I have just come back to my university (La Réunion) from Florence, overjoyed and sincerely impressed by the quality of our convegno, for which I am greatly indebted to the participants and the institutions who helped us. The influence of Violet del Palmerino’s salon in Europe has indeed been proved and celebrated in a way that compensates for the somewhat belittling views sometimes held about this major writer: a spectacularly redeeming image, long expected by supporters of women artists and writers, like Association Niama and Advancing Women Artists.
I wish to thank for their hospitality and professional support, Anne Rabeyroux (Institut Français de Florence), Alyson Price (The British Institute in Florence), and of course Federica Parretti, Stefano Vincieri and their family (Villa Il Palmerino). I am thankful to Cristina Acidini, Superintendent of the Polo Museale in Florence and Interim-Superintendent of the Department of Semi-precious Stones, for presiding over the inaugural session in the magnificent auditorium of the Palazzo Lenzi, at the French Institute. My heartfelt gratitude to Laura Desideri, of the Gabinetto G. P. Vieusseux in Florence, for her presence and her fascinating paper on the ressources of this truly exceptional archive in Florence.
I owe many thanks to Serena Cenni for bringing together a wonderful pannel of Italian-speaking specialists, and to Elisa Bizzotto for the translation of all the abstracts and bios, as well as to my research laboratory, ORACLE (Observatoire des Arts, des Cultures et des Littératures dans leur Environnement), without whose financial and institutional support nothing would have been possible for me. The Pensione Bencista, the Regional Council of Tuscany (Consiglio Regionale della Toscana) must not be forgotten!
My immense gratitude to Ms Geneviève Noufflard, who accompanied us and took an exceptionally active part in this extraordinary event, and allowed me to refer to and use unpublished letters and portraits of Vernon Lee to her parents, the painters Berthe and André Noufflard. The Association André et Berthe Noufflard is an important and precious support for me.
I am also grateful to the Pole Image de Haute Normandie in Rouen, represented by Agnès Deleforge, for showing the film portrait of Ms Geneviève Noufflard as well as extracts from unpublished amateur films of Vernon Lee. The permission to publish them in The Sibyl as a preview of the documentary I am currently preparing is an immense privilege and an honour for me. It will no doubt come as a surprise to many readers of The Sibyl!
It has been an immense pleasure for me to meet so many of our Lee team I had never encountered save by e-mail and by reading their papers and books, and to listen to often groundbreaking presentations. I am also glad our discussions, both during and after our sessions, have enabled us to improve our respective understanding and knowledge of Vernon Lee’s life and work. I am quite sure we have made major progress, and that V. Lee studies have made a gigantic step forward.
The basis for future projects and collaborations is indeed quite strong, and will be extended to specialists who could not be present. I’ll soon let you know about them (publications; conferences; workshops…).
The Sibyl in its new form (thesibylblog.com) was officially launched on the 27th of September, at the magnificent Institut Français in Florence. An auspicious birth indeed! The recordings of the presentations will also be posted there, as well as the films, provided I get the formal agreement from the persons involved. The written texts of the presentations will also be published by The Sibyl, as fully illustrated as possible.
Please, dear readers, feel free to send me your personal profiles, bibliographies, etc: The Sibyl is meant to make Vernon Lee and her circle (e.g. scholars, too!) better-known.
Long Live Lee!