22 December 2008

Francesco Benozzo. La Tradizione Smarrita.

I have just read an excellent book, written by Francesco Benozzo, an Italian scholar of Celtic studies. Its title is La Tradizione Smarrita (Roma: Viella, 2007), which could be translated as The Lost Tradition. In this book the author analyses the earliest forms of literature in Western Romance languages (Occitan troubadour poetry, chansons de geste, etc.), linking them with an oral tradition which goes back to the times of the Celts, well before the Roman conquest. According to the author, there are many formal and thematic parallelisms between these two traditions. On the other hand, the medieval “troubadour”, and also some imagery which is found in early Romance literature, can be seen as the remnants of a much earlier period, when the poet-sorcerers, or shamans, and their ritual, played an important role in Western European society. The book offers a great amount of evidence to support the author’s thesis: text and linguistic analysis, anthropological data, historical sources. All in all, La Tradizione Smarrita is recommendable for anyone interested in the history of Western European literature and the origins of Celtic mythology.

Francesco Benozzo is a member of the Continuity Theory (CT) workgroup, and he has applied the CT approach to his research on compared literature, anthropology and Celtic studies, as can be seen in his book La Tradizione Smarrita, and also in other writings (you can find some of his articles here). He has also translated a series of old Celtic texts into Italian and edited some modern literary works, apart from creating his own. But this is not all. When I entered his web-page for the first time I discovered yet another interesting thing about Benozzo: he is a musician, an expert in the Celtic harp. He regularly gives concerts, where he plays the harp and sings in old Welsh and other languages, and has also recorded several albums (you can take a look at his web-page for some samples of his music and further information about his discography).

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