In this Issue:
Francesco Rognoni| Marco Canani and Valentina Varinelli | Kelvin Everest | Will Bowers | Carla Pomarè | Marco Canani | Alberto Bentoglio | Anna Anselmo | Antonella Braida | Lilla Maria Crisafulli |Michael Rossington
Marco Canani and Valentina Varinelli | Introduction Books, Ballets, and Puppets: The Shelleys’ Milanese Experience
Kelvin Everest (University of Liverpool) | “Newly Unfrozen Senses and Imagination”: Shelley’s Translation of the Symposium and His Development as a Writer in Italy
Shelley’s major effort during his first months in Italy in 1818 was a rapid and brilliant translation of Plato’s Symposium. A translation of that particular work, with its overt and central celebration of homosexuality, was, in an English context, a daring and potentially dangerous undertaking at that time. Shelley’s work on the translation had two highly significant effects. Firstly it brought him up against the limits of freedom in personal conduct and intellectual experiment, given the legal and cultural realities of his native social world. Thereafter, Shelley’s behaviour undergoes a tempered maturation which becomes steadily more noticeable through the four years of his Italian exile. Secondly, the Platonic text exposed Shelley to a sophisticated dialogic and dramatic form which makes an immediate and transformative impact on his major poems of the Italian period. The translation of the Symposium thus plays a pivotal role in the development of Shelley’s mature style, opening the way to his emergence as a major poet.
Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Symposium, translation, love, drama
Shelley read Schlegel’s lectures Über dramatische Kunst und Literatur on his journey to Italy in 1818, and they provided both a spur and a foil to his dramatic thought, and specifically to his ideas on Greek drama. By placing Shelley’s reading of Schlegel at his crossing of the Alps and his time in Milan, we can reconsider his labour in the spring and summer of 1818, a strangely unproductive time for the poet, which only produced a few lyrics, some scenes for the incomplete play Tasso, Mazenghi, and the translation of Euripides’ Cyclops, but which also contained what Kelvin Everest has called a “period of sustained immersion in Greek” that laid the foundation for Prometheus Unbound and the “Discourse on the Manners of the Ancient Greeks”.
Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Schlegel, translation, drama, Euripides
Carla Pomarè (Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale) | Notes on the Shelleys’ North-Western Passage to Italy
This paper deals with the Shelleys’ first physical impact with Italy, focussing on their experience of the borders they crossed when entering the peninsula through Mont Cenis. Their mostly negative reaction to the Kingdom of Sardinia, which in the course of the century would lead the process of Italian unification, invites reflection on how the reality of border controls and territorial fragmentation interacted with Romantic idealized notions of the Italian state, which as yet had no actual political existence.
Keywords: Shelley, Sabaudian states, borders, Simonde de Sismondi, Mont Cenis
Marco Canani (Università degli Studi di Milano) | Percy Bysshe Shelley, within “the Veins” of “Fair Milan”. A Map of the Poet’s Contacts and Places in April 1818
This article adopts a historical and biographical perspective in order to investigate Percy Bysshe Shelley’s experience of Milan in April 1818. To this end, I trace the Shelleys’ arrival in the city and focus on the places they visited, their contacts, and the encounters they made so as to reconstruct the poet’s “Milanese circle”. Subsequently, I focus on “Ode to Naples” and Hellas and argue that Shelley’s references to the medieval and early modern history of the city should be seen as transhistorical allusions to the political contingency of the Lombardo-Venetian capital after the Hapsburg restoration.
Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, Anglo-Italian Studies, British Romanticism, Risorgimento
Valentina Varinelli (Newcastle University)| Return to Paradise: Lake Como in the Works of Mary Shelley
This article deals with Mary Shelley’s imaginary and actual revisiting of Lake Como in her writings following her return to England from Italy in 1823. First the Shelleys’ weekend escape to Como in April 1818 is retraced through their contemporary accounts in their journals and letters. I then look at the ways in which recollections of this visit are incorporated into Mary Shelley’s fictional and non-fictional works, and I compare them to the narratives of her subsequent two visits to Lake Como.
Keywords: Mary Shelley, Lake Como, Frankenstein, Rambles in Germany and Italy, Italian language
The article describes the theatrical life and the shows performed in Milan in 1818. In the first decades of the nineteenth century, Milan was the centre of Italian musical and theatrical life. When Percy and Mary Shelley resided in the city (April 1818) they went to the Teatro alla Scala, the most important theatre in Milan, to attend operas and ballets. They also visited the Gerolamo theatre, a stage dedicated to puppet shows, much appreciated by the Milanese public.
Keywords: spettacolo, Milano, teatro, danza, melodramma
Anna Anselmo (Università degli Studi di Milano) | “In the evening, go to the Theatre of the Marionetti”. Claire Clairmont, the Shelleys, and Gerolamo de la Crina
The Shelley party not only went to La Scala, but also enjoyed a performance at Milan’s only puppet theatre, Teatro Fiando. This article provides the title of this puppet show and offers evidence of the play-text, one version of which is found in the archives of the world-famous Milan-based puppeteers, the Colla family. Furthermore, the article speculates as to the Shelley party’s peculiar and considerably specific interest in puppet shows, which is read as a sign of potential awareness of the political import of and critique implicit in them, and especially in the history of the puppet they saw on stage, Gerolamo, as well as evidence of a sustained interest in movement, gesture, and the body.
Keywords: Claire Clairmont, Shelley, puppetry, puppet theatre, Teatro Fiando
Antonella Braida (Université de Lorraine) | Mary Shelley in Italy: Reading Dante and the Creation of an Anglo-Italian Identity
This article analyses Mary Shelley’s textual and critical approach to Dante. It focuses on her sources in Mme de Staël’s, J.C.L. Simonde de Sismondi’s, August Schlegel’s and Henry Francis Cary’s critical readings of Dante. By analysing Mary Shelley’s use of Dante in Rambles, it will be shown that Mary Shelley became a mediator and introduced contemporary Italian political readings of his work and anticipated the Victorian interest in Dante’s Vita Nuova.
Keywords: Mary Shelley, Rambles in Germany and Italy, Dante, orality, Italian language learning
Lilla Maria Crisafulli (Università di Bologna) | Poetry and Metonymy: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Poetical Revolution
In this essay I would like to argue that, while in Italy, Percy Bysshe Shelley not only reached his poetic maturity, but also expanded his aesthetic theory in such a way that it might constitute a sort of bridge system, able to reconcile Shelley’s empiricism with his idealism, together with his political and poetic goals. I believe that the aim of this theory, which can be described as holistic, was to fill the gap between art and society in an era of mercantilist ruthlessness and philosophical pessimism.
Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley, metonymy, aesthetics, poetic language
Michael Rossington (Newcastle University) | Some Lifetime Editions of Shelley Owned by Richard Monckton Milnes
Richard Monckton Milnes is known to students of English Romanticism mainly as editor of Life, Letters, and Literary Remains, of John Keats, 2 vols (London: Edward Moxon, 1858). This article addresses Milnes’ interest in Percy Bysshe Shelley with reference to three lifetime editions of the poet that he owned. Two are now in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge, the third in Princeton University Library. All contained between their covers Shelley’s autograph and were displayed at meetings of the Philobiblon Society in the 1850s and 1860s.
Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Richard Monckton Milnes, bibliography, history of the book, manuscripts
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