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Three Italian Epistolary Novels

Foscolo, De Meis, Piovene – Translations, Introductions, and Backgrounds

Vincenzo Traversa

Three Italian Epistolary Novels looks at the development of a literary genre that flourished in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and counted among its illustrious authors Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. These translations of three Italian novels by Foscolo, De Meis, and Piovene – never offered before in a single study – reflect social, historical, and stylistic aspects through 150 years of Italian literature from the birth of a touching romantic story to the time of the new currents in Italy and the period of World War II. The book is particularly suited for studies in Italian, European, and comparative literature programs.
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Theseid of the Nuptials of Emilia- Teseida delle nozze di Emilia

Translated with an introduction by Vincenzo Traversa

Vincenzo Traversa

The first epic poem written in Italian is the Teseida delle nozze di Emilia (Theseid of the Nuptials of Emilia) by Giovanni Boccaccio, the well-known author of the Decameron. Conceived and composed during the Florentine author’s stay in Naples, it combines masterfully both epic and lyric themes in a genre that may be defined as an epic of love. Besides its intrinsic literary value, the poem reflects the author’s youthful emotions and nostalgia for the happiest times of his life.
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The Laude in the Middle Ages

Translated and with a Commentary by "Vincenzo Traversa

Vincenzo Traversa

The laude represent a particularly significant and unique aspect of Italian medieval devotional literature. Tracing their origin from St. Francis of Assisi's Laudes creaturarum, the laude developed into a popular poetic form among religious groups. This book contains a collection of laude composed in the area of central Italy. They are dedicated to the Virgin Mary, to the patron saint of Arezzo, and to several other religious figures. All share the traditional hortatory fervor and effusion for divine love and protection. They also reveal the writers' considerable knowledge of hagiographical and historical traditions.
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Vincenzo Traversa

Several poetic and prose compositions in early Italian literature contain references to the bubonic plague and other illnesses that were used in the language both literally and metaphorically. The first detailed description of a plague epidemic, however, was written by Giovanni Boccaccio in the introduction to The Decameron. It is a precise and dramatic view of the physical, social, and medical conditions of Florence during the epidemic of 1348. The Theme of the Plague in Italian Letters follows the subsequent developments, both in poetic and prose works, until the time of the plague of Milan of 1630. With the report of Giuseppe Ripamonti and other writers, the plague became not only a medical issue but also a topic involving the laws of the time as they appear in the trials of the presumed untori (spreaders of the disease). A combination of faith, fear, and superstition led the legal officials and the populace to imagine that the plague was a divine punishment and was deliberately spread by individuals of criminal nature. Arrests and trials involving interrogations and the use of merciless physical tortures (a legitimate procedure in Europe at that time) brought about a formidable reaction led by early humanitarians, such as Cesare Beccaria and Pietro Verri, who determined the eventual changes in the laws and legal procedures. The Plague of Milan of 1630 by Giuseppe Ripamonti, the treatise by L. A. Muratori Del Governo della Peste, 1720, and several interventions contributed to a series of radical changes that appeared in the works of Alessandro Manzoni, such as The Betrothed and The History of the Pillar of Infamy that are discussed in part or in full in this study.