Another new project takes me a little away from my usual literary and textual stomping grounds: to the late 17th century in Italy, and an odd little manuscript titled “Istoria della fine del mondo, nongià del quando ma del come finirà” [History of the end of the world, not of when but of how it will end]. It’s written mostly in Italian by a certain Americo da Firenze, about whom the holding library knows nothing else.
The manuscript is in the collection at the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, fondly referred to at the University of Massachusetts as the Renaissance Center, and where I am a visiting fellow this semester. I’ll be working on a basic description and transcription of the text over the next weeks or months; I have found a few things I might disagree with in the existing description, and there is no transcription. The project might go in different directions from there, like translating the text or working on identifying sources, but the transcription will take some time. The text is occasionally messy, often crossed out, corrected in the margins, with four extra pieces of paper pasted in with more additions or corrections.
Right now, I’ve done the first page, which is two quotes from Augustine and then a large chunk of text to replace the introduction that was originally much shorter, on the next page. I’m also reading up on my Apocalypse, in the Vulgate and using Douay-Rheims for comparison. If I get to the point of identifying sources, I’ll have to decide what text to use, and how much research to do on possible Italian translations of the period.
I’ll be giving a talk on the work in early April, so hopefully more news on this project by then!