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Meet the Author

A Conversation with the authors of Piranesi Unbound

October 20 at 5 PM

Presentation of the book "Piranesi Unbound", Princeton University press. Conversation with the authors, Carolyn Yerkes - Princeton University, and Heather Hyde Minor - University of Notre Dame.

They say about the book:

A draftsman, printmaker, architect, and archaeologist, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78) is best known today as the virtuoso etcher of the immersive and captivating Views of Rome and the darkly inventive Imaginary Prisons. Yet Carolyn Yerkes and Heather Hyde Minor argue that his single greatest art form—one that combined his obsessions most powerfully and that he pursued throughout his career—was the book. Piranesi Unbound provides a fundamental reinterpretation of Piranesi by recognizing him, first and foremost, as a writer, illustrator, printer, and publisher of books.

Featuring nearly two hundred of Piranesi’s engravings and drawings, including some that have never been published before, this visually stunning book returns Piranesi’s artworks to the context for which he originally produced them: a dozen volumes that combine text and image, archaeology and imagination, erudition and humor. Drawing on new research, Piranesi Unbound uncovers the social networks in which Piranesi published, including the readers who bought, read, and debated his books. It reveals his habit of raiding the wastepaper pile for cast-off sheets upon which to draw and fuse printed images and texts. It shows how, even after his books were bound, they were subject to change by Piranesi and others as pages were torn out and added.

The first major exploration of the lives of Piranesi’s books, Piranesi Unbound reimagines the full range of the artist’s creativity by showing how it is inextricably bound to his career as a maker of books.

Book Presentation: Stories for the Years

September 30 at 7 PM

Presentation of the new translation of Luigi Pirandello's book "Stories for the Years" by Virginia Jewiss, senior lecturer in the humanities at Yale University.

A masterful collection by a literary giant of the past century, rendered by one of our most esteemed Italian translators

Regarded as one of Europe’s great modernists, Pirandello was also a master storyteller, a fine observer of the drama of daily life with a remarkable sense of the crushing burdens of class, gender, and social conventions. Set in the author’s birthplace of Sicily, where the arid terrain and isolated villages map the fragile interior world of his characters, and in Rome, where modern life threatens centuries-old traditions, these original stories are sun baked with the deep lore of Italian folktales. In “The Jar,” a broken earthenware pot pits its owner, a quarrelsome landholder, against a clever inventor of a mysterious glue. “The Dearly Departed” tells the story of a young widow and her new husband on their honeymoon, haunted at every turn by the sly visage of the deceased. The scorned lover, the despondent widow, the intransigent bureaucrat, the wretched peasant—Pirandello’s characters expose the human condition in all its fatalism, injustice, and raw beauty. For lovers of Calvino and Pasolini, these picturesque stories preserve a memory of an Italy long gone, but one whose recurring concerns still speak to us today.