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ENAV - Edizione Nazionale degli Antichi Volgarizzamenti dei testi latini nei volgari italiani
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Publications » Historia Apollonii Regis Tyri. Italian vernacular translations

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This volume contains the critical edition of the four vernacular translations of the late Latin novel of Apollonius, King of Tyre, in XIV century Italy. Set on the coasts of the Eastern Mediterranean in Hellenistic times, simple in its structure and style but laden with thematic and literary references to the classics, from Oedipus to Odysseus, with its combination of adventure and exemplarity it was widely successful between the Middle Ages and the modern age, reread and rewritten countless times. Unlike many of its more famous European versions, the Italian texts stuck to the confines of the Latin fibula, retaining the centrality of family affections, culture and politics in terms of themes, and the straightforwardness of the main character’s adventures in terms of structure, in keeping with what can be read in the coeval Cantari di Apollonio diTiro by Antonio Pucci. Their contribution largely enriches the story of the success of Historia Apollonii in Italy, revealing new connections, although in a variety of strategies. Three of these works come from Tuscany, each one contained in a different miscellaneous codex: the Libro d’Apollonio, already appreciated by Salviati and the Accademici della Crusca for the quality of its language, adds to the more far-ranging Leggere d’Apolonio di Tiri and Storia di Apollonio re di Tiro, perhaps the oldest one, of which however only few sheets have survived. The Historia de miser Apollonio de Tyri was instead drawn up in Venice, its only sample, previously edited by Salvioni, seriously damaged in the fire of the National Library of Turin in 1904: recently rediscovered, it still looks exceptional for its rich decorations and its linguistic blend that different hands slowly steered towards the Tuscan language. The Introduction puts the texts in the context of the Italian success of the HA, reconstructs its descent, and looks at the choices made by the translators in adapting the source to their public, making a distinction between common trends and individual solutions, then going back to the bonds between the vernacular translations and Pucci’s cantares, and the neo-Greek version that was drawn from the Libro d’Apollonio. The Note on the texts thoroughly reviews the witness of each work, providing updated information on their internal composition and, as in the case of the Venetian codex, on the body of decorations, although largely lost; a detailed study of the language of the vernacular translations outlines its spectrum and its more or less significant stratifications. The edition, based on a direct transcription of the manuscripts, is accompanied by a body of criticism and an accurate comment that, as well as explaining its passages and accounting for for the editors’ choices, can be used for an easy comparison between the texts and the Latin source, highlighting any deviation, innovation and even the misunderstandings, suggestive of an art that was sometimes finely practised, sometimes pushed beyond the limits of the authors’ abilities.