italian Faculty Books

Fin(s) du monde

La fin du monde reste un motif prégnant de l’imaginaire col- lectif, elle dessine un tableau aux variations inépuisables en lit- térature comme dans les autres arts. Si les horreurs du contem- porain semblent marquer une rupture sur laquelle bute l’ap- préhension de l’homme, en revanche l’angoisse ou l’espérance liées à la fin sont ataviques, au point que même le positivisme le plus récent n’a pu totalement les oblitérer. Ce constat sous- tend l’ensemble des contributions de ce recueil, qui interro- gent des démarches issues de contextes historico-culturels dif- férents – de l’Antiquité classique à nos jours. Abordant des questions aussi diverses que complémentaires, elles s’organi- sent autour des axes suivants : téléologies à/dans l’œuvre ; seuils, passages, transitions ; les temps d’après ; usages poli- tiques de la fin.


If the gaze can be understood to mark the disjuncture between how we see ourselves and how we want to be seen by others, The Cosmetic Gaze— in Bernadette Wegenstein’s groundbreaking formulationis one through which the act of looking at our bodies and those of others is already informed by the techniques, expectations, and strategies (often surgical) of bodily modification. It is, Wegenstein says, also a moralizing gaze, a way of looking at bodies as awaiting both physical and spiritual improvement. In The Cosmetic Gaze, Wegenstein charts this synthesis of outer and inner transformation. Wegenstein shows how the cosmetic gaze underlies the “rebirth” celebrated in today’s makeover culture and how it builds upon a body concept that has collapsed into its mediality. In today’s beauty discourse—on reality TV and websites that collect “bad plastic surgery”—we yearn to experience a bettered self that has been reborn from its own flesh and is now itself, like a digitally remastered character in a classic Hollywood movie, immortal. Wegenstein traces the cosmetic gaze from 18th-century ideas about physiognomy through television makeover shows and facial-recognition software to cinema—which, like our other screens, never ceases to show us our bodies as they could be, drawing life from the very cosmetic gaze it transmits.


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Agota Kristof et stephen Vizinczey quittent leur pays natal, la Hongrie, suite à la révolution antitotalitaire de 1956. Si leurs routes ne se sont jamais croisées – la première s’exile en Suisse et adopte le français, le deuxième s’installe au Canada et apprend l’anglais –, depuis cette date pourtant leurs livres n’ont cessé de témoigner d’une histoire partagée – bien que vécue de manière profondément personnelle – dont seule la fiction ne saurait rendre compte. C’est justement sur ce dialogue qui s’établit en secret et à distance que cet essai se penche et s’interroge. Complément et prolongement des contributions critiques publiées jusqu’à présent sur chacun de ces écrivains, il propose une analyse thématique et plurielle qui, au lieu de mettre en place un système de comparaisons plus ou moins fondées, préfère se servir des textes de l’un pour mieux appréhender ceux de l’autre. Ainsi, c’est par le biais de la juxtaposition que les nombreux allerretour entre passé et présent, vicissitudes individuelles et mémoire collective, dévoilent leur sens le plus profond. Et cela dans le but, non pas de recentrer le discours autour des procédés rhétoriques favorables à toute sorte de pratique quelque peu documentaire, mais plutôt d’évaluer les potentialités de la littérature et de l’art en général lorsqu’il s’agit de “réparer les fautes”, accommoder souvenirs et blessures afin qu’ils déclenchent un récit, peut-être véritable, mais pas nécessairement véridique.


Human bodies have been represented and defined in various ways across different cultures and historical periods. As an object of interpretation and site of social interaction, the body has throughout history attracted more attention than perhaps any other element of human experience. The essays in this volume explore the manifestations of the body in Italian society from the 14th through the 17th centuries.

Adopting a variety of interdisciplinary approaches, these fresh and thought-provoking essays offer original perspectives on corporeality as understood in the early modern literature, art, architecture, science, and politics of Italy. An impressively diverse group of contributors comment on a broad range and variety of conceptualizations of the body, creating a rich dialogue among scholars of early modern Italy.


Il volume prende in esame le inedite Annotationes quaedam super Artem Poeticam Horatii di Alessandro Piccolomini, testimoniate da un manoscritto autografo conservato per la Biblioteca Comunale di Siena. Tra i numerosi spunti offerti dalle glosse oraziane, la ricerca cerca di mettere a fuoco quelli che meglio permettono di valutare la poetica di Piccolomini nel ricco contesto della riflessione critica del pieno c inquecento: la portata sapienzale della poesia ed i suoi rapporti con la filosofia; la complessa dialettica tra diletto e giovamento poetico, significamente oscillante nel confronto tra le Annotationes ed il commento alla Poetica Aristotelica, pubblicato dallo setsso Piccolomini nel 1575.


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Many of us find ourselves confronted with rudeness every day and don’t know how to respond. P.M. Forni, the author of the acclaimed Choosing Civility, has the answer. In The Civility Solution, he provides more than 100 different situations, and shows us how to break the rudeness cycle. How would you respond to the following?


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Most people would agree that thoughtful behavior and common decency are in short supply, or simply forgotten in hurried lives of emails, cellphones, and multitasking. In Choosing Civility, P. M. Forni identifies the 25 rules that are most essential in connecting effectively and happily with others. In clear, witty, and, well…civilized language, Forni covers topics that include:

* Think Twice Before Asking Favors
* Give Constructive Criticism
* Refrain from Idle Complaints
* Respect Others’ Opinions
* Don’t Shift Responsibility and Blame
* Care for Your Guests
* Accept and Give Praise

Finally, Forni provides examples of how to put each rule into practice and so make life-and the lives of others-more enjoyable, companionable, and rewarding.

Choosing Civility is a simple, practical, perfectly measured, and quietly magical handbook on the lost art of civility and compassion.


The body as an object of critical study dominates disciplines across the humanities to such an extent that a new discipline has emerged: body criticism. In Getting Under the Skin, Bernadette Wegenstein traces contemporary body discourse in philosophy and cultural studies to its roots in 20th-century thought—showing how psychoanalysis, phenomenology, cognitive science, and feminist theory contributed to a new body concept—and studies the millennial body in performance art, popular culture, new media arts, and architecture. Wegenstein shows how the concept of bodily fragmentation has been in circulation since the 16th century’s investigation of anatomy. The history of the body-in-pieces, she argues, is a history of a struggling relationship between two concepts of the body—as fragmented and as holistic. Wegenstein shows that by the 20th century these two apparently contradictory movements were integrated; both fragmentation and holism, she argues, are indispensable modes of imagining and configuring the body. The history of the body, therefore, is a history of mediation; but it was not until the turn of the 21st century and the digital revolution that the body was best able to show its mediality.

After examining key concepts in body criticism, Wegenstein looks at the body as “raw material” in 20th-century performance art, medical techniques for visualizing the human body, and strategies in popular culture for “getting under the skin” with images of freely floating body parts. Her analysis of current trends in architecture and new media art demonstrates the deep connection of body criticism to media criticism. In this approach to body criticism, the body no longer stands in for something else—the medium has become the body.


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  • Humanism and Creativity in the Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Ronald G. Witt

  • 2006, Brill Academic Publishers
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This volume comprises original contributions from 17 scholars whose work and careers Ronald Witt has touched in myriad ways. Intellectual, social, and political historians, a historian of philosophy and an art historian: specialists in various temporal and geographical regions of the Renaissance world here address specific topics reflecting some of the major themes that have woven their way through Ronald Witt’s intellectual cursus. While some essays offer fresh readings of canonical texts and explore previously unnoticed lines of filiation among them, others present “discoveries,” including a hitherto “lost” text and overlooked manuscripts that are here edited for the first time. Engagement with little-known material reflects another of Witt’s distinguishing characteristics: a passion for original sources. The essays are gathered under three rubrics: “Politics and the Revival of Antiquity”; “Humanism, Religion, and Moral Philosophy”; and “Erudition and Innovation.”


  • The Lost Italian Renaissance: Humanists, Historians, and Latin’s Legacy

  • 2005, Johns Hopkins University Press
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The intellectual heritage of the Italian Renaissance rivals that of any period in human history. Yet even as the social, political, and economic history of Renaissance Italy inspires exciting and innovative scholarship, the study of its intellectual history has grown less appealing, and our understanding of its substance and significance remains largely defined by the work of 19th-century thinkers. In The Lost Italian Renaissance, historian and literary scholar Christopher Celenza argues that serious interest in the intellectual life of Renaissance Italy can be reinvigorated—and the nature of the Renaissance itself reconceived—by recovering a major part of its intellectual and cultural activity that has been largely ignored since the Renaissance was first “discovered”: the vast body of works—literary, philosophical, poetic, and religious—written in Latin.

Produced between the mid-14th and the early 16th centuries by major figures such as Leonardo Bruni, Lorenzo Valla, Marsilio Ficino, and Leon Battista Alberti, as well as minor but interesting thinkers like Lapo da Castiglionchio the Younger, this literature was initially overlooked by scholars of the Renaissance because they were not written in the vernacular Italian which alone was seen as was the supreme expression of a culture. This lack of attention, which continued well into the 20th century, has led interpreters to misread key aspects of the Renaissance. Offering a flexible theoretical framework within which to understand these Latin texts, Celenza explains why these “lost” sources are distinctive and why they are worthy of study.

What will we really find among the Latin texts of the Renaissance? First, Celenza contends, there are a limited number of intellectuals who deserve a place in any canon of the period, and without whom our literary and philosophical heritage is diminished. Second, and more commonly, this literature establishes the intellectual traditions from which such well-known vernacular writers as Machiavelli and Castiglione emerge. And third, these Latin texts may contain strands of intellectual life that have been lost altogether. A groundbreaking work of intellectual history, The Lost Italian Renaissance uncovers a priceless intellectual legacy suggests provocative new avenues of research.