Anna kicked off her seminar series with a session entitled ‘The Franciscan Order and the Origins of Italian Literature’ last night, and I had the pleasure of ‘Live Tweeting’ the event. See what I had to say by following @Mendicant_Leeds on Twitter.
I have to say that I was so impressed with the wonders of technology – we had live videolinks streaming from Yale (US), Bristol, and Cambridge – they were in the room without being in the room! I know you’ll all probably be avid users of Skype, but I shy away from technology as much as possible, but that just totally blew my mind!
The first speaker was Prof. Giuseppe Mazzotta (Yale) and his paper, ‘The Book of Questions: Prayer and Poetry’, provided an interesting argument regarding the similar functions of prayer and poetry. Drawing upon Purgatorio XI, Mazzotta made the point that prayer (especially for Dante) was an exercise in humility, and that love poetry was particularly similar to prayers “in laude” since the rhetoric of repetition – so often found in both – gives the impression of magical incantations.
Next up was Matteo Leonardi (independent scholar), who talked about the relationship between Franciscans and St. Francis himself. Like Mazzotta, Leonardi also argued that the “laude” genre of prayer bears a close ressemblence to love lyrics, and that love poets – as well as the authors of the Bible – were often attributed mystical qualities.
The event was a roaring success and I think Anna should give herself a rather big pat on the back. Congratulazioni!