Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Chiara by virtue, Margarita by honor that is the most important composer of the 1600 Italian scenery

Federico Moja, 1821- 1885.

Margarita Cozzolani was born in November on the 27 in 1602, in Milan. She was one of the most appreciated Italian composers of the 1600s.
Margarita was born in a rich and wealthy family of merchants and received, as a tradition, her education within the home, among the subjects given to her there was also Music which seems highly fit to her. So her artistic skills were assigned to the family Rognoni, known and respected masters of instrumental and vocal music of the era. But Margarita will see the opportunity to use her musical skills not so much in a good marital or family indoor rather in the shelter of a cloister, in fact as equally of a custom of the time, preceded by aunts and a sister, Margarita will be a Benedictine in the convent of St. Radegonda, near the Duomo of Milan, in 1620, at the age of eighteen, and will be consecrated with the name, she has chose, of Chiara.

This new condition of nun, however, does not inhibit her to use her talents as part of her monastic experience, moreover, it is not known with certainty the value of her vocation which then can not be denied in advance. In her convent, Sister Chiara then endeavored to work of Music, reorganizing Singings, Psalms, Vespers of the Eucharistic celebration with such sophistication and complexity to be able to attract whole crowds to the Convent to attend the executions of those nuns defined by a contemporary "[...] under the black spoils seem to the listener, candid, harmonious swans, that, fill the hearts of surprise, and kidnap their languages of encomiums".  [1]

In fact, the fame of her skills and ability as a composer earned her the opportunity to publish four works that are not unfortunately  entirely all came down to us.

"Visit of the Cardinal", by Salvatore Frangiamore, 1853.
The peculiarity of her arrangements was that her works had three metrics for as many choruses that melted with the symphony and the verses in double or triple time; Cozzolani's scoring establishes three sets of paired parts: two violins, two sopranos, two tenors and  basso continuo. [2]

Her musical works nevertheless convey between the period of 1640 to 1650 because  Sister Chiara was elected Abbess of Santa Radegonda and prefered focused on the commitments and responsibilities of her new charge so or to avoid to her Convent unpleasant situations or to meet the Cardinal Alfonso Litta's wishes who  hoped moderation of the use of Music in Churches, her activity was interrupted.

Sister Chiara, Maragarita, Cozzolani, died, in the Convent, presumably between 1676 and 1678.

Her and the luster that her music led to her Convent, remains in a panegyric of Filippo Picinelli in his  work , entitled "University of Literati Milanesi" in 1670 in which he writes:

"The nuns of St. Radegonda of Milan, in the possession of the music are equipped of such exquisiteness so rare, that are recognized for the first singers of Italy. [...]. Among that religious ones, deserves the most highest merits Donna Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, named Chiara thanks to virtue; and Margarita, for the nobility of talent, rare, and excellent honor, who if in the year 1620 wore that  sacred dress, she succeeded in the exercise of music such a big success that from 1640 up to 1650 has sent to the press, four works of music".


  • Primavera di fiori musicali a 1. 2 . 3. 4. voci,dedicata all’Eminentissimo Cardinal Monti Arcivescovo di Milano, Milano, 1640, perduta;          
    "Spring of musical Flowers in voices, dedicated to the Cardinal Monti Archbishop of Milan, Milan, 1640, Lost;
  • Mottetti a 1. 2. 3. e 4 voci al Serenissimo Principe Mathias di Toscana, Venezia, 1642;
    Motets at voices to his Eminence Prince Mathias of Tuscany,
    Venice, 1642;
  • Scherzi di Sacra Melodia, Venezia, 1648;  perduto;        Jokes of sacred melody, Venice, 1648, Lost;
  • Salmi à otto voci concertati con Mottetti et dialoghi a 1. 2. 3.4.e 5. voci all’Illustrissimo Monsignor Badoaro Vescovo di Cremona, Venezia, 1650.                    
    Psalms in eight voices with concerted motets and dialogues in 1. 2. 3.4.5 voices to the Illustrious Monsignor Badoaro Bishop of Cremona, Venice, 165

[1] PICCINELLI F., “Ateneo dei Letterati Milenesi”, Ed. F. Vigone, 1670.
[2] KURTZMAN J., a cura di, “Vesper and Compline Music for Four Principal Voices:Agostino Agazzari, Giovanni Francesco Anerio, Giovanni Battista Biondi da Cesena, Maurizio Cazzati, Antonio Cifra, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Bonifazio Graziani, Giovanni Legrenzi, Isabella Leonarda, Tarquinio Merula, Lodovico Viadana”, Ed. Routledge, 2014.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Maria Teresa the germanist of the italian women

Henri Matisse, "Reading Woman with Parasol".

Maria Teresa Morreale was born on July 16th in 1933. She was a German scholar and linguist, to whom we owe the translation of important works by women and not only.

After graduated at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of Palermo she moved immediately in Cologne, Germany, where she explores German culture by enrolling in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Cologne and where in the meanwhile she also teaches Italian at the Italian Cultural Institute. Then she moved to Bonn after winning a scholarship from the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, but it does not come to an end because shortly she was appointed assistant in the Magistrale Faculty at the University of Palermo where she devoted herself particularly to the period of the German Romanticism.

At the end of the 70s of the twentieth century, she moved again, this time in Mogadishu, at the Somali National University, where she teaches Italian through a project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Back in Italy in Palermo she came back to teach at the Faculty of Foreign Languages ​​and joins the Italian Association of Teachers of German Language ADILT of which she would be the manager at the regional level for many years . In 1982 she became an associate professor.

Her linguistic research will keep her to sweep the door in the years  touching various aspects of the relationship between literature and the history of the science of literature through the study of the works by Gervinus to travel literature, from the plays of Brecht to the German fiction of the nineteenth century. But her attention will also focus on the works of the german women and about the "Frauenfrage" (female issue).

In 1975 she began her collaboration with the magazine DWF Donnawomanfemme writing an article on the novel "Malina" of the Austrian poetess and writer Ingeborg Bachmann, titled "Malina or overpowering the female ego" where she analyzed the work of the Austrian writer noting that being a woman leads to a state of isolation for the mere fact of being born a female.

Hedwig Dohm in 1870
In 1976 she wrote the essay, of nearly twenty pages, about Nietzsche and women, titled "Nietzsche and women, according to a German feminist of the late nineteenth century", in which she fully translated an article by Hedwig Dohm came out in 1898 on the Berlin magazine "Die Zukunft" and where she went on to introduce how Nietzsche, open minded about morals when comes to women's emancipation instead can not conceive of any emancipation of women because he sees them only as an instrument of pleasure and descent for men.
In the same year she published also a very interesting article and debate: "Debate (Who, for whom, how. Scientific research on the side of the woman)," in which Maria Theresa and the other editors compared and discussed the difficulties for women researchers to carry out their studies in a disciplinary system designed by and for men.

The following year it was the turn of the essay on "The Women's Education in the two Germanies" and yet "Women and literature in Germany. Comments and insights on the German culture of the eighteenth century " on Quaderno, Vol. 14, Institute of Foreign Languages ​​and Literature, which will be pubblished later in 1981 with the title of  "Born to read. Remarks about German culture of the eighteenth century. "

In 1982 she released an essay on the writer and playwright by Ilse Langner called "Ilse Langner: theater, plays, travel stories". Meanwhile she also collaborates with the magazine Leggeredonna and the University of Pavia and the National Research Center CNR participating at the realization of the book "From the lounge to the party. German women writers between bourgeois revolution and the right to vote "by Lia Secci in 1982, in which she will provide an important contribution about Hedwig Dhom, Helene Lange and Luise Büchner  having written the final note of the reprinted book" Luise Büchner. Die Frauen und Ihr Beruf. "in 1981.

Then in 1982 she participated at the IV International Congress of Sicilian Studies with a report on "Luise Büchner, an intellectual Hessian". In 1984, inspiring from the figure of the poetess Ingeborg Bachmann, who she knew personally, she wrote an essay about this author and  her Frankfurt Lectures. In 1986 she will participate at the Georg Büchner's Seminar with the report "The Kato-Rede by Georg Büchner in the memories of his sister Luise" and finally in 1988 she published the book "Luise Büchner: a poet."

The well-known German Researcher will then continue her journey by scholar with other topics related to the German culture and will die in 1996 in Palermo, on February 14th.

Friday, 11 April 2014

The nun fled to the cloistered mysteries and reborn in the unified Italy

Monza's nun, Giuseppe Molteni, 1847, Museum of Pavia.

Henrietta Caracciolo was born on February 17 th in 1821. Her life was an extraordinary life that seems to be a novel, one of those written by some her contemporary to denounce and exemplify the status of women but, on the other hand, does not take a cue from an emblematic example but from her life, her biography, a life story lived on the skin, like that of many heroines, and this word was never more fitting if not for her.

She born in Naples by Don Fabio Caracciolo, son of the Prince of Forino, Marshal of the Neapolitan army, and by the noblewoman Teresa Cutelli, in one of the "first and most substantial families of Naples" [1]. She lived a fairly quiet existence between Bari , Naples and Reggio Calabria, apart from a break of a few years when her father loss his job. When her beloved father dies of infection to internal organs, her mother wishes to remarry, so started the procedure to let Henrietta to get in the convent, without she was aware of it. It implements what a "forced" nun a few centuries before, the Tarabotti, identifies as the greatest betrayal, that of ones parents.

Henrietta seeks shelter from the maternal decision and despairing and crying she obtened from her mother the promise that she will stay in the convent only a few months and then could come back to home.
So Henrietta finds himself bound and, as in the "best" tradition, was collocated in a convent where were already present her paternal aunts, at the Convent of San Gregorio Armeno in Naples, following the Benedictine tradition, because: "(...) they gave me the name of Henrietta , name of a nun paternal aunt: one of the innumerable offerings to the order of St. Benedict, in which my ancestry was consecrated ". [2]
Henrietta undergoes what the society had as an ordinary habit worn on the skin of women, in fact her older sisters were married but she, with two love gone wrong and no dowry after the death of her father, will be the only one to be, the fifth of seven daughters, a forced nun, even the malformed Josephine, now lame after a disastrous fall, will get married.

Henrietta is the victim of a practice that in theory was already condemned by the Counter-Reformation of the sixteenth century but that in the practice had not actually had any effect on the much more established habits in use in the culture of the society of pre-Italic demonstrating a unified habit of costume even before the unified process of Italy as a nation.

Henrietta,  at least initially,  left the convent, determined not to take the vows inspite of the insistence of all the other nuns and of the abbess, her aunt, of the prelates and the confessors, and took refuge in the home of a brother in law where, however, she learns from her older sisters, who got married in Reggio, that their mother is about to remarry in Reggio and wants to take her there  to join a convent in Calabria, and moreover that her boyfriend courting another girl .  So Henrietta at this point,  is alone, without support and without a place to go, achieved by the gendarmes who accuse her of insubordination to the will of her mother, to follow them to the embarkation point for Reggio, then she is forced to return to the convent and take vows: "My sacrifice was consumed by that time: I saw myself as a victim". [3]

So in 1841, Henriette takes her final vows and finds herself unwillingly nun but if "I had made to the community the sacrifice of my person not already one of my reason, which is an inalienable right" [4] now "dead is the past, extinct the future for me, and memories are just a vain dream, and hopes a crime "[5]" it was supposed for me not to have  a mother, neither sisters, no relatives, no friends, no whatsoever substance; I had abdicated even my personality"[6].
Monza's nun, Mosé Bianchi, 1867, Museum of Monza.

The first impact in the convent was of the worst, she educated and lover of the arts and literature, finding herself to live in claustration, with rough, uncultivated, semi-illiterate nuns: "most of them are young, or at least not old, and all, as I said, belonging to the most significant, if not always the richest, families of the former capital.
But I had the opportunity to observe, since the first day I entered the convent, that the intellectual and moral point of those nuns did not respond to the loftiness of 'their birth ". [7]

Her existence, we said it, seems like a novel, and so even Henriette, like any self-respecting heroine, had her bad: the archbishop of Naples, Riario Sforza, to which she devotes an entire chapter, the seventeenth, of her Memoirs.

With the election of Pope Pius IX, Henrietta thought to have a glimmer of hope in solving her condition, asking for clemency directly to the Pope who  did not seem  contrary to her demands except that the archbishop of Naples, Riario Sforza would not release the authorization that would allow Henrietta to start a new life, even in contravention of papal preferences.

During the riots of '48, for the independence of Italy, Enricchetta takes courage and start to read, even in a loud voice in the convent,  "revolutionary" newspapers, careless of the fame that is given to her of being involved in secret societies and a  revolutionary.
She appeals once again to the Pope for her freedom, informing him that otherwise she would have taken advantage of the freedom of the press to publicize her condition of forced nun. So the Pope gave her the authorization to go to a conservatory, of Constantinople, but the archbishop Sforza, becoming aware of his defeat,  forces her to leave at the convent her family assets, and the precious silverware.


At the Conservatory of Constantinople,  the nun found an environment that isn’t open and conciliatory, and in which she had to abandon all hope of being able to cultivate her readings and so she had to concentrate herself exclusively on the biographies of the saints and martyrs of the Church, discovering how the female figures had contributed, revealing those fundamental but also the lack of an official acknowledgment by the Church about this importance.

Enrichetta Caracciolo as in the cover of Her "Memories"

Meanwhile, the archbishop Sforza continuing his fight against Henrietta and he succeed to intercept some of her writings that she was able to put them out of the Conservatory with the complacency of a housekeeper. These writings were brought to the Pope to convince him not to give in to the rending  demands  of Henrietta and of her mother, who divorced in the meanwhile by her second husband and now was repentant of the injustice suffered by Enrichetta.

Only in 1849 Henrietta finally was able to get out of the conservatory to be treated to the nerves,  with her mother, but the permission for the following year  was denied by the archbishop, Vicar of Naples, Riario Sforza.

At this point, the mother of Henrietta, Teresa, applied herself to "save" her daughter making her escape and take her refuge in Capua under the protection of its bishop who however died only a few days later but with the help of a friend, a priest too, Henriette had the allowed to go and live with her mother, just following the rule of the Canonichesse of St. Anne. She was even managed to take back the income of her monk dowry who had seized by Riario Sforza, making her live exclusively thanks to her parental help and support.


In 1851, the archbishop, strong of his influence on Ferdinand II,  arrested Harietta and led her to the Church of Saint Mary full of Grace in Mondragone where Henrietta attempted suicide, first by refusing food, and then stabbing herself in the chest. Because of her weakness due to the lack of nutrition, however, her injury was not enough to take her to death, and so she survived for an entire year resisting the seclusion, but when she was even prevented  to go to the bedside of her dying mother, aided by relatives and aunts, she turned once again to the Curia for help. She appealed in fact to the Sacred Congregation for to have a permission to go to Castellammare Bath for health care. This time she went through it, in fact, now even the Curia was annoyed by the persecution, to this point clearly  personal, of the Riario against Caracciolo and it was able to find a basic misunderstanding in the archbishop’s letter to consent Henrietta to treatment herself.

From here Henrietta found a new life: "On November 4, 1854, after three years and four months in cruel captivity, I saw the light of the day". [8]

In the meanwhile she was back to Naples in disguise, to help the willing of the unifying  Italy: "What did I do in Castellammare in the while? [...] Thinking, then, that you would found a little place for my contribution in Naples, I thought of disregarding of all danger for me, as I could offer my services to the movement which need them "[9 ].
She hidden herself, changing home and service staff as you change the tablecloth to escape the spies of the Bourbons and of her historic enemy  who was waiting  his revenge, the archbishop Sforza.

The Cloister of San Gregorio Armeno's Church in Naples.

By now she was really in touch with the Liberals and with the fathers of united Italy. So in 1860, during the Te Deum  to celebrate the escape of King Francis II of the Two Sicilies, in the presence of Garibaldi "[...] I left the black veil from the head, and put it on an altar, I made a note of restitution to the Church, which had given me it twenty years ago. VOTUM FECI, GRATIAM ACCEPI "[10] (I took votes, and now  I take my mercy) .

Thus began a new life for Henrietta, her true life, but no less adventurous and fascinating.
She married John Greuther, choosing the Protestant rite after the denial of the Catholic Church, and she begins to tell, thanks to the press, her extraordinary existence scratched by the monastic vows.
In 1864 it will be the turn of her first opera, her memoirs that were translated in six languages
​​: English, French, German, Spanish, Hungarian and Greek and had a resounding success even in Italy with no less than eight reprints, which also earned her the praises of Manzoni and Garibaldi.
Two years later, in 1866, It is her second book "A crime unpunished: the historical fact of 1838" in which she recounts the murder of a schoolgirl by the priest who the girl had  rejected.

She wrote over the years: "Miracles" in 1874, a collection of poems against superstition, and the drama "The Strength of Honor," which was also represented in theatres. In 1883, a drama in five acts "A episode of Mysteries of the Neapolitan Cloister ", based on her memoirs, was published. She wrote also numerous articles as  correspondent for the newspaper " La tribune" of Salerno," the journal of Naples "and" the Nomad" of  Palermo.

She was a prominent member of several associations including theBanner of the Charity”, the “Association of the youth studious of Naples”, the “Society for the Emancipation of Women” of  Lorino,  so that in 1866 on the occasion of the motions of the Third War of the Italian Independence she appealed directly to women, by publishing the "Proclamation to the Italian Woman" for mobilizing women to the national cause.

Her support to the Italian politic will be always broad and unconditional, supporting, through the Committee of the Neapolitan female, with her sister Giulia Cigola, the bill of Salvatore Morelli, in 1867 "For the legal reintegration of women" in which he asked participation in the political and administrative vote for women, a bill which, however, was not even allowed to read.

Unfortunately, , despite Henrietta had mobilized and dedicated herself to the cause of Italy, she didn’t receive  recognitions, in fact, Garibaldi left Naples to go to Capri, before signing a decree by which he wanted  to appoint Henrietta inspector of schools of Naples and the same did  the Minister of the education, De Sanctis, who even if  had promised her a job, then disowned her. So as usual  the history of women,  unluckily as we  know, is another thing from the History.

So Henrietta lived the last years of her life in her hometown, now a widow and without her family's assets that the archbishop Sforza had kidnapped and that was never found, forgotten by her people but at least finally free. But we love remember her, like she would: "[...] And the name of Citizen, which gave to everyone does not contain any distinction, it became to me the right and only title [...]. [...] Citizen so call me, and if you want to add a distinction just say that citizen who provoked and promoted the Plebiscito of women in Naples "[11].
And in Naples, in her city, she died in March on 17th, in 1901, aged 80.



Mysteries of the Neapolitan Cloister: Italian version, as the original.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Like mother, like son...

"Eva, the good sorceress who growns Iris", as Italo Calvino used to call his mother, Eva.

Iris x barabata photo by Kurt Stueber

Eva Mameli, was born in Sassari on 12th February 1886 and her life will not be "ordinary" , she will conquer many places, closed before to women, will engage battles that had never thought before and  by her example, her intelligence and ability will affect the greatest writer of the twentieth century.

Her family is a wealthy family and her parents, a colonel of Carabinieri, Gian Battista and Maddalena Cabuddu, always taught her the virtues of perfection and freedom, as well as their other children, probably for this her brother Efisio established the Sardinian action party, il Partito sardo d'Azione, in 1921.

So Eva, Giuliana Luisa Evelina,attended a public high school, traditionally a  male school and her passion for Science leds her to study Mathematics at the University of Cagliari, where she had moved with her family at the retirement of her father, and where she will graduate in 1905. 
The following year, however, that much beloved father is lacking and Eva and her mom decide to go to Pavia, reaching his older brother Efisio, here she attended the University, where his brother was already a professor, following the course of Natural Sciences by Professor Briosi  and still a student  published her first scientific work, "on the mycological flora of Sardinia. First contribution "which was followed, the next year, by a second contribution, already by the bachelor Eva, who graduated in 1907. 

Giuliana Luigia Evelina Mameli in Calvino
At the same time she agrees to assist prof. Briosi to his Chair of Natural Sciences and also to follow the cryptogamic laboratory of Pavia, but she obtained a Masterly Degree too, and after a period in London, in 1910 finally she gets a teaching degree. Thus began teaching in high schools in 1911 but as she got the job of assistant in Botany, decided to do what she loved most, the Research. In 1915 she even got the Chair of Professorship at the University of Pavia, becoming the first woman ever to turn a course of Botany whose theme will be "The microscopic technique applied to the study of medicinal and industrial plants".

However, the period of the First World War intervenes and Eva provides her person to rescue the wounded soldiers, joining the Red Cross nurses, receiving a silver medal from the Red Cross and a bronze medal from the Ministry of the Defense. After the war, Eva renews her beloved studies and her research in the natural sciences earning the attention and the prize of the Accademia dei Lincei of Rome, in 1919. 
In Pavia Eva was then alone, his brother had been transferred back to Sardinia to another University and in the meantime also Professor Briosi had disappeared, when was achieved, from Cuba in 1920, by an Italian researcher and naturist who wanted to know her: Mario Calvino.
It was undeniable that her fame and her studies were known and appreciated abroad, and so, Calvino, father, in need of an assistant to the agricultural experimental Station in Havana, wanted to know her and  from that meeting was born more of a
professional collaboration. The two, in fact, were married first by proxy and then in Cuba few months later. 

Italo Calvino, the biggest Italian writer of the twentieth century.
From their marriage were born two sons, the eldest born in Havana in 1923, Italo and Floriano, born in San Remo in 1927.

In Cuba the couple founded an agricultural school for the farmers and their families and when they moved to the agricultural station of Chaparra, founded the magazine La Chaparra Agricola.

After a devastating hurricane that ruined the agricultural Station in 1925, Eva and Mario decided to return to Italy, at the birthplace of Mario, San Remo city and open their own laboratory. To this end, they bought Villa Meridina, which had a very large garden suitable for their research.

Eva, however, also chose to refresh teaching and participated, winning, the public contest for the Professorship at the University of Cagliari where she held for two years, from 1926 to 1928, a Professorship making the commute between San Remo and Cagliari, where, in addition at the Chair in Botany she has also directed the botanical garden, bringing it back to its former splendor  after its absolute abandonment during the war, reintroducing rare species of plants and vegetation.
She was the first woman to hold the two prestigious assignments.

However at the birth of her second child, Floriano, Eva decided to settle in San Remo, where she will continue to work assiduously at the Agricultural Station of San Remo participating always in an active way. With her husband will found The Italian Friends of Flower Association and two scientific journals, including The Flower Garden in 1931 where she will sponsored the first initiatives of protectionism of the Nature, especially in favor of birds useful to agriculture.
 She will also collaborate with the Italian Encyclopedia  and with the Italian Encyclopedia of Agriculture, so that at the end of her career she will realized about 200 scientific articles.

During Fascism,  Mrs. and Mr. Calvino, hosted dissidents and hid Jews, while their two sons, reluctant to the Republic of Salo, participated in the Resistenza. 
Although they were caught and arrested never gave up with tortures to extract them information, also they endured, at least, at two mock executions which in turn one of the two had to be a witness and a subject.

When Mario Calvino died in 1951, Eva took his place at the direction of the Station of San Remo, until 1959, when she realized to be already too old to care for a commitment so important and onerous but nevertheless she passed many more years of her life rearranging, editing and archiving the large scientific production which will then be donated by her sons, Italo and Floriano, to the public library of San Remo at her death on 31st March in 1972 at the age of 92 years.