sailed to the same ports, walked and rode the same roads, lodged in the same cities and towns and visited and revered the same secular and sacred sites. The Holy Land in the Middle Ages: Six Travelers’ Accounts. Digital Edition offers important texts documenting these centuries of peaceful co-existence.
Version 1.0 of this completely revised and updated digital edition is now available. It presents texts written by medieval Christian, Muslim and Jewish travelers to the Holy Land, including: St. Jerome, The Pilgrimage of Holy Paula, c.382 CE * Paula & Eustochium, Letter to Marcella on the Holy Places, 386 * Mukaddasi of Jerusalem, Description of Palestine, 985 * Nâsir-i-Khusrau, Diary of a Journey through Syria and Palestine, 1047 * Theoderich of Würzburg, Guide to the Holy Land, c.1172 * Benjamin of Tudela, Description of the Holy Land, from his Itinerary, c.1173.

The Holy Land in the Middle Ages is fully searchable and can be navigated page-by-page like a traditional print book, accessed via the interactive table of contents of texts or images, or through the page-search feature. Hyperlinked references access the appropriate notes to the text and introductions, and a Bibliographical Guide completes the edition. Loaded onto a laptop computer, tablet or smart phone, this e-book provides the perfect companion to the student, the jet-seat or arm-chair traveler.