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Rocco Rubini, Posterity. Inventing Tradition from Petrarch to Gramsci (The University of Chicago Press, 2022) 

In his new book Posterity. Inventing Tradition from Petrarch to Gramsci (The University of Chicago Press, 2022) , Rocco Rubini studies the motives and literary forms in the making of a “tradition,” not understood narrowly, as the conservative, stubborn preservation of received conventions, values, and institutions, but instead as the deliberate effort on the part of writers to transmit a reformulated past across generations. Leveraging Italian thinkers from Petrarch to Gramsci, with stops at prominent humanists in between—including Giambattista Vico, Carlo Goldoni, Francesco De Sanctis, and Benedetto Croce—Rubini gives us an innovative lens through which to view an Italian intellectual tradition that is at once premodern and modern, a legacy that does not depend on a date or a single masterpiece, but instead requires the reader to parse an expanse of writings to uncover deeper transhistorical continuities that span six hundred years. Whether reading work from the fourteenth century, or from the 1930s, Rubini elucidates the interplay of creation and the reception underlying the enactment of tradition, the practice of retrieving and conserving, and the revivification of shared themes and intentions that connect thinkers across time. Building on his award-winning book, The Other Renaissance, this will prove a valuable contribution for intellectual historians, literary scholars, and those invested in the continuing humanist legacy.

Rocco Rubini joined the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago upon completing his Ph.D in Comparative Literature and Renaissance studies at Yale University in 2009. His studies and early career were supported by a Baden-Württemberg Exchange Scholarship (2005-2006) and a Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities (2008-2009), both resulting in year-long stays in Germany, and, at the University of Chicago, a Franke Institute for the Humanities Fellowship (2011-2012) that allowed him to complete his first book, The Other Renaissance: Italian Humanism between Hegel and Heidegger (Chicago, 2014). Rubini’s teaching and research interests include the history of Italian theater (especially comedy between Commedia dell’Arte and Goldoni) autobiography, philology, Vico and his reception, political theory from Machiavelli to Gramsci and, more generally, the idiosyncratic contribution of Italian thought to the making and unmaking of modernity.

Fernanda Gallo (Cambridge) is a historian of Modern Italy and the Mediterranean with a particular interest in the transnational intellectual exchanges across the Mediterranean and the interconnections between Northern and Southern European political thought in the long nineteenth century.  Her first book, Dalla patria alla Stato. Bertrando Spaventa, una biografia intellettuale (Laterza, 2013) [From Patria to the State: an Intellectual Biography of Bertrando Spaventa] looks at the intellectual biography of the main exponent of nineteenth-century Italian Hegelianism, focusing in particular on the political context of the Risorgimento from 1810s to 1880s. Her second monograph, Regenerating the Nation. Hegel and the Italian Political Thought, 1832-1900 (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press - Ideas in Context) examines how Italian intellectuals have rethought the idea of the rebirth of the Italian nation through the lens of Hegel’s reception in Italy. 

All welcome- this event is free to attend, but advance registration is required.