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Book Presentation

Maristella de Panizza Lorch: Beyond Gibraltar

The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University will host a public event featuring the Academy’s Founding Director Maristella de Panizza Lorch, who will present her new book Beyond Gibraltar. The second installation of a planned trilogy (the first, Mamma in Her Village, was published in 2005), Beyond Gibraltar interweaves memory and history as it traces the life of its protagonist through a fascinating period of modern history. Born in the Alps in the first part of the 20th century, struggling and fighting her way for survival in war-torn Rome, boarding a military ship in 1947 to travel to her new home in the U.S., and building her own version of the American Dream in New York—these are the basic elements of her story. It is a tale of resilience, courage, and transformation by one of America’s beloved scholars, teachers, and founders. The presentation will include introductory remarks by Rick Whitaker and Lavinia Lorch.

Maristella de Panizza Lorch was educated first in a classical school in the Alto Adige-Sudtirol between the two world wars. She earned a doctorate in classical philology in 1942 at the University of Rome with the Accademico d’Italia Professor Vincenzo Ussani, Sr. After fifty years of teaching, she is now Professor Emerita of Italian and Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Barnard and Columbia. Among her books: the critical edition of Lorenzo Valla’s De Voluptate (1431-44), its English translation On Pleasure, the edition of Ziliolo Zilioli’s Michaelida (1431), A Defense of Life (a study of Renaissance Epicureanism) and, with the philosopher Ernesto Grassi, Folly and Insanity in Renaissance Literature, an interpretation of humanistic literature and chivalric poetry. Albert Rabil’s four-volume collection of essays on Renaissance Humanism was dedicated to her in recognition of her promotion of Medieval and Renaissance Studies in America.

Maristella Lorch is known at Columbia for her courses (given throughout fifty years in English) on Dante, Petrarca, Renaissance Humanism, Renaissance Theatre, Machiavelli and Ariosto; in Europe, particularly Italy and France, as an active promoter of international exchange. She founded and directed the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the Center for Italian Studies, the Center for International Scholarly Exchange, and the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America (1991). She founded La Scuola New York Guglielmo Marconi, is a member of the Advisory Board of the Lycee Francais de New York, Vice-President of EPIC (the fellowship of Emeriti Professors in Columbia), and was until recently a teaching faculty member in the M.A. in Liberal Arts Program at Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Since 1996, as Founding Director Emerita of the Academy for Advanced Studies, she has been writing a fictionalized memoir or recit d’initiation, based on her Euro-American identity, while at the same time offering courses for adults on Dante, Homer, Virgil, and Ovid. She is currently working on the third volume, The Other Shore.

Event Date 
Tue, Apr 22, 2014, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
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