Research projects and divulgation tancredi artico Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia NOVELLA EPICA divulgazione umanistica novelliere narrativa epica boccaccio Giovanni boccacio crociate mori saladino università di padova divulgazione scientifica stuff of epic

MEDITERRANEAN STORYTELLER (2017) 

 Migration, escape, journey: the novella, especially the one with a Mediterranean background, has portrayed, throughout its entire literary tradition and at least from Boccaccio to Nievo, the imaginaries of cultural diversity with a poly-focal and poly-perspective view on “the different”.

Without ever obtaining a full representation of his wealth and polyphony from literary criticism (the texts contained in the didactic anthologies often fly over this aspect, due to a reduction of the thematic repertoire to the lecherous and the tragic), the novella has been an exceptional instrument to convey the symbols and imaginations of the “diverse” on a large scale, encouraging tolerance.

Mediterranean Storytelleris a public awareness projects that appeals to the richness of the genre of the novella, to promote, in a profound and multifaceted way, a reflection on the culturally diverse of today, starting from the incredibly complex imaginary that has characterized cultural diversity for at least three centuries: the theme of cultural diversity appears in many texts between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries (when our novelistic classicism develops and the Mediterranean exchange basin is central at the European level), texts which are capable of conveying aesthetically powerful imaginaries and to propose interpretations that surmount the a-critical dualism of the vision that we still have of “the other”. About tolerance, starting from a well-known tale of the “Novellino” on Saladin, it evolves an alternative way of representing the other, opposite to the usual (the demonic Muslim) of the politically oriented literature: “the different” is now something specular for its viewer, something that is now able to look at us with different eyes.

At its economic and political apogee, the Mediterranean civilization has built potential tools to approach with “the other”, which was irreparably closer; today, the dramatic re-opening of a huge exchange channel requires the rethinking of new ones, keeping in mind the ones of the past time. The novelists provided some, narrating the diversity in the sign of respect, sometimes in the sign of esteem, attesting the existence of other cultural universes and subsequent new keys for the reading of the sensitive reality, keys which were only vaguely intuited in the perception of their coevals.

Mighty stories for their symbolic and suggestive power, read by tens of thousands of people, which strongly impacted on the collective imagination; though, today we risk losing their freshness in representing the world as a mosaic of cultures.

The intention, through the project, is to propose the reading of a large choral fresco described by the novelists, focusing particularly on the contemporary reinterpretation of their most universal, human and imperishable content, thanks to the implant of a deeper critical view that considers one specular development with the “other” novelistic forms (Indian, African, Arab and Persian above all), incorporated into the Italian tradition by means of their translations and become part of the Western narrative code.

A sometimes fairy fresco, sometimes overflowing with reality, capable of transporting the reader into the land of universal experience, in the “world of everyone’s images”, as a result of its metaphorical richness: in the novellas the journey (par excellence something that leads to the “other” world) along a dangerous sea is a fundamental element, as well as the vagueness of the exotic and ‘exaggerating’, the weight of cultural conventions, incommunicability, contrast between moral, ethical and aesthetic diametrically opposed categories, and the foreboding of perpetrated violence, which subtends war (on commission, as in Boccaccio, but also official among nations as in some texts of the Renaissance novellas), colonialism and armed conquest.

Project funded by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region in the context of humanistic dissemination projects.

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