Thomas E. Peterson, professor of Italian in the department of Romance languages, has published a new book of literary criticism.
The Revolt of the Scribe in Modern Italian Literature offers a perceptive re-assessment of Italian literary culture focusing on the nature of modernity through the literature of those who revolt against established norms and expectations. By exploring selected works from authors such as Deledda, Foscolo, Ungaretti, Bertolucci and Valeri, Peterson considers, in the 384-page book, the categories of vatic poetry, the feminine voice and the writings of those on Italy’s cultural periphery.
As practitioners of literary Italian, Peterson argues that these authors are conscious of their role in preserving both language and tradition during a period of great upheaval and national transformation. At the same time, they use their writings to move towards change, combat alienation and reconfigure the self in relation to the community.
“The Revolt of the Scribe in Modern Italian Literature is an interesting and informative re-evaluation of modern Italian literary history,” said Laura Wittman, a faculty member in the department of French and Italian at Stanford University. “Peterson’s readings of individual authors are nuanced, thoughtful and especially insightful as regards inter-textual and cultural contexts.”