Rosalie Engels finished her Master’s degree in the Erasmus Mundus programme »Crossways in Cultural Narratives« in the summer of 2020. Her graduate dissertation focused on British Grand Tourism in the second half of the eighteenth century. She now works as an editor and television producer for the culture department of Deutsche Welle in Berlin.
In my presentation I will introduce the research project and will illustrate a case study of Italian reviews of English novels. The dataset, its organization and interpretation will be discussed on the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory, an online infrastructure for literary research.
Together with Dr. Parmigiani
Transcultural Journalism: Italian Periodicals and the English Novel
During the long eighteenth century, the Italian periodical press underwent a steady growth. The birth of new periodicals was accompanied by local imitation of foreign models that needed to be adapted to the local sociocultural space of a politically fragmented, pre-unified Italy. In a few but significant instances, periodicals were also the final byproducts of the transformation of serialized literary anthologies, a genre that sought to adapt itself to a versatile and quickly changing market. This paper presents the results of a digital project currently underway on the reception and dissemination of the English novel. With its European dimension (thanks to the frequent translations and adaptations of foreign material) and its wide circulation across an expanding body of readers, the press constitutes a most valuable channel for understanding the Italian negotiation of the moral and social values of England, its customs and literary innovations. The Italian debate on the novel, a genre that – as McMurran reminds us – did not simply move from »one nation to another, but dangled between languages and cultures,« is therefore instrumental to a better understanding of »the dynamic history and changing meaning of fiction’s mobility« in eighteenth-century Europe. This paper shows the use computational methods within the CWRC (Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory) digital environment to map and interpret the transmission, reuse, adaptation and sociocultural contextualization of about 700 reviews (both of ›Italianized‹ English and French reviews and of original approaches to English novels in the Italian press). The analysis of this »granular« material reveals a network of European inter- and trans-cultural transfers and adaptations that address: 1. a largely uncharted aspect of Anglo-Italian intercultural relations, 2. the role of the French periodicals as preferred cultural mediators, and 3. the role of European journalism in the history of Italian readership during the long eighteenth century.