Marilyn Migiel wins MLA award for her book on “proto-feminist” poet – India Education | Latest Education News | Global education news


Marilyn Migiel, professor of Romance Studies, won the Modern Language Association’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publishing Award for “Veronica Franco in Dialogue,” to be published by University of Toronto Press in the spring of 2022.

Created by literature specialist Aldo Scaglione in memory of his wife, Jeanne, educator and humanitarian, the prize is awarded each year to a manuscript of Italian literary studies. The award will be presented on January 8, 2022 at the Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in Washington, DC

This is the third award that Migiel has received from the MLA. The first two recognized books that she wrote on Boccaccio’s “Decameron”.

16th-century Venetian courtesan and writer, Veronica Franco was adopted by scholars of the late 20th century as a triumphant proto-feminist icon who celebrates her sexuality and defends women and their worth. In “Veronica Franco in Dialogue”, Migiel analyzes the fourteen dialogical poems of Franco’s 25 poems “Terze Rime” (Poems in Terza Rima, 1575), seven written by Franco and seven written by an unknown male author.

In order to better understand what Franco does in the poetic collection, argues Migiel, it is essential to understand how she constructs her identity as an author, lover and sex worker in relation to the unknown male author.

“I am delighted that the award recognizes my ‘deep and powerful readings’ and ‘in-depth literary analyzes’ of Italian poetry,” said Migiel.

While Migiel has been studying and teaching poetry by Veronica Franco since the 1980s, she only undertook a comprehensive book project about the poet six years ago.

“I had reached a point in my career where I was confident that I could present very detailed formal analyzes of Italian poetry in very readable prose that can be understood by non-specialists,” Migiel said, adding that when ‘she writes, she imagines her audience to be Cornell undergraduates, including those who took her freshman writing seminar on the “Decameron.”

“I wanted to understand why, after Veronica Franco was adopted as a proto-feminist icon at the end of the 20th century, the attention of researchers seemed to shift more to other modern Italian writers,” said Migiel. “And I wanted to tell a story about Veronica Franco that captures the moments of ambivalence, uncertainty and precariousness in her poetry that other readers have tended to eliminate.”

According to the MLA Prize committee, Migiel’s analysis of these poems will have a lasting impact on Veronica Franco’s scholarly interpretation and on future readings by early modern writers, revealing for the first time Franco’s full identity as poet. The committee notes that “while previous work has presented [Franco] as first and foremost an iconic woman and proto-feminist figure, Migiel’s work shows how Franco’s consistent and subtle use of important model writers in Latin and Italian made the poet a very important Renaissance author figure. .

Teaching literature is teaching “how to notice things in a text that a speed reading culture is trained to ignore, overcome, edit or explain,” Migiel said, quoting literary critic and translator Barbara Johnson. “I hope my book encourages all readers to stick with nuance and complexity.”


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