The Two Amelias
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
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.