2023 AATI Book Award Winners

2023 Book Awards Announcement

by Ryan Calabretta-Sajder

It is with great pleasure that I announce the 2023 Book Award Winners. This year we had a rich array of submissions and the committee shared how difficult it was to render a decision. Many thanks to Mark Pietralunga who agreed to chair this committee once again. Special thanks also to Laura Benedetti, Massimo Scalabrini, and Mary Ann McDonald Carolan for serving on the committee.

1. Award for Literary, Critical Theory, and Cultural Studies: Boccaccio’s Florence by Elsa Filosa, Vanderbilt University

This comprehensive study, which is based on impressive archival research and knowledge of historical sources, is a significant contribution to Boccaccio studies. The monograph achieves several important goals: it redefines our understanding of Boccaccio’s biography and social circumstances (after his return to Florence in the winter of 1340-41); it sheds new light on the economic and political context of some of his major works (De mulieribus; Consolatoria; second edition of the Trattatello; De casibus; Genealogie; as well as the Decameron); and it changes our perception of key aspects of these works. The author’s lively prose and attention to detail make the fourteenth century come alive for the reader. https://utorontopress.com/9781487532727/boccaccio-and-x2019s-florence/

2. Award for Performance and Visual Culture: Italian Film in the Present Tense (University of Toronto Press) by Millicent Marcus, Yale University

This study reveals an exceptional ability to combine scholarly depth with an engaging and accessible style. Through a rich roster of thematically organized case studies (plus, “in a category unto itself,” Sorrentino’s La grande bellezza), all sharing a commitment to an ethical approach to cinema, the book addresses the “contemporary Italian condition” and offers a critical survey of the “present” of Italian culture as rooted in the enduring, structural questions of its longue durée. The author’s nuanced and incisive close readings and theoretical insights are steeped in a profound knowledge not only of Italian cinema but also of cinematic scholarly studies. Equally impressive is the author’s expert knowledge of the political, social, and historical context surrounding each film under analysis. This volume will undoubtedly become the seminal text for the study of contemporary Italian cinema. https://utorontopress.com/9781487546199/italian-film-in-the-present-tense/

3. Award for First Book: A Sudden Frenzy (University of Toronto Press) by James Coleman, University of Pittsburgh

This is a superbly written account about the theory and practice of the fundamental yet elusive tradition of improvised poetry recitation in Renaissance Italy. The author demonstrates vast erudition in his analysis of the works of lesser known canterini as well as those of canonical authors, challenging the widely accepted scholarly preference for more formal recitation. This study explores the porous boundaries between high (formal) and low (popular) culture in a lively, highly readable style. The implications of this research extend beyond the Renaissance for, as Coleman points out in the conclusion, this improvisational tradition continues into the 18th century. https://utorontopress.com/9781487563448/a-sudden-frenzy/

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