Online presence of humanist Petrarca's work to be expanded

Romance Languages Professor Massimo Lollini will use a grant from a New York City academic federation to make early manuscripts of Italian poet and humanist Francesco Petrarca available via an online interface.

Lollini, a professor of Italian, and UO ProfessorJames Tice of the architecture department were among nine national recipients of 2012 Digital Innovation Fellowships awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies.

Lollini has long valued the writings of Petrarca (1304–74), which shaped the modern Italian literary language. Petrarca’s sonnets are a model for lyrical poetry around the globe; he is credited with helping to inspire the Renaissance and is considered the father of humanism.

Lollini launched a rudimentary website in 2004 to coordinate the different initiatives related to teaching Petrarca and Petrarchism at the UO. It focused on Petrarch's Canzoniere, a collection of more than 300 poems read around the world today.

The web site has become the Oregon Petrarch Open Book, a system devoted to the study and teaching of Canzoniere. After registering on the site, students and scholars have access to recent editions of the collection, translations and tools that allow them to compare multiple versions of the original text in different languages.

Lollini will use the fellowship to expand the interactive historical assets in the OPOB. Once the new project is complete in late 2013, scholars will have tools for linking and layering of texts and visualizations of documents.

The project will focus on a representative and unstudied fourteenth-century manuscript; the highly illustrated 1470 editio princeps of the Canzoniere; and the first edition (1525) of Alessandro Vellutello’s commentary.

The manuscript is “very close to the original manuscript written by Petrarch and it has been used to prepare the latest critical edition of this text,” Lollini said.

The editio princeps is the only instance of an illustrated edition of theCanzoniere and viewers will be able to study the relationship between text and illustrations in a way that was not previously possible. Vellutello’s commentary was influential in the reception of theCanzoniere during the Renaissance and after, Lollini said.

The texts will also include tags with interpretive information developed by Lollini and the team of the OPOB.

“With these three assets, the OPOB will finally be able to document within the site the evolution of the Canzoniere from manuscript to printed copy to digital format,” Lollini said.

The American Council of Learned Societies is a private, non-profit federation of 71 scholarly organizations.

Under the ACLS program, which provides stipends up to $60,000 and up to $25,000 per project, fellows spend one academic year, beginning in September, pursuing digitally-based research projects in disciplines connected with the humanities and social sciences.

The nine 2012 fellows and their projects can be found on the ACLS website.