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International Conference 

Mapping Jewish Literary Presence in Italy: 
Circulation, Mediation and Reception

4-6 June 2024, Academia Belgica

Via Omero 8, Roma

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The conference aims to elaborate recent debates on the forms and features of Jewish literary production in Italy by exploring the circulation and reception of works written by Jewish authors (Italian and non-Italian) in the Italian literary system, from the Second World War until today. Its objective is to map when, where, in what forms and to which aims texts written by Jewish authors (re-)appear. The conference addresses these questions by focusing on four lines of inquiry: 1) the reception in Italy of works written by non-Italian Jewish authors; 2) the circulation of works written by Italian Jewish authors outside Italy; 3) the functions of intertextual and transmedial references to Jewish authors and their texts; and 4) the role of actors and networks in the promotion and diffusion of these texts in the Italian literary field.

To participate in person, please register using the button below.

Registration is mandatory and remains open until 15 may

All sessions will be live streamed: youtube.com/@academiabelgica7217

Information about the venue can be found here

Seminar
«Una irrazionale impuntatura d'orgoglio»:
Primo Levi and the Jewish roots

16 April 2024, 17.00-19.00 (CET)

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Over the years, Primo Levi defined himself five, twenty, twenty-five per cent Jewish. It means that it was not so much the quantity that mattered but rather the existence of the root: the root in fact was there, firm and deep. Levi was a man who, even as a boy, contemplated an 'empty sky' from which no God would ever descend to help the Jews who were exterminated by millions in the Nazi concentration camps, but he was also a man animated by a strong sense of the sacred and mystery. There is, in all this, no contradiction, there is only a story to tell. 

Domenico Scarpa was born in Salerno, lives in Pisa and works as a literary critic, lecturer, editor and editorial consultant for the Centro studi Primo Levi in Turin. He has published, among others, Storie avventurose di libri necessari (Gaffi, 2010), Bibliografia di Primo Levi ovvero Il primo Atlante (Einaudi, 2022) and in 2019 he edited the Mondadori Meridiano edition of the Opere di bottega by Fruttero & Lucentini. He curates Graham Greene's novels for Sellerio and Natalia Ginzburg's works for Einaudi. In April 2023 he published Calvino fa la conchiglia. La costruzione di uno scrittore (Hoepli).

Call for papers

Mapping Jewish Literary Presence in Italy
Circulation, Mediation, and Reception


4-6 June 2024
Academia Belgica, Rome

Over the last few decades, studies on the Jewish presence in Italian literature have proliferated. While this research has generated ongoing debates on the forms and features of Jewish literary production in Italy, until recently, attention was largely focused on “the canon of Italian Jewish literature [which] is dominated by the internationally recognized triad Primo Levi, Giorgio Bassani and Carlo Levi” (Clementi 2014: 133) and to whom we may now also add Natalia Ginzburg.

 

The research project LIMALEB (‘Italian migration literature through a Jewish lens’) seeks to expand the discussion on the Jewish literary presence in Italy by exploring the Italian-language works written by translingual Jewish authors who migrated to Italy from different regions in Europe and the Middle East. Another approach to mapping the Jewish literary presence in Italy is through the lens of circulation, mediation and reception. This methodological perspective has only recently started to attract research on a select number of Jewish Italian authors (e.g. Dupré 2022; Lucamante 2016; Rondini 2016).

 

The present conference aims to further explore the circulation and reception of literary works by Jewish authors in the Italian literary scene. Its objective is to map which texts written by Jewish authors (Italian and non-Italian) circulate in Italian-language literature from the Second World War to the present day: when, where, in what forms and to which aims do they (re)appear? What are the functions of intertextual and transmedial references to Jewish authors and their texts, and to what extent can they be considered as cultural references to Jewish history, memory and culture? Which selection criteria and mediation practices influence the cultural transfer of (translated) texts written by Jewish authors? And which actors and networks allow these texts to be received, promoted and circulated in the Italian literary polysystem (Even-Zohar 1979)?

 

The conference proposes three main lines of inquiry:

 

1. Textual and transmedial approaches to the reception of works by Jewish authors and their presence in Italian-language works by fellow authors, (documentary) filmmakers, stage/theatre directors and graphic novelists (Jewish and non-Jewish).

 

This part of the conference focuses on intertextuality, transmediality, rewriting and remediation as key concepts of literary afterlives (Erll 2011). We invite contributions that explore various aspects of the reception of Jewish authors in Italian-language literature, considering in particular 1) the continuing impact of texts written by Jewish authors through the means of rewriting and remediation (Erll 2011); 2) the function of intertextual references to Jewish authors and their texts; or 3) the transmedial distribution of literary practices (Schaefer 2015).

2. Cultural transfer approaches to the works by Jewish authors, their translations in Italian and their promotion and circulation in the Italian literary scene.

 

This part of the conference revolves around cultural transfer as a process that concerns the circulation, transformation and reinterpretation of cultural spheres (D’hulst 2012). We invite contributions that explore various aspects relating to the cultural transfer of Israeli literature, Yiddish literature and diaspora literature into the Italian literary polysystem (Even-Zohar 1979; 1987). It mainly focuses on 1) the different processes underlying cultural transfer: selection, translation, reception and mediation (van de Pol-Tegge 2023: 150); 2) the multifaceted activities regulated by different types of actors; and 3) “the plural and multidirectional forms of mediation practices both within and between cultures” (D’hulst et al. 2014; van de Pol-Tegge 2023: 148).

 

3. Closely related to the cultural transfer perspective is the actor-network approach. Networks are made of words, things, images, practices and so on, and they are inherently hybrid. Transmission within networks therefore involves transposition, translation and other transformation processes (Felski 2015). For this part of the conference, we invite contributions on the promotion, circulation and reception of literary works by Jewish authors in Italy that revolve around the connections between literary works and the “countless things that are not literature” (Felski 2015: 739). 

Call for contributions
«e io mormoravo qualche poesia imparata a scuola»
La scrittura lunga di Edith Bruck

This volume aims to develop methodological approaches to Edith Bruck's entire oeuvre (1959-2023), considering it as an organic whole of texts in prose and poetry that rework the same thematic cores, and to investigate theoretical concepts that may shed light on the modes of expression and the narrative strategies that run throughout her writing.

 

We therefore invite submissions that explore Bruck's oeuvre from a transversal perspective and that consider in particular the position of the lesser studied works within her literary output. Other possible topics include the development of literary motifs and narrative modes through Bruck's entire oeuvre in prose and/or verse, and the interactions between Bruck's work and the trends observed in the Italian literary scene of the second half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century.

The deadline for submissions has passed.

 

Seminar
La letteratura italiana della migrazione: un’impasse critica e teorica?
15 December 2022

On 15 December 2022, the project hosted an online seminar, titled 'Italian migration literature at a critical and theoretical impasse?'. 

The aim of the seminar was to evaluate new perspectives on Italian migration literature and to rethink the memory/migration nexus starting from the idea of a national literature which is also crossed by a transnational dimension.

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