Department of English

University of Toronto

“Savonarola, Blood, and Prophecy”

Event date: Thursday, January 17, 2019, at 4:00 PM
Location: Carr Hall 405, St Michael’s College, 100 St Joseph’s Street

The Fifty-Fourth Season of the

Founded by Natalie Zemon Davis and James K. McConica in 1964

Marco Piana
(University of Toronto)
“Savonarola, Blood, and Prophecy”

This lecture is presented in partnership with the Emilio Goggio Chair in Italian Studies

This talk will examine how the Dominican friar and Church Reformer Girolamo Savona-rola (1452-98) used blood as a religious and visionary sym-bol. Savonarola’s prophetic imagination is especially im-portant for understanding just how deeply rooted the devo-tional symbol of blood was in early modern Italy. The talk will thus analyze one of the most vivid examples of Savo-narolan blood devotion, found in the friar’s commentary to Amos and Zacharias, in Ser-mon 44 (1 April 1496). Savo-narola’s vision of Christ’s blood as a symbol of conver-sion will be put in relation with the works of Fra Angeli-co, Saint Catherine of Siena, and the movement of the flagellants. It will also be used to explain the friar’s legacy and cases of blood devotion among his followers.

Dr. Marco Piana is a Post-doctoral Fellow in Italian Studies at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the literary representation of Otherness, gender, and religious identity in Early Modern Europe, with special atten-tion to the works of Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola, Renaissance Neoplatonism, and pro-woman literature. Dr. Piana is also a research associate on the project “Equality and superiority in Renaissance and Early Modern pro-woman treatises” led by Professors Marguerite Deslauriers and Laura Pre-lipcean and on the project “Early Modern Conver-sions” led by Professors Paul Yachnin and Stephen Wittek.

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