MLA Awards Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award to Assistant Professor of Italian Paola Gambarota

gambarota 2010

MLA's Scaglione Publication Award Presented to University of Toronto Press to Publish Paola Gambarota's "Irresistible Signs: The Genius of Language and Italian National Identity"

New York, NY - 1 December 2010 - The Modern Language Association of America today announced it is awarding its thirteenth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies to Paola Gambarota, of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, for her manuscript "Irresistible Signs: The Genius of Language and Italian National Identity." The manuscript will be published by the University of Toronto Press.

The award is one of seventeen that will be presented on 7 January during the association's annual convention, to be held in Los Angeles. The members of the selection committee were Millicent Marcus (Yale Univ.); Robin Pickering-Iazzi (Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee); and Mark Pietralunga (Florida State Univ.), chair. The committee's citation for the winning manuscript reads:

In "Irresistible Signs: The Genius of Language and Italian National Identity," Paola Gambarota rigorously examines the ways in which leading Italian writers and philosophers elaborated discourses on the genius of language, thereby contributing to myths that link vernacular language with national identity. A captivating dialogic approach invites the reader to consider the Italian discourse on language and the national body in relation to those by other European intellectuals from the 1600s through the 1800s, as well as to contemporary theories of the nation. Exhibiting an impressive command of theoretical work, Gambarota's discussions are exceptionally engaging and rich with insights that create new critical perspectives for a variety of fields of inquiry. This highly original work is a significant contribution within and beyond the sphere of Italian studies.

Paola Gambarota is an assistant professor of Italian at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She received a PhD in Italian Language and Literature from Yale University and a PhD in German Studies from the University of Pavia, Italy. She is the author of Surrealismo in Germania. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Romanic Review, Modern Language Notes, and Rivista di Studi Italiani. Her research interests include modern Italian literature, theories of language and nation, European prewar avant-garde, and film.

Established in 1997, the Scaglione Publication Award was first presented in 1998 to the University of Toronto Press to publish Herman W. Haller's The Other Italy: The Literary Canon in Dialect. The University of Toronto Press also received the prize in 1999 for Gianni Celati: The Craft of Everyday Storytelling, by Rebecca J. West. In 2000, the award was given to the University of Michigan Press to publish a book by Victoria Kirkham titled Fabulous Vernacular: Boccaccio's Filicolo and the Art of Medieval Fiction. The 2001 award went to the University of California Press to publish Nelson Moe's The View from Vesuvius: Italian Culture and the Southern Question. In 2002, the award went to the University of Notre Dame Press for Theodore J. Cachey's Petrarch's Guide to the Holy Land. The award in 2003 was given to the University of Toronto Press for Elizabeth Leake's The Reinvention of Ignazio Silone. In 2004 the award went to Yale University Press for The Selected Writings of Girolamo Savonarola: Religion and Politics, 1490-1498, edited by Donald Beebe and edited and translated by Anne Borelli and Maria Pastore Passaro. The 2005 award was presented to the University of Notre Dame Press for Justin Steinberg's Accounting for Dante: Urban Readers and Writers in Late Medieval Italy. In 2006, the award went to the University of Chicago Press for Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg's The Pinocchio Effect: On Making Italians (1860-1920). The 2008 award went to the University of Toronto Press for Lina N. Insana's Arduous Tasks: Primo Levi, Translation, and the Transmission of Holocaust Testimony. In 2009, the award went to Ashgate Press for Kristin Phillips-Court's The Perfect Genre: Drama and Painting in Renaissance Italy.

The MLA, the largest and one of the oldest American learned societies in the humanities (est. 1883), promotes the advancement of literary and linguistic studies. The 30,000 members of the association come from each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia, as well as from Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. PMLA, the association's flagship journal of literary scholarship, has published distinguished scholarly articles for over one hundred years. Approximately 9,500 members of the MLA and its allied and affiliate organizations attend the association's annual convention. The MLA is a constituent of the American Council of Learned Societies and the International Federation for Modern Languages and Literatures.

The Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies is awarded under the auspices of the association's Committee on Honors and Awards. Other awards sponsored by the committee are the William Riley Parker Prize; the James Russell Lowell Prize; the MLA Prize for a First Book; the Howard R. Marraro Prize; the Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize; the Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize; the MLA Prize for Independent Scholars; the Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize; the Morton N. Cohen Award; the MLA Prizes for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition and for a Distinguished Bibliography; the Lois Roth Award; the William Sanders Scarborough Prize; the Fenia and Yaakov Leviant Memorial Prize in Yiddish Studies; the MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies; and the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prizes for Comparative Literary Studies, for French and Francophone Studies, for Italian Studies, for Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures, for Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures, for a Translation of a Literary Work, and for a Translation of a Scholarly Study of Literature.

The Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund was established and donated by Aldo Scaglione to the MLA in 1987. The fund honors the memory of his wife, Jeanne Daman Scaglione. A Roman Catholic, Jeanne Daman taught in a Jewish kindergarten in Brussels, Belgium. When deportation of Jews began in 1942, she helped find hiding places for 2,000 children. She also helped rescue many Jewish men by obtaining false papers for them. Jeanne Scaglione's life and contributions to humanity are commemorated in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Aldo Scaglione, a member of the MLA since 1957, is Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Literature at New York University. A native of Torino, Italy, he received a doctorate in modern letters from the University of Torino. He has taught at the University of Toulouse and the University of Chicago. From 1952 to 1968 he taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and from 1968 to 1987 he was W. R. Kenan Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In 1987 he came to New York University as professor of Italian and then served as chair of the Department of Italian. He has been a Fulbright fellow and a Guggenheim fellow, has held senior fellowships from the Newberry Library and the German Academic Exchange Service, and has been a visiting professor at Yale University, the City University of New York, and the Humanities Research Institute of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1975 he was named Cavaliere dell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana. He has been president of the American Boccaccio Association and was a member of the MLA Executive Council from 1981 to 1984. His published books include Nature and Love in the Late Middle Ages (1963); Ars Grammatica (1970); The Classical Theory of Composition (1972); The Theory of German Word Order (1980); The Liberal Arts and the Jesuit College System (1986); Knights at Court: Courtliness, Chivalry, and Courtesy from Ottonian Germany to the Italian Renaissance (1991); and Essays on the Arts of Discourse: Linguistics, Rhetoric, Poetics (1998).

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