In Autumn 2021, Associate Professor of Italian Studies Beatrice Arduini published several new works in Italian and Textual Studies, including scholarship that connects with her work supported by the Simpson Center’s Digital Humanities Summer Fellowships earlier that year.
In collaboration with Jelena Todorović, Professor Arduini co-wrote “Biscioni’s Dante,” published in Textual Cultures, vol. 14, no. 1. This essay focuses on the 1723 edition of two of Dante Alighieri’s “minor texts,” the Vita Nova and the Convivio, both of which had troubled editorial histories, within the volume Prose di Dante Alighieri e di Messer Gio. Boccacci prepared for the Tartini press in Florence by Anton Maria Biscioni. In intervening in the texts of both works in unique ways, this edition sought to return to Dante’s original intentions when writing them. This essay argues that Anton Maria Biscioni’s work offers modern readers a unique glimpse into the workshop of an editor of this eighteenth-century edition of Dante’s texts, an editor who details all the facets of the editorial process, from the collation of manuscripts to the hard choices determined by that collation and by the current practices of the editorial trade. The authors argue that main achievements of this 1723 edition can be seen in its editor’s promotion of bibliographical studies.
Also with Jelena Todorović (Associate Professor of Italian, University of Wisconsin Madison), along with Isabella Magni (Postdoctoral Fellow at the HathiTrust Research Center, HTRC, and Indiana University Luddy School of Informatics), Arduini co-edited as well as contributed an article to the volume, Interpretation and Visual Poetics in Medieval and Early Modern Texts: Essays in Honor of H. Wayne Storey, published by Brill in October.
Arduini explained, “I wanted to edit (and contribute) to this festchrift to honor the work and the career of our advisor and mentor, H. Wayne Storey. This is a tradition that lives very much in the Italian academic world, and many of Wayne’s friends, colleagues and former students were delighted to participate. Therefore, the project is intended for an academic audience interested in medieval and early modern Italian and French studies, textual studies and material culture. We wanted to delineate new research directions and opportunities in our fields of medieval studies, textual studies and digital humanities, based on and inspired by Wayne’s work, hence the word ‘new’ in the title of the volume. Accordingly, many contributions in the volume offer new paths of scholarly exploration that stem from his research. In line with this aim, we divided the essays into two parts, ‘Materiality and Visual Poetics’ and ‘Hermeneutics and Literary Criticism,’ reflecting a range of source texts and approaches that have common roots in two distinct but inseparable strains of Wayne’s scholarly legacy, which are also central to our own research, material studies and hermeneutics.”
Arduini’s article in the volume, ” ‘Dolente me/ son morto ed ag[g]io vita!’ The sonnet corona of ‘disaventura’ by Monte Andrea da Firenze,” examines how Monte presents himself as an emblematic example of misfortune and a poet of bad luck, illustrating with bitterness and tragic realism the precarious economic situation that condemned him to a marginal role in society after his bankruptcy. It is an uncommon characterization of poverty for the Italian 13th century: it moves away from its view as shame and disgrace to hint to a larger social problem, but also refuses the Christian ideal of poverty, which dictates to devalue worldly (i.e., economic and political) success to glorify a more transcendent vision, as presented in the Franciscan tradition and in Dante. The article includes translation of six sonnets, and is part of a larger book project on representation of poverty and suffering, tentatively entitled Suffering Sonnets: The Physicality of Love and Poverty in Monte Andrea (Florence, second half of the 13th century). Arduini started working on a virtual database and digital companion to her book project in summer 2021 thanks to the generous support of one of the Simpson Center DH Summer Fellowships.
Professor Arduini will be examining these themes of poverty as well as incarceration and slavery in her upcoming Spring 2022 class, ITAL 354 A: Travels, Migrations, and Exile: Encounters with the Other in Textual and Digital Archives (offered jointly with C LIT 361 A). Taught in English, the five-credit course has no prerequisites and satisfies both the Diversity (DIV) and Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA) GE requirements.