Mapping the Italian Language(s) — The Atlante Linguistico Italiano

With its tenth volume recently added to the UC Berkeley Library, the Atlante Linguistico Italiano is a unique piece of the Library’s map collections. Each entry in the atlas begins with a single concept, notion or phrase in standard Italian such as cuore, heart. Accompanying this is a map of the Italian peninsula (along with Sicily and Sardinia) that contains the equivalent term, rendered in IPA, as heard in communes all across the country. The lexical and phonetic variations of a single word play out in gradients across the landscape with small changes from one commune to the next that give way to seismic ones from one region to another. The result is a condensed roadmap of the immense linguistic diversity of Italy.

Bambino
Entry for the world “bambino”, showing variants across Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and Liguria.

As of now, the ten available volumes cover lexical items in the following spheres: the human body, clothing, the home, food, family, and society, with many other spheres such as fauna, commerce, and agriculture yet to be published. While this work is comprehensive in its treatment of geographic variants, it says unfortunately very little about diastratic variation or the relative social capital of the varieties it contains. With its data now over 30 years old, and many of its constituent dialects likely under the threat of extinction, the Atlante may soon start to take on historic and diachronic intrigue as well.

 

Oggi
Entry for the word “oggi” showing showing variants Lombardy, Liguria, Piedmont, and the Aosta Valley.

And if you’re thinking of taking these volumes home with you, think twice. They won’t fit in your backpack. They are big and heavy, measuring 49 x 71 centimeters each, and best consulted in the comfort of the Main Stacks.

 

Pellis, Ugo, and L. (Lorenzo) Massobrio. Atlante linguistico italiano  / materiali raccolti da U. Pellis [and others] ; redatto da L. Massobrio [and others]. Roma: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Libreria dello Stato, 1995.
Main (Gardner) Stacks fff PC1711 .A89 1995 v.1-10


Review of Sketches from Spain: Homage to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Sketches from Spain

Peter Neil Carroll. Sketches from Spain: Homage to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. ALBA Special Edition. Charlotte, NC: Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2024.

Scholar and poet Peter Carroll may be best known for his historical works on the Spanish Civil War and the 2,800 Americans who served in it. Building on The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade: Americans in the Spanish Civil War (1994) and From Guernica to Human Rights: Essays on the Spanish Civil War (2015), this new collection of poems is a tribute to those volunteers known as Lincolns. Longshoremen, sailors, teachers, students, novelists, poets, nurses, doctors, barbers, carpenters, florists, truck drivers, plummers, salesmen, tailors, artists, cabbies, musicians, and factory workers of all types joined the International Brigades to stop fascism from spreading in Europe. Men and women alike, Jews, African Americans, Asian Americans from virtually all fifty states united in a common cause to liberate the democratically elected Republic of Spain from a fascist uprising led by General Francisco Franco and the neighboring dictators who propped him up—Hitler and Mussolini. Through a lyrical collage of archival sources and blank verse, Carroll has assembled a poignant testimonial of those Americans he knew who enlisted in the Abraham Lincoln and Washington battalions of the International Brigades, more commonly referred to as the Lincoln Brigade after the war.

The Lincolns or brigadistas were united by the choice they made to risk it all crossing the Atlantic for an uncertain fate. The deceased, the survivors, and even the deserters get equal page space in Carroll’s kaleidoscope homage. But not all are typical heroes in these non-fiction poems. The first is dedicated to the fragmented unknown soldier:

Does it matter who he is
or why he’s smiling, what he read?
he was there,
Spain 1937
in ill-fitting trousers and shirt,
fighting fascists,
anonymous, immortal.

Other poems are dedicated to those who became known for their personal uniqueness, or the unique path they took to get to Spain. Many of these volunteers were first-generation children of immigrants from big cities, and small towns. One Lincoln was the son of an Ohio governor while another actually ran for governor of California in 1946. Among the better known is the charismatic Berkeley graduate student Robert Merriman—son of a lumberjack—and his wife Marion, who arrived from California via a research fellowship in Moscow. Novelist, journalist, and screenwriter Alvah Bessie was one of the “Hollywood 10” and appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947 where he refused to talk, and became “a minor star mingling with the left elite.” Another who rubbed shoulders with Ernest Hemingway—one of the most renowned chroniclers of the war—was a working class Jew from Brooklyn named Milton Wolff, who began as a machine gunner and was quickly promoted to battalion commander before returning home with the rest of the international volunteers in December 1938.

The war in Spain brought dignity to those discriminated against at home because of the color of their skin, such as Crawford Morgan:

In Spain I felt like a human being, a man.
People didn’t look at me with hatred in
their eyes because I was black, it is quite
a nice feeling to feel like a human being.

 Or Salaria Kea:

She stood out, the one African American
woman in the Spanish Civil War, a nurse who
spoke her mind, fought racism, saved lives.

Carroll’s poems, rarely more than a page, are structured around both known and little known facts which defined these volunteers, many whom Carroll was able to interview himself when they were alive. Nearly all joined the Communist party—a prerequisite of the Comintern’s recruitment and a decision which would follow the survivors back to the United States. Many Lincolns were persecuted, blacklisted, imprisoned, or driven to suicide or exile by their own government during the McCarthy era. Carroll’s verses locate the humanity in those volunteers who had broken and turned against the cause. Edward Barsky, on the other hand, was among so many like Bessie and others who paid a high price for refusing to name names:

[…] He went to prison—
six months and a fine. Now a felon, he
lost his New York medical license but
what else could a good doctor do?

Whether they died in Spain, in the next World War, or in the U.S. most dedicated their lives to the struggle, taking up similar causes along the way. Carroll’s poems document how they found meaning and relevance in new fights against totalitarianism, racism, and anti-semitism in the 20th century. While many re-enlisted and served proudly in World War II, others protested American wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq as well as American covert operations in Cuba, Chile, and Central America.

Peter Carroll’s Sketches from Spain: Homage to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade is an accessible testament and representation of extraordinarily moving individuals who put their lives on the line to change the world. They recognized the high stakes at play in Spain, which so many Americans realized too late, as World War II would come to prove.

Claude Potts is the Librarian for Romance Language Collections at the University of California, Berkeley where he is also part of a cross-departmental team working to install on the campus a plaque honoring Spanish Civil War volunteer Robert H. Merriman. This review also appeared in H-Spain.


Celebrating Black History Month in the Romance Languages

Contemporary Black, African, and African diaspora writers across the world are redefining literature and criticism in French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Here are some noteworthy books in their original languages recently acquired by the UC Berkeley Library. Translations into English may also be available for some of the better known.

 

Please also see the related English literatures post for Black History Month 2024 and the Black History at Cal library research guide.


Il Tolomeo: rivista di studi postcoloniali

Il Tolomeo

Hard to imagine the UC Berkeley Library as one that may soon not be able to afford new journal subscriptions but for better for worse, that’s where we are heading with serials reduction projects such as the one we undertook last year. It’s a good thing thing the open access movement is still gaining traction. It’s also a good thing universities like the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice are boldly choosing to publish their journals and some of their books this way.

Il Tolomeo: rivista di studi postcoloniali first saw the light of day in 1995, thanks to the work of a group of postcolonial scholars at Ca’ Foscari. The journal publishes peer-reviewed articles, reviews, interviews, and previously unpublished original contributions in the fields of francophone, anglophone and lusophone literatures. It investigates the postcolonial literary phenomenon in all its manifestations, but is particularly interested in contributions which take a comparative, interdisciplinary approach: dialogues between literature and the arts, investigations of hybrid forms such as comic strips and cinema, research which links literary studies with the social sciences, or innovative approaches such as digital and environmental humanities.

For its next issue, Il Tolomeo invites all interested scholars to send their contributions for the upcoming 2024 issue (no. 26). The issue will be divided into a generalist section (on any theme) and a thematic section dedicated to asylum, refugees and postcolonial literatures. The deadline for submitting complete contributions is May 20, 2024.

 


Revamped Guides for French/Francophone and Italian Literatures

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A recent overhaul of the two literary research guides for French and Francophone Literatures and Italian Literature & Criticism first created quite a long time ago will improve navigation and discovery in these vast print collections. Over the course of the past year, we have critically reviewed the former guides, weeded outdated resources, and replaced them with more current content with links to digital resources when available.

These two literature research guides are now benefiting from the LibGuides platform, which makes it much easier to revise than the former PDFs. Each guide is structured by sections for article databases, general guides and literary histories, reference tools, poetry, theater & performance, and literary periods. They interface seamlessly with related guides published by the UC Berkeley Library. For example, on the home page of each LibGuide, there is a prominent link to the lists of recently acquired publications in both French and Italian, making it even easier to stay current on new books in any particular call number range.

Because the guides are much easier to update, they encourage user interaction and invite community suggestions for inclusion (or deletion).

If you have time over the winter break, please take a whirl and let us know what you think. We’ll be unveiling a similar guide for Iberian Literatures & Criticism this spring!

 


Celebrating more than 150 years of World Languages at Berkeley

banner + campanile
Collectively, undergraduates at Berkeley speak more than 220 different first languages. Offering instruction in at least 60 languages, Berkeley is one of the nation’s top institutions for the breadth and depth of its world languages program. The program also values revitalizing and preserving endangered languages. Photo: Neil Freese/UC Berkeley.

New banners celebrate 150+ years of Berkeley’s prominence in teaching world languages

At least 60 languages — from Mongolian and Old Norse to Polish, Catalan, Ancient Egyptian, Arabic and Biblical Hebrew — are taught at UC Berkeley, one of the nation’s top institutions for the breadth and depth of its world languages program. A growing emphasis also is being placed at Berkeley on revitalizing and preserving endangered languages, most of them spoken by Indigenous peoples.

To help honor more than 150 years of global languages at Berkeley, 63 colorful banners will begin flying throughout campus today, and for the next 18 months, that feature facts about the campus’s language programs, as well as 21 bilingual and multilingual faculty members, students and alumni.

Among the messages on the banners:

  • Collectively, undergraduates at UC Berkeley speak more than 220 different first languages.
  • More than 500 language learning classes are taught at Berkeley annually.
  • More than 6,000 Berkeley students enroll in those classes each year.
  • In 1872, the first endowed chair in the UC system was created — for the study of East Asian languages at Berkeley.
  • Students at all UC campuses can take online African language classes at Berkeley, which is well-known for Amharic, Igbo and Swahili instruction.

Reposted from Berkeley Letters & Science 10/25/23

See also: https://artshumanities.berkeley.edu/celebration-world-languages-uc-berkeley


Robert H. Merriman Plaque online kick-off event 10/3/23

photo
Dr. Mark Strauss and Robert Merriman at the Estado Mayor of the Brigade at the Fuentes de Ebro, probably on October 12, 1937. ALBA Photo 11-0766 Tamiment Library, New York University.

Please join us in celebrating the memory of the UC Berkeley graduate student in economics, who gave his life fighting fascism in Spain as a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

Remembering Robert H. Merriman (1908-1938):
From Berkeley to the Trenches of the Spanish Civil War

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Pacific (PST)

Online event (registration required)

Robert Hale Merriman (1908-1938) was a UC Berkeley graduate student in economics and native Californian, who was among the first of some 2,800 American men and women to join the International Brigades to fight for democracy during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). This diverse and racially integrated group of volunteers formed the unit known today as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, in which Merriman was quickly promoted to major, becoming one of the highest-ranking Americans in the conflict. He went missing in action on April 2, 1938, near the Ebro River in the province of Tarragona.

The University of Barcelona’s DIDPATRI research group has offered UCB a second casting of the commemorative  plaque that stands today in the village where it is believed that Merriman was held and then executed by the fascists. We are launching a fundraiser to cover the costs of its installation at the center of campus near Memorial Glade, which honors UC Berkeley veterans of World War II.

This memorial will contribute to the educational mission of the University as a readily accessible stop for campus tours, as well as a relatable point of reference for interdisciplinary classes touching on twentieth century history. Its location near The Bancroft Library, where the Bay Area Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Post Records are archived, will also call attention to the research opportunities available there. These records were donated by Merriman’s widow, Marion Merriman Wachtel, who accompanied him in Spain where she was also a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

photo of plaque

Project sponsored by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at UC Berkeley.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit ucblib.link/robert-merriman.


Celebrate print and more this Bibliodiversity Day!

two books

Bibliodiversity Day was created in 2010 by Latin American publisher members of the International Alliance of Independent Publishers, a professional collective that brings together more than 800 independent publishing houses from over 55 countries around the world.

Since then, the event has taken place every year, especially in Latin America where the term “bibliodiversidad” was first coined. On September 21, the first day of spring for the southern hemisphere, publishers, booksellers, book professionals and readers are invited to celebrate independent publishing and bibliodiversity.

Bibliodiversity is the response to the huge imbalance in the publishing market, where commercial logic vastly prevails over intellectual adventurousness, characteristic of small, independent, or unconventional publishers. For academic libraries, the imbalance between commercial and independent publishers is further exacerbated by institutional preferences for digital over print. Faced with the continued prevalence of print publishing in most regions of the world (including Europe), the spectrum of viewpoints collected and preserved by academic libraries risks becoming impoverished without the conscious intervention of librarians and book dealers in charge of such curatorial decisions.

With that here are a few recent acquisitions to showcase from the Romance languages collection on this day of bibliodiversity:

Atzeni, Paola. Corpi, gesti, stili : saper fare e saper vivere di donne eccellenti nella Sardegna rurale. Nuoro: Illisso, 2022.

Ayroles, François. En terrasse. Paris: L’Association, 2019.

Bekri, Tahar. Chants pour la Tunisie. Neuilly-sur-Seine: Al Manar, 2023.

Cruanyes Plana, Toni. La Vall de la Llum. Barcelona: Destino, 2022.

Dumas, Catherine. Salette Tavares, Obra Poética 1957-1992. Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 2022.

Hernando, Almudena. La corriente de la historia : (y la contradicción de lo que somos). Primera edición. Madrid: Traficantes de sueños, 2022.

Junyent, M. Carme. El futur del català depèn de tu. Barcelona: La Campana, 2022.

Kanapé Fontaine, Natasha. Nauetakuan. [New edition]. La Roche-sur-Yon: Dépaysage, 2023.

Sánchez Soler, Mariano. Una hojarasca de cadáveres : crónica criminal de la España posfranquista. Primera edición. Barcelona: Alrevés, 2023.

Lugassy, Maurice. Les Justes en Occitanie : cette page de lumière dans la nuit de la Shoah. Toulouse: Privat, 2023.

Mak-Bouchard, Olivier. La ballade du feu. Paris: Le Tripode, 2023.

María, Daniel. Bisutería auténtica. Barcelona: Egales, 2023.

Migneco, Giulia. Donne e antimafia. Ed. Valeria Scafetta. Padua: BeccoGiallo, 2022.

Ondjaki. Vou mudar a cozinha : contos. 1a edição. Alfragide – Portugal: Caminho, 2022.

El Moumni, Salma. Adieu Tanger : roman. Paris: Bernard Grasset, 2023.

Previtali, Enrico, Elena Ravera, and Stefano Rozzoni, eds. “Nuovi fascismi e nuove resistenze : percorsi e prospettive nella cultura contemporanea.” Ospedaletto (Pisa): Pacini editore, 2022.

Scotti Morgana, Silvia, ed. La letteratura dialettale milanese : autori e testi. Roma: Salerno editrice, 2022.

Sonko, Seynabou. Djinns : roman. Paris: Bernard Grasset, 2023.

 

And remember, new acquisitions lists are running again for print titles in French, Italian, and Iberian Studies. Check them out!


Romance Language Collections Newsletter no. 8 (Fall 2023)

This year’s welcome back newsletter for those working in the Romance languages focuses on digital and print resources. For the most up-to-date information on the UC Berkeley Library’s services, please continue to check the Library’s Get Help page.

Cinegramas: Revista Semanal (1934-36)
A substantial run of the Spanish weekly film magazine Cinegramas: Revista Semanal (1934-36) was acquired months before the Covid pandemic hit but can now be consulted in The Bancroft Library. It ceased publication with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936.
What’s new in the Library for Fall 2023?

  • 2022-23 Serials Reductions
  • E-reserves & bCourses
  • Reference & Instruction
  • Library Workshops
  • Library Research Guides
  • New Books and More
  • Open Access Books
  • UC Library Search – 4 FAQs
  • Featured Digitized Work

See also:


AOQU (Achilles Orlando Quixote Ulysses). Rivista di epica

Achilles Orlando Quixote Ulysses Rivista di Epica
Cover art for AOQU III, 2 (2022) by Antonio Possenti.
As serials costs continue to soar and academic library budgets continue to decline, Open Access (OA) remains a viable path for knowledge sharing in different disciplines. In the wake of the $850k serials cancellation project currently underway, here’s one online journal that will emerge unscathed. AOQU (Achilles Orlando Quixote Ulysses). Rivista di epica is published at the Università degli Studi di Milano (University of Milan) and is now in its fourth year.
This biannual peer-reviewed journal aims to be a forum for scholars from multiple disciplines to discuss epics beyond linguistic, cultural and chronological boundaries. Epic poetry will be seen as a cultural, moral and ideological model, defining self-perception in history and society, in relationship with other cultures, ideologies as well as the collective imagination.
AOQU is one of about 50 OA journals published by Milano University Press, transforming scholarly communication models as we know it. Other journals of interest discoverable through UC Library Search include Altre Modernità, Cinéma & Cie, Carte Romanze, Concorso. Arti e lettere, Interfaces: A Journal of Medieval European Literatures, ItalianoLinguadue, Schermi. Storie e culture del cinema e dei media in Italia, Studi di storia medioevale e di diplomatica – Nuova Serie, and translation. a transdisciplinary journal.