The American Academy’s fall 2010 series of walks and site visits for Fellows concluded on Tuesday 21 December, with a behind-the-scenes look at Rome’s most elegant public library, the Biblioteca Casanatense on Via S. Ignazio. The Dominicans of the monastery of Santa Maria sopra Minerva founded the Biblioteca in 1701, actualizing an endowment of Cardinal Girolamo Casanata (1620-1700). Since its inception, the Library has been open to the general public; the Ministry of Culture presently supervises its operations. Sabina Fiorenzi hosted the AAR group, and Andrea Cappa led the tour of the Biblioteca.
This fall AAR Fellows, Residents and visitors have had the opportunity to join almost a dozen such programmed walks in Rome and environs; even more will follow in the spring. This past series, organized by AAR Mellon Professor Corey Brennan FAAR’88, benefited significantly from presentations by current Fellows, as well as from the help of many expert outside collaborators. Some glimpses of these walks over the past two months can be seen below, as well as a report from Heiskell Arts Director Karl Kirchwey FAAR’95 on some recent collaborations with the Casa delle Letterature in Rome’s Piazza d’Orologio.
Tuesday 21 December: dott. Andrea Cappa of the Biblioteca Casatanense shares with AAR Fellows one of the library’s prime treasures, its MS 453, an edition of Caesar’s Bellum Gallicum from ca. 1470
Saturday 11 December: exploring the EUR quarter of Rome. Top two photos:roof and facade of Adalberto Libera’s Palazzo dei Congressi (1938-54). Bottom image: in the Palazzo degli Uffici (Gaetano Minucci, 1937-39), examining EUR model with arch. Annalisa Ruocco (at left, speaking).
Friday 26 November: in the ex-Palestra of Mussolini (Foro Italico), part of a nine-hour trek through the city to assess the architecture of Luigi Moretti (1907-1973); this section was led by CONI historian Paolo Pedinelli. You can read about the full day here. Photos: Michael Waters.
Monday 8 November: AAR Fellows visit the Laboratori di Restauro dei Musei Vaticani with presentations in the Sezione Pitture by dott.ssa Federica Giacomini (top photo, at left; and middle photo, speaking); prof. Claudio Rossi De Gasperis (middle photo, at center); and in the Sezione Cartacei by dott.ssa Chiara Fornaciari (bottom photo)
But that’s hardly all, as Heiskell Arts Director Karl Kirchwey reports…
“On Friday 10 December 10, a group of six current AAR Fellows joined poet and critic Gabriella Sica and a cast of Italian writers and actors at the Casa delle Letterature in a launch event for Sica’s new book Emily e le Altre (Emily and the Others), an ingeniously-constructed collection of Sica’s own translations of Emily Dickinson‘s poems together with essays about connections between Dickinson’s work and that of other writers such as the Bronte sisters, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, American poet Elizabeth Bishop, and Italian poet Amelia Rosselli. The event was organized by Sica’s publisher Cooper in collaboration with the Casa delle Letterature.
The program began with remarks in Italian about Sica’s book by Casa delle Letterature Director Maria Ida Gaeta, Paolo Di Paolo and Gabriella Palli Baroni, after which readings of Dickinson’s poems and correspondence in Italian were offered by Marco Lodoli, Maria Rosaria Omaggio, Francesco Dalessandro, Nicola Bultrini, Francesca Benedetti, Massimo Morasso, Alberto Toni, Giuseppe Ierolli, and Valentino Zeichen.
Affection for one of America’s greatest poets cut right across disciplinary boundaries at the AAR, as current Fellows Stéphanie Nadalo (Renaissance and Early Modern Studies), Laurie W. Rush (Historic Preservation and Conservation), Jennifer Scappettone (Modern Italian Studies), Tyler T. Travillian (Ancient Studies), Karen Yasinsky (Visual Arts), and Berthe M. Marti / Bryn Mawr Affiliated Fellow Jessica M. Sisk (Classical Studies) all delivered fine readings of some of Dickinson’s most powerful poems, in English and also occasionally in Italian, including “I like a look of agony,” “A thought went up my mind today,” “My life had stood a loaded gun,” “I died for beauty,” “There’s a certain slant of light,” and “The tint I cannot take is best.”
Reading at the Casa delle Letterature Emily Dickinson event 10 December, (top row, from left) Karl Kirchwey, Stéphanie Nadalo, Laurie Rush; (lower row, from left) Jennifer Scappettone, Tyler Travillian, Karen Yasinsky. Not pictured: Jessica Sisk. Credit for all images: Star Black
Jennifer Scappettone also spoke briefly in Italian about Rosselli, one of her subjects of study, and Karl Kirchwey read Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “One Art.”
This is the second event this fall at the Casa delle Letterature involving the patrocinio of the AAR, the first having been a reading and conversation on Friday 22 September with American fiction writer George Saunders.”
Above, Karl Kirchwey with George Saunders at the Casa delle Letterature, 22 September 2010. Below, George Saunders. Credit for Photos: Star Black