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Verina Jones discusses women's entry into the field of literary journalism, ladies' magazines, and political journalism. Adriana Chemello introduces another new genre, literary criticism. Women went from participating in debates on the "excellence and dignity of women" to debates on whether or not they should be admitted to the study of the arts and sciences. Chemello also discusses the work of Luisa Bergalli who, among other things, wrote an anthology of women's writing published in Venice in The final section begins with Silvana Patriarca's informative essay on women's increased participation in journalism.
After , new outlets appeared for women, such as the periodical press for which women and men from the petite bourgeoisie could write As usual, women joined in debates on the role and function of women's education, and the first "feminist" journal, La donna, was founded by Gualberta Alaide Beccari in Patriarca reviews not only the "feminist" views of Beccari, Maria Mozzoni, and Jesse Mario White, but also the works of Cesare Lombroso's daughter, Paola, who published ethnography studies on the mentality of the lower classes along with children's books, whom she contrasts with Ida Baccini, a prolific author of articles for literary journals and the director of a popular girl's journal, Cordelia.
If Baccini's work exudes the values of the patriotic middle classes love of order, industriousness, etc.
She quotes Delfina Dolza to defend Lombroso who, "like the other women, even when they appeared to be writing and sharing male opinions, was shaped by a sensitivity to the social context of women's subordination which made the author subvert some of the very convictions of her intellectual milieu" Lombroso's concern with a lack of civic spirit or participation in a democracy by people who were uneducated is looked upon as a sort of subversion of the same values of submission she openly espoused.
The essays on women's fictional writings - Lucienne Kroha's "The Novel, "; Anna Laura Lepschy's "The Popular Novel, "; Lucia Re's "Futurism and Fascism"; and Ann Hallamore Caesar's "The Novel, ," - deal as well with how to interpret the overt antifeminism of many women writers and their participation in conservative and Fascist genres. Paradoxes abound. Re writes how Futurism's iconoclasm was appealing to many women writers. Under Fascism more women's works were published than ever before. Fascism was "contradictory, 'imperfect,' and flexible enough to tolerate a wide spectrum of relatively emancipated social and cultural modes of behavior and expression" But even women as different as Serao and Aleramo still "felt that there was something illegitimate about their writing as if it constituted the invasion of a masculine terrain and a betrayal of femininity for which they had to constantly apologize" These women are seen as open to more international influences, namely European modernism, through their interest in translations Yet these women writers were denounced by feminism's first authors, who threw literature and its compromising structures out.
Adalgisa Giorgio, in "The Novel, ," focuses on how the writing in her time frame "parallels the shift in Italian feminism from the political phase of emancipation and reality to the more cultural phase of affirming female difference in the imaginary psychic and symbolic linguistic and intellectual structures of society" Starting with Francesca Sanvitale, Maria Corti, and Alice Ceresa as writers who launched an inquiry into the role of gender in literature as well as the theme of female genealogies, Giorgio also includes writers from the s, thus making this essay a much needed supplement to the one done by this reviewer 11 years ago "From Margins to Mainstream: Some Perspectives on Women and Literature in Italy in the s," Contemporary Women Writers in Italy: A Modern Renaissance, ed.
Catherine O'Brien divides women poets into three major groups: those influenced by symbolism, those influenced by the hermetic movement, and finally those who "have advanced the case of women's poetry by achieving equality and recognition," although their work does not differ thematically or stylistically from that of their male counterpart The collection closes with Sharon Wood's essay on critical theory, which "seeks to place women's thinking about contemporary aesthetics and cultural practice, theoretical considerations on women and literature, and by necessary extension on women and language, within a historical or philosophical context" Since Wood dealt with these issues in Italian Women Writers, there might have been more of an advantage here if she had tried to outline some of the new directions for criticism and theory that these essays, with their wealth of information, have now made possible.
The few misspellings and bibliographical omissions e. The genre and time divisions work well to show the diversity in women's writings across the ages as well as to highlight the recurring similarities in themes and cultural debates.
And the information included here makes it possible for future scholars to realize the volume's goal, which is, in Wood's words, to "not only rewrite the history of Italian women's writing, but to reshape our reading of Italian literature itself" Carol Lazzaro-Weis, Southern University. La scrittura e l'interpretazione. Palermo: Palumbo, These two tomes comprise the second half of Luperini and Cataldi's work, of which the first two volumes cover Italian literary history respectively up to and from the Counter-Reformation.
The last years are thus accorded as much space as the previous six centuries. This reflects escalating literary productivity, but also privileges modernity and contemporary relevance, to the extent, for instance, that not much less space is given to "il classico del secolo" Montale 41 pages , than to Petrarch 43 pages. This is partly the effect of not very closely considering earlier Italian literature written in Latin, but more largely springs from the pedagogical intent of the work, which is implicitly aimed at students in the licei and in the early years of university. For these, it is an excellent guide, and it will also be extremely useful to their teachers and, indeed, to academics wishing to home in or update rapidly on unfamiliar areas, as well as presenting a reader-friendly introduction to the general lover of Italian literature.
For such pedagogical and informative purposes, it is admirably laid out. Each "Part", covering a historical period, opens with a long chapter mapping out broad socio-economic, intellectual and cultural developments in the western world and in Italy. The subsequent chapters respectively cover literary movements and debates within the same period, followed by each of the main literary sectors - poetry, narrative, discursive writing, and theatre.
For each sector, there is a gradual zoom-in from developments in Europe and the Americas to those in Italy. Major non-Italian writers - Baudelaire or Tolstoy, T. Eliot or Kafka - as well as all the major Italian writers have an individual chapter devoted to them, and there are also primi piani - chapters devoted to individual works of outstanding importance, whether Italian or not. Approximately a third of the text is thus given over to things other than Italian literature, in keeping with the principle enunciated in the introduction to the whole work, that Italian literature must be seen in the context of western culture generally, especially now that the role of the "national" literature in shaping the Italian nation-state has been historically superseded.
This cultural contextualization is aided by rich pictorial and photographic illustration in somewhat muted colours , but popular or mass culture is referred to mainly as a threat to "high" literature and culture. The work's pedagogical project is also furthered by numerous chronological tables and explanatory windows of schede e informazioni on historical and cultural phenomena , passato e presente on shifting debates , itinerario linguistico on specific terms , testi e studi bibliographies.
There is a single index of these for the whole work, as also of titles, whereas personal names are indexed separately in each volume. The work as a whole is thus very close to being the hard copy of a hypertext which could be made available in the electronic medium with a much more powerful system of cross-referencing by key terms. However, these take the reader to useful but limited micro-essays on the topic concerned, and do not bring together very many of the writers or works that deal, say, with the Great War, or industry, or psychoanalysis.
There is no lead to women in Italian literature though there are some useful discussions, e. Likewise, there is no lead to interesting topics such as the figure of the impiegato, clerk or scrivener, or Darwinism, though, again, these topics are usefully discussed in connexion with specific authors including Bersezio, De Marchi, Svevo, and Tozzi for the former and Verga, De Roberto, Fogazzaro, and Svevo for the latter.
Other topics not indexed include: the South, Naples, Sicily, Regionalism. For a ready but more demanding approach to such dimensions, the student will still have to resort to the Einaudi Letteratura Italiana directed by Alberto Asor Rosa. The two tomes reviewed here are divided into four parts 11 to 14 , taking the account from Unification to , then to , next to , and then on to the present. The periodization is validated in cultural and literary terms Naturalism and Symbolism; the avant-gardes; "Ermetismo, Antinovecentismo e Neorealismo"; and Experimentalism, Neo-Avantgardes and the Postmodern , but predicated in terms of developments in the world economy and successive industrial revolutions and class transformations.
Thus the year is the only one of the chronological divides in this periodization since Unification which also coincides with major events of political history. The perspectives and emphases are usually powerful and interesting, though, curiously, the period from to is cosily assigned to "peaceful coexistence," with little hint of the arms race or M. The authors take joint responsibility for the whole text, with Cataldi being the main author for the chapters on poetry and poets though he also takes on Gadda, while Luperini does Montale , while the chapters on non-Italian and some Italian subjects are the work of other specialists.
The negative perspective climaxes in the last major close-up of a writer, devoted to Pasolini and also done by Cataldi. Given that Pasolini died in , there is a chronological paradox in treating him so close to the end of a work that brings us right up to date. Placing Pasolini in one of the last chapters appears to be justified by assigning him to the category of public intellectual and discursive writer - of which he is presented as a highly suspect, ambiguous, and somewhat histrionic and self-advertising exemplar.
While this is not in itself simply wrong, it seems to serve the purpose of signalling a critical emptiness in Italian intellectual life, and masks the inadequate treatment given of Pasolini as poet, novelist and playwright his film-making being less pertinent to a history of literature. A straightforward concluding chapter on the present scenario in Italian writing might have been a better option. It might also have occasioned a discussion as to whether belletristic writing has - perhaps temporarily - been ousted from its once central position as arbiter of values by more specialized writing in philosophy and the social sciences, economics and the natural sciences, or how it may cope with the tide of consumerism.
This does not amount to an objection, however, against the quality, value, and usefulness of this work by Luperini and Cataldi and their colleagues. The skill with which the work as a whole is planned and the information and discussion contained in its component parts are presented, is generally admirable. There is a certain amount of repetition, expanding a concept sometimes up to three times in the treatment of a major author or work, but this can be accepted as part of the pedagogical imperative; and there are occasional inaccuracies for instance, the persistent myth that Svevo became a bank clerk because of his father's financial difficulties.
But these are very slight blemishes in a generally imposing work. Many of the primi piani have striking analyses and theses. Luperini's study of the chronotope of La bufera is one example. Petroni's study of transgressive freedom in La coscienza di Zeno is another. In keeping with the character of the work as a literary history, and the aim stated in the introduction of tracing the shifts and changes in the literary canon and the role of reading practices hence the "interpretazione" in the title , there is always a strong focus on literary movements and debates and on the overall movement consistently downward, it would seem in the status of writing and of the writer.
This can lead to interesting chronological displacements. Thus the more "modern" Svevo is placed later than his younger but less advanced contemporaries, d'Annunzio and Pirandello. This is a particular instance or three instances of a fully defensible revision of the canon compared to, say, half a century ago, and, indeed, it goes a great deal further.
Luperini's and Cataldi's - and most people's - view of the Italian literary pantheon of the first half of the last century would be unrecognizable in Alfredo Galletti's Il Novecento of the old Vallardi series. Where now is the epic poetry of Ettore Cozzani? It rightly goes unmentioned by Luperini and Cataldi, while the accademico d'Italia Alfredo Panzini gets no more than a dismissive aside. One might perhaps only remark that more might have been offered in a work of this type on the reading public and its tastes as is done occasionally, e.
This leads to a more problematical consideration. Heedless of Gramsci, Luperini and Cataldi take a line similar to Spinazzola's regarding popular literature, which is dismissed as merely consumeristic. Thus, no attention is paid to Guareschi or Fallaci, who have been among the most widely read of Italian writers, both inside and outside Italy. They are implicitly excluded from "the literary".
Even works such as Il gattopardo and writers such as Bassani are belittled, with less than justice done to the debates that have surrounded them. This aristocratic exclusiveness is most massively evident in the treatment of women writers, who are given little space. Even if a claim could be sustained which I do not concede that as individual writers Italian women rank low in the literary league-table, there is at least a case for assessing their collective contribution as a category and the feminist critique whether explicit or oblique which they mount against the male hegemony.
Although, early on, we read: "Il progetto di emancipazione femminile [ Other omissions seem less significant in a work that cannot possibly aim at exhaustive comprehensiveness. Gallina and Bertolazzi do get usefully, if briefly, discussed, but we need not be surprised at not finding Pompeo Bettini, or even Ettore Cantoni, while the job of selection of course becomes harder still with the numerous writers that have surfaced in the last quarter of a century.
This guide is, I think, a must for the library of every university that has students of Italian, and is a good buy also for serious individual students and teachers. A Life in Works. New Haven: Yale UP, The most striking feature of this brilliantly structured volume is Hollander's ability to condense, in an erudite and at the same time communicative manner, the complexities surrounding Dante's works, their genesis, and dating. While not taking anything for granted and not assuming any preconceptions of Dante's production on the part of the reader, Hollander embarks upon a journey of discovery in which the two main fils rouges can be identified as the following: Dante's experimentalism, and the way in which the so-called minor works prepare the path for writing the Commedia and contribute to understanding it.
If we are to accept, as Hollander does, Petrocchi's dating for the Paradiso ; and if we respect the internal evidence provided by Monarchia In fact, Dante's masterpiece incorporates elements of his writings that had appeared, albeit in varying degrees, at times because of their interruption, in his early works Vita nuova, Convivio, De vulgari Eloquentia or his later output, mainly in Monarchia. Hollander follows the unfolding of such production through a series of approaches that are stimulating and challenging for both the uninitiated and those who, although not daring to call themselves Dante scholars, are reasonably familiar with Dante's oeuvre.
One such approach is evident from the very first pages, where Hollander highlights the importance of the Vita nuova and Dante's experimentalism by looking also at the poems that the author eventually did not include in his first major work; among those poems, one should certainly pay attention to the series of poems Dante exchanged with Dante da Maiano, in which casuistic love is analysed.
The figure of Beatrice in the Vita nuova is evidenced by Hollander in a chapter rich with scholarly exegesis and cross references to other scholars' contributions. Particularly essential are the notes in this and subsequent chapters, since they not only contain a plethora of information but are also an invaluable up-to-date bibliographical resource.
Hollander does not shun tackling some of the more contentious issues, such as that regarding the donna gentile and the function of consolation for Dante's loss of Beatrice, both in verse VN 38, v. The connection is anticipated with a discussion of Dante's "meravigliosa visione" , which finds a parallel in the context expressed by the "quasi rapito" of Convivio Thus, chronologically, Hollander turns to the incomplete Convivio, where, as in the Vita nuova, prose and poetry combine to express the author's ideas.
The question of style, which anticipates the digression on the historical validity of a work of fiction in Inferno 16, is certainly of paramount importance, and Hollander treats it also by referring to Purgatorio 24 ca. At that juncture, Dante looks back from this vantage point and declares that his "style" began when he composed "Donne ch'avete," around Hollander sustains that this declaration "makes it clear that there was no group of poets who adopted the style before that time - if there was such a group at all.
XXIV, 58 was, in his opinion, a fellow practitioner" Following the chronological order, Hollander takes into consideration first Convivio 1; and, before looking at the remaining three books, he focuses on the question of style that Dante raises in the De vulgari Eloquentia. Convivio 1 represents an introductory treatise to what Dante intended to be an encyclopedic work, and its second part ties in with his defense of the Italian vernacular, which will constitute the backbone of the De vulgari Eloquentia.
Books 2 and 3 of the Convivio confirm that the treatise was composed for a reader well acquainted with the Vita nuova, while only Convivio 4 broaches the relatively new subject of nobility. In line with his approach to Dante as an experimentalist, but also as a reviser, a re-shaper of early formulations, Hollander concludes: "The prose of the Vita nuova supplies meanings for some of the earlier poems themselves; the prose of the Convivio does so still in more striking manner; Convivio and De vulgari Eloquentia approach the question of language from apparently different or even contradictory positions; the Comedy frequently engages its precursors in the continuing process of growth and self-definition" On the second page of this volume, Hollander had spoken of the "telling presence in Inferno I of phrases found in Convivio IV"; a section of the chapters on Convivio elaborates on the way that the Commedia corrects some of the positions assumed in Convivio.
In his treatment of the Commedia Hollander opts for a series of themes - truth and poetry, allegory, the moral situation of the reader, the moral order of the afterworld, politics, the poetry of the Commedia - inviting the reader to revisit the three cantiche with an investigating tool sharpened by a series of insights and cross-references to the works already viewed, and with an eye to the final section on Monarchia.
Among the themes that Hollander pursues, three sections are reserved to Dante's three guides, who guide him through the afterworld. In relation to Virgil, Hollander returns to the question of style and to the fact that the reading of the Aeneid strongly influenced Dante's notion of poetry.
Hence derives Dante's belief that only a poetic work of considerable magnitude could attain poetic recognition, while also satisfying the poet's need to express himself on a variety of topics and to introduce a myriad of characters. We know, in fact, that previous works Vita nuova and Convivio had been characterized by a mix of poetry and prose. In Hollander's treatment, of particular interest is the linking of Virgil with tragedy Inf.
In relation to Beatrice, Hollander analyzes first her role in the Vita nuova and then, in the Commedia, her new role as a moral preceptor until she completes her task and returns to her place of glory in Heaven Par. The last section on Monarchia, preceded by the thematic elucidation on politics and a very succinct but comprehensive note on the Epistles, brings the volume full circle to the final part on the Latin works. A very well organized index facilitates the consultation of works and references contained in the notes. The text of Hollander's volume is arranged in such a way as to satisfy both the reader who is stimulated into a quick consultation of the passage under discussion, and the one who is prepared to undertake more extensive research by referring to the bibliographical references given in the notes.
Bruno Ferraro, University of Auckland. Patrick Boyde. Dante scholars have appreciated Boyde's outstanding scholarship over a number of years; this volume is somewhat the completion of a trilogy on Dante's poetry and thought - a trilogy started with Dante Philomythes and Philosopher: Man in the Cosmos and Perception and Passion in Dante's Comedy - but it does not take anything for granted and each section of the book takes the reader methodically first through the authors on which Dantes relied for 'moral' guidance and secondly through the application of such thoughts in the Comedy.
A further fil rouge of the volume, which confers organic unit to the many sections and adds a circular sense to the entire work, is the theme of the quest, symbolised by Ulysses, who is mentioned in the opening chapter and who is the subject of a close and perspicacious study in the closing stages of the volume; indeed the very title of the book is derived from Inferno XXVI 99 "e delli vizi umani e del valore". After a panoramic survey of the authors on whose works Dante draws for moral inspiration or guidance - Homer, Plato, Horace, Ovid, Lucan, Virgil, Boethius, Cicero and others - Boyde focuses on Aristotle; not before having pointed out, however, that the explanation of the principles underlying the classification of sins in Hell which we find in Canto XI owes as much to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as to Roman Law.
Chapter two is devoted to "the reading of a representative scholastic quaestio" 25 and it ends with Dante's metaphorical celebration of a 'quest' for knowledge, hence the importance and relevance of Ulysses. Boyde chooses an article from the Summa Theologiae by St Thomas Aquinas, to whom Dante assigns a major speaking role in the Paradiso, to illustrate the structure of the quaestio on happiness; such exercise leads to an insight in the way Dante introduces syllogistic forms in the opening passages of the Convivio, privileging a free combination of ratio and auctoritas, and in Monarchia, where Book III in particular shows Dante's delight in the use of syllogistic form.
It is here that we find vividly stated Dante's love for truth; it is the human quest for true and certain knowledge that Dante will highlight in the Comedy, which can also be viewed as a journey to God and, symbolically, to the understanding of love. With symbols comes also the function and importance of numbers in the Comedy - three, four, seven, ten and twelve, just to mention a few - and of the hierarchical positioning of the many components which belie order, an order which stems from God.
Dante's two extended metaphors of fronds on the tree, as described in the first canto of the Paradiso, are visually brought out by The Tree of the Vices and The Tree of the Virtues, which are reproduced from an English Psalter for Robert of Lisle in the years in which Dante was writing the Purgatorio, and which are the illustrations of the dust cover of the volume. In the second part of the volume Boyde carries out a detailed analysis of the content of Dante's ethical thought; this is done by focusing on the distinction between the philosophical and religious texts of the authors who concerned themselves with "human vices and human worth.
Chapter five looks at the Christian values trough Dante's eyes and proceeds with an investigation into the concept of gentilezza, a word which does not occur either in the Bible or in Aristotle. Boyde tightens the argumentation on the concept of gentilezza in Dante by relating it also to Aristotle's account of moral virtue and interpreting it as "a seed of happiness planted by God" After having illustrated the predominantly positive concepts goodness, happiness, virtue , Boyde devotes a chapter each to the two 'arch-vices' responsible for all wrong-doing: covetousness and pride.
Starting with the etymology of cupidigia and proceeding with an exemplification of its many facets in the Comedy, Boyde highlights Dante's repulsion towards those who have embodied this vice; a repulsion which is fundamental in Dante's ethics as can be seen in the last chapter of his Monarchia. Likewise, for the medieval Christian, superbia was the 'beginning of all sin' and Dante upholds this in the Farinata episode Inf. X , continuing his analysis of pride also in the encounters with Capaneus Inf. This last character is situated in the canto preceding that of Ulysses, to whom Boyde devotes the last chapter of this volume.
Boyde forewarns the conclusions to his book when he states how "difficult it is to separate the negative and positive elements in the character of a person with 'high self-esteem,' and how impossible was the thirteenth-century dream of reconciling the different ethical insights and values celebrated by Dante's authors" A chapter on justice, in which Boyde focuses on the literal and metaphorical meanings of the term justitia with textual reference to the episode of Rhipeus Par.
XIX , provides a poignant transition to the Ulysses chapter, a chapter that takes the form of a detailed case-study in which Boyde brings together, by applying them to the text of Canto XXVI, the many approaches, categories and themes so far discussed. Boyde states that Ovid's narration in Metamorphoses XIV provides a greater source of inspiration for Dante than Virgil's episode in Book II, where Ulysses is presented unfavorably and his name is linked with deception.
Dante had no direct knowledge of the Odyssey and learnt of Ulysses also from his reading of two passages in Horace's works where Ulysses is presented in a positive light, as per the Odyssey tradition. However, Dante has to come to terms with his own times and with his own ethical attitude towards fraud; the transition from his sources to his times is to be seen in the character of Guido da Montefeltro Inf.
Ulysses is explicitly damned for the very acts of deception of which Ovid's Ulysses had been proud" Dante, therefore, condemns Ulysses despite the fact that the author identifies himself with the figure of Ulysses, as it is evident in Purgatorio XXX in the course of his confession to Beatrice.
The ten chapters of the volume, subdivided into four parts, are accompanied by invaluable notes and an extremely well organized bibliography. Perhaps the only small blemish in the book - a typographical oversight: "Dante himself did not study make a formal study [ A final index facilitates the consultation of themes, personages and texts in Boyde's volume.
Eugenio L. Giusti, Dall'amore cortese alla comprensione.
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Studi e ricerche. Giusti riesce ad argomentare persuasivamente una tesi interpretativa che interessa ben dieci opere boccacciane: Caccia di Diana, Filostrato, Filocolo, Teseida, Commedia delle ninfe fiorentine, Amorosa visione, Ninfale fiesolano, Elegia di madonna Fiammetta, Corbaccio e Decameron.
I, pp. La riflessione scaturisce da una accurata analisi delle dinamiche narrative, specola privilegiata della ricerca. Negando la regola del segreto, alla quale, in accordo alla logica cortese, ogni perfetto amante doveva sottostare, la nobildonna napoletana, attraverso il medium del libro, riesce a rompere l'isolamento cui Eros l'aveva costretta e cerca nella comunicazione scritta una panacea per il mal di cuore.
Gli elementi portati alla riflessione sono tali, a mio giudizio, da consentire di affiancare alla interpretazione "ideologica", promossa da Giusti, anche una lettura semiologica. La presenza di figure simboliche Amante - Amore - Libro - Pubblico , riconoscibile quale costante nella produzione boccacciana in esame, testimonia una predilezione, tipicamente medievale, per la prosopopea che appare come rivitalizzata in Boccaccio dall'instaurarsi di rapporti di relazione tra le personificazioni, codificabili all'interno di una precisa teoria della comunicazione letteraria.
A differenza del sodalizio dei fedeli d'amore di ascendenza stilnovistica, nel quale lo scambio tra "emittente" e "destinatario" presupponeva la professione della medesima ideologia erotica cfr. La Vita Nuova di Dante Alighieri, a c. Sono questi i lemmi "comprensione" e "compassione", attorno ai quali ruota l'esegesi decameroniana proposta nel volume Il Decameron: Tra comprensione e compassione Appare invece ancora dedicato alla tematica del "modello negativo", analizzata per la Fiammetta, il capitolo quarto: Il Decameron: chiose al Corbaccio Pur rendendosi evidentemente necessaria una selezione dei materiali da sottoporre al vaglio critico, spiace che i riferimenti alla diegesi delle singole novelle vengano programmaticamente esclusi da Giusti, che limita l'esame alla sola "cornice" del Decameron.
Credo che si debba riconoscere a Giusti il merito di aver saputo significativamente contestualizzare il Proemio del Centonovelle boccacciano all'interno del percorso evolutivo della dinamica erotica del Certaldese. Collocata all'interno dello scambio interpersonale Decameron, Pr. Dalla comprensione della parola appare deterministicamente influenzata l'"operazione" 'azione' dell'uomo nel mondo. La sfera del reale, da banco di prova della Sacra Scrittura, diventa il campo di verifica, tutto laico, del messaggio dell'opera letteraria; e se la storia narrata ha come protagonista l'"autore" e le sue innumerevoli proiezioni nei "personaggi" , quella vissuta sembra conoscere quale unico arbitro il "lettore".
The Chivalric Epic in Medieval Italy. Although Vitullo's careful application of culturalist categories produces fresh insights into the conflicted ideological and linguistic identity that characterizes many of these narratives, her repetition of the same findings and conclusions across the three main sections of the volume renders a number of chapters somewhat predictable. In the introduction to the volume, Vitullo lays bare her episteme. Drawing upon Stock's Listening for the Text: On the Uses of the Past, Vitullo argues that the incorporation of Carolingian material in Northern Italian epics followed a "traditionalistic" model.
This is a model that does not depend upon the passive endorsement of tradition but, rather, is the product of a self-conscious appropriation of selected discourses from the past. More specifically, for Vitullo, Northern Italian epics employed those elements of Carolingian material that could give stability to the emerging value system of urban patricians.
Such appropriation is, of course, most interesting since it reveals how the emerging bourgeois culture of Northern Italian city-states sought legitimacy by incorporating discourses of a receding feudal world. Three separate sections further develop the broader reflections contained in this introduction. In "A Hybrid Genre" she argues that, contrary to traditional interpretations provided by critics such as Rajna, Viscardi, Limentani, Infurna, and Krauss, the eight Carolingian narratives of the Marciano XIII do not present a coherent vision of bourgeois ideology. Rather, they suggest the conflicting and contested presence of feudal and communal values.
Vitullo's claims are not only substantiated by cogent references to a number of historians who have stressed the problematic assimilation of pro-imperial and feudal value systems on the part of bourgeois culture, but also by extensive close readings of epic tales. These include the narratives of Bovo d'Antona and Uggieri, where the diminished role of the king does not entail the subversion of feudal values and the rigid hierarchy upon which these values are predicated.
The chapter concludes by suggesting that the hybridization of the chivalric epic was not confined to the Italian communes, but it is present in a number of late Carolingian epics produced in France, including the narratives of Huon de Bordeaux and Gaydon. In the second chapter of this section, "The Conflicting 'Family Values' of the Marciano XIII Manuscript," Vitullo continues to analyze the problematic assimilation of competing discourses in the epic narratives of the chanson de geste.
Focussing most closely on the issue of gender identification, Vitullo convincingly argues that, as the clan superseded the empire in the determination of social order, the epic genre moved towards an exploration of the threats that the clan was now facing. Such threats often came from within, that is to say, from the betrayal of family members, including women, as in the epics Berta da li pe grandi, Berta e Milon, and Rolandin. Women's subversion of the power of patriarchal authority also brought a weakening of rigid gender identification and, for Vitullo, paved the way for conflicted discourses about masculinity.
These include the monster from the Orient, the wild man as laborer and manual worker, and the woman as warrior. Drawing upon Garber's conceptualization of cross-dressing as a sign of both transgression and containment, from Garber's Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety, Vitullo insightfully analyzes the figure of the monster, from the story of Buovo d'Antona, and of the wild man, from Andrea da Barberino's Le storie nerbonesi. The chapter concludes by reflecting upon the high frequency of hybrid figures in Italian epics. Endorsing Butler's notion of identity as a construct that needs to be continuously created in order to retain binary oppositions, Vitullo finds that the extensive presence of cultural cross-dressers in the epic was ultimately a tool to reinforce traditional boundaries.
The second chapter of this section is devoted to the genderization of the male subject as revealed in the enfance narrative of late Medieval epics. They dramatize how young men can achieve a masculine identity only if queer sexuality, associated both with the Orient as well as with the absence of physical labor in the mercantile economy of Tuscany, is overcome.