The technology of papermaking took off in Italy following the fourth crusade, at the beginning of the thirteenth century. By the fourteenth century, Italian paper was abundant and cheap, and Italian papermakers soon dominated the paper industry across the Mediterranean, displacing parchment as writing material. This talk studies the impact that Italian paper had on the writers who used it – historians, storytellers, and especially poets – in late medieval Italy. How did great authors like Dante and Petrarch respond to the new technology? “Writ in Water” describes writers’ reactions to the introduction of the new medium, and how it transformed the writer’s craft.
Professor Mallette's visit is part of the Mediterranean Metageograpies series, hosted by the Department of French & Italian—in collaboration with a number of Dietrich School and campus-wide partners. The series seeks to create a forum for the multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted examination of the Mediterranean Sea and the cultures that have shared and contested it for millennia. Titled MEDITERRANEAN METAGEOGRAPHIES, the series is organized around—and anchored by—the graduate seminars taught in the fall (Professor Neil Doshi) and spring (Professor Lina Insana) in the Department of French & Italian. MEDITERRANEAN METAGEOGRAPHIES celebrates shared interests of the department faculty while also offering graduate students an important opportunity to interact with visiting scholars and to extend seminar discussions to a wider forum. Further, by creating a forum for film screenings and the public presentation of creative work emerging from the Mediterranean region, we hope to engage undergraduate students and the broader community in this dialogue.