Skip to main content

Digital Alfieri. Dynamic Digital Editions: Case study Alfieri 13

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DIGITAL ALFIERI (Digital Alfieri. Dynamic Digital Editions: Case study Alfieri 13)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2018-02-28

The aim of this project is to provide a dynamic digital edition of the manuscript Alfieri 13 (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana of Florence), in order to provide new perspectives on at least three fields: digital humanities, textual criticism, and 18th century literature.
Alfieri 13 is a miscellaneous scribbling-book (232 pages) which is of a capital importance for the understanding of the evolution of Alfieri's thinking: in fact, it is a crossroad of several literary projects of Vittorio Alfieri (Asti 1749 – Florence 1803, one of the most important European writers of the 18th century). The digital output (allowing to link and cross-referring information in a non-sequential way) is the best way to highlight how the physical (static) conformation of the object (the manuscript) portrays the intellectual (dynamic) evolution of an individuality (the writer). The applicant will take the innovative approach of combining two concurrent (but complementary) perspectives on the study of manuscripts: filologia d'autore and critique génétique.
Those approaches are now getting closer thanks to the recent establishment of an Italian research team at the hosting laboratory, the CNRS/ENS-ITEM (Institut des Textes & Manuscrits Modernes). This research team, Manuscrits Italiens du 18e siècle (Italian Manuscripts of the 18th century) is leaded by Christian Del Vento (supervisor for this project) and it will focus on methodological aspects and on controversial case studies, among which the manuscript Alfieri 13. The proposed digital edition of Alfieri 13, will be of a fundamental relevance for various fields, and especially:
1) Digital Humanities: it will provide digital textual criticism with an effective model, exploitable for other manuscripts and authors;
2) methodology: it will serve as a bridge between filologia d'autore and critique génétique;
3) literature and culture of the 18th: it will lay the foundations for a reliable edition of Alfieri's Vita and Rime.
From March 2016 to February 2018 I carried on research on Alfieri’s archive (his manuscripts and his personal library). In order to provide a digital edition of the writer’s manuscripts, I integrated the steering committee of EMAN (Edition de Manuscrits et d’Archives Numériques), an OMEKA-based digital platform for the edition of libraries and archives developed at the ITEM by Richard Walter. The EMAN platform hosts the Digital Alfieri site, where the digital facsimiles of Alfieri’s manuscripts are available. Every sheet of the writer’s manuscripts is enriched with complete metadata: both standard metadata (following the Dublin Core standards) and specific metadata which were specifically created in order to index these materials. The site will be officially launched in July 2019. I presented a demo version of the Digital Alfieri site during the conference Vittorio Alfieri: éditer, commenter, traduire that I organised in February 2018 with Christian Del Vento (supervisor for my project) and Enrico Ricceri.
In 2016 I obtained a complementary funding under the PSL-Explore programme: this funding is aimed at cover costs for the digitalisation of some books appertained to Alfieri personal library and annotated by him. The digitalisation of those books is ongoing, and the digital files will be published by the Digital Alfieri site. I also obtained the rights for publishing all of the Alfieri’s archive held in the Laurentian Library of Florence (about 40 manuscripts, more than 7500 pages) whose facsimile have been uploaded in the Digital Alfieri site.
Meanwhile, I worked on the scholar edition of Alfieri autobiography: the paper edition of this work is actually under press; the digital edition is ongoing (transcriptions and links are completed: it will be published once links with the personal library of Alfieri will be ready).
The Digital Alfieri site have been labelled by the CAHIER consortium (which cares for shared and reliable standards for the digital editing in the humanities).
Thanks to this fellowship, I organised two cycles of seminars, one workshop and one conference.
Thanks to the Digital Alfieri project, we are finally able to virtually gather together the main of Alfieri’s manuscripts and books, which allows to appreciating the original unity of his archive. Alfieri, indeed, had a strong consciousness of the importance of his archive, by which he wanted to give a sort of “posthumous portrait” of himself.
The digital edition of Alfieri manuscripts is a precious tool for the exploring of the path of his writings, disclosing his way of working, which had never been accurately studied so far.
The Digital Alfieri site, because of the completeness of this writer’s archive (which is quite unusual at the 18th Century) is a capital case study to investigate writers’ habits in that time.
Portrait of Vittorio Alfieri by François-Xavier Fabre (Florence, Museo degli Uffizi)