Stefano-Maria Evangelista

Stefano Evangelista

Stefano-Maria Evangelista

“Vernon Lee, Ouida, e gli Spazi del Cosmoplitismo Fiorentino”

Durante gli ultimi decenni dell’Ottocento, Il Palmerino diventa luogo d’incontro non solo per intellettuali e scrittori inglesi in visita a Firenze, ma anche per i personaggi della nutrita comunità anglo-fiorentina residente in città in quel periodo. Una delle personalità di spicco di questa comunità è la scrittrice Ouida (1839-1908), pseudonimo di Marie Louise Ramé, autrice di un gran numero di romanzi mondani e d’avventura di notevole successo. Vernon Lee e Ouida sono autrici e personalità profondamente diverse, ma sono entrambe fortemente legate all’estetismo inglese, di cui sono, paradossalmente, al contempo discepole e critiche. Partendo dalle memorie di Mario Praz, che descrive Il Palmerino come una colonia dell’estetismo inglese sui colli fiorentini, questo intervento ricostruisce i legami fra le due autrici, tracciandone le vicende biografiche e paragonando i loro differenti modi di interagire con la cultura italiana della fine secolo. In particolare, cercherò di dimostrare che le due autrici rappresentano esempi complementari di cosmopolitismo femminile nella Firenze ottocentesca.

“Vernon Lee, Ouida, and the Spaces of Florentine Cosmopolitanism”

During the last decades of the nineteenth century, Il Palmerino became a meeting place both for British visitors to Florence and for the members of the large Anglo-Florentine community resident in town at that time. Among these was the writer Ouida (1839-1908), pseudonym for Marie Louise Ramé, who was the author of a vast number of society and adventure novels that met with great commercial success. Vernon Lee and Ouida were profoundly different, both in biographical terms and as authors, but they were both linked to British aestheticism, a movement of which they were, paradoxically, at the same time both disciples and critics. Starting from the memoirs of Italian critic Mario Praz, who describes Il Palmerino as a colony of British aestheticism on the Florentine hills, my paper attempts to trace the links between the two authors, reconstructing their biographical interactions and comparing their different ways of participating in fin-de-siècle Italian culture. In particular, I will argue that the two authors represent complementary examples of female cosmopolitanism in nineteenth-century Florence.

Stefano Evangelista insegna letteratura inglese al Trinity College dell’Università di Oxford. Nell’ambito della ricerca, si occupa di letteratura dell’età vittoriana (in particolare di estetismo e decadentismo), letteratura comparata, cosmopolitismo, classicismo e neoclassicismo, e rapporto tra culture visive e letterarie. Fra i suoi scritti si segnalano la monografia critica British Aestheticism and Ancient Greece: Hellenism, Reception, Gods in Exile (2009), The Reception of Oscar Wilde in Europe (2010) e un doppio numero dello Yearbook of English Studies dedicato alla rappresentazione delle arti visive nella letteratura vittoriana, curato insieme a Catherine Maxwell (2010). A. C. Swinburne: Unofficial Laureate uscirà a gennaio 2013 presso la Manchester University Press.

Stefano Evangelista is Fellow and Tutor in English at Trinity College and Lecturer in English at the University of Oxford. His research interests are in nineteenth-century English literature (especially Aestheticism and Decadence), comparative literature, cosmopolitanism, the reception of the classics, and in the relationship between literary and visual cultures. His monograph, British Aestheticism and Ancient Greece: Hellenism, Reception, Gods in Exile, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2009. He is the editor of The Reception of Oscar Wilde in Europe (2010) and the co-editor a double issue of the Yearbook of English Studies devoted to the arts in Victorian literature (2010) and of A. C. Swinburne: Unofficial Laureate (forthcoming 2013).

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