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Iván Parga Ornelas

2019 Postgraduate Symposium of the Prato Consortium for Medieval and Renaissance studies

I was very fortunate to participate, on December 11, in the 2019 postgraduate symposium of the Prato Consortium for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. This was a great way to conclude my study-trip to Italy to consult manuscripts for my research on Maffeo Vegio.

The format of this year’s symposium was different than in past years, as it did not have a unified theme, and was not open to the public. This gave place, on the one hand, to a variety of arguments and approaches that enriched the experience, and on the other, to a more direct and constructive discussion with the professors and other postgraduates who attended. The participants came from Monash University, Australian Catholic University, the University of Toronto, Queen Mary University of London, and the University of Warwick. Five papers were presented. Lisa di Crescenzo, from Queen Mary University of London, presented on issues of identity and self-presentation in the documents of Laura Strozzi. Lana Stephens, from Asutralian Catholic University, spoke about the vernacular translations of Marisilio Ficino. Spirit Waite, from the University of Toronto, examined with great detail the operations of the Innocenti foundling hospitals. Lastly, Alexandra Rubenstein explored the formation of myths, through the case study of the murder of the Cathar-inquisitor and martyr Peter of Verona. The presentations were always followed by very insightful questions or observations by the attendees.

I presented a paper titled ‘Contempt of the world, solitude, and the creation of a literary self in Petrarch’, in which I explored the relationship between the focus on self-knowledge of monastic literature on contempt of the world, and Petrarch’s attempt to shape his persona through his writings.

After the presentations we were offered various refreshments. This gave us the opportunity to discuss, in a more informal manner, aspects of our research, and meet new colleagues, which was the best way to conclude the evening.