“We agreed that it should not be published”: The Reception of the Anonymous Pseudotranslation by Luigi Settembrini

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch

My contribution retraces the story of I Neoplatonici by Italian patriot Luigi Settembrini (1813-1977). This homoerotic novella was coincidentally discovered in the form of an anonymous manuscript at the National Library of Naples in 1937. Besides the veil of anonymity, the text features a narrative device: it is presented as if it were a translation from Greek, a variation of the topos of the allegedly-found manuscript. The discovery was made by Greek scholar Raffaele Cantarella, who could immediately detect the fraud and identify the real author. The work, however, was published only in 1977, forty years following the discovery by Cantarella and a century after the death of its author, as philosopher Benedetto Croce and scholar and politician Francesco Torraca advised against the dissemination on moral grounds. The editio princeps was accompanied by an introductory note by literary critic Giorgio Manganelli, who undoubtedly connects that “rare pornographic precision” with the Neapolitan patriot’s biography. These interpretation paved the way to numerous sensationalist articles on virtually every Italian newspaper that year. I will analyse how the late discovery and publication of the manuscript have mediated the reception of the work and investigate the relationship between the figure of the author, anonymity, and the fictive paratext of the translation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date12 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2021
EventDiscovery (Nineteenth-Century Studies Association): 42nd Annual Virtual Conference - , United States
Duration: 11 Mar 202113 Mar 2021


ConferenceDiscovery (Nineteenth-Century Studies Association)
CountryUnited States

ID: 258658363