The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0057 Wednesday, 18 February 2009
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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