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Presentation and Discussion | Gur Zak: Autobiography and Self-Care in Italian Humanism. The Case of Giovanni da Ravenna's Rationarium vite

Oct 28, 2020 | 06:15 PM

Presentation by Gur Zak (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem / Fellow EXC 2020 "Temporal Communities") with discussion in English.

The event will be transmitted via WebEx-Event. Please register by email (bernhard.huss@fu-berlin.de) until Monday, October 26. You will receive all access details on the day before the event.

Introduction and Moderation: Bernhard Huss

Giovanni Conversini da Ravenna’s Rationarium vite, completed in 1400, is the fi rst full-length autobiography written in the Latin west after Augustine’s Confessions. Despite this remarkable fact, Conversini’s work received only sporadic attention in accounts of early humanism or the history of autobiography. This presentation will seek to elucidate the Rationarium’s signifi cance to the culture of early Italian humanism by examining it in light of Petrarch’s elaborate – yet fragmentary – autobiographical corpus.

The presentation will concentrate on three interrelated issues:

1. Conversini’s use of self-writing as an ethical practice aimed at fashioning himself as a free and autonomous subject.

2. His adherence to the Petrarchan project of establishing humanism as a textual community bent on critiquing contemporary society and its corrupt institutions.

3. Conversini’s ongoing oscillation between two diff erent ideals of selfhood in his self-representation: while he often lauds his Franciscan-like compassionate and soft nature, Conversini at the same time repeatedly exalts Stoic virility and self-control as the true essence of humanity.

In cooperation with the Italienzentrum, Freie Universität Berlin.

Time & Location

Oct 28, 2020 | 06:15 PM

Online streaming via Webex.