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David Birdsong, Chair 201 W 21ST STREET STOP B7600, HRH 2.114A, AUSTIN, TX 78712 • 512-471-5531

FIGSO Working Papers Series

Tue, April 2, 2013 • 3:30 PM • HRH 2.118

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Elizabeth Florea - Italian Studies


Turning the Tables on Romance:
Rustichello da Pisa Invents a New Chivalric Table in his
Compilation


In 1272-1274 CE Rustichello da Pisa (known for the transcription of Marco Polo’s Milione), wrote a Compilation from a livre dou latin borrowed from Edward I, who was passing through Italy on his way to Acre for the 9th Crusade. This manuscript includes various chivalric exploits of Tristan, Lancelot, Palamedes, Gawain, and the knights of Uther Pendragon’s Table and those of King Arthur’s Round Table. Rustichello’s text was the first Arthurian romance written and/or transcribed by an Italian and hence, it’s relevance to the “Arthur of the Italians” panel at the AAIS. The introductory part of the Compilation contains the story of li Viel Chevalier Branor li Brun or the Old Knight, which could be considered an “original” episode. In fact, Italian scholar Fabrizio Cigni believes that in the absence of a narrative model, the Branor episode could be the creation of Rustichello. If we believe this assumption, I posit that the Branor character is actually a veiled representation of Rustichello’s patron, King Edward I of England. Moreover, I think that Rustichello places Edward squarely between both the old and new chivalric orders to ingratiate his patron but also to capitalize on the outstanding virtues of inimitable Branor li Brun or by extension, Edward I.  The character of Branor is known for his huge size/strength and his pious nature. Likewise Edward was known as “Longshanks” and was considered “pious” because he went on Crusade. These facts are attested to in both his funeral Elegy and Lament, written respectively in Middle English and Anglo-Norman. I believe that Rustichello is demonstrating through the character of Branor, that Edward’s strength was both superior to the “old” knights of Uther Pendragon’s Table, and that his piety was greater than the “new” knights of Arthur’s Round Table because Branor li Brun or
“Edward,” bests them all.

 


Beatrice Mabrey - Italian Studies


The particular construction of memory in Carlo Lucarelli’s L’ottava vibrazione as read through the lens of Wu Ming 1’s
“Memorandum”


This paper analyzes the particular construction of memory in Carlo Lucarelli’s L’ottava vibrazione as read through the lens of Wu Ming 1’s “Memorandum.” Among the many authors and literary works cited in the “Memorandum,” L’ottava vibrazione emerges as a vibrant example of a literary text that constructs a uchronic space which enables the reader to imagine— however briefly— an alternate concatenation of events. By evoking the rich, multivocal reality of Eritrea in the weeks immediately preceding the Battle of Adua, Lucarelli encourages the reader to both revisit an often-obscured historical event and to directly address shared conceptions of Africa. In so doing, Lucarelli, and subsequently Wu Ming 1, advance an alternative mode of bearing witness. This mode enables the reader to interact dialogically with a dominant culture memory and to rearticulate the place of that event in contemporary Italian society.

 


Melissa Demos - Italian Studies


Intertextual Narrative and Theatricality in Leonardo's Last
Supper


Theatrical terminology such as Steinberg's "pschyodrama", or Acidini Luchinat's "sacra rappresentazione" has often been utilized by scholars to describe Leonardo's Last Supper: Yet, little consideration has been given to Leonardo's real-life experience with theater and spectacle at the Sforza court, including his direct involvement with stage, set and costume design. It is indeed probable that the staging of spectacles and the dramatic gestures of the world of theater exposed the artist to new ideas and exerted an influence on his decisions for the inventive composition of the Last Supper. Accepting Leo Steinberg's claim that Leonardo's mural doesn't not depict one precise moment, nor one indisputable evangelical text, this paper proposes a reading of the Last Supper which suggests an intertextual weave, harmoniously contained within a single unified frame or stage-set. It also suggests that Leonardo created a visual imitation of a progressive and theatrical scene which ultimately, through a ripple effect of the elaborate composition, breaks through the fourth wall to incorporate the spectator as an active participant.


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