duPont call numbers for Italian
DE Greco-Roman History
DG Italian history, Malta
N 6911-6923 Italian art
PC 1000-1999 Italian language
PQ 4001-5999 Italian literature
This guide brings together the various resources relating to Italian culture in the duPont Library at the University of the South.
- Tabs will lead you to specific kinds of resources.
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New books in the duPont Library
Our image of the Roman world is shaped by the writings of Roman statesmen and upper class intellectuals. Yet most of the material evidence we have from Roman times-art, architecture, and household artifacts from Pompeii and elsewhere-belonged to, and was made for, artisans, merchants, and professionals. Roman culture as we have seen it with our own eyes, Emanuel Mayer boldly argues, turns out to be distinctly middle class and requires a radically new framework of analysis.
Starting in the first century bce, ancient communities, largely shaped by farmers living within city walls, were transformed into vibrant urban centers where wealth could be quickly acquired through commercial success. From 100 bce to 250 ce, the archaeological record details the growth of a cosmopolitan empire and a prosperous new class rising along with it. Not as keen as statesmen and intellectuals to show off their status and refinement, members of this new middle class found novel ways to create pleasure and meaning. In the décor of their houses and tombs, Mayer finds evidence that middle-class Romans took pride in their work and commemorated familial love and affection in ways that departed from the tastes and practices of social elites.
Dante’s Vita Nova (circa 1292–1295) depicts the joys and sorrows, the discoveries and conflicts of Dante’s early love for Beatrice—who would achieve later and even greater fame in Commedia—starting with his first sighting of her and culminating in his prevision of Beatrice among the beatified in heaven. Award-winning translator and poet Andrew Frisardi channels the vigor and nuance of Dante’s first masterpiece for a modern audience.
The “little book,” as Dante calls it, consists of thirty-one lyric poems—mostly sonnets—embedded in a prose narrative, which both recounts an apparently autobiographical set of events also evoked in the poems and offers analysis of the poems’ construction in the medieval critical tradition of divisio textus, or division of the text. Dante selected poetry he had written before age twenty-eight or so and wrote the prose to shape it into a story. The poems anthologize Dante’s growth as a poet, from the influence of his earliest mentors to the stylistic and thematic breakthroughs of his poetic coming-of-age.
The interplay of poetry and prose in Vita Nova, along with the further distinction in the latter between autobiography and critical divisioni, presents a particular challenge for any translator. Frisardi faithfully voices the complex meter and rhyme schemes of the poetry while capturing the tone of each of the prose styles. His introduction and in-depth annotations provide additional context for the twenty-first-century reader.
‘And by now, mind, it’s too late to redeem your debts by giving up guzzling.’
Dante's poetic correspondence (or tenzone) with Forese Donati, a relative of his wife, was rife with crude insults: the two men derided one another on topics ranging from sexual dysfunction and cowardice to poverty and thievery. But in his Commedia, rather than denying this correspondence, Dante repeatedly acknowledged and evoked the memory of his youthful put-downs.
Dante's Tenzone with Forese Donati examines the lasting impact of these sonnets on Dante's writings and Italian literary culture, notably in the work of Giovanni Boccaccio. Fabian Alfie expands on derision as an ethical dimension of medieval literature, both facilitating the reprehension of vice and encouraging ongoing debates about the true nature of nobility. Outlining a broad perspective on the uses of literary insult, Dante's Tenzonewith Forese Donati also provides an evocative glimpse of Dante's day-to-day life in the twelfth century.