Coming soon: My Book!

23 02 2009

For more information on Shakespeare, Politics, and Italy: Intertextuality on the Jacobean stage, see here:

http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calcTitle=1&title_id=9654&edition_id=10662

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A Very Quiet Election

15 04 2008

Italians Vote for a Change,

but without much expectation of getting it

Decidi tu 2008 / You decide 2008

I was looking forward to enjoying my opportunity to vote in an Italian election for the first time. With memories of the hectic campaigning of the past, when every surface of the city would be covered in posters, mailboxes would be stuffed with flyers and you could not walk down the street without being assailed by passionate pleas for support from the candidates and their surrogates, I expected to spend a lot of time engaged in heated political debates before making an informed decision that would determine the fate of the entire nation. Yet the only electoral discussion I had this time around, when I could really make a difference, was about the inadvisability of bringing a videophone into the voting booth.

The anti-videophone measures were in place, complete with hefty fines for the unwary, to ensure that people engaging in voti di scambio (vote buying) did not take advantage of the latest technology to provide a live feed of their unscrupulous electoral choices. No such illicit activities were detected during my visit to the polling station on Monday. Apart from the electoral officials enjoying a picnic lunch alongside the ballot boxes, complete with an excellent selection of local wine, cheese, and particularly enticing pastries, I was the only member of the public there.

Despite the obvious importance of this election, coming at a time when Italy is undergoing a severe economic crisis accompanied by rampant inflation, what struck me is how little effort any of the parties made to gather votes. No candidate or political activist tried to speak with me – let alone made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Over the course of the campaign I collected a grand total of 3 leaflets for specific candidates – 2 tucked under the windshield wipers of my Fiat and 1 from the counter of a bar. I saw few posters and didn’t notice any ads on tv. Indeed, it would have been easy to forget there was a national election going on at all.





Coming Soon

24 03 2008

As I await the release of my forthcoming book Shakespeare, Politics, and Italy: Intertextuality on the Jacobean Stage, I hope that this blog will become a space to discuss everything that interests me (and perhaps other people as well). While I may start to insert shameless promotional material as the publication date gets closer, I am enjoying a much deserved break from scholarly writing at the moment and would much rather discuss the complexities of Italian society and culture. One of the advantages of living in Italy is the opportunity to indulge in dietrologia, the quasi-science of attempting to interpret the underlying forces behind the ubiquitous disorder. Shakespeare seems much more innocuous by comparison.

The view from the Greek theatre at Segesta (TP). Note the S shaped viaduct typical of local highway design strategies.

The view from the Greek Theatre at Segesta (TP)