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Spring 2005 Newsletter

Heliotropia, forum for Boccaccio research and interpretation

American Boccaccio Association
Newsletter Spring 2006


President: Janet Smarr
Vice President: Roberta Morosini
Secretary: Marilyn Migiel
Treasurer: Eugenio Giusti


Ente Nazionale Giovanni Boccaccio.

Following the invitation of the Presidente dell'Ente Nazionale Giovanni Boccaccio Dr. Massimo Gennari to lecture on Boccaccio's Decameron at two universities in Amazônia, I arrived in November in Belém, Amazônia. To my surprise, I was received at the Center of Italian Studies directed by Professor Heloisa Bellini in Belém by journalists and photographers of local newspapers who wanted to advertise the two lectures I gave: one at UFPA (Universidade Federal do Pará) and the other at UNAMA (Universidade da Amazônia).

At the University of UNAMA, Pasolini's Decameron was shown before my actual lecture, given in Italian with translation in Portuguese by Professor Bellini. I gave a general lecture on the main motifs and the composition of the Decameron, focusing on the art of modalities of narrating according to Boccaccio, with references to other works and with the help of illustration and slides.

At the University of UFPA in Belem I took part in a book launch at the Jornadas de estudo de literature, and here I presented on Dante and Boccaccio, mainly on Inferno XXVI and V to break the expectation of the myth already diffused by Francesco De Sanctis of a 'divine representation' in the Comedia and a human representation in the Decameron, to better reaffirm the divinity of the human celebrated in the Decameron and the human celebrated in the Comedia.

After Belem I went to the University of Bahia and Italia Amica, the Center of Italian Studies supported by the Italian Consulate. I gave a talk to the Department of Romance Languages on Boccaccio's realism and magic, with reference to Boccaccio's approach to legends circulating about Virgil the poet as a magician. The title I chose for this lecture is "Quattro passi nel ... 'giardino' poetico di Boccaccio: il Decameron tra realismo e magia". My last stop was at the University of São Paulo as a guest of the Institute of Italian culture. The colleagues at the Department of Italian funded by our poet Ungaretti, explicitly asked me to talk about Decameron VI, I for the students enrolled in their Master degree in Italian: "A cavallo con Madonna Oretta nell'officina poetica di Boccaccio: Decameron VI, 1 ovvero l'importanza di saper parlare e saper raccontare 'ordinatamente' per superare i 'fabulosi parlari' degli ignoranti" was the title I gave to my lecture. It was an evening lecture from 7:00 to 10: 30 pm, but there were no signs of tiredness, and all went in the recreational spirit of the 'lieta brigata', remembering Fiammetta's words that we were there «per aver festa e buon tempo» (IX, 5, 5) beautiful experience I had with those students so eager to know more about Boccaccio that they asked their teachers to start reading the Decameron in their next class.

This has been one of the most exciting and enriching learning experience of my life. I hope that a dialogue has been open with those institutions in Brazil, included Italia Amica in Bahia, as the beginning of a serious collaboration between them and us, the American Boccaccio Association and the Ente Nazionale Giovanni Boccaccio.

Roberta Morosini
Vice Presidente American Boccaccio Association

In Memoriam Anthony K. Cassell

On Sunday October 9, 2005, Anthony Cassell died of a heart attack near his home. He had been a professor of Italian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 34 years, and a member of the American Boccaccio Association since its beginning.

Professor Cassell completed his BA in comparative literature at the University of Toronto in 1962, and his Ph.D. in Italian from the Johns Hopkins University in 1969, as a student of Charles Singleton. His scholarship focused on Dante and Boccaccio. His Dante books include Dante's Fearful Art of Justice (University of Toronto Press, 1984), and the very first volume of the 100-volume Lectura Dantis Americana project, Inferno I (University of Pennsylvania Press 1989). The first of these books focuses on understanding the "contrapasso" nature of justice in several parts of Hell. Both volumes attest to his interest in detailed textual analysis and allegorical interpretation. His most recent volume, The Monarchia Controversy: An Historical Study with Accompanying Translations of Dante Alighieri's Monarchia, Guido Vernani's Refutation of the Monarchia Composed by Dante, and Pope John XXII's Bull Si fratrum (Catholic University of America Press, 2004), explored the network of political relations within which Dante wrote his treatise on government and the stubborn controversy among contemporaries over the issues with which he engaged. Through all his publications, as one reviewer remarked, "Cassell is known for his impeccable scholarship and critical thoroughness."

His Boccaccio studies began with the 1970 publication of "The Crow of the Fable and the Corbaccio: A Suggestion for the Title," MLN, 85:1 (Winter 1970), 83-91;"Il Corbaccio and the Secundus Tradition," Comparative Literature, 25 (1973), 352-60; "An Abandoned Canvas: Structural and Moral Conflict in the Corbaccio," MLN, 89:1, (Winter 1974), 60-70; culminating in his annotated translation of Boccaccio's The Corbaccio (University of Illinois Press, 1975). The excellent scholarly notes, which are roughly as long as the text, tackle many issues: commenting on the title, presenting arguments for the dating, elucidating imagery, indicating sources, and connecting the text with other relevant discourses of its time. This volume was reprinted as G. Boccaccio's Corbaccio newly revised with new introduction (Pegasus Books,1993). Cassell wrote the entry on Boccaccio for the Dictionary of the Middle Ages, edited by Joseph Strayer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1983). Together with Victoria Kirkham, Cassell co-authored Diana's Hunt (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991), an edition and translation of the Caccia di Diana accompanied by a lengthy study of its background, structure, and the allegorical meanings or traditional associations of the many animals that appear in the hunt, all leading to a suggested interpretation of the work.

Besides these five books and more than two dozen articles on his two beloved writers, Cassell served as a member of the Editorial Board for Dante Studies and for Italian Culture. As a contributor to the American Boccaccio Society's Lectura Boccaccii, Cassell gave a reading of Decameron III.9 at the MLA 2003, the first reading from the third Lectura volume, which is still in process.

Prof. Cassell was often in the vanguard of Italian studies. He generously hosted at Urbana-Champaign the very first annual meeting of the American Association of Italian Studies. His Inferno I launched the Dante Society of America's Lectura series. His work on the Corbaccio preceded by several years the centenary activities, which generated a broader revival of interest in Boccaccio's writings. Cassell and Kirkham's Caccia and Cassell's Corbaccio remain the only English translations of those texts, while his significant annotations and discussions of them opened a path of scholarly interest in those first and last Italian books by Boccaccio. His passion for Dante and Boccaccio scholarship and the detail and care of his scholarship have left a legacy of studies which will remain important for generations of scholars to come.

Janet L. Smarr

13 July 2006: Call for Contributors

The Lectura Boccacci volume for Day 3 is seeking contributors for tales 4 and 5. Boccaccisti interested in contributing a reading of one of these tales are invited to contact the coeditor of that volume, Prof. Francesco Ciabattoni fr359570@DAL.CA or by post at:
Prof. Francesco Ciabattoni
Assistant Professor of Italian
3047 Mc Cain
Department of French
Dalhousie University

Cari Amici di Boccaccio,

Spero di fare cosa gradita, inviandovi una piccola rassegna stampa sul riconoscimento di un autografo di Boccaccio, contenente gli epigrammi di Marziale, corredato da postille e quattro piccoli ritratti -- di cui uno di Seneca!


Elsa Filosa

Corriere della Sera

«Ora Milano ha due manoscritti autografi di Giovanni Boccaccio: uno è il commento all'"Etica Nicomachea", l'altro è questo intero codice, autografo dell'autore del Decamerone, scoperto da un giovane studioso della Cattolica, Marco Petoletti; come tutte le scoperte, anche questa nasce da un lavoro approfondito e anche da un po' di fortuna, perché il codice era già stato studiato ma non riconosciuto». Così il prefetto della Biblioteca Ambrosiana, monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi, ha annunciato ieri la scoperta di un nuovo tesoro nella Biblioteca che l'anno prossimo festeggerà 400 anni. Una scoperta importante e un arricchimento del già ricco fondo dell'Ambrosiana, a partire dai 1275 fogli del Codice Atlantico di Leonardo. «Questo è un codice in cui il Boccaccio ha copiato gli Epigrammi di Marziale, corredando i margini con postille e disegni, tra cui un probabile ritratto di Seneca e commenti "scandalizzati" per certe poesie che Boccaccio si spinge addirittura a "maledire" in quanto oscene». Qual è il destino del manoscritto? «Sarà oggetto di studio, prima di tutto. Ma stiamo pensando a una mostra sui grandi manoscritti autografi conservati qui, in cui il pubblico potrà ammirare le pagine di Leonardo, di Petrarca, ma anche di Goethe, di Ezra Pound, e ora anche quelle di Boccaccio». (Ida Bozzi)

Trovato un codice di Boccaccio - il manoscritto medievale scoperto all'Ambrosiana di Milano. L'annuncio di Ravasi MILANO
18 February 2006
La Repubblica

La straordinaria scoperta, del tutto casuale, si deve a un giovane ricercatore dell'Università Cattolica di Milano, Marco Petoletti. Una settimana fa lo studioso, scartabellando tra i preziosi volumi sulla tradizione dei classici latini della Biblioteca Ambrosiana, viene attratto da un manoscritto medioevale con gli Epigrammi di Marco Valerio Marziale, ricco di note e corredato da quattro piccoli disegni. Immediatamente gli pare di riconoscere la scrittura autografa di Giovanni Boccaccio, che ha studiato a lungo. Un'intuizione geniale che viene confermata, con certezza, dalle indagini più approfondite. Ieri monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi, prefetto della Biblioteca Ambrosiana, ha potuto dare, con orgoglio, l'annuncio ufficiale: «L'Ambrosiana possiede, per tradizione, un enorme fondo di codici manoscritti. E alcuni codici preziosissimi, tra cui uno proprio di Giovanni Boccaccio. Da pochi giorni la nuova scoperta: ora possediamo due codici autografi, scritti integralmente dall'autore del Decameron. Quest'ultimo, che fa parte del nucleo originario delle biblioteca, è stato restaurato recentemente, nel 2002, ma nessuno si era accorto fosse di Boccaccio».

Marziale è noto soprattutto per i suoi epigrammi, «qualche volta un po' maliziosi», sorride Ravasi. «Al punto che in una postilla di questo manoscritto - aggiunge Petoletti - lo stesso Boccaccio lo accusa apertamente di oscenità ("sia maledetto quel poeta") per l'uso volgare di verbi relativi alla sfera sessuale ("futuere" fottere) o corporale ("cacare") o l'uso esplicito di vocaboli che indicano l'organo sessuale maschile ("mentula") e femminile ("cunnus")». Il ricercatore si sofferma a lungo sulle postille: «Ci consentono di vedere la reazione di un autore sanguigno come fu il Boccaccio di fronte a un testo abbastanza particolare che aveva suscitato perplessità morali per il suo linguaggio decisamente osceno». Un epigramma del nono libro di Marziale ricorda un personaggio un po' squallido che si chiamava Filomuso, abituato a raccontare fandonie. E a fianco appare una postilla di Boccaccio, quasi invisibile, che ricorda il suo personaggio di "Frate Cipolla".

E' molto probabile che Boccaccio abbia recuperato il modello da cui copiò il proprio Marziale dalla biblioteca di Montecassino, durante il soggiorno napoletano del 1362-1363. Dallo studio dell'inventario della biblioteca di Giovanni Boccaccio arriva la conferma definitiva dell'autenticità del ritrovamento. «L'inventario non dice semplicemente che c'è il codice di Marziale - spiega Petoletti - ma cita, come sistema di identificazione, l'ultima parola del penultimo foglio. E l'ultima parola del penultimo foglio ("toxica seva gerit")coincidono alla perfezione. Nessuna altro manoscritto può presentare queste caratteristiche».

Così Boccaccio bacchettò Marziale 18 February 2006
Il Giornale

Ferdinando Maffioli

Per quattro secoli è rimasto negli scaffali della Biblioteca Ambrosiana. Prezioso ma anonimo frammento di quell'esorbitante patrimonio di codici manoscritti custodito dall'istituzione fondata da Federico Borromeo. La sorte gli aveva reso il servizio di sfuggire a incendi e furti ma l'aveva relegato in lande culturali periferiche. Nel 2002 era stato oggetto di restauro, ma anche allora nessuna delle mani che ne avevano ripreso le delicate pagine aveva sostato in qualche più profonda ipotesi. Fino a pochi giorni fa, quando l'intuizione di un giovane studioso dell'Università Cattolica di Milano, Marco Petoletti, ha improvvisamente accumulato su quel codice un patrimonio di sensazioni ed esperienze del tutto nuove: è il manoscritto, completamente autografo, con cui Giovanni Boccaccio ha copiato gli Epigrammi (dodici libri più Xenia e Apophoreta, circa 10mila versi) di Marco Valerio Marziale, morto attorno al 104 d.C.

Il codice - presentato ieri da monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi, prefetto dell'Ambrosiana, da Mirella Ferrari, ordinaria di Paleografia e Diplomatica in Cattolica, e dallo stesso ricercatore - fu copiato probabilmente dalla biblioteca di Montecassino, durante il soggiorno napoletano (1362-1363). La prova regina che quel testo fu sul suo scrittoio viene dalla biblioteca agostiniana di Santo Spirito a Firenze, a cui Boccaccio lasciò i suoi libri. Il manoscritto degli Epigrammi si trova in un inventario del 1451, dove sono indicate la prima parola della prima pagina («barbara») e le ultime parole della penultima («toxica seva gerit»). Le stesse del codice ritrovato.

L'autore del Decamerone non si limitò a riprendere le antiche poesie, ma corredò i margini con sue postille. Alcune particolarmente vivaci, come quella in cui «bacchetta» il Marziale più malizioso: «Sia maledetto questo poeta troppo piccante». D'altra parte Boccaccio fu il grande sponsor medievale del poeta latino (il codice ritrovato rappresenta forse proprio l'anello mancante di questa operazione «promozionale»). Fu proprio lui a darne notizia a Petrarca, che nelle sue ultime opere rifilò a Marziale il poco encomiabile giudizio di «poeta plebeo».

La scoperta permette anche di approfondire il dibattuto tema del Boccaccio disegnatore, visto che tra versi e postille trovano spazio quattro schizzi, tra cui un Seneca. L'importante ritrovamento sarà presto raccontato da Marco Poletti in un articolo - «Il Marziale autografo di Giovanni Boccaccio» - sulla rivista Italia medioevale e umanistica fondata da Giuseppe Billanovich, il docente della Cattolica che nella sua folgorante carriera ha rinnovato gli studi sulla fortuna e la circolazione dei «classici»: «Ogni manoscritto è miniera di storia», diceva. Basta scavare.


The American Boccaccio Association is accepting proposals for the session "Giovanni Boccaccio", at the MLA annual conference in Philadelphia, December 27-30, 2006.

Any abstract related to Giovanni Boccaccio's life, works, fortuna, and comparative study is welcome.

Please send proposals to Janet Smarr (Jsmarr@ucsd.edu). Deadline for submission: March 20.


Chris Kleinhenz announces that he is organizing a Symposium on the general topic of "Giovanni Boccaccio and Fourteenth-Century Italian Culture: Tradition and Innovation," which is scheduled to take place on April 21-22, 2006, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The participants include: Nora Beck (Lewis and Clark C.); C. Jean Campbell (Emory U.); Pier Massimo Forni (Johns Hopkins U.); Suzanne Hagedorn (C. of William and Mary); Christopher Livanos (U. of Wisconsin-Madison); Simone Marchesi (Princeton U.); Marilyn Migiel (Cornell U.); F. Regina Psaki (U. of Oregon); and Piotr Salwa (U. of Warsaw).


Victoria Kirkham has been invited by the President and Governing Committee of the Ente Nazionale Giovanni Boccaccio to join the Comitato di Consulenza Scientifica (Academic Advisory Committee), March 2005.


Eleonora Beck. Giotto's Harmony: Music and Art in Padua at the Crossroad of the Renaissance. Florence, Italy: European Press Academic Publishing, 2005.

Maria di Francia. Le Favole di Maria di Francia. A cura di Roberta Morosini (studio e traduzione dall'anglonormancio), Roma, Carocci, 2006.

Richard Kuhns, Decameron and the Philosophy of Storytelling: Author as Midwife and Pimp. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.

See also Heliotropia's Books Received List


Marilyn Migiel - A book on the moral dimension of the Decameron.


Elsa Filosa - "L'arte del Ritratto Femminile in Boccaccio: Studi sulla Narrativa del De Mulieribus Claris." UNC-CH (PhD 2005). 236 pages.



"Vittore Branca (Savona 1913 - Venice, 2004): In Memoriam." American Boccaccio Association Newsletter, Spring, 2005; online link through Heliotropia 2.2 (2004): http://www.heliotropia.org/abanews.shtml.

Jennifer Tonkovich and Victoria Kirkham, "How Petrarch Became Boccaccio: A Bronze Bust from the Morgan Library," Studi sul Boccaccio, special commemorative issue for Vittore Branca, 2005 (forthcoming).

"Maria a.k.a. Fiammetta: The Men Behind the Woman." In Boccaccio and Feminist Criticism, ed. Regina Psaki and Thomas Stillinger, as a special volume published by Annali d'Italianistica (forthcoming).

The Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies, ed. Gaetana Marrone and Paolo Puppa. New York-London: Routledge, 2007: all entries for Boccaccio: "Boccaccio, Giovanni," "Boccaccio's Latin Works," "Decameron," "Filocolo," "Ninfale fiesolano," "Teseida."

“Buon cavallo e mal cavallo vuole sprone, e buona femina e mala femina vuol bastone’: Medieval Cultural Fictions of Wife Battering.” In Albrecht Classen, ed. Love, Marriage, and Transgression in Medieval and Early Modern Literature. Medieval and Renaissances Texts and Studies. Leiden: Brill: 313-316: 2005.


(1)   AATI Convention October 2005 - Washington, DC


Thursday, October 13


Title of Session: Francesca e I suoi lettori
Chair and Organizer: Michelangelo Picone,
University of Zurich


  • Michelangelo Picone, University of Zurich -- "Petrarca e Boccaccio lettori di Francesca".



Session: Metamorphosis and Disguise in Boccaccio's Decameron
Chair and Organizer: Susanna Barsella,
Fordham University


  • Susanna Barsella, Fordham University -  "Travestimento e cognizione nella novella di Tedaldo degli Elisei (Decameron III, 7)".
  • Pier Massimo Forni, The Johns Hopkins University -  "Ovidio, Boccaccio e la metamorfosi del testo"
  • Tobias Foster Gittes, Concordia University -  "Tale of a Non-Transformation: Donno Gianni, Comar Gemmata and the Horse that Wasn't (Decameron IX, 10)"
  • Martin Marafioti, Pace University: "Transforming Lineage through ingegno: The Case of Giletta di Nerbona (Decameron III, 9)"




(2)MLA Conference 2005


Thursday, 29 December

462. Lectura Boccacci

1:45-3:00 p.m., Farragut, Washington Hilton

Program arranged by the American Boccaccio Association

Presiding: Pier Massimo Forni, Johns Hopkins Univ.

"Decameron III.10," Steven M. Grossvogel, Univ. of Georgia


Friday, 30 December

705. Boccaccio

12:00 noon-1:15 p.m., Dupont, Washington Hilton

Program arranged by the American Boccaccio Association

Presiding: Janet Levarie Smarr, Univ. of California, San Diego

1. "The Moral Vocabulary of the Decameron," Marilyn Migiel, Cornell Univ.

2. "Boccaccio's Decameron VI.10 and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales VI.287-968: Thinking on Your Feet and the Set Piece," Carol F. Heffernan, Rutgers Univ., Newark

3. "A Political Boccaccio? Avarice and the Merchant Class in the Decameron and Esposizioni," Kristina Marie Olson, Columbia Univ.




(3)  Renaissance Society of America - 2005



Panel Title: Animal/Human Boundaries in Renaissance Literature

Sponsor: Renaissance Studies Certificate Program, City University of New York, The

Graduate Center

Organizer and Chair: Nicola Masciandaro, City University of New York, Brooklyn


  • Presenter: Jason Houston, University of Oklahoma

Paper Title: "Matta Bestialitade": Man as Beast and Beast as Man in Boccaccio and Pulci Abstract: Originally used by Dante in describing one of the three categories of sin in Inferno XI, "matta bestialitade" has a curious afterlife. This paper will look at how Giovanni Boccaccio and Luigi Pulci borrowed Dante's term and blurred the distinction between man and beast. Boccaccio famously uses the term in his brilliantly equivocal last story of the Decameron ("Patient Griselda"). Luigi Pulci calls into question the difference between man and beast in his comic epic Morgante. Both authors use the cover of their comic voices to subvert the simple view of ethics dominant in the culture of early Renaissance Florence.



  • Presenter: Michael Wyatt, Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies

Paper Title: John Florio's Decameron

Abstract: Known today primarily as the first English translator of Montaigne, John Florio was also England's first professional Italianist. Language teacher, lexicographer, translator, and courtier, Florio played a critical role in the transmission of Italian Renaissance culture in early modern England. Florio's 1620 translation of the Decameron was the first complete version of Boccaccio's novelle in English, but based as it was upon the censored Florentine edition of 1584 and the French translation prepared for Marguerite de Navarre (first printed in 1545), Florio's Decameron raises a number of questions central to the problems inherent in any process of translation. A look at the novella of Alessandro and the Abbot, Decameron 2.3 will demonstrate how Florio drastically rearranges Boccaccio's sexual, economic, and political coordinates, placing in relief the translator's own ambiguous position in the late-Jacobean world.


Panel Title: New Approaches to Religion and Society: Seculars, Friars, and Saints in Early

Renaissance Italy

Organizer: Lezlie S. Knox, Marquette University

Chair: John S. Henderson, University of London, Birkbeck College

  • Presenter: George Dameron, St. Michael's College

Paper Title: The Secular Clergy in the Age of Dante and Boccaccio (1250-1375)

Abstract: This paper reviews recent historiography on the secular clergy, based on case studies of Florence, Pistoia, Lucca, Cortona, and Siena. Noting that until recently the secular clergy either received little or very negative attention, this paper argues that parish priests were vital to the social, economic, political, and (of course) spiritual well being of their parishes, particularly in the countryside. An overemphasis on the impact of the mendicants has prevented us from seeing the rich contributions of the secular clergy to the communities of which they were a part. Studies of the secular clergy have tended to focus also on either the urban or rural clergy as separate entities, but meticulous archival research demonstrates that we really need to do is to look at both at the same time. When we do, we find that we cannot talk of the secular clergy as a corporate body without referring to class.


(1) Renaissance Society of America meeting March 23-25, 2006 - San Francisco, CA




Room: Hilton V

Panel Title: Permutations of the Pastoral

Sponsor: Renaissance Studies Certificate Program, The City University of New York,

The Graduate Center

Organizer: Nicola Masciandaro, The City University of New York, Brooklyn College

Chair: Franco R. Masciandaro, University of Connecticut, Storrs

  • Presenter: Jason Houston, University of Oklahoma

Paper Title: Boccaccio's Pastoral: Recovery of a Mythic Vernacular

Abstract: From the works of his juvenilia to his last erudite Latin works, many of Giovanni Boccaccio's works participate in the pastoral genre. Boccaccio's pastoral is less concerned with narrating a lost Arcadia than with discovering a contemporary vernacular literary idiom. This paper considers select pastoral works in the key of Boccaccio's larger project of promoting vernacular humanism. In both of his early works, specifically Commedia Nifale fiesolano, and his later Latin works, specifically Buccolicum Carmen and De Montibus, Boccaccio's version of the pastoral invents an alternative to the rising tide of Latin humanism. Boccaccio uses the pastoral to invent an idealized vernacular history that prefigures the glories of Italian Trecento.



Room: Parc III

Panel Title: The Early Modern House as a Cultural Artifact II: Defining the House through Art

Sponsor: Renaissance Studies Certificate Program, The City University of New York, The Graduate Center

Organizer and Chair: Beth L. Holman

Co-organizer: Martin Elsky, The City University of New York, The Graduate Center

  • Presenter: April Oettinger, University of Hartford

Paper Title: Ekphrasis, Imagination, and the Ideal Palace Interior in Fifteenth-Century Italy

Abstract: This paper will address medieval romance and the poetics of imaginary palace interiors in fifteenth-century Italy. Recent scholarship has elucidated Renaissance treatises on ideal palaces, and uncovered a wealth of archival information about the embellishment of palace interiors. And yet, the ways in which the poetic imagination - particularly literary fictions - shaped these descriptions have not been fully appreciated. How were palaces of the imagination in early modern Italian painting and poetry grafted onto the tradition of romance, in which dreaming lovers searching for their beloved wander through, discover, and describe the decoration of marvelous castles? My paper considers how palace descriptions from the Roman de la Rose and Boccaccio's Amorosa Visione to the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili shaped poetic "portraits" of real palaces, such as the D'Este "Delizie" and the Medici palace, as well the genesis of "ideal" palaces in Renaissance courtly culture.



Room: Hilton IV

Panel Title: Intellectuals in front of Modernity: From Italy to Europe

Organizer and Chair: Stefano Jossa, Università degli Studi di Napoli

  • Presenter: Dario Brancato, University of Toronto

Paper Title: A Renaissance Intellectual from Sicily: Mario D'Arezzo

Abstract: After Pietro Bembo published his Prose della volgar lingua (1525), establishing fourteenth-century Florentine as the basis of standard Italian, many intellectuals felt uncomfortable about accepting the language of Petrarch and Boccaccio as the model of the new national language. In particular, a close friend of Bembo, Mario D'Arezzo from Syracuse, wrote the Osservantii di la lingua siciliana, an attempt of standardizing the Sicilian vernacular. My paper will expound on the debate on language in Sicily with a particular emphasis on D'Arezzo's tract.


FRIDAY March 24


Room: Hilton IV

Panel Title: Rereading Misogyny I

Organizer: Julia L. Hairston, University of California, Rome

Chair: Albert Russell Ascoli, University of California, Berkeley

  • Presenter: Julia L. Hairston, University of California, Rome

Paper Title: Boccaccio's Corbaccio and the Rhetoric of Misogyny

Abstract: For centuries scholars have debated the role of Giovanni Boccaccio's Corbaccio within his largely protofeminist corpus. This paper offers an alternative reading of the Corbaccio which emphasizes the role that rhetoric plays in its discourse and considers the narrative needs and therapeutic value of the text for its protagonists and readers.




Room: Michelangelo

Panel Title: Machiavellian Theater

Organizer: John Bernard, University of Houston

Chair: Raymond B. Waddington, University of California, Davis

Respondent: Margaret F. Rosenthal, University of Southern California

  • Presenter: Janet Smarr, University of California, San Diego

Paper Title: Griselda On Stage: Carlo Maria Maggi's Griselda di Saluzzo

Abstract: Carlo Maria Maggi is best known for the dialect comedies he wrote at the end of his life; but one of his earliest plays is a dramatization of Boccaccio's Griselda story. Rather than viewing either Griselda or the Marquis as positive models, the way earlier moral comedies had done, the seventeenth-century Maggi takes a critical view of both of them and, via the introduction of new characters, uses the play as an occasion to think through and respond to Machiavelli's political advice. Griselda becomes one extreme set against an opposite extreme, and it is her father who becomes the pivotal character in the play, in the process modeling a political relationship to princes that is neither violent and treacherous nor merely submissive.



Room: Dante

Panel Title: Symbolic Transformations: Meanings of Metamorphosis in Renaissance


Organizer: David R. Marsh, Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Chair: Susan Zimmerman, The City University of New York, Queens College

  • Presenter: Timothy Kircher, Guilford College

Paper Title: Masks and Metamorphosis in Alberti's Momus

Abstract: This paper inquires into Alberti's philosophical preoccupation with deception, with the relation between appearance and reality. His Momus is a Latin allegorical satire about divinity, philosophical truth, and the nature of authority. The central character Momus is a god given to deception and subterfuge; to achieve his various ends he transforms himself into a woman, a plant, and a poet-philosopher. Ernesto Grassi has called the satire Alberti's most significant philosophical work, since it prioritizes experience over metaphysics in the pursuit of knowledge. David Marsh has studied how Alberti adapted the writings of

Lucian in composing "the first Renaissance Latin novel." In contributing to this scholarly discussion, I examine the way in which the work conveys Alberti's ironic perspective toward the philosophical traditions of the mid-Quattrocento, and also question whether this irony attaches itself to Alberti's reading of Boccaccio's Genealogy of the Pagan Gods.



Room: Hilton VI

Panel Title: Three Winter's Tales

Organizer and Chair: Mary Thomas Crane, Boston College

Respondent: Dennis A. Britton, University of Wisconsin, Madison

  • Presenter: Melissa Walter, University of Oregon

Paper Title: Seeing Private Space in Cymbeline and The Winter's Tale

Abstract: As listeners to narrated events and as witnesses in The Winter's Tale and Cymbeline, audience members are invited to examine their own ethical implication in the drama. Cymbeline draws on Boccaccio's tragicomic novella of the dupe who outwits the deceiver to create a highly charged scene of privacy invaded in Innogen's bedchamber, but in The Winter's Tale the private space in Paulina's control is never invaded and becomes a site of recognition through Paulina's statue of Hermione. Are these two plays in dialogue about making art from the female body and about the representation of private female space on the public stage? How might the novella form, explicitly in Cymbeline and implicitly in The Winter's Tale, contribute to this dialogue? And, what do narration and performance in these two plays tell us about the ethical possibilities of narrative versus drama?



Room: Da Vinci I

Panel Title: A Shoe Fetish: Shoes and Shoemakers in Renaissance and Baroque Imagery

Organizer: Livio Pestilli, Trinity College, Rome Campus

Chair: Sheryl E. Reiss, University of California, Riverside

  • Presenter: Livio Pestilli, Trinity College, Rome Campus

Paper Title: Of Body and Sole: Representing Shoemakers in Renaissance Art and Society

Abstract: In two sequential anecdotes about Apelles, in which self-styled critics are derided for daring to comment on a subject outside their "professional" competence, Pliny used as foils to the knowing artist two individuals placed at the opposite ends of the social ladder: a monarch, Alexander the Great, and a craftsman, the shoemaker. The choice of a cobbler as the representative of the lowest members of society is not surprising, since in antiquity it was a well-known topos that survived well into the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, as echoed in comments by Boccaccio and Vasari. In this paper I will investigate the ways in which words and images from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance propagated this classist attitude towards those who earned their living with their hands by occupying themselves exclusively with the covering of the feet.




(2)  International Medieval Conference May 4-7, 2006 -- Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI)



Session 73

Valley I


How to Get Published: Advice from Editors and Insiders

Sponsor: La Corónica: A Journal of Medieval Spanish Language, Literature, and

Cultural Studies

Organizer: George D. Greenia, College of William and Mary

Presider: Francisco Gago-Jover, College of the Holy Cross

  • The Establishment of Heliotropia, a Forum for Boccaccio Research and Interpretation

Michael Papio, Univ. of Massachusetts-Amherst


Session 140



New Editions of Italian Texts

Sponsor: Scholarly Digital Editions

Organizer: Barbara Bordalejo, Univ. of Birmingham

Presider: Barbara Bordalejo

  • Boccaccio's Teseida: Print, Digital, and Multitext Editions

Bill Coleman, CUNY, and Eduige Agostinelli, CUNY



Session 315




Dante II: New Perspectives on the Vita nuova and the Commedia

Sponsor: Dante Society of America

Organizer: Christopher Kleinhenz, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

Presider: Nicholas R. Havely, Univ. of York

  • Boccaccio's Monument to Dante Allighieri (sic)

Jason Houston, Univ. of Oklahoma




Session 463

Valley I


Boccaccio and the Novella Tradition

Sponsor: Italians and Italianists

Organizer: Leslie Zarker Morgan, Loyola College in Maryland

Presider: Marilyn Migiel, Cornell Univ.

  • Political Boccaccio: Decameron between Commedia and Novelliere

Gay Bardin, University of California-Los Angeles

  • Lionardo Salviati and the 1582 Rassettatura of the Decameron

Daniel Tonozzi, Cornell Univ.

  • What's in a Name? The Cent nouvelles nouvelles (1464) and the Decameron

Nicola Jones, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge


Session 523

Valley I


Boccaccio's Decameron: Literary and Thematic Topoi

Sponsor: Italians and Italianists

Organizer: Leslie Zarker Morgan, Loyola College in Maryland

Presider: Leslie Zarker Morgan

  • The Beautiful and Unhappy Maidens in Decameron IV

Tiziana Serafini, University of California-Los Angeles

  • Monna Tessa's Fantasima: Eros, Food, and Fear in Decameron VII.I

Maria Romagnoli, Univ. of Cincinnati

  • Interfaith Liaisons in the Decameron: Reflections on Boccaccio's Attitude to

Religious Difference

Karina Attar, Queens College




(3)   AATI/AAIS joint Convention May 25-28, 2006 - Genova, Italy


Thursday, May 25, 2:00 - 3:15

Room D

28 | "Epistole, epistolari ed epistolarità."  I

Organizer and Chair: Ilaria Marchesi, Hofstra University


  • Simone Marchesi, Princeton University, e Gaetano Braccini, Italy, "L'invenzione di Plinio: Petrarca, Boccaccio e il modello epistolografico latino."

Friday, May 26, 2:00 - 3:15

Room A

81 | "Boccaccio's Decameron and the Practice of Irony/Parody"
Organizer: Dino S. Cervigni,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chair: Thomas Peterson, University of

  • Dino S. Cervigni, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Irony/Parody in Boccaccio's Decameron : Theoretical and Exegetical Considerations."
  • H. Wayne Storey, Indiana University, Bloomington, "La penna a cintola: l'immagine del mercante che scrive."
  • Paola Marconi, Holy Cross College "Love-sickness revisited, from the Prose Tristan to the Decameron."
  • Enrico Santangelo, University of London, Royal Holloway College, "Forms of Intertextuality and New Intertexts in Boccaccio."


Saturday, May 27, 3:30 - 4:45

Room B

130 | "The Three Crowns" 
Organizer: The William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies,
University of Notre Dame
Chair: Christian R. Moevs,
University of Notre Dame

  • Zygmunt G. Baranski, University of Cambridge, "Boccaccio and Epicurus."


Room G

135 | "Boccaccio mediterraneo: Temi, immagini e simboli"
Organizer: Roberta Morosini, Ente Nazionale Giovanni Boccaccio
Chair: Prof. Massimo Gennari, Ente Nazionale Giovanni Boccaccio, Università di Firenze

  • Doris Natis Cavallari, Università di Sao Paolo, Brasile, "La confessione parodica : Lazarillo de Tormes e ser Ciappelletto."
  • Stefano Jossa, Università di Napoli Federico II, "'Non giucando ma novellando': la nascita della comunità letteraria."
  • Luca Marcozzi, Università di Roma III, "Il viaggio di Fortuna: tra topos classico e dimensione dell'immaginario."