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Alessandro Metlica, "From Prison With Humor: Two Letters by Giovan Battista Marino"
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 Export to Your Calendar 10/23/2020
When: October 23, 2020
11:00 a.m. Central Time (12pm ET/6pm Central European)
Where: Online Event
The Italian Program in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 
United States
Contact: Fabio Battista

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The Italian Program in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at The University of Alabama presents “Comic Relief: Making the Best of Things in the Italian Tradition.”

Our online seminar series investigates the comic and its uses in moments or situations of trouble: the five talks in our series will variously look at how instances of tribulation, crisis, or upheaval can be examined and made sense of through a comic lens, often leading to a cathartic experience. Featuring distinguished speakers from Italy and the United States, Comic Relief is an event designed for UA students and faculty, as well as for the broader public in academia and beyond.

We are pleased to invite you to join us on Friday, October 23rd at 11:00 a.m. *Central Time* (12pm ET/6pm Central European) on Zoom for the second event in our series:

Alessandro Metlica (Università di Padova) – “From Prison With Humor: Two Letters by Giovan Battista Marino”

The Italian poet Giovan Battista Marino (1569–1625) was imprisoned many times during his life, due to his witty and irreverent attitude towards some of his patrons and the Catholic Church. Experiencing harsh detention in Naples as well as in Turin, Marino managed to escape prison with literature. The metaphor of an escape through pen and paper applies indeed to both life and literature, facts and rhetoric. On the one hand, writing greatly helped Marino to regain his freedom, coaxing princes and cardinals, and finding new patrons among the diplomats and the noblemen at the court. On the other hand, through his letters in verse and prose, in which comic frequently turns to satire, the poet found a way to alleviate his condition, as he boldly attacked and brilliantly mocked – by means of literature, of course – the authorities responsible for his imprisonment. In these difficult days, when the lockdown due to the pandemic forces us to reassess our habits and travels, Marino’s dark humor and clever irony witness the amazing power of literature, overcoming every physical barrier to offer us its “comic relief.”

To register, please visit:

Upcoming seminars:

Nov. 13 – Jane Tylus (Yale University), “Do Comedies All (Have to) End Happily? Scenes from Shakespeare, Machiavelli, and their Contemporaries”

Jan. 22 – David Ward (Wellesley College), “Italian Terrorism in Contemporary Italian Literature: Laughing at History”

Feb. 12 ­– Dana Renga (The Ohio State University), “Dark Serial Humour”

For more information about the “Comic Relief” series, please visit

Contacts: Jessica Goethals ( or Fabio Battista (

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