Italian Cultural Institute
Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065
Events at this location
An evening dedicated to Paolo
An evening dedicated to Paolo Milano and Renato Poggioli, two Italian intellectuals instrumental in the development of a cultural dialogue between Italy and the United States, particularly in the fields of literature and comparative literature.
Paolo Milano came to the United States in 1938 due to the racial laws and remained until 1957; Renato Poggioli, a fervent antifascist, left Italy as well, in 1938, never to return, but maintaining strong bonds with his country of origins, so much so that he founded an Italian magazine called Inventatio (Inventory).
Franco Baldasso and Mattia Acetoso will speak, respectively, about Milano and Poggioli. With the presence of Sylvia Poggioli, the daughter of Renato, a correspondent from Italy for NPR.
Paolo Milano (Rome, 27 July 1904 – Rome, 2 April 1988) was an Italian literary critic and journalist.
He is best known for having been the literary critic of the weekly l’Espresso from the late fifties to the mid-eighties. He was literary critic of l’Italia Letteraria and Editor in chief of Scenario magazine before, due to the fascist racial laws of 1938, moving to Paris, then, in 1940, to the United States. Together with his wife Rachel and his son André he lived for fifteen years in New York, where he taught theater history at the New School for Social Research, then Romance languages and comparative literature at Queens College, collaborating in English with various newspapers and periodicals. In the fifties, together with friends Nicola Chiaromonte, Dwight Macdonald, Niccolò Tucci, Mary McCarthy, he supported the dialogue between American and European intellectuals, outside the limits imposed by the Cold War. In 1957 he returned to Italy. In 1991, Adelphi published Note in margine a una vita assente, an anthology from Milano’s journals from 1947 to 1955 edited by Laura Gonzales. Two years later, Gonzales edited for Sestante the short story Racconto newyorkese that Milano wrote in 1953, elaborating on a story reported to him by Saul Bellow (who, in 1947, had dedicated to Milano, his second novel, The Victim).
Renato Poggioli (Florence, April 16, 1907 – May 3, 1963), was an Italian academic specialized in comparative literature.
From 1938 he lived in the United States. At the time of his death, he was Head of the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. A prolific writer and translator, fluent in five languages, he is considered one of the founders of the academic discipline of Comparative Literature in the United States. In 1929 he received his doctorate in letters with a major in Slavic literature at the University of Florence. He also worked as a translator and critic. He was an exchange professor at the University of Prague. In 1938 Poggioli, who wished to leave fascist Italy, came to the United States with his wife to teach in a summer program in Vermont. Virtually upon his arrival in New England, he became involved in anti-fascist initiatives that led in 1939 to the creation of the Mazzini Society, of which he also served as interim president. In the fall of 1938 Poggioli was hired as a visiting lecturer in Romance language and literatures at Smith College where he gave a course in Dante. The following year he became Assistant Professor of Italian Literature teaching graduate students at Brown University, with an interruption from 1943–45 when he served in the United States Army as a translator. The academic year 1946-47 saw his first stint as visiting professor at Harvard. During the summer of 1947 he also taught at the University of Chicago.
Poggioli’s most ambitious project during this period was founding, with Italian writer Luigi Berti, who was based in Florence, the Italian language literary periodical Inventario (1946-1963) to which Poggioli contributed numerous articles and translations. The publication was intended to expose Italian readers, whose horizons had for years been narrowed by Mussolini’s censorship, to a broad range of new publications in contemporary literature of all countries. It published literary and critical works by and about such important writers as Giuseppe Ungaretti, Pablo Neruda, T.S. Eliot, Vladimir Nabokov and Boris Pasternak. Poggioli’s own magnum opus, his Teoria dell’arte d’avanguardia, which traced the connection between the twentieth-century avant-guarde and the legacy of nineteenth-century Romanticism first appeared in Inventario. In the fall of 1947, Harvard University, as part of its ongoing expansion of its department of Slavic studies, hired Poggioli. In 1951 he became head of the Department of Slavic Studies, switching over in 1952 to head the Department of Comparative Literature, a position he held until his death, caused by a car accident.
Poggioli is briefly mentioned in Saul Bellow’s 1964 novel Herzog.
Sylvia Poggioli, daughter of Renato, is senior European correspondent for NPR’s international desk covering political, economic, and cultural news in Italy, the Vatican, Western Europe and the Balkans.
Franco Baldasso (Ph.D, New York University) is the Director of Italian Studies, Assistant Professor of Italian, and Director of the Study Abroad Program in Italy at Bard College.
Mattia Acetoso is an Assistant Professor of Italian at Boston College. He received his PhD from Yale University in 2012.
Continuing the series "Exile and
Continuing the series “Exile and Creativity,” this evening explores the lives and works of the writer and political activist Amelia Pincherle Rosselli (1870-1954) and her granddaughter, the avantgard poet, Amelia Rosselli (1930-1996).
Marina Calloni (University of Milan) and Jennifer Scappettone (poet and translator)
The two Amelia Rosselli whose lives and work will be discussed and celebrated, were respectively, the mother and the daughter of the anti-Fascist leader Carlo Rosselli, founder of one of the earliest antifascist movements, Giustizia e Liberta’.
Mussolini had identified Rosselli as the regime’s most dangerous political opponent. After evading custody in the island of Lipari, Carlo Rosselli reached Paris where was joined by his wife Marion Cave, a British political activist. In 1930 their daughter Amelia was born in exile, seven years before the brutal murder of her father and uncle.
The elder Amelia Rosselli, born Amelia Pincherle was born in Venice in 1870. An accomplished playwright, translator, activist in the burgeoning women’s movement, as well as author of books for children, Amelia married and later divorced, Joe Rosselli.
After the murder of her sons, in 1937, Amelia gathered the two widows and seven children, and led the family to exile first in France, Switzerland, and England, and finally to the US.
Amelia’s political fervor that had inspired her sons, in the war years, became an inspiration for many Italian antifascists.
The younger Amelia, finding her way through exile and family tragedy, went on to become one of the foremost Italian poets of the second half of the 20th century. A self-described “poet of research” as well as a translator, musician, and musicologist, she is the author of eight poetry collections.
Her multi-lingual verses attest to what she described as a state of
permanent exile. Her tragic yet oddly consolatory voice has been compared to those of Celan, Bachmann, Char, Pasternak, Akhmatova, and Plath, all of whom she translated. She took her own life, at her home in Rome, in 1996
The program will examine the different ways in which exile impacted on the creativity of these two bold women whose work is being increasingly re-examined on both sides of the Atlantic.
Marina Calloni is Professor of Social and Political philosophy at the State University of Milano-Bicocca. Since 2007 she is a component of the Inter-ministerial Committee for Human Rights (CIDU), based at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome. From 2007 to 2010 she was member of the management board of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (based in Vienna) as representative for Italy and director of the «International Network for Research in Gender». Among her last books: A. Saarinen & M. Calloni (eds.), Women Immigrants as constructers of a New Europe. Gender Experiences and Perspectives in European Trans-regions (2012), Y.Galligan, S.Clavero, M.Calloni, Gender Politics and Democracy in Post-socialist Europe (2008).
Poet and translator Jennifer Scappettone was born in New York, and has lived in Italy, Japan, Virginia, and California. She received her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. Scappettone’s translations of the Italian poet Amelia Rosselli, collected in Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli (University of Chicago Press, 2012), were awarded the 2012 Raiziss/de Palchi Book Prize by the Academy of American Poets. Scappettone is also the author of the poetry collection From Dame Quickly (Litmus Press, 2009) and the editor and translator of a special feature on contemporary Italian experimental poetry for Aufgabe 7 (2008). Her book Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice, a study of the postromantic city as a crucible for twentieth-century experimentation across literature, politics, the visual arts, architecture, and urbanism, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.