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Materiality and Textuality in Medieval Italian Literature
552 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 , 19 color illustrations, 2 b&w illustrations
Paperback | 9780268206499 | November 2023
Hardcover | 9780268206482 | November 2023
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268206475 | November 2023
eBook (PDF) | 9780268206505 | November 2023
William and Katherine Devers Series in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature
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Manuscript Poetics explores the interrelationship between the material features of textual artifacts and the literary aspects of the medieval Italian texts they preserve.
This original study is both an investigation into the material foundations of literature and a reflection on notions of textuality, writing, and media in late medieval and early modern Italy. Francesco Marco Aresu examines the book-objects of manuscripts and early printed editions, asking questions about the material conditions of production, circulation, and reception of literary works. He invites scholars to reconcile reading with seeing (and with touching) and to challenge contemporary presumptions about technological neutrality and the modes of interfacing and reading. Manuscript Poetics investigates the correspondences between textuality and materiality, content and medium, and visual-verbal messages and their physical support through readings of Dante Alighieri’s Vita nova, Giovanni Boccaccio’s Teseida, and Francesco Petrarca’s canzoniere (Rerum vulgarium fragmenta). Aresu shows that Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarca evaluated and deployed the tools of scribal culture to shape, signal, or layer meanings beyond those they conveyed in their written texts. Medieval texts, Aresu argues, are uniquely positioned to provide this perspective, and they are foundational to the theoretical understanding of new forms and materials in our media-saturated contemporary world.
Francesco Marco Aresu is an assistant professor of Italian and medieval studies at Wesleyan University.
“Manuscript Poetics offers a new perspective on the relationship between textuality and materiality in fourteenth-century Italy and between different kinds of authorial poetics related to the materiality of books and their subsequent publics.” —Laura Banella, author of La “Vita nuova” del Boccaccio
“Manuscript Poetics functions both as a history of medieval manuscript culture and poetry, which will serve as an excellent introduction to and overview of the literary culture of the period for undergraduate students, and as a more focused study of specific texts and authors for specialists.” —Rhiannon Daniels, author of Boccaccio and the Book