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Reviewing Mario Pratesi

Reviewing Mario Pratesi: The Critical Press and Its Influence

ANNE URBANCIC
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 184
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt7zwc90
  • Book Info
    Reviewing Mario Pratesi
    Book Description:

    A prolific member of the Tuscanverismoschool of literary realism, Mario Pratesi (1842-1921) was much respected during his career but sadly neglected after his death. Using Pratesi's personal archive, now preserved at Victoria College in the University of Toronto,Reviewing Mario Pratesitakes Pratesi's life and papers as the basis of a unique study of the literary culture of post-Unification Italy.

    Working with the original manuscripts, alongside previously unknown biographical materials and a vast collection of contemporary reviews, Anne Urbancic uses the methods ofcritique génétiquenot only to reconstruct the evolution of Pratesi's works through their successive drafts and published versions, but also to document the impact of book reviews and the press on the development of Pratesi's literary style. An insightful history of book reviewing as a genre and a detailed study of its role in Italian literary culture,Reviewing Mario Pratesiopens up a new area for investigation within Italian literary studies.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-1753-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)

    It is a winter’s day in Toronto, almost a cliché for Canada. How curious that Tuscan writer Mario Pratesi (1842–1921) should have his life ordered, recorded, and catalogued here in a city that probably never entered his thoughts, a city thousands of kilometres from his beloved Santa Fiora on Mont’Amiata where he was born, a city equally distant from his flat in the old stone house in via San Leonardo high above Florence, where he died. Praised for his precise and colourful observations and descriptions of the myriad villages, towns, and cities that attracted him or repulsed him, the...

  5. Chapter One Florence
    (pp. 21-43)

    Florence in the month of October insinuates a damp autumnal dreariness through its streets: those linearly aligned as parallel thoroughfares, as well as those tortuous twisty narrow lanes behind them. Somehow, walking home on a dark fall evening, Mario Pratesi lost his footing, stumbled, and fell. In his letter of 26 October 1872 to Giuseppe Cesare Abba, one of his closest friends, then living in Pisa, he laments the bruises and the pain; a medical historian might gather from his further description that he had suffered a concussion as well. In the same letter, Pratesi concerned himself to a far...

  6. Chapter Two Milan
    (pp. 44-63)

    Viterbo. Five hundred kilometres separated the acute bitterness Pratesi had experienced in Pavia from his new teaching assignment further south along the peninsula. Ninety kilometres away was his birthplace, Santa Fiora, and in the opposite direction, more or less the same distance from Rome were Maraini and Luzzatti, who continued to promote him, support him, welcome him. About 175 kilometres away was Siena, home of his father and younger siblings, whom he wished to avoid. And a little further away was Florence, where many of his friends could be found and where Emilia Peruzzi determined to admit him to the...

  7. Chapter Three Belluno
    (pp. 64-82)

    The years in Milan, at the Istituto Tecnico Carlo Cattaneo, slipped into a recognizable and even welcome routine. Pratesi continued to complain about the cold weather and pine for the milder temperatures of Tuscany. But, as his correspondence reveals, although alone initially, Pratesi found a warm welcome in the houses of many new friends and acquaintances, several of them writers, like the playwright and novelist Gerolamo Rovetta (1851–1910), or highly interested, informed, and fascinating readers like Donna Laura Visconti Venosta, Count Angelo Villa Pernice and his wife Rachele, and others. He enjoyed the invitation of theIllustrazione italianato...

  8. Chapter Four Florence Once More
    (pp. 83-108)

    Belluno lies about a hundred kilometres north of Pratesi’s much beloved Venice. A small city, it is surrounded by the splendid mountains that give it its name but also render it oppressive at times. If nothing else, Belluno offered Pratesi a decided measure of reliability; for the first time in many years, he did not worry to any great degree about keeping body and soul together, thanks to a regular salary. But, Belluno was isolated and cold: meteorologically and metaphorically, with long lonely winters and few opportunities for friends. Friendships initiated years, even decades, before his posting there continued but...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 109-112)

    Mario Pratesi’s relatively long writing career evolved at a pivotal moment for Italian literature. Together with major geopolitical changes that affected the citizens of Italy, intellectual and cultural pursuits also underwent revolutionary upheavals. For example, the search for a new literary reality with its concomitant claim on a national Italian literary identity that Alessandro Manzoni had propelled forward, saw major developments at the very time that Pratesi’s career as a writer began. His early employment under the mentorship of statesman and poet-philosopher Niccolò Tommaseo provided an auspicious start, even though Pratesi worked only as a secretary, and for a relatively...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 113-146)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 147-162)
  12. Index
    (pp. 163-167)