Thursday, 22 October 2009

H. Wayne Storey, Transcription and Visual Poetics in the Early Italian Lyric (Garland, 1993)

The return to Cambridge this term began with a quick visit to the local bookseller: joy. Part of the library of a distinguished bibliographer in early Italian print culture had become available and I picked up a few marvellous things. Mainly stuff I've used and wanted, and I had to leave a few things behind too. Very pleased with Franca Brambilla Ageno, L'edizione critica dei testi volgari, Medioevo e umanesimo, 22, 2nd rev & exp edn (Padova: Antenore, 1984); Nicolas Barker, (ed), A Potencie of Life: Books in Society: The Clark Lectures, 1986-1987, British Library Studies in the History of the Book (London: British Library, 1993); Michele Barbi, La nuova filologia e l'edizione dei nostri scrittori da Dante al Manzoni (Firenze: G.C. Sansoni editore, 1938, 2nd ed. 1962); Alfredo Stussi, Introduzione agli studi di filologia italiana, Manuali: Filologia e critica letteraria, (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1994); Ezio Raimondi, Tecniche della critica letteraria, Piccola biblioteca Einaudi, 440, (Torino: G. Einaudi, 1983); Ezio Raimondi, La dissimulazione romanzesca: antropologia manzoniana, Intersezioni, 72 (Bologna: Mulino, 1990); Guglielmo Cavallo and Roger Chartier (eds), Storia della lettura nel mondo occidentale (Roma: Laterza, 1995); Arrigo Castellani, (ed), Nuovi testi fiorentini del Dugento, 2 vols (Firenze: Sansoni, 1952 - can't believe I found this) and Corinna Salvadori, Yeats and Castiglione: Poet and Courtier (Dublin: A. Figgis, 1965 - delighted to have this). However it is H. Wayne Storey, Transcription and Visual Poetics in the Early Italian Lyric, Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, v. 1753 / Garland Studies in Medieval Literature, v. 7, (New York: Garland Pub, 1993) that I am really pleased to have found since I was about to order it from the States.

This is an important and interesting book about the early lyric anthologies and the hermeneutics of scribal/authorial compilatio. As the author says in his introduction, 'The proposal is a simple one: that some early Italian poets composed their lyrics with an eye to the manuscript forms in which their poems would be copied and circulated' (p. xxi). The following is what one might call a 'brief notice': the book is in two parts, the first deals with 'Pre-Petrarchan Experiments in Written Poets', comprising four chapters. The first, 'From the Margins: Origins and Theory of Appropriating Official Space', second, 'Transferring Visual Ambiguity: Semantic-Visual Orientations of a Medieval Text', third, 'The Editorial Redefinition of Margins: The Memoriali bolognesi and the Literary Culture of Chigiano L. VIII. 305', and fourth, 'Guittone's Last Booklet: The Visual-Semantic Orientation of the Trattato d'amore'. The second part of the book concentrates on 'the visual poetics of Petrarch's Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta' in three chapters: first, 'Petrarch's Concepts of Text and Textual Reform', second, 'Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta: Manuscripts and Scribal Forms', and third, 'Organizing Strategies: Aperture and Closure in Petrarch's Fragmenta'. It is an excellent book and well worth reading.

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