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Alessandro Metlica (Università di Padova) – “From Prison with Humor: Two Letters by Giovan Battista Marino”
October 23 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
The Italian poet Giovan Battista Marino (1569-1625) was imprisoned many times during his life, due to his witty and irreverent attitude towards some of his patrons and the Catholic Church. Experiencing harsh detention in Naples as well as in Turin, Marino managed to escape prison with literature. The metaphor of an escape through pen and paper applies indeed to both life and literature, facts and rhetoric. On the one hand, writing greatly helped Marino to regain his freedom, coaxing princes and cardinals, and finding new patrons among the diplomats and the noblemen at the court. On the other hand, through his letters in verse and prose, in which comic frequently turns to satire, the poet found a way to alleviate his condition, as he boldly attacked and brilliantly mocked – by means of literature, of course – the authorities responsible for his imprisonment. In these difficult days, when the lockdown due to the pandemic forces us to reassess our habits and travels, Marino’s dark humor and clever irony witness the amazing power of literature, overcoming every physical barrier to offer us its “comic relief”.