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AdI 2015: The Great War and the Modernist Imagination in Italy
Guest-Editors: Luca Somigli (University of Toronto) and Simona Storchi (University of Leicester)
In his recent survey of cultural responses to the First World War, historian Emilio Gentile defined the Great War as the “apocalypse of modernity,” the event considered by general consensus as a defining moment in Western civilization, caused by the forces of modernity (in terms of politics, philosophy, economic systems) but also experienced as a quintessential “modern” phenomenon (in terms of warfare, apocalyptic imaginary, eschatological philosophy, etc.). Clearly perceived as a creation of modern man, an event capable of changing the destiny and future of human beings and nations, the war challenged received notions about the foundations of European civilization, the relationship between human beings and technology, and, in general, the faith in progress that had characterized the development of industrial society. The attempts made by the various nations involved to legitimate the conflict produced clashing interpretations and myths — not least, the “war to end all wars.” In Italy in particular, even before intervention and increasingly so after its end, the war was seen as a crucial rite of passage in the formation of national identity, leading to the rise of competing interpretations — from the “fourth war of Independence” to the “capitalist war,” from the “mutilated victory” to the conflict that produced the Fascist spirit, to name only a few — that informed Italian cultural production well into the Fascist ventennio.
2015 marks the centenary of Italy’s intervention in the First World War. This issue of Annali d’Italianistica aims to reassess and shed new light on the cultural perceptions of the experience of the war and its elaborations. Essays that consider the impact of the war on the literary and visual culture of modernism, for which it constitutes a watershed moment, are especially welcome. The volume will be divided into four sections, each addressing one of the following questions: How did the war impact on the literary and artistic imaginary and become a catalyst for cultural debates and aesthetic expressions? How were conceptions of the modern elaborated in relation to the war experience? How did art and politics collide and clash when confronted with the reality of the war and its aftermath? How did the experience of the war affect the perception and self-perception of intellectuals and of their role in society?
Possible topics to be considered may include: Apocalyptic aesthetics — war and the literary and artistic imaginary before, during and after the conflict; the war and Italian identity: redefining national culture; artists at war: avant-gardes/arrière gardes and the politics of the modern; the war and technological imagination; gendering the Great War: rethinking gender roles during the conflict; the Great War as a historical turning point, e.g., as culmination of the process of national unification; as ground of formation of Fascism, etc.; shell-shocked: representing physical and psychological trauma; the war and the new media (photography, telegraphy, cinema); the war in popular culture; he Great War between myth and reality; on the battlefield: writing in the trenches and on the frontlines; guerrafondai and disfattisti: intellectuals and the legitimation of the war.
Deadline for submission is September 30, 2014; the volume will be published in the fall of 2015. All contributions will be refereed. Essays, not to exceed 25 double-spaced pages, can be written in Italian or English, and should conform to the style-sheet criteria set forth by Annali d’Italianistica: http://ibiblio.org/annali/norms.html.
Prospective contributors should address inquires to both guest editors:
Luca Somigli: firstname.lastname@example.org
Simona Storchi: email@example.com
AdI 2016: Speaking Truth to Power from Medieval to Modern Italy
Guest-Editors: Jo Ann Cavallo (Columbia University) and Carlo Lottieri (Università di Siena)
We seek original, unpublished essays exploring instances in which literary characters and historical figures from the medieval to the modern period articulate personal, political, economic, or religious freedoms or otherwise challenge the established power of the state at the risk of their livelihood or their very lives.
In a court trial in which she faced a death sentence for adultery, Boccaccio’s Madonna Filippa wittily defends herself by refuting the legitimacy of a law made without her consent, proclaiming self-ownership of her body and evoking free market principles (Decameron 6.7). She thereby not only successfully regains her freedom but also succeeds in overturning an unjust law. Yet those who defend their rights and liberties against the powers that be have not always been quite so fortunate, especially in real-life scenarios. Just a few generations later, the humanist Poggio Bracciolini penned an account of Jerome of Prague’s pre-execution discourse, which eloquently argued for intellectual freedom as it condemned the abuses of the Roman Curia. As many other critics of the Church also discovered, speaking out against unsavory papal practices could have fatal consequences even if one did not attempt to enunciate alternative metaphysical or scientific views as Giordano Bruno and Galileo later did.
While expressions of the right to personal, intellectual, or religious liberty presented an implicit threat to the political establishment, some authors aimed their comments and criticisms — whether in their own voice or through the invention of literary characters —directly against the machinations of the ruling elite. Well aware of the peril to one’s person in confronting princely power, Castiglione advised courtiers to use salutary deception like a doctor who sweetens the rim of a medicine cup (Libro del cortegiano 4.10). Machiavelli’s disregard for such tactics in his passionate critique of the ottimati in “Ricordi ai Palleschi” (1512) may have contributed to his imprisonment and torture in 1513 as an alleged conspirator planning to overthrow the Medici government.
We encourage essays that address underlying ideological premises or make use of political and social theory in treating imagined or actual expressions of personal or community rights in the face of institutionalized power. Attention to intellectual traditions that valorize human action, such as libertarian philosophy and the Austrian School of Economics, is especially welcome. In contextualizing occurrences in which writers dared to confront power structures across the centuries, we also aim to shed light on similarities and differences in the peninsula’s shifting social, economic, and political configurations. Literary or historical examples to consider might include Alberti's Momus, Tarabotti’s Tirannia paterna, Manzoni’s Storia della colonna infame, Morante’s La storia, and Pasolini’s Scritti corsari.
The deadline for submission is September 30, 2015; the volume will be published in the fall of 2016. All contributions will be refereed. Essays, not to exceed 25 double-spaced pages, can be written in Italian or English, and should conform to the style-sheet criteria set forth by Annali d'Italianistica.
Prospective contributors should address inquiries to both guest editors:
Jo Ann Cavallo, Columbia University: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carlo Lottieri, Università di Siena: email@example.com