« … presents give me a very lively and special pleasure; have done so always ever since my days of Christmas-trees and birthday candles, leaving all through my life a particular permeating charm connected with certain dates and seasons, like the good, wonderful smell of old fir-needles slightly toasted, and of wax tapers recently extinguished, so that all very delightful places and moments are apt to affect me as a sort of gift-giving, what the Germans have a dear word for, beloved of children, Bescheerung. For if life, wisely lived, ought to be, as I firmly believe, nothing but a long act of courtship, then, surely, its exquisite things—summer nights with loose-hanging stars, pale sunny winter noons, first strolls through towered towns or upon herb-scented hills, the hearing again of music one has understood, not to speak of the gesture and voice of the people whom one holds dear—all these, and all other exquisite movements or exquisite items of life, should be felt with the added indescribable pleasure of being gifts. »
Vernon Lee, Hortus Vitae / Essays on the Gardening of Life
As a Christmas gift to you, and because this Season is a time for drawing a balance of past events as much as looking forward to the future despite the terrible, tragic state of the world, we are happy to offer you a list of some important events or publications, recent or scheduled for 2023 and 2024.
Il Palmerino Cultural Association, Florence
First of all, a word of apology for failing to forward to you the announcement of a fascinating performance staged at Villa Il Palmerino on 15th December 2022: La Voce del Male, by Luca Scarlini.
“Luca Scarlini, writer, performer and lifestyle journalist, interpreted one of Vernon Lee’s most exciting stories: A Wicked Voice (la Voce Malefica) published in the collection, Hauntings and Other Fantastic Tales in 1890, where Vernon Lee highlights the life of a singer opera of the 18th century, admirably intertwining between fiction and reality, the small world of singing and the golden age of the Prime Donne and the castrati. In the Italian translation by Attilio Brilli, Luca Scarlini narrates this world to us with musical reenactments of the last castrated singer of Rome, Alessandro Moreschi, and with his personal style as a brilliant performer”.
We also urge you to discover the superb new website of Il Palmerino Cultural Association at https://www.palmerino.org
In December also was published Michel PARENTY‘s book De la demeure inspirée au château d’esprit balnéaire, featuring an important chapter on “Pont-Feuillet, demeure inspirée”, about Violet Paget’s birthplace at Saint-Léonard.
The house was also home to the famed egyptologist Auguste Mariette. We are infinitely grateful to Michel Parenty for organising a guided tour of all the places connected to Vernon Lee’s birth during Prof. Marc ROLLAND’s Conference “Vernon Lee’s Fantastic Fiction” in Boulogne sur Mer last october.
The visit included a respectful visit of the cemetery of Saint-Léonard and the tombs of the Pagets’ hosts at the time, Major Bergonzi and his wife Mary-Anne Marshall, as well as the house itself where the current owners heartily welcomed the IVLS and their projects.
Last but not least, the IVLS was honoured by Mrs Loire, Mayor of Saint Léonard, at the City Hall, where the authentic birth certificate of Violet Paget was displayed for all those present. Again, we are most grateful to Michel Parenty for his important role in the local authorities’ agreement to make our projects happen.
Oxford World’s Classics
Aaron WORTH‘s edition of Vernon Lee’s fantastic Fiction as an Oxford World’s Classic is just out!
Projects for 2023 include (but are not limited to):
2023 Annual General Meeting of the IVLS: the IVLS will celebrate its 10th Anniversary in 2023. In partnership with the Associazione Culturale Il Palmerino, we are considering Florence as a venue for this important event in September or October, combined with an international multidisciplinary conference. Place and date are to be confirmed.
Projects for 2024 include (but are not limited to):
20-24 August 2024: ESSE conference, Lausanne: we call for a panel about “The Translations of Vernon Lee’s Texts in European Languages”
May peace, love and goodwill prevail, to make all this happen!