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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: February ::
Obituary for Giorgio Melchiori
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0057  Wednesday, 18 February 2009

From:      Michele Marrapodi <
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Date:      Thursday, 12 Feb 2009 12:52:55 +0100
Subject:   Obituary for Giorgio Melchiori

Giorgio Melchiori, the most eminent scholar of Italian 'Anglistica', 
passed away peacefully on 7 February, at the age of 88. He was a 
Commander of the British Empire (CBE), a Fellow of the British Academy 
(FBA), Professor Emeritus of English Literature at the 'Rome Three' 
University, a Fellow of the Royal Academy, Accademia dei Lincei and 
Accademia delle Scienze (Turin), Life-Trustee Shakespeare Birthplace 
Trust, and Honorary Trustee International James Joyce Foundation. For 
his life-long critical activity he was generally acclaimed as one of the 
most distinguished and original Shakespearean scholars in the fields of 
both critical and textual investigation. He was also internationally 
known for his outstanding critical writings on Yeats and Joyce and many 
other British authors from the medieval to the modernist age, from the 
earliest Elizabethans to Dylan Thomas and beyond.

He was considered the most eclectic Shakespearean in Italy since he 
produced seminal contributions to the field of textual and comparative 
studies and interpretative commentary on Shakespeare and his 
contemporaries, employing diverse methodologies and critical viewpoints 
in relation to the aims and targets of his research. Among the critical 
perspectives adopted, Melchiori dealt variously and trenchantly with 
structuralism and semiotics, historical and neo-Marxist approaches, and 
formalist and textual analyses. He also undertook a successful, 
experimental harmonizing of a variety of critical methods to reach a 
pluralist interpretation of Shakespeare's Sonnets (Turin, 1973).

Among his extremely copious critical production, I would like to 
mention, listing only some of his most important volumes published 
outside Italy, The Tightrope Walkers: Studies of Mannerism in Modern 
English Literature (1956), The Whole Mystery of Arts: Patterns into 
Poetry in the Work of W.B. Yeats (1960), Shakespeare's Dramatic 
Meditations: An Experiment in Criticism (1976), and Shakespeare's Garter 
Plays (1994). As a textual scholar, he edited The Insatiate Countess 
(1984), King Edward III (1998), Sir Thomas More (2002), The Second Part 
of King Henry IV (2007), and The Merry Wives of Windsor (2000).

He also edited in nine volumes the most complete and updated bilingual 
edition of Shakespeare's plays, with Italian translations by different 
scholars, and provided new critical editions of the apocryphal plays 
Edward III and Sir Thomas More (Milan, 1976-91).

For all he gave us both as a scholar and as a man of letters he will be 
remembered for ever not only by those who personally knew him and were 
honoured to be graced with his friendship, teaching, and generous 
collaboration but also by the whole international community of 
Renaissance students and scholars who have learnt from the brilliancy of 
his wide expertise and intense humanity.

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