UMILTA WEBSITE ©1997-2022 JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAY  ||  JULIAN OF NORWICH  || ST BIRGITTA OF SWEDEN  || EQUALLY IN GOD'S IMAGE: WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE AGES  || MIRROR OF SAINTS  || BIBLE AND WOMEN  || BENEDICTINES || THE CLOISTER  || ITS SCRIPTORIUM  || LATIN WITH LAUGHTER: TERENCE THROUGH TIME  || AMHERST MANUSCRIPT|| HEAVEN WINDOW || RINGOFGOLD || OLIVELEAF || CATALOGUE (HANDCRAFTS, BOOKS) || BOOK REVIEWS || BIBLIOGRAPHY || E-BOOKS || LANGUAGES:  LATIN || ITALIANO || PORTUGUES || SPAGNOLA || FRANÇAIS || RUSSIAN || ROMANI || SITEMAP || WEBLOG || LATEST BOOKS || VITA ||  UMILTA PORTAL This essay is presented in html, hyptertext, but for Academia.edu it must lose its links in a pdf. I counsel the gentle reader to immediately call it up in your browser and play with all its links, as a digital library, as a Milesian tale of tales within tales, more than as a mere essay, of its materials. You can find it at http://www.umilta.net/TALES.html


TALE TELLING

THE TELLING OF TALES

Esther Cajero of Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico, made this Story-Teller sculpture:

       


There is a tale told about a small village in Japan. One fine spring morning a man fishing saw a huge tidal wave far out to sea, and approaching fast. He ran through the village with frantic haste, knocking on doors and summoning the best spinners and weavers of the town, who came streaming after him holding their wheels and shuttles. There on the sand, they quickly spun a gigantic tapestry, rich in colors and patterns, that formed the picture of a peaceful empty blue sky and a calm green sea, alive with purple seaweed floating in the still waters, and silver fish at play. Not a sound was heard in the air until a little girl, sucking her thumb and staring at the cloth, said, "It's very pretty, but it's not real, is it?" Instantly the huge wall of water tore through the canvas and roared down upon the village, sweeping it out to sea.
                                                                                                                                                                        Lauryn Mayer.

Wherever
is used it signifies a text that is performed multi-medially, orally and visually, not only scribally
 

"Entertainment" is an anodyne, such as when, reading a book, we lose all sense of time and where we physically are, instead entering into mental "dreamtimelessness" as a way of "sandboxing" reality. Life prisoners studying Dante said that when they read him they were as if no longer in Attica State Prison. This part of our website explores the oral telling of tales, both factual and fictive, in the face of oliveleaf trauma and abuse, partly as a means to undo racism, sexism, classism, ageism, but also to share and celebrate diversities, to "Decolonialize", learning wisdom and mutual healing from the Other, Ubuntu, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu's "Truth and Reconciliation", the Sandinistas' "Forgiveness is our Revenge". Australian Aborigines of sixty-five thousand years of continuous culture, our oldest on earth, with their "dreaming", with their "songlines", show a God with ears, eyes, nose but no mouth because he has told the tale that has created All. Death is a democracy. It comes for the Maiden, the  Emperor, the Doctor, the Lover, the Scholar, the Beggar, the Slave, to all of us. Literature, likewise, should be democratic, giving each one of us a voice that lives beyond death's tyranny. Tales fractal in Fibonacci curves across all languages, nations, races, genders, climes, in solidarity, are of "dreamtimelessness", of the right hemisphere of our brains. Why a Galilean told the Parable of the Good Samaritan, along with others, then in turn enacted the role of the Third Man, returned from the dead at Emmaus, God in the Stranger, the Other, a tale of dramatic irony we find too in the opening of Plato's Symposium, and as well in Apuleius' Golden Ass, in all of which we hear the voices from their encounterings, documented speech given within "quotation marks", within the silent scribal texts. This aspect of this web portal also seeks to find ways with modern computing to combine orality with scribalism, synaesthetically balancing the right hemisphere with the left, and arguing for dynamic "hypertext-markup-language", html with jpg and mp3, rather than for static pdf or doc.
 
We
tell tales to children orally that we cannot, as adults, accept into the canon of our scribal literature, the Great Books chosen by white Anglo-Saxon Protestant male academics. That we censor. But Ernest Jones, Sigmund Freud's disciple, in his book, Hamlet and Oedipus, said that the dream within the dream is what the dreamer wishes were not true but which is. He, tellingly, buried it in a mere footnote, as a seeming afterthought, he censored it. African Apuleius had said that his own was a Milesian tale, of tales within tales, written in Latin but with a Nilotic reed upon papyrus. Emily Brontë's Yorkshire Wuthering Heights is clearly Milesian, with its narrations within narrations, as is also Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Marlow telling it on the Thames in London, while spanning, paralleling Belgium and its Congo to England's Empire. Bruno Bettelheim, who survived, though much damaged, Auschwitz, wrote The Uses of Enchantment, on the value of tales told to children. In which we "sandbox" a virtual, parallel reality, sometimes creating alternate universes, of true tales embedded within the false dream illusions, such as Dante's Commedia, transformed from the judicial Libro del Chiodo sentencing of him to exile. Anna Freud particularly noted in War and Children the need to tell the stories of what had been experienced to undo war trauma, paradoxically through documenting it, through a mirror-reversing of the damaging screw turn of abuse. Which is what Dante does. Which Boethius does. What Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine: http://books.guardian.co.uk/video/2007/sep/07/naomiklein, counsels. So too does Terry Waite to the family of Nazanin, Richard and Gabrielle Zagari-Ratcliffe. Tales can map, yet distort and displace, a reality in space and time.

e.e. cummings captured the pilgrimage democracy of death and life in the Canterbury Tales:
honour corruption villainy holiness
riding in fragrance of sunlight (side by side
all in a singing wonder of blossoming yes
riding) to him who died that death should be dead

humblest and proudest eagerly wandering
(equally all alive in miraculous day)
merrily moving through sweet forgiveness of spring
(over the under the gift of the sky

knight and ploughman pardoner wife and nun
merchant frère clerk somnour miller and reve
and Geoffrey and all) come up from the never of when
come into the now of forever come riding alive

down while crylessly drifting through vast most
nothing’s own nothing children go of dust.
We have stories, tales, poems, novels, plays, films, which are fictions sometimes used to shape facts, to teach justice, such as the anti-slavery novels, Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw and Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Frances Trollope and Harriet Beecher Stowe; and then histories, also journalism, both scribal and oral, which seemingly narrate reality but which, too often, can whitewash over injustices, being nationalistic propaganda for war. Literature, too, as Julian Benda showed in The Betrayal of the Intellectuals, can take that turn. As with the nationalist French co-option of the Viking-Anglo-Norman Song of Roland. Thus fiction can sometimes be more true than "fact". And fact may sometimes be more strange than fiction. In Shakespeare's As You Like It III.iii, we hear

Audrey saying: I do not know what "poetical" is. Is it honest in deed and word? Is it a true thing?
Touchstone replying: Nay, truly, for the truest poetry is the most feigning.

Tales,
ballads, dramas, films, are in the realm of fiction, of dreams which can create composites of memories, reshuffling them. They are performance acts. They are speech acts. One brain communicating to other brains. But they are not what is physically real. What is true and real we must censor, displace into other centuries, both in the past, and in the future (with Science Fiction), also to distant climes, to other cultures, and even to tales about animals who behave like ourselves, among them Geoffrey Chaucer's Nun's Priest's Tale, Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit, Kenneth Graham's The Wind in the Willows. Thus flying beneath the radar of our censorship. Though films can as well be documentaries, seeking to convey facts. Stories also can be autobiographies, the autobiographies of the silenced voices, such as those of Teresa of Avila, of Frederick Douglass, both proclaiming in their titles that these works are written (disobediently) by themselves, women and slaves not having the legal right to write. Or to vote. Or to attend university. Victorian women and later broke into that world of privileging education first through writing governess novels, like Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, really about themselves. Iain McGilchrist in The Master and His Emissary notes that first person narration causes greater involvement, greater brain activity, more identification, and more empathy on the part of the reader than does literature seemingly by an omniscient, yet detached, observer.

This is what I do in this Swiss-owned so-called "English" Cemetery in Florence, in documenting its burials, their tombs and their restoration from archives, from the inscriptions on Carrara marble, from oral and scribal information given by descendants and scholars, creating from these the e-book
White Silence: A Virtual Guide to Florence's English Cemetery. It is real history written on marble, on rag paper and electronically. It is organized spatially, sequentially, on the cemetery's topography, each tomb numbered and corresponding to each e-book entry, telling of that person's life, their orbituary as biography. It is both a documentation of its years from 1827 to 1877 and as well a telling of multiple tales, restoring to these once forgotten and abandoned dead their identity again, resurrecting them. Alongside kings' sons and queens' relatives lie servants, serfs, slaves. All are honored. Its penultimate chapter gives the stories of those whose tombs were lost, their former presence retrieved from the cemetery's archival documents. Among them are Catherine McKinnon from the island of Mull, governess to the Tsar of Russia; among them, Emma Carew, Emma Hamilton's first child, half sister to her Horatia Nelson, likewise a governess; among them, Louise Catherine Adams Kuhn, sister to the medievalist Henry Adams who dies in his Chaos chapter of his autobiographical Education of Henry Adams. White Silence's final chapter then honors its living Roma restorers of the tombs and planters of its Florentine lilies, the wild purple fragrant iris that flowers so splendidly in each April, in a democracy of both death and life, in our project we call "From Graves to Cradles". This story is of real flesh and blood become just bones, of earth, of marble, of rag paper ledgers written in fine handwriting in Swiss French, listing the prices of coffins, whether lined with silk, the graves, whether built with brick, the black gloves and crepe for the hat of Anglican pasteur, the horses and carriages, the payment to Gorgi the grave digger so feared by Robert Browning/Donatello in Nathanael Hawthorne's roman-à-clé Marble Faun.

A baby, as well as an animal, is domesticated through the mother's and father's and nurse's smiles and delight, their stories and conversations. Lacking that a child grows up with a poor identity, without a sense of belonging, of meaning, of where it exists in the map of consciousness. Why it does not work to adopt a child into a different culture, another language, away from its map of meaning. Sometimes, in exile, we can adopt different cityscapes, though always yearning for our own, Odysseus for his Ithaca and his old nurse Eurycleia, orphaned exiled Dante for his now dead Beatrice Portinari and his dead mother Bella degli Abate in Florence, Elizabeth Barrett Browning eloping and renouncing London for Paris, for Florence, while recalling her ancestral Jamaica, Rudyard Kipling exchanging for his India, Sussex, Joyce in Trieste and Zurich, mapping his Dublin, the American Anthony Doerr in All the Light We Cannot See, creating for his blind heroine a raised dollshouse, toy-train-set-like, map of Paris. In exile, I wrote poems as mandalas to recreate design from chaos. I can remember tales told me by my Russian nanny and my Scottish foster mother in the war, Russian Nanny telling how one must not go too far north and turn to ice, too far west and drown in the Ocean, too far south and be burned in India, to far east and be blown away by winds, Mrs Beattie from Montrose singing ballads about dying, "By the Bonny Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond", and "Mary Beaton, Mary Seaton and Mary Carmichael and me" (Child Ballad #173). It is possible to recreate meaning in displacement, in exile, in trauma through stories. Literature, tale-telling, even by a four year old preliterate Jewish child, or by illiterate Romanian Roma women in this can be equal to a Luke or a Dante or a Joyce, and they tell their oral tales from vast libraries of ancestral memories, treasured up generation upon generation, beyond scribalism. Santha Rama Rau in her Home to India described how much finer are the stories written by Bengali children in their own language than in English or Hindi. This is culture, this is education. It is also more real and living than a mere printed silent book.

I am become as the collector of tales, not like
J. Robert Oppenheimer, who said from the Bhaghavad Gita, "I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds". Though I did write at seventeen in 1954 of what I witnessed from Dante's Viewpoint in Death Valley. Later I would climb Mount Sinai as had Helena and Egeria, also to reenact Dante's Purgatorio with its terraces and confession gates, and I would tell that pilgrim tale, too, in Jerusalem: Essays on Pilgrimage and Literature. In this portal, collecting tales, we join the slave Aesop, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Charles Perrault, Alexander Pushkin, the Brothers Grim, Hans Christian Andersen, the slave tellers of tales of Brer Rabbit, the African tellers of tales of Anansi the Spider, Isak Dinesen, Italo Calvino, Leslie Marmon Silko and so many more. I asked Victor Masayesva for Hopi analogues to the Canterbury Tales, which he gave me on his final exam at Princeton. The vast majority of the tellers, because they are women and children, are minorities outside of power and privilege, are undocumented, silenced, forgotten, their tales as ephemeral as newspapers on disintegrating acidic newsprint paper. Keats requested that his tomb have "His name is writ on water". Dreams and oral tales are as such, unless handed down, mother to sons and daughters, or unless entering the male world of writing, on paper, on marble, which both immortalizes and kills them, as Plato's Phaedrus observes. These are two tales I  collected, one from a preliterate child, the other from an illiterate mother, both from our Bible:

When I was a young mother, in the 'sixties, I taught nursery school. I would bring my typewriter and the children would tell me stories that I would type, the children illustrate, then we would give the books to their parents, which their children could "read". One four-year-old, his father a Jewish doctor, my height, told this story that so moved me: "I was on my daddy's shoulders and we were going for a walk in the wood. And a storm came with thunder and lightning. And my daddy put out his hand and he put out the thunder and lightning. But then the storm came again and my daddy, this time, couldn't put out the thunder and lightning. But G-d put down his hand and He put out the storm".

One day, now twenty years ago, a Roma mother, Hedera Cjuraru, who is illiterate, who would sing "Alleluia" as a lullaby to her baby, started to
tell a tale. "He was so poor, he was born in a stable, with the animals, with the horses. And the people were hungry and he fed them bread, fishes and potatoes. And the envious killed him". I exclaimed, "Hedera, where did you learn the Gospel?" She said, "When our people become too old to go on working they tell stories to the others". Then I went to her Romania and I saw a different Roma family, of Vandana Culea, twelve to one room with no windows, in the next room, the horse. They fed us with all they had, half-cooked potatoes. Hedera's story become more real. The Gospel as Documentary.

Diamanta Danila, who now lives here with her husband Ionel,
tells wonderful stories straight out of Shakespeare and Apuleius, stories she never could have learned from books, ancestral stories from faraway India a thousand years ago, her language based on Sanskrit. Stories which encode how to be in society, to be kind and you will meet with kindness, but if you are cruel you will meet with cruelty in turn, as in Apuleius' Golden Ass, stories which become Lear's Cordelia's, which become Cinderella's, of the older and cruel sisters, and of the despised youngest who tells her father she loves him as much as the goodness of salt. From the help she gives to animals, she is helped in turn with the impossible tasks her wicked stepmother/mother-in-law, sets her. Australian Aborigines tell similar tales to their children, teaching them morality. Or she tells of the twelve princesses who dance all night and whose shoes are worn out. And countless other tales that I so wish she could tell to Italian school children and so undo their racism. Who once would have had such tales told to them. Above all, for Diamanta to tell these tales to her own four children, cruelly taken from her by a child trafficker working with Italy's Social Assistance, who profit from the extreme poverty of illiterate Roma families while despising them, forbidding these children in the orphanages run by nuns their languages, their families, their stories. See http://www.umilta.net/Bessarion16.mp4.

Leslie Silko
said, "'The origin story functions basically as a maker of our identity--with the story we know who we are". In her case, her Laguna Pueblo people having lived in the landscape of the mesas for seven thousand years, that landscape becomes an inherent map of their identity. An identity Indian boardings school in the United States and in Canada sought to obliterate. Hopi sand paintings incorporate the patient's name within the ephemeral presentation of the mandala of the Cosmos, of the whole Creation. Once a student, Elizabeth Sinclair, and I did a radio broadcast in Boulder, Colorado, called "Mandala", presenting Chacos Canyon material with Australian Aborigine material with Asian material with European material, so mapping our "Round World's Four Corners". While European immigrants to America tragically lack an ancestral landscape identity and agitate for "English only", obliterating their past culture. Recreating it in the surrogate fantasies of J.R.R. Tolkien and Ursula Le Guin. I grew up in the Sussex countryside reading Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies about that landscape. Though he had been born in India. My Californian husband gave away those books to others that had been in my one suitcase when I crossed the Atlantic and then America, before our children were even born. However we do and can change landscapes in our stories as a form of censoring, displacing what is near, to long ago in time, to far away in space, for instance, to Japan, as in Lauryn Mayer's opening parable, or in China, as in The Magic Scissors, and in Hans Christian Andersen's The Emperor's Nightingale, or to Bohemia in The Emperor's New Clothes, or at the antipodes as in Dante's Purgatorio and Thomas More's Utopia. And then we have Dante's marvelous dream landscapes of labyrinthine bridgy chasms.



I recall how terrified I was as a toddler, in war-torn London, finding my parents' copy of Dante's Inferno with Gustave Doré's engravings.
My Roma wisely told me not to continue giving their children illustrated copies of Dante's Commedia because of those infernal cruelties.

And, likewise,
Piranesi's Carceri is the stuff of nightmares. See especially Gregoire Dupond's animations with Pablo Casals' cello music.



Dante chose to write the Commedia, like the Gospel, for all men, women and children in a democracy. For several years I recorded Carlo Poli, son of contadini, of country people, from the Mugello, recite in cantastoria, in sung poetry, the entirety of the Commedia, before he died. If you click on the arrows for the readings at the tops of the cantos in the "Dantevivo" website you can hear the poetry in Carlo Poli's voice and the dull monotonous prose in the official academic Società Dantesca Italiana readings of fifty years past, side by side. In the "Cenacolo Dante Alighieri", open to all, we read the entire Commedia together, three Cantos each Thursday evening, in Florence, not in the shallow left-brain academic manner, but with the right-brain inclusion of colour and sound, of oral readings as well as the text in synaesthesia, with the manuscripts’ miniatures, with Botticelli’s and Blake’s drawings, with the music of the period, and, as Dante’s son, Pietro Alighieri, taught, with the Commedia as a dream fiction, guiding its readers to truth. We, as we read, become Dante in his poem, and we, with him, in the Inferno, commit in virtual reality all of the seven Deadly Sins, and then, in the Purgatorio, undo each in turn, virtually, sharing in his joyous Penance, the Commedia as Confession Manual. Dante, in the poem, is like King David in Psalm 50, who repents his deadly sins to Nathan and to God.

  Quando vidi costui nel gran diserto,                 64
«Miserere di me», gridai a lui,
«qual che tu sii, od ombra od omo certo!». 

                                                                                 
        

Dante then uses this Psalm three more times in the Commedia after this cry he gives in Inferno I. We
hear it here, as in Purgatorio V,
   Quando s'accorser ch'i' non dava loco                25
per lo mio corpo al trapassar d'i raggi,
mutar lor canto in un «oh!» lungo e roco;

where it breaks off with the sigh of astonishment, for the souls which are shades suddenly observe, dramatically, that Dante casts a shadow. This is from our performance by Federico Bardazzi's Ensemble San Felice of all the music Dante mentions in the Commedia, of both the sacred liturgical psalms and hymns in Latin, and of his own secular love lyrics in the vernaculars of Italian and Provençal, yoked together in seven motets, then reconciled with the Franciscan lauda in Italian that St Bernard sings in Paradiso XXXIII, instead of in his habitual Cistercian Gregorian chant in Latin. For Dante becomes both David and Solomon, writing anew both the sung Psalter and the Song of Songs, the Cantiche of the cantos, just as he becomes both Aeneas and Paul, and where others are singing Dante's own compositions, first proudly, overtly, then humbly, clandestinely, among the singers Casella, Arnaut Daniel, Carlo Martello and St Bernard. Dante had already in Purgatorio II used Psalm 113, In Exitu Israel de Aegypto (with its unique tonus peregrinus we hear again in Joyce's Ulysses), spoken of also in the Convivio and in the Epistola to Can Grande, where its movement from Exodus' slavery to freedom becomes the movement, the sovrasenso, of his Commedia. He had heard these psalms chanted liturgically by the monks of the Florentine Badia right by his own home in the square of the little church of San Martino and the Torre della Castagna, in which he would serve as Prior. Dante anchors his fictive Commedia to real places and to performed liturgy.

Dante, outside of the poem’s fiction, is dressed in scarlet and ermine, as a Teacher; while within the Commedia, instead, he is usually in blue, as scarlet-clad Virgil’s schoolboy student, as his Sorcerer’s and Canon Yoeman's Apprentice. Pagan Virgil is of the false and lying gods, of the "lacrimae rerum", of Tragedy, leading Dante astray into error and deadly sin, as Dante's "Falstaff", as a false self, an alter ego, is discarded when he comes to Beatrice. Richard Sommer in Srangers and Pilgrims notes that the initiand must sacrifice his staff, his surrogate self, when he comes to the Mother Goddess at the centre of the labyrinth. Dante, in the text, is like Lucius/Apuleius and like Pinocchio/Carlo Collodi who err, then learn – and we, in turn, learn with them. Waking from the dreams our minds were conjuring while sleeping abruptly back into the phenomenal world of our senses we sort out the differences of fiction from fact. Dante embeds that into his poem with his dreams within dreams, and his constant breaking the frame with his authorial/editorial comments directed at us his reader. He bursts the bubble of his illusion he creates again and again.


Pietro Alighieri, Dante's son and commentator to his father's poem, wrote in his Commento of the four Aristotelian Causes, Material, Formal, Efficient and Final, as related to the fourfold scriptural exegesis, Literal, Allegorical, Moral, and Anagogical. The exile/pilgrim figure of Dante in the text teaches us morality, while the allegorical form of it has us arrive at the final cause, which is the anagogical level, of the salvation of the reader in real space and time, and beyond the fiction and poetry of the text. Dante is playing 3D chess with us. Fredric Jameson in his essay, "Metacommentary", and Eric Auerbach in his "Odysseus' Scar" in Mimesis, understood these levels as the rich reconciling in medieval culture of both the concrete literalism and historical linearity of Hebraic culture with the allegorical displacement from time, its collapsing of time, of Hellenic culture. Dante has all these four levels of the "Allegory of the Theologians" at play at once, the real flesh and blood Dante outside the poem writing it, the Dante in the poem on a Pilgrim's Progress, who stands in for us learning ethics and morality through the contrary, the Dante who is figure to Adam, David, Solomon, Christ, and finally, he and we seeing God as anagogically in all humanity.

Florence/Exile 1302-21
Dante Author, in red
Real, True  ----
>               
Material    
Literal    
     
Poem, Easter, 1300
Dante Pilgrim, in blue
Dream, Fiction ---->
Formal and Efficient
Allegorical and Moral

Anywhere, 1300-2022
We the People
True
Efficient and Final
Moral and Anagogical
        
Dante
read his poem orally, even writing his cantos to be as sound bites, what his audience's attention span could take in in one evening at a time, a trick Boccaccio, Boiardo and Ariosto would also follow, and in which Virgil recited to Caesar Augustus ("Arma virumque cano"), Aeneas to Dido, Odysseus to so many on his voyages among countless other oral story-tellers down the ages. I love the joke Homer tells of Odysseus in disguise telling of an Odysseus needing a cloak, which gets his hearer to give him one, which I used to jokingly tell my students. Dante read his cantos to his patron hosts evening after evening, such as to Moroello and Franceschino Malaspina in Lunigiana, to Can Grande della Scala in Verona, and to Guido Novello in Ravenna. The Commedia is an oral performance, a speech act, first and foremost, that then becomes copied into multiple manuscripts, and, with the later technology, as printed books, but these, from their profitability from cheapness, lack the memory system of alternating initials in colour, the gold leaf that seems to move in candle light, and the images, the miniatures, the illuminations--and are sadly now read silently, the paperbacks from high acid content yellowing and crumbling away, the text often in flat translations, lacking life. And, though we read papers orally at conferences and now on Zoom, we still read them boringly as if they were in the silence of print. Why our Dante vivo project seeks to restore that right-brain multi-medial experience with the laughter his medieval hearers and readers had shared.

Above all, medieval pedagogy was mischievously playful, understanding this as an excellent mode for good learning. They told the medieval tales of Alexander tricking Aristotle, having him on all fours, Phyllis riding on his back, Alexander his pupil laughing at them from his tower window. Dante repeats the tale when he meets his Master, Brunetto Latino, who had taught him Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, in Inferno XV where we see Dante clothed looking down upon his former teacher now stark naked and browned (like his name, "Brunetto") beneath the hail of flames, who formerly would have lectured down at him from a raised pulpit desk. A world turned topsy turvy. The Infernal regions are those of the Kingdom of Lies, that trick both "Dante" and ourselves, his readers, with the pornography of Inferno V,  "A Galeotto was he, and he who wrote it", and with the figure of fraudulent Geryon with the face of a just man of Inferno XVI-XVII. It is important to rediscover the peaceable Terentian "Comedies" of the Commedia, of women and slaves, and not abandon us for ever in the "high tragedy", the "alta tragedia", of the Inferno of martial Virgil’s "Arma virumque cano", of the pagan poet’s "false and lying gods", of the "lacrimae rerum", representing Philosophy, but coming instead to Theology, the Queen of Sciences, with the figure of Beatrice. Too often today people only read the Inferno and dwell vicariously in its nightmare of criminal madness, never coming out into the sunlight of the Purgatorio, the Cosmos of the Paradiso, the Comedy of the poem's title.

Dante maps the real Florence of stone and flesh and blood in his Vita nova and in his Commedia. I have constructed an app to guide you on that map: http://www.florin.ms/DanteFlorence.html, both virtually and in stone and flesh and blood. It speaks of the prison called the Stinche which had only one small door, called the Miserere. If you recall the doors and gates of the Inferno and the Purgatorio, you will especially remember this in Inferno III:
    PER ME SI VA NE LA CITTÀ DOLENTE,
PER ME SI VA NE L'ETERNO DOLORE,
PER ME SI VA TRA LA PERDUTA GENTE..

   GIUSTIZIA MOSSE IL MIO ALTO FATTORE;                   4
RECEMI LA DIVINA PODESTATE,
LA SOMMA SAPIENZA E'L PRIMO AMORE.

Robert Hollander mentioned his student Geoffrey Curfman's paper observing that the Gate of Inferno III is a triumphal arch, like the Arch of Trajan in the Roman Forum, with their inscriptions in Roman capitals, through which the condemned go to their deaths, the victors to triumph. I see the second gate in Hell also as like the Arch of Titus, built to celebrate the Sack of Jerusalem, which, in the Middle Ages, had beside it Virgil's Tower. In Inferno you go in the wrong direction, always to the left and downwards, only to find yourself next in the spiral at the Antipodes, like bathwater in Australia, and all the stars different, the Southern Cross, going to the right and upwards, and even entering in the opposite ways through the Gates such as those Guelf Arnolfo di Cambio built in Florence from stone taken from the Ghibelline towers of pride and bloodshed, into your freedom being ransomed from that narrow door called the Miserere, 'Mercy' of the very real Stinche Prison of Dante's Florence. It is Henry James' Turn of the Screw. You now unscrew, undo torture, undo the injustice one has oneself wrought, into the Peaceable Kingdom of Justice, as Julian of Norwich would have it, for all. Even Geryon partakes of this doubleness of Justice/Mercy, having the face of a Just man, the tail of a deadly scorpion. Which can lead us at the end of this web portal to the marble plaques sculpted by Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu, a descendant of the unjust slavery of his people, to celebrate the freedom attained by the Afro-Americans Frederick Douglass and Sarah Parker Remond, celebrated in turn in Igiaba Scego's novel La linea del colore, who incorporates these figures in her historical novel about them.

When a restorer works on a medieval panel painting he must remove all the later accretions of yellowing varnish, of chiaroscuro "over-paintings", to come to the original brilliant pigments and gold leaf that seem to dance in candlelight. My paleography professor owned two panels of Dominican saints she bought when Curator of the Huntington Museum for $100, which I saw in her homes in Princeton and Oxford, I thought were rather good, she thinking they were Victorian fakes. It turned out they were Fra Angelicos from the San Domenico altar pala and were next restored and purchased back to the San Domenico Museum for a million euro. We desired to do a similar restoration with Dante, and, when we read the Commedia, we drew as close as possible to the medieval Florence of his time. We dined each month at the Trattoria "Il Pennello", in situ, by the house of his birth beside the little church of San Martino and the Torre della Castagna where he had served as Prior of Florence, instead of meeting in the fake early twentieth-century Museo Casa di Dante. Our Dante is not the severe statue of the Piazza Santa Croce, nor that of French and German Romanticists, nor the nationalist and Masonic version of him of the Risorgimento, nor that of "Il Duce" Mussolini of the arrogant and racist imperialism of Fascism, but of the medieval flesh and blood Dante, first a citizen of Florence, who then, under sentence of exile and death, proclaimed three times into the Libro del Chiodo, became – and becomes – a democratic and humble citizen of a world that is the Kingdom of Heaven, who wed Aristotle’s pagan Nicomachean Ethics to the inclusion of the Gospels, the Bible’s In Principio erat Verbum, rewritten as ‘Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita . . .’, here and now.

How often have you gone through a doorway into another room and forgotten what it was you were coming for! This is because the brain, the mind, maps itself to its surroundings. And when it transitions from one to the other it wipes clean the earlier memory. I have just gone to the library room with its books in Greek, Latin and Italian that I call the "Sala Bessarione", after the learned Greek Cardinal and from whom we named our Academia Bessarion discussions on Zoom during Covid. And arriving there could not for a moment remember what I came for, Italo Calvino's Fiabe italiane, in order to include these and his
Il visconte dimezzato, his Il barone rampante, his Il cavaliere inesistente, so redolent of Ariosto, in this portal's bibliography. Then, with some effort, the memory triumphantly returned. This paper is such a doorway of memories, just as are the books on shelves in this library, just as are the Academia Bessarion recorded discussions, all interconnecting with our brains' memories.

This is a frame tale to the tales within the tales of this Oliveleaf website, itself created as Boethian therapy from trauma, exile, abuse. While tales can also be accounts of voyages, of exiles turned pilgrimages, Of the Libro del Chiodo's tragedy transformed by Dante's virtuous alchemy into his Comedy. Or they can be dream visions. Or both of these at once, as with
Dante's Commedia, Langland's Piers Plowman, Julian's Lord and Servant. In this they do Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl's "Logotherapy", searching for, creating, meaning, healing. Isak Dinesen, given syphilis by her husband, in her story, 'The Diver", wrote "Pearls are like poets' tales, loveliness born out of disease". Saints' Legends, hagiography, especially by, for and about women, are likewise such tales, read orally by one monk to the others who are in silence in monastery refectories, who next sing at Vespers, Mary's so-Marxist Magnificat. Many of these texts are presented here in synaesthesia, as oral story-telling simultaneously with scribal textuality, appealing to both right and left hemispheres of our brains, both our feminine and our masculine sides. As they nourish the Inner Child.



Matisse, dying, created these collages from cut coloured papers, this one from the Arabian Thousand and One Nights, when finally Sheherazade could discretely stop telling her tales, the thousand and one tales now having seduced her lover, her ruler, into no longer ordering her death on the morrow. Boccaccio, for a Galeotto patron, created his Decameron in the midst of the Black Death, Chaucer following suit with his Canterbury Tales, this web portal on the telling of tales created in the time of Covid and of Ukraine.
 
Stories for my great grandchildren:


The Tale of the Dragon. A Puppet Play for First Day Quaker Children. For children and adults together. Drama.
Magic Scissors. A children's book, set in a far-off land and now long ago, on anti-consumerism's happiness. For children and adults together.
Charles Perrault, Puss in Boots. How to survive at the French king's autocratic court. For children and adults together.
A favourite Beatrix Potter, The Tailor of Gloucester: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kdFAjKQzMA
St Jerome. St Paul, the First Hermit. This story is a leg pull, masquerading as Hagiography! It will morph into C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia.
Aesop, The North Wind and the Sun.
Diamanta Danila tells stories, here Cinderella: https://www.facebook.com/juliaboltonholloway/videos/10217436311314596
 
Folk Tales and the Other Voices: 'When the Lions write History!'

'The Asse to the Harpe', in which we learn of the travelling of ancient tales across immensities of time and space.
The Voyage of Bran. Irish Travel Tale, as if Dream Vision. Will morph into The Voyages of St Brendan, into Dante's Commedia.
Leslie Silko. "Language and Literature from a Laguna Pueblo Perspective".

Rose Cordova Henry Cornfield/ Enrique Milpaz. A Penitente therapeutic tale told with a ventriloquist doll.
Rose Lloyds An English Rose, Part I An English Rose, Part II  A Roma orphan's autobiography.
Peter Neville, from New Zealand, Maori and blind, reciting his Genealogy, from the 1840 Waitangi Treaty, and a Poem, 'Rain', recorded in Florence in a thunderstorm. The Genealogy is like Homer's Catalogue of Ships and the Gospels' Genealogies of Jesus.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonetos Portugueses II. This was recorded by the Amerindian husband of a couple who came from Brazil with their printout of our Florin website to visit Elizabeth's tomb. We collect translations of the Sonnets from the Portuguese, now having these in Italian, German, Spanish, Czech, as well as Portuguese.
Song and Voice Recording of Hedera Cjuraru, who is Roma from Romania, singing "Alleluia".
Voice Recording of Romany Vocabulary by Daniel Dumitrescu, Vandana Culea, JBH at Romany.mp3 

I wrote this in 2018 on my blog:
Melchisadek, King of Righteousness, greeted the nomadic cattle-herding invader Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees to Salem, Jerusalem, meaning Vision of Peace, with the gifts of bread and wine, for his Palestinian people were peaceable agriculturalists. I had been taught this story by a beautiful nun in school in Sussex, then travelled to Australia to be taught it again, more deeply, by Aborigine explaining that the Joshua model of conquest and slaughter is less desirable than the Melchisadek model of the sharing of skills for human survival. Jesus in the Galiliee region would have seen Mary bless the Sabbath candles, Joseph the bread and wine, on Friday at sundown, the Sabbath Eve, the Melchisadek rite shared from the indigenous people with the laity, rather than the cattle slaughtering and the bartering of the Temple with its Aaronic priests and Levites. The Epistle to the Hebrews, perhaps written by Prisca/Priscilla, for its Greek is certainly not Paul's, stresses the one High Priest Melchisadek as the Messiah of Justice. Jesus in the Gospels listens to the voices of those outside of power, Samaritans, Syro-Phoenicians, women, lepers, cripples - and restores them to health, to power-sharing. For this he is unjustly crucified. But a Melchisadek Christianity, a Melchisadek Judaism, would listen to the indigenous voices, to the feared, hated Others, sharing with them the Thanksgiving Feast, the Eucharist. This our library and our cemetery seek to do, with books on those outside of power and subjected to Holocausts, Aborigine, Native American, African American, Roma, Jew, Women, with work for Roma families to whom no one will give work, with listening to the voices of Maori, Amerindian, and recording them, and many others, to all who come here, celebrating a rich and compassionate humanity. We are the World's citizens, mending the cracks in it.

I have been trying to say how much of Western culture derives from Africa: Liturgical dramas, Hrostwitha's Comedies, Dante's Commedia, Boccaccio's Decameron, Shakespeare's plays, Montaigne's Essais, Moliere's Tartuffe, Frances Trollope's Vicar of Wrexhill, by way of Terence's Comedies. While Apuleius again influences Boccaccio who writes out all the works of both African writers in manuscripts to be found in the Laurentian Library.

Apuleius embeds the
Tale of Cupid and Psyche at the centre of his Metamorphoses or the Golden Ass. While the frame to the Tale is Egyptian in context, the Tale at the Centre is Greek and Latin. The old woman who tells it to the two lovers, then hangs herself, the robbers who enslave her eating the food she prepared for them. In the midst of misery, of tragedy, she has told of beauty, of consolation.

And then there is Kenyan Dante scholar Catherine Adoyo's Rain. 'When the Lions write History'
 


Women's Voices in Saints' Legends:

Christianity, the "religion of women and slaves", before the adoption of the male-only Greco-Arabic model in the twelfth century of universities for the exclusive teaching of theology, women could fully realize their identity and did so through acts of charity, through pilgrimages, through writings, both by others and by themselves. Then stories were told of them, being preserved in the legends, read, as the word "legend" itself means, in monastic Refectories while the other monks ate their meals in silent listening. In particular, for women, was Cecilia's model of Holy Disobedience to secular authority, to the pagan Roman Imperium. Don Milani-Comparetti  of a prominent Jewish family, a Christian priest, wrote L'Obedienza non è un Virtù, Obedience is not a Virtue, the Nuremberg Principle to disobey an unjust command.

Saint Perpetua
Saint Cecilia
Margot King, Desert Mothers
Egeria and Other Women Pilgrims Travel, Women's Pilgrim Tales
San Miniato Lecture  Slides
Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica English, Latin
Hrotswitha, Mary and Abraham, Hagiography, Drama, in Latin
Hrotswitha
, Thais and Paphnutius, Hagiography, Drama, in Latin

Peregrinus Latin and Gregorian chant of Luke 24. Drama
Saint Guthlac and Saint Pega

The Mystics Internet
The Continental Godfriends
Saint Umiltà

Julian of Norwich, The Lord and the Servant. Parable, which is also a Documentary in the Form of Allegory.  
Francesca.html Francesca da Romana,

Jarena.html
Jarena Lee: Autobiography of the Afro-American Preacher. Google Analytics tells me this webpage is one of my most read globally. She writes theology brilliantly, like Julian of Norwich.



Anti-Romance:

Aucassin and Nicolete. This again a Bakhintesque leg pull, a turning inside out of romances, reversing the gender, class and race biases of the official narrative.

Dante Alighieri

Dantevivo.html
PietroAlighieri.html
Massimo Seriacopi Pietro Alighieri

Pearl Poet:


Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Romance in Middle English
Pearl Dream Vision in Middle English
StErkenwald.html Hagiography in Middle English from the Venerable Bede's Latin, time travelling

Chaucer:


Chaucer, Book of the Duchess  See also Duchess.html
Chaucer, Canterbury Tales.
See also GodsPlenty.html
ClerksTale.html
FranklinsTale.html
The Nuns' Priest's Tale
SecondNunsTale.html. See also Cecilia.html Hagiography

Therapy:

Voice Recording of Augustine, Boethius, Dionysius, Dante: Julian's Mystical Philosophy at augmyst.mp3
BlakeJob.html In which we learn of the therapy wrought by tales.
Hound.html  Ballad, healing Trauma
poemspennyeach.html
Hazel Oddy Martha's Supplication 
Fallingout.html War trauma documentary
TellTale.html Journal, Zibaldone, English, italiano

Further Readings:


Tapestry.html
Leopards.html
AlternativeUniverse
Terence.html
Apuleius.html
 


While I have created for Elizabeth Barrett Browning, on the www.florin.ms website, similar synaesthetic TALKING BOOKS.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning's nine book epic poem/modern novel, Aurora Leigh, has two heroines, Aurora (a composite of Michelangelo's Aurora and Margaret Fuller) and Marian Erle. Marian is Roma. But also EBB's Jamaican self, through whose veins runs the blood of African slaves. Frances Trollope, likewise buried in this English Cemetery in Florence as are Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the former slave Nadezhda de Santis from Nubia, and Hiram Powers, the sculptor of the 'Greek Slave', wrote the first anti-slavery novel/documentary, Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw, of what she saw travelling up the Mississippi River to Cincinnati of American slavery. Somali Italian Igiaba Scego, whose heroine in La linea del colore is a dream fiction composite of the Afro-Americans Edmonia Lewis and Sarah Parker Remond who came to Italy, her character likewise a friend of Frederick Douglass, and who, at EBB's tomb,
recites in a speech act Theodore Parker/Martin Luther King Jr/Barack Obama's lines on the arc of the moral compass bending slowly but bending towards justice. Kenyan Catherine Adoyo, outstanding scholar of Dante, is the author of Rain, which we discussed together for many hours orally on Zoom. Barbara Reynolds, Dante scholar, translator and biographer, said to me the reason why women are discounted is because we have the voices of children. Our websites seek to give back and empower voices to ex-slaves, exiles, women and children. I had a serious run-in with Cardinal Pell of "Vox Clara", who objected to my use of inclusive language (I was using "we", instead of "Man", when translating "uomo" in Don Divo Barsotti's inclusive theology), my Anglican bishops also having objected to my book, cited in Christianity by Hans Küng, Equally in God's Image: Women in the Middle Ages. "But still I rise".
      
Click on red arrows for simultaneous soundtracks with the readings in the files below:
 

TEXT AND AUDIO FILE OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, LADY GERALDINE'S COURTSHIP
TEXT AND AUDIO FILES OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, SONNETS  1.
'HIRAM POWERS' GREEK SLAVE, SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE,  2, 3, 4, SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE,
TEXT AND AUDIO FILE IN PORTUGUESE,
SONETOS PORTUGUESES II This was recorded by the Amerindian husband of a couple who came from Brazil with their printout of this website to visit Elizabeth's tomb. We collect translations of the Sonnets from the Portuguese, now having these in Italian, German, Spanish, Czech, as well as Portuguese.
TEXT AND AUDIO FILE OF
THE RUNAWAY SLAVE AT PILGRIM'S POINT
TEXT AND AUDIO FILES OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING'S NINE BOOK EPIC POEM,
AURORA LEIGH, BOOK I, BOOK II, BOOK III, BOOK IV, BOOK V, BOOK VI, BOOK VII, BOOK VIII, BOOK IX
TEXT AND AUDIO FILES OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING'S CASA GUIDI WINDOWS I, CASA GUIDI WINDOWS II
TEXTS AND AUDIO FILES OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING ON FLORENCE, 1. PREFACE, 2. CASA GUIDI WINDOWS, 3. AURORA LEIGH & POLITICAL POEMS
accompanying Map of Florence.
A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT

Shakespeare's Hamlet tells us "The play's the thing wherein to catch the conscience of a king". Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Marble Faun , which is a roman-à-clé has Browning, who was terrified of our gravedigger, Gorgi, here, in this English Cemetery in Florence, be his Donatello, our mixed-race Isa Blagden and Theodosia Garrow Trollope buried here become his Miriam. While Robert disguises in plain sight his murdering of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in all his husbands who murder their wives, "Porphyria's Lover", "My Last Duchess" and the "Old Yellow Book" purchased in San Lorenzo Market become The Ring and the Book, set not in Florence but displaced in Arezzo and in Rome, himself as both Caponsacchi and Franceschini, Elizabeth, Pompilia. If Pompilia is illiterate then she is innocent, if literate guilty. While EBB is most literate in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, Italian and English and therefore must die, overdosed by him with her laudanum purchased with the income from the slave convict ship, the "David Lyon", the only money he allows her to have of all her poetic earnings. D.W. Lawrence said, "Never trust the teller, trust the tale". Sigmund Freud Civilization and Its Discontents rejected how the dreaming mind composes with multiple landscaping transcending time and space, using the city Rome with its simultaneous historical layering as an example,  as absurd fantasy. Though Giambattista Piranesi celebrated precisely that fanciful architectural eclectism. Ernest Jones in Hamlet and Oedipus spoke of how the dream within the dream is true, its frame the censoring opposite. Dante had phrased this in Convivio II.1, as "è una veritade ascosa sotto belle menzogna", that a truth can be hidden beneath a beautiful lie. One  noticed in American advertizing how what was ugly, polluting, dangerous could be covered up with pastel colours, sentimental gauziness. Roma woman, for whom the bottom part of the body is considered polluting and dangerous, cover it with gorgeously coloured long full skirts to maintain their chastity while they beg. They do not prostitute themselves.

For days I worked at this essay. Then this Saturday morning, 19/3/2022, realized it must include the truthful telling of tales of abuse to free oneself from it. That otherwise we can smother and surround the truth with lies. That we are particularly endangered where we are being silenced. That an ugly truth may lie at its center and freedom from its bane cannot occur until it is told. In the early days of the Web I found a site where people, abused as children, told their tales therapeutically to each other, the only audience which understood. I found them because I had fled my Novice Guardian's "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned", in my Anglican convent I had joined, and so lost everything, my faith, my family, my livelihood, my country. I was living in one unheated room in exile for four years, with just a dial-up internet connection I could barely afford, while editing all the manuscripts of Julian of Norwich, which restored my faith and were my therapy. As she clearly herself had been so abused and tells the tale within her text. From this we founded Godfriends, called after the medieval pacifist Friends of God movement of Meister Eckhart, Henry Suso, Jan van Ruusbroec and others, and took to giving blessed olive leaves to trauma victims, and for them to give these in turn to heal their perpetrators, the Sandinistas' empowering of "Forgiveness is our Revenge!" We gave these to victims of the traumatic bombing, just days apart, in Nairobi and Omagh, and then to the victims and their families of the racist burning of teenagers in the discotheque in Goteberg, to women and men who had been abused by their parents, by their relatives, by their priests, the monks and nuns who had taught them, all silencing their victims, inflicting on them in turn the terror of the punishment they themselves would meet if the crime were known. I learned from my Novice Guardian that her Freemason Mayor of Chelsea father had incested her, that it is like a chain reaction, that such victimized perpetrators can repeat in turn ad nauseam what was done to them to others. She laughed when telling of the children who ran away from our convent's junior school and were returned by the police to her, who also roared with laughter with her when doing so. Particularly children whose parents were abroad in Britain's then far-flung Empire. Orphan children in care. Children of single parent families. Children of alcoholic parents in turn traumatized by unjust racial or religious discrimination. These are at risk of being abused in their families, by hireling carers and minders, by play therapists and by their guardians who impose strict silencing on them at the same time they are traumatized by fractalling cruelty. My own sons among them. My own father among them. My brother among them. When I was Faculty Advisor to IHEAR, the organization the Deaf students at my university founded, we found that every one of them, both male and female, had been non-consensually sodomized. Victims then can go in two different directions, one being to destroy themselves with drink and drugs, ending in the gutter, from PTSD, which is the more honorable, or to enter into the structures of power and control which both permit and conceal them as they become in turn perpetrators of abuse and multiply this exponentially. Why we must listen to what orphans and children say, to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre about her own school, to Rose Lloyd's English Rose about her orphanage. It is the hidden slavery, paradoxically, of Britain's Ruling Class. It is particularly perpetuated by Nation States. Fagging in English Public Schools. The police brutality and murder Black Lives Matter protests. The "Me Too" movement. Indian Boarding Schools in Canada and the United States. Aborigine Boarding Schools in Australia. Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalen Laundries in Ireland. Argentina's Plaza de Mayo Mothers of the Disappeared. The Academy of the Americas. Apartheid in South Africa. The Holocaust in Europe. For it goes further than just rape, even to covering up murder, even to carrying out genocide. This can only be stopped by bringing it into the light of day, by the true telling of tales. By the Cardenals'  "Revenge of Forgiveness" in Nicagragua.  By Mandela's and Tutu's "Truth and Reconciliation" in South Africa. A mutual healing from deadly nightmares.
 
We tell history, at first biased, but if we use our wits, then more true, even as chiseled in marble. Such as with Afro-American Frederick Douglass's inscription on Theodore Parker's tomb in this "English" Cemetery, "
THEODORE PARKER/ THE GREAT AMERICAN PREACHER/ BORN AT LEXINGTON MASSACHUSETTS/ UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/ AUGUST 24TH 1810/ DIED AT FLORENCE ITALY/ MAY 10 1860/ HIS NAME IS ENGRAVED IN MARBLE/ HIS VIRTUES IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE HE/ HELPED TO FREE FROM SLAVERY/ AND SUPERSTITION", then our marble plaques that Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu chiseled, whose own ancestors were slaves for more centuries than were Africans in America, at last freed by the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (which, like Frances Trollope's Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw, was fiction about fact, both documentary and war propaganda), then in the Holocaust, the Porrajmos, the 'Devouring', first a plaque for Frederick Douglass's visit to this 'English' Cemetery in Florence, "FREDERICK DOUGLASS/ EX-AMERICAN SLAVE / CAME HERE, 11 MAY 1887", then for Sarah Parker Remond, "SARAH PARKER REMOND/ ABOLIZIONISTA AFRO-AMERICANA/ STUDIO' LA MEDICINA/ ALL'OSPEDALE SANTA MARIA NUOVA/ 1866-1868", the first woman M.D., the Afro-American Abolitionist who studied at Florence's Santa Maria Nuova Hospital with a letter of recommendation from Giuseppe Mazzini. Stories that others tried and still try to suppress. Nevertheless these are our mandalas, to heal the cracks in the world, to proclaim the Jubilee of Peace and Justice. To do so we can use the literature of orality, the human voice telling of both morality and of mental memories, and scribalism, a step removed but more capable of travelling through space and time, of words inscribed on marble, wood, papyrus, paper, and our computer screens, through the coding of hieroglyphs, alphabets, and electronic binomial zeros and ones. But also returning to the original and most permanent, of words incised on marble. Frederick Douglass, forbidden to learn how to read or write, wrote this about and against the chains of physical and mental trauma:

  

                            I could but recall
as I looked upon his grave the many
heroics rendered the cause of human freedom
by him, freedom not only from physical
chains but the chains of superstition, those
which not only galled the limbs and tore the
flesh-- but those which marred and wounded
the human soul.

Library of Congress, Diary, Frederick Douglass

Without the global tapestry of literature, both
oral and scribal, told with voices, pens and scalpels, we lack all identity, all meaning, and are in chains.

I had been tutor to an ordinand mother of five daughters when I was in my Anglican convent. Her twins, Hebe and Alice, then came and stayed with us for two weeks teaching my Roma workers, who participate in our Alphabet school (as almost all are illiterate, though very right-brained and intelligent), how to chisel letters on marble and how to gold leaf them. Italian stonemasons now only use machines for the lettering on marble. Which are too precise and therefore lifeless. The slight imperfections of hand-lettering restores the letters, resurrects them to life. Particularly when it is the "Lions writing History".



This is Marian Ovrei, a Roma teenager from Ramnicu Sarat in Romania, chiselling the name of "Catherine McKinnon". Catherine McKinnon herself left the poverty of the Scottish island of Mull, and became governess to the Tsar of Russia, then was buried here in Florence, her tomb lost, though its entry is in our archive. In this way we publish her story, her memory.


This is formerly illiterate Mihai Copalea, likewise learning how to chisel letters on marble.


While Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu is our only Roma worker who did have schooling. He is a brilliant restorer, and has inherited the tools of his grandfather, the top copper smith in their part of Romania. He chiseled these two plaques, one for Frederick Douglass's visit to this Swiss-owned so-called 'English' Cemetery, the other, still needing its black lettering, for Sarah Parker Remond, the first woman M.D., Afro-American Abolitionist who came to Florence, 1866-1868, to study medicine at Santa Maria Nuova Hospital, the hospital founded by Dante's Beatrice's father. In this project the "Lions write their History", women and former slaves celebrate in chiselling on marble our history in solidarity of the liberation from discrimination.

  
FREDERICK DOUGLASS,                                               SARAH PARKER REMOND
EX-AMERICAN SLAVE,                                                  ABOLIZIONISTA AFRO-AMERICANA 
CAME HERE, 11 MAY 1887                                             STUDIO' LA MEDICINA
                                                                                             ALL'OSPEDALE SANTA MARIA NUOVA
                                                                                             1866-1868    


There is a tale told about a small village in Japan. One fine spring morning a man fishing saw a huge tidal wave far out to sea, and approaching fast. He ran through the village with frantic haste, knocking on doors and summoning the best spinners and weavers of the town, who came streaming after him holding their wheels and shuttles. There on the sand, they quickly spun a gigantic tapestry, rich in colors and patterns, that formed the picture of a peaceful empty blue sky and a calm green sea, alive with purple seaweed floating in the still waters, and silver fish at play. Not a sound was heard in the air until a little girl, sucking her thumb and staring at the cloth, said, "It's very pretty, but it's not real, is it?" Instantly the huge wall of water tore through the canvas and roared down upon the village, sweeping it out to sea.
                                                                                                                                                                        Lauryn Mayer.


Bibliography
=oral or illustrated or sculpted or filmed performance of a text

Henry Adams. The Education of Henry Adams.
Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 2000.
_______. Mont Saint Michel and Chartres. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985.
Adoyo. Rain. A Song for All and None. Washington D.C.: Zamani Chronicles, 2020.
Dante Alighieri. La Commedia secondo l'antica vulgata. 1. Introduzione. 2. Inferno. 3. Purgatorio. 4. Paradiso. Ed. Giorgio Petrocchi. Verona: Mondadori, 1975. 4 vols.
_______. La Divina Commedia. Inferno. Purgatorio. Paradiso. Ed. H. Oelsner, Trans. J.A. Carlyle, Thomas Okey and P.H. Wicksteed. London: J.M. Dent, 1938. 1 vol.
Petri Allegheri. Commentarium super Dantis ipsius genitoris Comoedia. A c. Vincentio Nannucci. Lord Vernon edition. India: Pranava Books, n.d. 2 vols.
Pietro Alighieri. Comentum super poema Comedie Dantis. A Critical Edition of the Third and Final Draft of Pietro Alighieri's Commentary on Dante's The Divine Comedy. Ed. Massimiliano Chiamenti. Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2002.
Pietro Alighieri. Volgarizzamento inedito  del Commento di Pietro Alighieri alla Commedia di Dante. Ed. Massimo Seriacopi. 2 vols. Regello: FrenzeLibri, 2009.
Hans Christian Andersen. The Emperor's Nightingale. The Emperor's New Clothes. In The Complete Fairty Tales. London: Gollancz, 1974.
Apuleius.
Opera. Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana. MS Plut.54.32. Scribe, Giovanni Boccaccio.
_______. The Golden Ass Being the Metamorphoses of Lucius Apuleius, trans. William Adlington. London: William Heinemann, 1977.


Tales within Tales: Apuleius through Time. Edited, Constance S. Wright and Julia Bolton Holloway. New York: AMS Press, 2000.
Aucassin and Nicolete. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS français 2168, fols. 70r-80v.
Aucassin et Nicolete: Chantfable du XIIIe siècle. Ed. Mario Roques. Paris: Honoré Champion, 1977. Les Classiques français du Moyen Age 41.
Aucassin and Nicolete and other Medieval Romances and Legends. Trans. Eugene Mason. London: J.M. Dent, 1919.
M.M. Bahktin. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. Ed. and trans. Caryl Emerson. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.
___________. Rabelais and his World. Rabelais and his World. Trans. Hélène Iswolsky. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1968. Pp. 1-58, 437-474.
Julien Benda. La trahison des clercs. Paris, 1927. Trans. The Betrayal of the Intellectuals, Richard Aldington. Boston: Beacon Press, 1955.
Emily Brontë. Wuthering Heights.
London: Collins, n.d. Library of Classics.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Lady Geraldine's Courtship.

_______.
The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point.

_______. Aurora Leigh.
EBB's second heroine, Marian Erle, in her nine book novel/epic poem, is Roma. And herself, Aurora being modeled on her dead friend, Margaret Fuller.
_______. Musical Instrument.

Above in Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Aurora Leigh and Other Poems. Eds. John Robert Glorney Bolton and Julia Bolton Holloway. Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 1995.
The Black Poets, ed. Dudley Randall. New York: Bantam, 1971.
William Blake. Job. New York: Dover, 1995.
Giovanni Boccaccio. Opere. Ed. Cesare Segre. Milan: Mursia, 1978.
__________. The Decameron. Trans. G.H. McWilliam. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2003.
Bruno Bettelheim. The Uses of Enchantment:The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. New York: Knopf, 1976.
Harold Bloom. Kaballah and Criticism. New York: Seabury, 1975.
Esther Cajero, Jemez Pueblo. The Storyteller.
Italo Calvino. Fiabe Italiane. Bologna: Einaudi, 1956.
__________.
Il visconte dimezzato. Bologna: Einaudi, 1952.
________________.  Il barone rampante Bologna: Einaudi, 1957.
__________.
Il cavaliere inesistente. Bologna: Einaudi, 1959.
Geoffrey Chaucer. The Book of the Duchess.
________. The Canterbury Tales.
In
Geoffrey Chaucer. The Riverside Chaucer. Ed. Larry Benson, based on ed. F.N. Robinson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987
Hedera Cjuraru, Roma. Gospel. Alleluia.
Joseph Conrad. The Heart of Darkness. Blackwood's Magazine, 1899, London: Blackwood, 1902.
Rose Cordova, Penitente. "Henry Cornfield: Enrique Milpaz". In Tales within Tales: Apuleius through Time. Eds. Wright and Holloway. Pp. 157-164.
Frederick C. Crews. The Pooh Perplex. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963.
Diamanta Danila, Roma. The King's Three Daughters. The Dancing Princess's Shoes. Cinderella.
Juliana Dresvina. A Maid with her Dragon: The Cult of St Margaret of Antioch in Medieval England. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.