Marylinne Robinson and Silvia Avallone on Dante and Homer in the new issue of “La Lettura” –

Martin Luther King wrote that he was inspired, in his non-violent struggle, by the civil disobedience of Socrates. Yet the classics in general and the ancient Greeks and Latins in particular, hitherto regarded as cornerstones of civilization, are going through a difficult period in the United States. At Princeton you can graduate in classical literature without knowing ancient languages ​​(translations are enough) and Howard University, which graduated from Toni Morrison, has closed the faculty of ancient literature. Between cancel culture and exasperation of the politically correct, the accusation against the Greek and the Latin is that of being pertinent to white supremacy and colonialism.

The cover of «la Lettura» # 499 by Paolo Di Paolo

The new issue of “La Lettura” addresses these issues, # 499, premiered on Saturday 19th in the App for smartphones and tablets (downloadable from the App Store and Google Play), and on newsstands from Sunday 20th. The App of «la Lettura» – distinct from that of the «Corriere» in which the cultural insert is still available from Saturday – also offers the archive of all the issues from 2011 to today. Those who wish also receive notifications from the editorial staff. And the weekly newsletter of the insert, which arrives via email on Friday (you can also subscribe from here), and remains accessible via the web for a week. The price of the subscription to the «la Lettura» App is € 3.99 per month or € 39.99 per year, with one week free. Furthermore, for those who subscribe, all the contents of the App can also be reached from the desktop, starting from this page (from which it is also possible to start the subscription). The App can be given as a gift by purchasing a Gift Card in or from here.

Returning to the new issue, two authors such as Silvia Avallone and the American Marilynne Robinson they open the supplement by confronting the harshness and beauty of the classics of different periods from ours. Marilynne Robinson retraces her relationship with Dante, recalling the enterprise of coding the vernacular and defining the poet a “very powerful light that illuminated so much of the Earth”. Silvia Avallone reasons on the barbarism of the world narrated by Homer inIliade, in which the condition of women was victims, trophies, “conquered”, and questions the classic from the perspective of her own identity, conquered, as a writer and as a woman.

Precisely because they are far from us, the classics appear useful to understand how we got here: argues John McWhorter, linguist at Columbia University, interviewed by Costanza Rizzacasa d’Orsogna: deleting the classic letters would also mean for the United States “deleting a part of us”, even from linguistic point of view.

Enrich knowledge illuminates the dark points of historical events, perhaps more than many cancellations: teacher Saidiya Hartman reconstructs and traces the slave trafficking routes from Ghana to the United States in her narrative investigation Lost mother (Tamu Edizioni): talks about it in the interview with Viviana Mazza. Direct examination of the sources can also help restore historical truth: the British Museum dedicates an exhibition to Nero, open until 24 October, where it emerges that the negative myth of the “insane” emperor was born a posteriori from irritated senatorial circles from the populism of the despot.

Among the other themes of the supplement, the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, thirty years after the declarations of independence of Slovenia and Croatia (1991). Historians Jože Pirjevec and Stefano Bianchini retrace that bloody season but also the current situation of those countries, in the conversation by Antonio Carioti. The section is completed by the article by Francesco Battistini which reconstructs the history of the Balkan wars; while some young artists from Central Europe and the Balkans, guests at the Mittelyoung festival in Cividale del Friuli (24-27 June) tell how they see today the crises and conflicts faced by their fathers.

Many writers on the number. Chuck Palahniuk tells the new book The invention of sound (Mondadori) interviewed by Marco Bruna; the incipit of his novel is today, Saturday 19th, the Theme of the Day in the App of «la Lettura», an extra digital focus that readers find every morning. And, in addition to Palahniuk, on “La Lettura” Larry Watson narrates frontier America in his One of us (Mattioli 1885): Annachiara Sacchi interviews him. Two stories close the number: Teresa Ciabatti (author of It looked like beauty, Mondadori) tells with irony a “first time”, the impact with the passage of time, when “they call you lady” (and offer you a chair); and the Englishman Benjamin Myers (author of On the horizon, Bollati Boringhieri) writes about a summer of adolescence, between games, challenges and friendship tests.

Finally, in «la Lettura» # 499, the great critic and curator Achille Bonito Oliva, «ABO», tells Gianluigi Colin; the occasion is the exhibition A.B.O. Theatron (from 25 June to 9 January), the first of Francesca Lavazza in the role of new president of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art. And the architect Paolo Portoghesi, author of Poesia della Curva (Cangemi) confronts Franco Purini, also an architect but supporter of the “straight line”, in a conversation by Stefano Bucci.

June 18, 2021 (change June 18, 2021 | 20:03)




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