New in the collection: e-books

Emma Barron, Popular high culture in Italian media, 1950–1970: Mona Lisa covergirl, Palgrave Macmillan 2018.

Lourdes Carriedo, María Dolores Picazo & María Luisa Guerrero (eds.), Entre escritura e imagen: Lecturas de narrativa contemporánea, Peter Lang, 2013.

Lourdes Carriedo & Anne-Marie Reboul (eds.), Entre escritura e imagen II: Imágenes fijas, imágenes cinéticas, Peter Lang, 2018.

Fabrizio Cilento, An investigative cinema: Politics and modernization in Italian, French, and American film, Palgrave Macmillan 2018.

Paola Cioni & al., Donne nel Sessantotto, Società editrice il Mulino 2018.

Salvatore Di Maria, Towards a unified Italy: historical, cultural, and literary perspectives on the southern question, Palgrave Macmillan 2018.

Gustavo Forero Quintero (ed.), Memoria de crimenes: literatura, medios audiovisuales y testimonio, Siglo del Hombre Editores 2017.

David R. George & Wan Sonya Tang (eds.), Televising Restoration Spain: History and fiction in Twenty-First-Century costume dramas, Palgrave Macmillan 2018.

Jean-Igor Ghidina (ed.), Mosaïques des frontières dans la littérature italienne contemporaine, Presses universitaires Blaise Pascal 2018.

Gaia Giuliani, Race, nation and gender in modern Italy: intersectional representations in visual culture, Palgrave Macmillan 2018.

Carme Molinero & Pere Ysàs, La Transición: historia y relatos, Tres Cantos 2018.

Elena Morpurgo, Luisa Zaban & Silvia Zaban, Guerra, esilio, ebraicità: Diari di donne nelle due guerre mondiali, Il lavoro 1996.

Penelope Morris & Perry R. Willson, La mamma: interrogating a national stereotype, Palgrave Macmillan 2018.

Francesco Ricatti, Italians in Australia: history, memory, identity, Palgrave Macmillan 2018.

Patrizia Sambuco (ed.), Transmissions of memory: echoes, traumas, and nostalgia in post-World War II Italian culture, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press 2018.

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Lezing Marcel Proust Vereniging

Op zaterdag 20 oktober a.s. organiseert de Marcel Proust Vereniging een lezing (14.00-16.30, Waalse Kerk Amsterdam) van Miriam Rasch met de titel Marcel Proust voor de Postdigitale Mens.

Rasch, schrijfster, columniste, en ook werkzaam bij de Hogeschool van Amsterdam, zal een ‘Proustiaans blik’ werpen op het internet «als een steeds in het blikveld komend object dat we nooit helemaal kunnen vatten. En hoe zou een impressie zich online kunnen voordoen, als alles tegenwoordig ‘in real time’ gebeurt? Een ‘literaire kritiek van het internet’ levert ideeën voor een invulling van het postdigitale leven die weloverwogen is of juist uit verwondering geboren. En deze nieuwe postdigitale conditie waarmee we moeten leren leven, laat op haar beurt ook een andere kant van Proust oplichten».

Aanmelding via de website van de Marcel Proust Vereniging.

Hieronder: screenshot van een Google images zoekactie voor ‘Proust’, verfijnd op de subcategorie ‘Painting’.

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Migrants, migrations and (Italian) writers and intellectuals

Italian journalist and (crime) writer Alessandro Robecchi was interviewed last week by the website Radici. It was interviewer Fabio Poletti’s very last question that triggered the idea of this blogpost (English translation is mine):

«Q: Literature has always been dealing with migrations and migrants. Maybe less in Italy. Intellectuals, writers, what can be their role nowadays?

A: Literature has written wonderful pages on migrations and migrants, and in the most vivid, most intense representations it is clear that the issue regards class, not ethnicity. I remember Steinbeck’s “Grapes of wrath”. I can quote it from memory: “When there was work for a man, ten men fought for it— fought with a low wage. If that fella’ll work for thirty cents, I’ll work for twenty-five. If he’ll take twenty-five, I’ll do it for twenty. No, me, I’m hungry. I’ll work for fifteen. I’ll work for food. The kids. You ought to see them. Little boils, like, comin’ out, an’ they can’t run aroun’. Give ’em some windfall fruit, an’ they bloated up. Me, I’ll work for a little piece of meat”. Racism and capitalism go hand in hand. You couldn’t have possibly explained it better, really. I think that writers have to write about what is going on, what surrounds us, and to show it also to those who do not see it. It is hardly by chance that all authoritarian regimes despise intellectuals – good-for-nothing, eggheads, so-called intellectuals – not to mention the silly rhetoric of “radical chic”. The common place is: he is a writer, pampered, what does he know? On the contrary, literature – and cinema, and music, and sometimes sport, and broadly speaking critical thought – just help to fight this shallow idea that things are simple, that it is enough to beat up the last one to make the last but one happy».

On John Steinbeck‘s Grapes of wrath (same passage as Robecchi’s, from chapter 21) and its present-day relevance with regard to the European migrant crisis, I wrote last year on Library333, the UvA Social Sciences Library blog.

As for Robecchi mentioning authoritarian regimes’ debasing attitude towards intellectuals, it easily reminded me of yet another quote – from Umberto Eco‘s Ur-Fascism article –  I wrote a post about last year on this blog:

«… culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Goering’s alleged statement (“When I hear talk of culture I reach for my gun”) to the frequent use of such expressions as “degenerate intellectuals,” “eggheads,” “effete snobs,” “universities are a nest of reds.” The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values».

Alessandro Robecchi’s photo from the writer’s blog. Umberto Eco’s from the author’s obituary in The Guardian.

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New in the collection: e-books

Giulia Albanese & Roberta Pergher (eds), In the society of fascists: acclamation, acquiescence, and agency in Mussolini’s Italy, Palgrave Macmillan 2012.

Margaret Atack, Alison Fell, Diana Holmes & Imogen Long (eds), French feminisms 1975 and after: new readings, new texts, Peter Lang 2017.

Nicolas Bianchi & Toby Garfitt (eds), Writing the Great War: Francophone and Anglophone poetics, Peter Lang 2017.

Norma Bouchard & Valerio Ferme, Italy and the Mediterranean: words, sounds, and images of the post-cold war era, Palgrave Macmillan 2013.

Paul Boucher, A linguistic handbook of French for translators and language students, John Benjamins 2018.

Arthur Chapman & Minna Vuohelainen (eds), Interpreting Primo Levi: interdisciplinary perspectives Palgrave Macmillan 2016.

Ana Paula Coutinho, Maria de Fátima Outeirinho & José Domingues de Almeida (eds.), Nos & leurs Afriques: constructions littéraires des identités africaines cinquante ans après les décolonisations, Peter Lang 2012.

Roberta D’Alessandro & Diego Pescarini (eds), Advances in Italian dialectology: sketches of Italo-Romance grammars, Brill 2018.

Maarten De Pourcq & Sophie Levie (eds), European literary history: an introduction, Routledge 2018.

Ilaria De Seta (ed), Armonia e conflitti: dinamiche familiari nella narrativa italiana moderna e contemporanea, Peter Lang 2014.

Luisa Del Giudice (ed), Oral history, oral culture, and Italian Americans, Palgrave Macmillan 2009.

Jonathan Druker, Primo Levi and humanism after Auschwitz: posthumanist reflections, Palgrave Macmillan 2009.

Daniele Fioretti Utopia and Dystopia in Postwar Italian Literature: Pasolini, Calvino, Sanguineti, Volponi, Palgrave Macmillan 2017.

Rosario Forlenza & Bjørn Thomassen (eds), Italian modernities: competing narratives of nationhood, Palgrave Macmillan 2016.

Sciltian Gastaldi & David Ward (eds), Era mio padre: Italian terrorism of the Anni di Piombo in the postmemorials of victims’ relatives, Peter Lang 2018.

Simon A. Gilson, Reading Dante in Renaissance Italy: Florence, Venice, and the ’divine poet’, Cambridge University Press 2018.

Manlio Graziano, The failure of Italian nationhood: the geopolitics of a troubled identity, Palgrave Macmillan 2010.

David Herman (ed), The emergence of mind: representations of consciousness in narrative discourse in English, University of Nebraska Press 2011.

Simonetta Milli Konewko, Neorealism and the “new” Italy: compassion in the development of Italian identity, Palgrave Macmillan 2016.

Stefania Lucamente, Forging Shoah memories: Italian women writers, Jewish identity, and the Holocaust, Palgrave Macmillan 2014.

Penelope Morris Women in Italy, 1945–1960: an interdisciplinary study, Palgrave Macmillan 2006.

Nicoletta Pireddu The works of Claudio Magris: temporary homes, mobile identities, European borders, Palgrave Macmillan 2015.

Xavier Pla, Maximiliano Fuentes & Francesc Montero (eds), A civil war of words: the cultural impact of the Great War in Catalonia, Spain, Europe and a glance at Latin America, Peter Lang 2016.

Christopher Prendergast (ed), A history of modern French literature: from the sixteenth century to the twentieth century, Princeton University Press 2017.

Paul A. Silverstein, Postcolonial France: race, Islam, and the future of the republic, Pluto Press 2018.

Luis Carlos Toro Tamayo (ed), Narrativas de la memoria: aproximaciones desde el campo de los archivos y los lugares de la memoria, Peter Lang 2017.

Lorenzo Zamponi, Social movements, memory and media: narrative in action in the Italian and Spanish student movements, Palgrave Macmillan 2018.

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Sardinia: hidden treasures of Contemporary Italian literature

From Giovanni Verga, master of Italian Verismo, via the nobel prize winner Luigi Pirandello, the politically engaged Leonardo Sciascia, to the best-selling crime novelist Andrea Camilleri, Sicily’s role in the history of modern and contemporary Italian literature will quickly be acknowledged by anyone familiar with the culture of il Bel Paese.

The same can hardly be said of Italy’s other major island, Sardinia, despite the fact that just Nuoro-born Grazia Deledda (1871-1936) won the Nobel prize already in 1926 – i.e. eight years before Pirandello did -, the second woman (after Swedish Selma Lagerlöf) and second Italian writer (after Giosuè Carducci) to be awarded by the Swedish Academy. And despite the fact that the existence of a multilingual Wikipedia page on the Nuova letteratura sarda both recognizes the emergence of a literary identity and signals the development of a related academic interest: from Birgit Wagner’s Sardinien – Insel im Dialog. Texte, Diskurse, Filme (2008), via Laura Fortini and Paola Pittalis’ Isolitudine: scrittrici e scrittori della Sardegna (2010), to Alessandro Marongiu’s Scrittori sardi nel terzo millennio: saggi, recensioni e articoli, 2007-2017 (2017).

I’ll admit that, while considering myself a ‘heavy reader’, only Deledda’s classic Canne al vento and Sergio Atzeni‘s (1952-1995) witty Il figlio di Bakunin and epic Passavamo sulla terra leggeri belonged to my list of read books before last month, when I first visited Sardinia. Triggered by the visit – and helped by the excellent collection of books by Sardinian authors available at the University of Amsterdam (also thanks to Assistant professor Maria Urban, who graduated at the Università di Cagliari) – I managed to explore the works of several contemporary authors from Sardinia, and what I can already say by now (while still waiting to read Gavino Ledda‘s (1938) Padre padrone, Paola Soriga‘s (1979) La stagione che verrà, and Alessandro De Roma‘s (1970) Vita e morte di Ludovico Lauter) is: what an impressively varied and inspiring literary production!!!

Without aiming here at a critical assessment, what stroke me as the most thrilling features shared by the books I have read so far – including Deledda’s and Atzeni’s, from previous years – are the following:

— the use of the Sardinian language, varying from sporadic in Deledda and Giuseppe Dessì‘s (1909-1977) Il disertore, to quite extensive in Salvatore Niffoi‘s (1950) La vedova scalza: which is something hardly surprising when we consider the attention and (public) initiatives – such as those of the Regione Sardegna (Lingua sarda, or the online dictionary) – justly meant at promoting and safeguarding a language sadly labelled as ‘definitely endangered’ in the 2010 edition of the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger.

— the role played by the harsh landscape of the Sardinian inland as compared or opposed to the one played by the sea, which is often seen as a somehow calming presence, to be poetically flown over by the swallows heading for Africa (such as in Milena Agus’ (1955) wonderful Mal di pietre), or to be sailed across by Sardinians seeking their (mis)fortunes on the Italian mainland or farther away, with the major traumatic experience of World War 1 – which saw a disproportionate number of Sardinian soldiers dying on the Italian-Austrian front – providing narrative material not only, needless to say, to Dessi’s aforementioned Il disertore, but to Marcello Fois‘ (1960) Stirpe and to Salvatore Satta‘s (1902-1975) Il giorno del giudizio as well.

— last but definitely not least – and explaining also my choice of photos for the post – is the large gallery of unforgettable female characters featured in most of the books I’ve read. Mercede and her daughter Marianna in Marcello Fois’ Stirpe, Nel tempo di mezzo and Luce perfetta. Dessì’s Mariangela, the mother of Il disertore. Little Maria and Tzia Bonaria in Michela Murgia‘s (1972) Accabadora. Revengeful Mintonia, title-character of Niffoi’s La vedova scalza. The narrator and her grandmother in Agus’ Mal di pietre, which – should I name two titles to begin with, if you feel like exploring Contemporary Sardinian literature – would definitely be my choice, together with Satta’s Il giorno del giudizio. All books are available at the UvA Library. Buona lettura!

Photos, top to bottom: Grazia Deledda (from, Paola Soriga (daily La Nuova Sardegna), Milena Agus (Enciclopedia delle donne) and Michela Murgia (La Nuova Sardegna).

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Lezingenmiddag Marcel Proust Vereniging

Op zaterdag 16 juni a.s. organiseert de Marcel Proust Vereniging een lezingenmiddag (13.30-16.00, Waalse Kerk Amsterdam) met bijdragen van Mathieu Jung, onderzoeker bij de Université de Strasbourg (Proust, Joyce, Kafka, Bousquet: veilleurs de toutes les nuits du monde), en van Gijs van der Zalm, psycholoog en psychotherapeut (Marcel Proust and James Joyce: some remarks on how their youth formed the foundation of their work).

De lezing van Mathieu Jung onderzoekt de rol van slaap en slapeloosheid in Proust’s Recherche («n’est pas seulement un roman sur la mémoire; elle est également une vaste méditation sur le sommeil et sur l’absence de sommeil»), in Finnegans Wake van James Joyce (1882-1941), en in het werk van Franz Kafka (1883-1924) en Joë Bousquet (1897-1950).

Om zich te buigen over het leven en het werk van Proust en Joyce heeft Gijs van der Zalm zich laten inspireren door de datum van de lezingenmiddag, 16 juni, ook wel ‘Bloomsday’ genoemd door Joyce-liefhebbers: «In Ulysses (1922) beschrijft Joyce immers een dag uit het leven van Leopold Bloom, die zich, na lange omzwervingen door de straten van Dublin, op de late avond van 16 juni weer voegt bij zijn (ontrouwe) echtgenote Molly».

Volledige programma is hier te vinden.

Foto van het portret van Joë Bousquet, door Jean Dubuffet (1947): uit de website van het Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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Narrazioni e memorie di un’Italia divisa: Raccontare la giustizia

Op 14 mei a.s., in het kader van de MasterLanguage cursus Narrazioni e memorie di un’Italia divisa, vindt het jaarlijkse symposium plaats waar de MA-studenten Italiaans van de UvA hun onderzoek presenteren (zie het volledige programma onderaan deze post).

Na schrijver Antonio Scurati in 2015, prof. Philip Cooke en prof. Ugo Perolino in 2016, en prof. Alessandro Portelli en schrifster Paola Soriga in 2017, is het dit jaar de beurt van schrijfster Francesca Melandri (Rome 1964; reeds in 2014 gast van MasterLanguage) en regisseuse Sabrina Varani (Rome 1965) om gast te zijn op het symposium.

Het thema van het symposium – het Italiaanse kolonialisme – wordt besproken in verband met de laatste roman van Melandri, Sangue giusto (Rizzoli 2017) en de door het boek geïnspireerde documentaire Pagine nascoste (2017) van Varani, die op de avond van 14 mei te zien zal zijn op het Istituto italiano di cultura dei Paesi Bassi in Amsterdam.

De originele uitgave van Sangue giusto en de pas verschenen Nederlandse vertaling (De lange weg naar Rome, Cossee) zullen binnekort beschikbaar zijn op de UvA Bibliotheek, waar de twee eerdere romans van Melandri, Eva dorme (Mondadori 2010) en Più alto del mare (Rizzoli 2012) reeds aanwezig zijn.

Foto van Melandri (links) uit de website van uitgever Rizzoli, van Varani uit de website CinemaItaliano.

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