Witches and Fairies before and after Ariosto


On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the publication of Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso, the Center for Italian Studies at University of Pennsylvania celebrates the poet with an international interdisciplinary conference to be held 13-14 April 2017 - In Italian and English.

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Dosso Dossi, Circe and her lovers in a landscape, ca. 1525


Ariosto's Orlando furioso is not simply polarized between "l'arme" and "gli amori" but includes a further fascinating and sometimes problematic aspect: magic. Witches, fairies, sorcerers, necromancers, spirits, giants, fantastic animals, and enchanted objects are present throughout the poem. They are both Ariosto's original creations and re-elaborations of the previous literary tradition, including Boiardo's L'innamoramento di Orlando, the Carolingian and Breton cycles, and mythological sources. Enthralling for all kinds of readers, magical and marvellous elements were also criticized by early commentators in the literary debates of mid-Cinquecento and in the querelle opposing Ariosto and Tasso.

This conference aims at investigating the meanings, the morphology, the different approaches, and the reception of these ambiguous and fascinating elements. What was the interplay of literary tradition, science, and historical context in shaping these features? What was their influence on literature to come, art, and music? How do magical discourse and the power of words mirror the creative writing process?




Scientific Committee: Mauro Calcagno, Federica Caneparo, Eva Del Soldato, Fabio Finotti. 

Organizing Committee: Marina Della Putta Johnston, Eva Del Soldato, Fabio Finotti


Please follow these links for travel information / Seguite i link per informazioni utili:

Where to stay / Dove alloggiare

Find your way around Philadelphia / Come spostarsi a Philadelphia

Thing to do in Philadelphia / Cosa fare a Philadelphia


The conference is co-sponsored by AISLLI

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13 April 2017 - 14 April 2017
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
University of Pennsylvania Campus
WitchesFairiesProgram.pdf442.31 KB