McLaughlin, Martin L.
McLAUGHLIN, Martin L.
CAREER: Madgalen College, Oxford, Oxford, England, Fiat-Serena Professor of Italian Studies.
(Editor, with R. D. S. Jack and C. Whyte) Leopardi: A Scottis Quair, University of Edinburgh Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1987.
Italo Calvino (biography), Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1998.
(Editor) Italo Calvino, The Path to the Spiders' Nests, revised edition, translated by Archibald Colquhoun, Ecco Press (Hopewell, NJ), 1998.
(Translator) Italo Calvino, Why Read the Classics?, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1999.
(Editor) Britain and Italy From Romanticism to Modernism: A Festschrift for Peter Brand, Modern Humanities Research Association (Oxford, England), 2000.
(Translator) Italo Calvino, Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 2003.
(Translator) Sergio Ghione, Turtle Island: A Journey to Britain's Oddest Colony, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.
(Translator) Umberto Eco, On Literature, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to books, including Mapping Lives: The Uses of Biography, British Academy, 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: British educator, author, and translator Martin McLaughlin specializes in the Italian language, the literature of the Italian Renaissance from Petrarch to Tasso; Dante; contemporary Italian fiction, especially the work of Italo Calvino; and translation studies. He has translated a number of volumes from Italian into English, particularly the writings of Calvino, as well as serving as author or editor of several other books.
With Literary Imitation in the Italian Renaissance: The Theory and Practice of Literary Imitation in Italy from Dante to Bembo McLaughlin presents a comprehensive survey of the role of imitation in the literature of the Italian Renaissance, examining both its theory and its practice and including both works written in Latin and those in the vernacular. The book covers numerous authors, including an overview of scholarly opinions, as well as McLaughlin's own critical analysis. Brian Vickers, writing for the Modern Language Review, found the book too abbreviated, and called for a sequel in order that some of the presented theories could be expanded into a later time period In general, the critic felt, "McLaughlin's analyses are mostly convincing, he has mastered a wide literature, primary and secondary, and has made exemplary use of manuscript sources. . . . No one interested in Renaissance literature and its involvement with the past should ignore this scholarly and critically alert study." In a review for Renaissance Quarterly, G. W. Pigman III wrote, "McLaughlin has produced a masterful synthesis, judicious, light of touch, and deft at selecting cogent examples from an extraordinary amount of material. . . . He is particularly good at sketching an author's stylistic development." Pigman went on to comment that "McLaughlin has written an extraordinary book, and it should become the standard work on its subject."
McLaughlin's interest in the works of Italo Calvino has led to his serving as translator for a number of books by the author, including Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings, for which McLaughlin was the first English translator. The book covers three decades of Calvino's personal work, and is made up of twelve pieces, including a series of letters the Italian novelist wrote to his publisher while touring the United States at the end of the 1950s. The result, according to Pedro Ponce in the Review of Contemporary Fiction, is that "Calvino is revealed in a less whimsical light . . . an ambivalent man, struggling to engage with the world." A contributor to Contemporary Review commented that the writings "give us a unique insight into the Italian novelist and . . . to Italian history of the twentieth century."
Another translation of the works of Calvino, Why Read the Classics?, examines a series of respected books from the author's viewpoint and includes a number of his essays on theory. American Scholar critic Rachel Hadas quoted McLaughlin as saying that Why Read the Classics? "as a whole . . . offers a . . . view into the everyday workshop of a great creative writer: what Calvino read was often metamorphosed creatively, intertextually into what Calvino wrote." Hadas praised McLaughlin's choices for the volume, noting that "the recovery of such work from the twilight of out-of-printdom or the anarchy of cyberspace is an exemplary act of recycling." Times Literary Supplement reviewer Anna Laura Leschy, commenting on both Why Read the Classics? and Italo Calvino, averred that "McLaughlin is to be commended for putting these critical riches at the disposal of English readers."
In addition to his writings and translations, McLaughlin edited Britain and Italy from Romanticism to Modernism: A Festschrift for Peter Brand, and authored the book's introduction. The volume serves as a sort of continuation to Brand's Italy and the English Romantics, picking up where the writer left off in the mid-nineteenth century and continuing into the early twentieth century. Carmine G. Di Biase, in a review for Italica, called the work a "rich and varied collection of essays." Nine pieces follow McLaughlin's introduction, and they cover such topics as art, literature, politics, and history. Contributions include "Performance of Italian Opera in Early Victorian England" by David Kimbell, and "Ruskin, Italy, and the Past" by Hilary Fraser, along with essays on Dante, Italian nationalism versus Welsh liberalism, and the British support of Italian unification.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Scholar, autumn, 1999, Rachel Hadas, review of Why Read the Classics?, p. 137.
Biography, summer, 2003, Michael Meshaw, review of Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings, p. 519.
Choice, December, 1996, C. Fantazzi, review of Literary Imitation in the Italian Renaissance: The Theory and Practice of Literary Imitation in Italy from Dante to Bembo, p. 620.
Contemporary Review, April, 2003, review of Hermit in Paris, p. 256.
Italica, winter, 2002, Carmine G. Di Biase, review of Britain and Italy from Romanticism to Modernism: A Festschrift for Peter Brand, pp. 568-572.
Modern Language Review, July, 1998, Brian Vickers, review of Literary Imitation in the Italian Renaissance, pp. 850-852.
Publishers Weekly, November 3, 2003, review of Turtle Island: A Journey to the World's Oddest Colony, p. 68.
Renaissance Quarterly, winter, 1998, G. W. Pigman III, review of Literary Imitation in the Italian Renaissance, pp. 1354-1355.
Review of Contemporary Fiction, summer, 2003, Pedro Ponce, review of Hermit in Paris, p. 155.
Times Literary Supplement, October 15, 1999, Anna Laura Lepschy, "Brief Intimacies."
Washington Post Book World, September 26, 1999, Michael Dirda, review of Why Read the Classics?, p. 15.
Oxford University Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages Web site,http://faculty.mml.ox.ac.uk/ (November 11, 2004), "Martin McLaughlin."