Issue #27-28 (Fall 24)
With this double issue, Gradiva celebrates its
thirtieth year. Thirty years…
and my recollection obviously turn to 1982, the year I assumed its
direction (at that time, Gradiva had seen seven years of progress).
It pleases me, after three decades, to briefly recapitulate the journal’s story. Created in 1975 by Adriano Berengo, the first issue was released in the summer of 1976. Essays and notes appeared by Berengo himself (on Beckett), and among others, by Norman N. Holland (at that time director of the Center for Psychological Study of the Arts, at Buffalo); Mark Heumann, American director of Gradiva and noted scholar of psychoanalysis, who later would teach at Jerusalem University; Michel David, who, together with Giacomo Debenedetti, is to be considered one of the forerunners of Italian psychoanalytic criticism (his essay published in the first issue, was entitled Psychoanalytic Criticism in Italy); and Stefano Agosti, who commented on the notable books written by Francesco Orlando (Lettura freudiana della “Phedre” e Per una teoria freudiana della letteratura, both published by Einaudi, respectively in 1971 and 1973.
As you can tell from this short synopsis, Gradiva’s main focus was to explore the relationship between psychoanalysis and literature, as further evidenced by the title chosen for the journal – the same title of one of Freud’s most seductive works, via Jensen, leaving no room for any doubt.
From 1976 to 1982, the span of time that comprised the First Series of Gradiva, the journal, therefore, embraced studies that addressed areas of psychoanalytic criticism, analogical and semiological criticism, and seminal incursions into the historical avant-garde, surrealism in particular. Of significance, were essays by Anna Balakian, Jan Kott, Umberto Eco, Jacques Lacan, Lucien Goldmann, Jay Martin, Giovanni Sinicropi, Norman N. Holland, all published in various successive issues.
Since1982, under my editorship, the journal became essentially a periodical of Italian literature, that besides psychoanalysis, embraced other critical methodologies: stylistic criticism, structuralism, Marxist criticism. The editorial board was radically reorganized. Scholars and poets like Cesare Garboli (I am reminded of one of his beautiful essays on Antonio Delfini in the first issue of the Second Series), Dante Della Terza (who has contributed critical essays and has constantly lent support with counsel and suggestions), Alfredo Giuliani, Glauco Cambon, Octavio Paz (I still have before me his gracious letter of acceptance), Edoardo Sanguineti, Giuliano Manacorda, Paolo Valesio. The latter two, in time became friends and compagnons de route; colleagues to whom I am strongly devoted. I must also re-confirm my deep gratitude to George Carpetto, who from 1982 to 1985 shared the editorship of Gradiva with me (Carpetto had joined the journal in 1978 as associate editor, and moved to Florida in 1986, where he still resides and practices psychology).
Another major change (enrichment), in the journal, from 1982 on, was the inclusion of creative texts. I like to recall that the first poems published in the first issue of the Second Series, were written by Philippe Soupault – with Breton and Aragon, one of the historical founders of surrealism. He sent me a passionate letter and an autographed text (in fact, his poem Toujours le silence was published in its original manuscript form); in addition there were poems by Edoardo Sanguineti, Milo De Angelis, and Alfredo Giuliani. It seems incredible that 23 years have already passed from that close/distant 1982. Since then, there have been hundreds and hundreds of poetic texts published by Gradiva, many of which were accompanied by English translations.
The Second Series of Gradiva, begun in 1982, has its final phase in 1999. From the year 2000 to the present, the journal has become a biannual periodical exclusively devoted to Italian poetry and poetology. The year 2000 also initiates the Third Series. The executive and editorial boards bear another revision, with poets and scholars like Giorgio Baroni, Luigi Bonaffini, Alfredo De Palchi, Barbara Carle, Maurizio Cucchi, Milo De Angelis, Jonathan Galassi, Laura Lilli, Valerio Magrelli, Plinio Perilli, Robert Pinsky, and Rebecca J. West.
Meanwhile, Gradiva Publications takes root – a small publishing company that modestly founded in 1985, has gradually strengthened and professionally put into focus its editorial activity. Gradiva Publications’ primary goal is to make Italian poetry known and visible in spoken English countries, via well-edited publications of bi-lingual booklets of Italian poets not as yet familiar to the English-speaking public, or actually, who have never before been translated into English. To this basic series, there is yet another, comprised of contemporary American poets of Italian descent. The list, made available on the back-cover of this issue, gives a summary of what has been published thus far. Four years ago, Gradiva Publications was selected by the “Ministero dei Beni Culturali” to receive the prestigious Premio Internazionale per la Traduzione.
It is right and proper, at this point, to extend my appreciation to Sylvia Liberti Morandina for her dedication to Gradiva. From 1986 to the present she has served as managing editor and as an irreplaceable friend. My gratitude must also be conveyed to Michael Palma, a fine poet and translator, who for many years has been of great assistance, especially in revising English contributions.
Perhaps only someone who has been editor of a literary publication can truly know how much, and what kind of labor it entails, almost daily, by the person at the helm. I’m not fooling myself . I know well how much precariousness is envolved in such work. I am consoled by the fact that I have always administered it without subjectivity, with free autonomy and honesty – upheld always, last but not least, by an Ideal, without which every human life would not have meaning.
Mario Luzi’s last poem
De Angelis (autografo)
Maria Angela Bedini
Maria Clelia Cardona
Paola Malavasi (con una nota di Giuseppe Conte)
Tempo e Corpo Lettura di Tema dell’addio di Milo De Angelis
La poesia come pasto nudo Saggio su Maurizio Cucchi
A proposito di Nel condominio di carne di Valerio Magrelli
L’umana gloria di Mario Benedetti
Gabriele Pepe e l’estetica del corpiloquio
Ottaviano De Biase
Vincenzo Di Oronzo
Pasquale Di Palmo
Mario Fresa (con una nota di Maurizio Cucchi)
Bartolo Cattafi / tr by Rina Ferrarelli
Davide Rondoni / tr by Gregory Pell
Milo De Angelis (intervista a cura di Enzo Rega, con alcuni testi
tratti da Tema dell’Addio, traduzione di Emanuel Di Pasquale)
POETS IN / OF AMERICA
POETS IN / OF ITALY (
a cura di Michael Palma)
Celia R Daileader
DIALECT POETRY (a
cura di Luigi Bonaffini)
Anna Maria Farabbi
Jo Ann Cavallo / Luigi Bonaffini
Mary B Tolusso / Giovanna Frene
Giuseppe Neri / Victoria Surliuga
Davide Rondoni / Gregory Pell
Mauro Ferrari / Alessandro Carrera
Daniele Piccini / Alessandro Carrera
Mia Lecomte / Fabio Ciriachi
Maria Clelia Cardona / Lea Canducci
Marcello Marciani / Francesco Paolo Memmo
Claudia Iandolo / Enzo Rega
RASSEGNA DI POESIA
(a cura di Luigi Fontanella e Plinio Perilli)
LA FOTOTECA DI GRADIVA