BD -- Literature and Literary Studies

 An RREO Original Review

Letteratura Italiana repertorio automatizzato (LIRA): CD-ROM bibligrafico della lingua e della letteratura Italiana, dal 1986 al 1995 [Italian Literature Digital Index: Bibliographical CD-ROM of Italian Language and Literature, 1986-1995]. Ed. Benedetto Aschero. Trieste: Alcione, 1996 (©1995). 1 CD-ROM + user's guide (19 p. ill. 12 cm.). Lit. 1,200,000

LIRA is based on LIAB: Letteratura italiana, aggiornamento bibliografico, and covers the field between the years 1985 and 1995. Directed by Benedetto Aschero, with the sponsorship of the Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, LIRA claims to be global in coverage of books (including primary texts when accompanied by critical apparatus), chapters in miscellanea and conference proceedings, and journal articles. Unlike the MLA Bibliography, it indexes reviews and newspaper articles. It partially indexes the news magazine Espresso (231 records), and the newspapers Il Sole-24 Ore (1079 records), Corriere della Sera (1070), La Repubblica (662), Arena (519), Il Giornale (369), La Stampa (Società e cultura) (296), and La Gazzetta di Parma (112 + 45 from its culture section), but not Il Manifesto. No other known resource provides such coverage.

LIRA's system requirements are: IBM PC or compatible; DOS 3.3 or higher; Windows 3.1 or Windows 95; 8MB RAM in memory; 6MB free disk space; double-speed CD-ROM drive; Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device. Its search engine is based on Jet Engine 2.0 of Microsoft Access. The user's manual (in Italian) is mostly reproduced in the online instructions (also in Italian) and the online Help (in English). The search interface is largely in Italian, but some of the labels, buttons, and the Boolean operators are in English. In addition to the structured search using several fields, one can browse the entries in the following indexes: descriptors, authors, titles, publishers, periodicals, literary periods with sub-headings of authors or general categories (type of document, genres, literary terminology, and linguistics). In the structured search window, fields with standardized terms can be browsed and a term inserted from the resulting index/list. Non-standard headings are converted to standard either automatically or at the click of a button. The stopword list can be overridden so that common terms such as prepositions or conjunctions can be searched in linguistic studies. Terms can be searched anywhere in the record, or as standard descriptors, or as authors.

The order of display in the "short-title" is by author or main entry. Items in a short-title list can be selected for printing or downloading. Only the first 254 citations are given in the "short-title" list when results of a search are greater.

Full bibliographic records include assigned standard descriptors (with links to "see also" headings and to non-standard headings), lists of reviews (with links to their full records), and contents notes that are searchable (though none seemed long enough to warrant automated searching).

LIRA's coverage of Italian linguistics is less extensive than those of its competitors, the Bibliografia generale della lingua e della letteratura italiana (BiGLI)--which is available (belatedly) only on paper (see Walford, 6th ed., v. 3, no. 8069)--the MLA Bibliography Online, and, on occasion, Linguistics Abstracts Online (LABS). There are 1830 records in LIRA with the descriptor "lingua." Searching for "Italian syntax" in the years 1986-1995 generates 422 records in the MLA, 16 in LABS, and there are only 27 records with the descriptor "sintassi" in LIRA. There are similar differences between the MLA and LIRA in looking for research by particular linguists. (Direct searching by author is not available in LABS.)

In literature, LIRA and the MLA Bibliography Online are remarkably complementary. Searches in each for studies on both Stendhal and Manzoni produces no overlap whatsoever: MLA fetches one citation, and LIRA offers up eight others when searching for those terms in full-text, of which four are found with them as descriptors.

The great comparative strength of LIRA is in covering 20th-century texts and studies thereon, since it indexes reviews and partially covers newspapers, neither of which the MLA does. In addition, it can fill in the oversights of the MLA: for example, Il Ponte since 1992, from which period the MLA has nothing while LIRA has 47 articles and reviews.

Clearly, even those libraries that have the MLA Bibliography Online can gain even more coverage by adding LIRA. A more probing assessment of LIRA will be possible when BiGLI appears in electronic form.

Jeffry Larson, Yale University

 An RREO Original Review

Dizionario critico della letteratura italiana del Novecento [Critical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Italian Literature]. Enrico Ghidetti and Giorgio Luti. Rome: Editori riuniti, 1997. 940 p. 21 cm. ISBN 88-359-4132-6: Lit. 80,000

The editors of the Dizionario are established specialists in modern and contemporary Italian literature, both as professors at the University of Florence and as authors or editors of literary guides and monographs in their fields. Working with 31 collaborators, they have compiled a reference source that they intend to be used not only by scholars but also by general readers and students beginning the study of twentieth-century Italian literature. The goal is to present critical evaluation, contextual perspective, and basic bibliography, including secondary studies, for every author, literary movement, or journal described. Published in one paperbound volume, the dictionary offers depth of information and analysis rarely found in other shorter literary dictionaries or "companion" guides. Its bibliographies are significantly longer than the lists appended to entries in similar publications and its descriptions of authors, literary movements, and journals provide balanced criticism that avoids the facile judgment that can sometimes undermine reference works designed for a wide readership. The inclusion of major intellectual trends and literary movements originating beyond Italy (e.g., existentialism, structuralism, surrealism) recognizes cross currents of thought needed for a comparative perspective, a broad view that also characterizes the essays on Italian literary movements of the early to mid twentieth century, including futurism, neorealism, and the neoavanguardia. Women authors are well represented, from lesser-known writers of the first half of the century, such as Annie Vivanti, through a discussion of the recent bestsellers of Susanna Tamaro.

Compared with other recent dictionaries on twentieth-century Italian literature, especially to its closest counterpart, the Dizionario della letteratura italiana del Novecento edited by Alberto Asor Rosa (Turin: Einaudi, 1992; see IFB 93-3/4-170), this dictionary is by design less capacious. Thus the two guides complement each other, since Asor Rosa's work is still up to date enough to be useful and has cast its net over a wider range of literature. Like Asor Rosa, the editors extend the Italian canon well beyond the more conservative tradition that had characterized general guides in the past, but their emphasis on longer entries and bibliographies means that fewer authors, schools of thought, and journals can be included within the primary focus on narrative, poetry, and criticism. The category of criticism, for example is somewhat truncated, since the editors limited their coverage to the "great generation of masters," such as Walter Binni, Lanfranco Caretti, and Gianfranco Contini, rather than try to choose representatives from among the varied range of critical theory expressed in the late twentieth century. As a result, more recent theorists are absent, for example Giorgio Agamben and Gianni Vattimo, philosophers who have influenced literary interpretations. While there is a slight nod to tangential fields such as social theory and art criticism, for example through discussion of Antonio Gramsci, Danilo Dolci, and Roberto Longhi, the major attention goes to novelists, poets, or authors in multiple fields. Dramatists appear if they also write in other genres or fit into the literary mainstream, so playwrights Dario Fo and Franca Rame are absent, as is the influential director Giorgio Strehler. Key literary and critical journals are discussed thoroughly, though the more inclusive Einaudi Dizionario contains a substantial number of other significant twentieth-century journals and publishers. And while the 1997 publication date allows this work to update information on current authors and to add new names that have emerged in recent years, it does not range into the larger sphere of twentieth-century Italian culture that has influenced the country's creative imagination. Finally, though space had to be limited, it is unfortunate that the dictionary is not at least partially indexed, since texts of the longer discussions often provide information on additional journals, authors, and related literary movements that do not have their own separate entries.

Even with these qualifications, the Ghidetti/Luti Dizionario still provides a well-designed and relatively inexpensive reference source on modern and contemporary Italian literature that will be useful to students and scholars who want to go beyond basic information without consulting longer literary histories or specialized monographs.

Mary Jane Parrine, Stanford University


Der große Romanführer: 500 Hauptwerke der Weltliteratur; Inhalte, Themen, Personen [The Great Guide to Novels: 500 Major Works of World Literature; Contents, Themes, Characters]. Ed. Bernd Gräf. Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1996. xvi, 760 p. 23 cm. ISBN 3-7772-9624-4: DM 128.00

This volume supplements the 32 volumes published to date under the title Der Romanführer. Through a chronological presentation of 500 important and influential works of world literature, one of its principal aims is to elucidate literary themes of particular historical periods. The editor attempts to strike a balance between the established canon and works of one-time fame or influence--the Nobel Prize is used as an indicator of contemporary esteem--but the selection is artificially restricted to one work per author and works available in German translation. Even within these parameters, selection is sometimes questionable.

The essays generally appear to have been lifted from the Der Romanführer with only minor revisions. They vary widely in length and detail, many providing merely a synopsis of the novel. The foreword, on the other hand, presents an interesting conceptual framework for understanding world literature, and the introductory essay on the classical novel as forerunner of the European novel is very informative. The volume concludes with a chronological list of Nobel Prize winners in literature from 1905 to 1995 and an index to authors and (translated) titles. [bk/ab]


Fundbuch der Gedichtinterpretationen [Sourcebook of Poetry Interpretations]. Ed. Wulf Segebrecht. Paderborn [et al.]: Schöningh, 1997. x, 530 p. 25 cm. ISBN 3-506-78300-9: DM 48.00

Intended as a practical aid to students rather than an exhaustive bibliography, the Fundbuch provides citations to approximately 10,000 poetry interpretations. The main section is arranged alphabetically by poet. Citations are brief: author, abbreviated source, pagination. The title of the interpretation itself is omitted. The list of sources, in alphabetical order by abbreviation, is preceded by indexes to poem title, first line, and interpreter. The selection of poems and interpretations is consistently excellent. More rigorously edited than Was ist wo interpretiert (8th ed., 1991) and Quellenlexikon zur deutschen Literaturgeschichte (3d ed., 1994- ), the Fundbuch is the preeminent reference book of its kind. [hak/ab]


Wende-Literatur: Bibliographie und Materialien zur Literatur der deutschen Einheit [Literature on German Unification: Bibliography and Sources . . .]. Ed. Jörg Fröhling. 2d expanded and updated ed. Frankfurt am Main; Bern [et al.]: Lang, 1997. 255 p. 23 cm. (Bibliographien zur Literatur- und Mediengeschichte, 6) ISBN 3-631-31857-X: DM 75.00

This is the second, sadly unsatisfactory update edition of the title identified last year (see RREO 96-2/3-221; also RREA 2:160) as a useful documentary basis for future research on German unification. Approximately 520 citations to literary, journalistic, and documentary monographs and articles published mainly in 1995 and 1996 have been simply appended to the ca. 1300 references contained in the first edition. The second section includes an additional sixteen reviews, duplicating citations from the first section. The third section continues the list of pertinent articles from the German news magazine Der Spiegel through 1996. Disappointed readers may take some comfort in the promise of more integrated format and indexing in the third edition. [sh/ab]


Heine-Handbuch: Zeit, Person, Werk [Heine Handbook: His Times, Life, Work]. Gerhard Höhn. 2d updated and expanded ed. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 1997. iv, 570 p. 25 cm. ISBN 3-476-01441-X: DM 78.00

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Heinrich Heine's birth, Metzler has prepared a revised, expanded, and updated edition of the indispensable Heine-Handbuch (1st ed., 1987), based on the "Studienausgabe" of Heine's works edited by Klaus Briegleb and published by Hanser (1968-1976). A forty-page historical and biographical introduction precedes the main section (450 pages), which presents articles on individual works, each covering bibliographic history, analysis, interpretation, and contemporary reception. A bibliography and subject, title, and name indexes complete the work. The distribution of the CD-ROM Heinrich Heine (1997), which contains most of the material of the Handbuch as well as the text of Heine's works, has been delayed indefinitely by litigation. [hak/ab]


Heinar Kipphardts Bibliothek: ein Verzeichnis [Heinar Kipphardt's Library: A List]. Sven Hanuschek. Bielefeld: Aisthesis-Verlag, 1997. 228 p. 21 cm. ISBN 3-89528-172-7: DM 58.00

This catalog of the personal library of the German writer Heinar Kipphardt (1922- ) brings under one cover materials now divided between his home in Angelsbruck (2007 items) and the Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach (about 100 items). Entries indicate markings, notations, and dedications, and reflect Kipphardt's interest in history, philosophy, Marxism, psychology, and psychiatry. Indexing is by personal name and subject. [sh/ab]


Bibliographie Arno Schmidt [Arno Schmidt Bibliography]. Karl-Heinz Müther. Bielefeld: Aisthesis-Verlag. 26 cm. (Bibliographien zur deutschen Literaturgeschichte, 1)

3d suppl. 1997. 102 p. ISBN 3-89528-182-4: DM 36.00

The third installment of this ongoing bibliography of Arno Schmidt research covers primarily titles published in 1995-96. The original bibliography was reviewed several years ago (see RREO 94-3/4-454) and the second supplement and accompanying CD-ROM were discussed as part of the extensive review of publications on Arno Schmidt in IFB 96-2/3-230/231). Like the preceding volumes in this series, this latest effort suffers from poor layout and design. One wonders how many of the entries reflect truly new research, since many are simply references or reprints. The need to consult the basic work and three supplements is somewhat cumbersome, though the currency the supplements provide is obviously a plus. [sh/jb]


Arthur Schnitzler: Personalbibliographie 1977-1994 [Arthur Schnitzler: Bibliography of Criticism, 1977-1994]. Birgit Kawohl. Gießen: Kletsmeier, 1996. 80 p. 21 cm. ISBN 3-930494-28-0: DM 45.80. (Edition Kletsmeier, Arnim-Thomas Bühler, Jenaer Str. 4, D-35396 Gießen, fax [49 641] 53198)

This bibliography of criticism on the work of the Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler suffers from a number of serious flaws. To begin with, there is no indication as to whether it builds on a previous bibliography, nor does the compiler list her bibliographic sources. And while the 709 entries give the appearance of completeness and comprehensiveness, closer examination reveals that the selection of indexed titles is capricious and based on no discernible scholarly method. For example, among the newspapers cited, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung is overly represented, while others are omitted. Also, Modern Austrian Literature is misrepresented as a journal devoted exclusively to Schnitzler. Some monographic works said to be about Schnitzler are so only in part, and the failure to inspect materials first-hand has led to the omission of important titles. The bibliographic citations are often incomplete, as are the indexes.

All in all, the quality is too low and the price too high to recommend this Schnitzler bibliography. [gr/jb]


Katalog der DDR-Unterhaltungsliteratur: Sammlerpreise und Bibliographie aller Heft- und Buchreihen [Catalog of Popular Literature in the German Democratic Republic: Prices and Bibliography of Series]. Ed. Dieter Spiller. Cottbus: Spiller, 1995. 183 p. ill. 21 cm. DM 22.80 (Dieter Spiller, Am Stadtrand 13, D-03050 Cottbus)

This collector's price catalog documents popular series and magazines published in the German Democratic Republic, many of which are not covered in equivalent West German price catalogs. Among these are the 954 volumes of the "Buchclub 65" book series. There are also numerous listings by publishing houses specializing in series for children and young adults as well as listings for patriotic series published by governmental agencies, e.g. "Für Volk und Vaterland" and "Zur Abwehr bereit."

The works listed here will be found in the German national bibliography. Whether there will be a collector's market for GDR popular literature remains to be seen. Such an interest would, in any case, be adequately served were the standard German price catalogs to include the relevant series of popular fiction and comics (generally omitted from the work under review). [sh/jb]


Österreichische Literatur von aussen: Personalbibliographie zur Rezeption der österreichischen Literatur in deutschen und schweizerischen Tages- und Wochenzeitungen, 1975-1994 [Austrian Literature from the Outside: Author Bibliography on the Reception of Austrian Literature in German and Swiss Dailies and Weeklies, 1975-1994]. Ed. Michael Klein. Innsbruck: Innsbrucker Zeitungsarchiv, 1996. 534 p. 22 cm. (Innsbrucker Veröffentlichungen zur Alltagsrezeption, 1) ISBN 3-9500390-0- 7: ÖS 478.00, DM 74.00 (Innsbrucker Zeitungsarchiv, Innrain 52, A-6020 Innsbruck, fax [43 512] 507 2881, e-mail: Germanistik@uibk.ac.at)

Commissioned by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science, Research, and the Arts on the occasion of the 1995 Frankfurt Book Fair (which focused on Austria), this collection of bibliographies of Austrian authors is based on articles collected by the newspaper archives of the University of Innsbruck. It represents the first in a new series on reception research. The bibliography indexes twelve German and two Swiss daily or weekly newspapers--in other words only German-language sources.

Information on the authors consists of portraits, birthdates, obituaries, death dates, prizes, and awards, and covers conversations and interviews, symposia/conferences, exhibitions, presentations/readings, bibliographic entries for articles of a general nature, poem interpretations, and reviews of both the primary and secondary literature. Thomas Bernhard reaps the largest number of entries.

Underlying this work is an understanding of the importance of the popular press in the study of literature. But because it looks at such a small piece of the larger picture, omitting also literary and cultural periodicals, scholars of the reception of contemporary Austrian literature will need to go beyond this volume. [gr/jb]


Romanische Prosa aus den Jahren 1989 bis 1995 [Romance-Language Prose from 1989 to 1995]. Ed. Bernd and Jutta Gräf. Stuttgart: Hiersemann. 23 cm. (Der Romanführer, . . . )

Part 1. Frankophone, italienische und rumänische Erzählprosa [Francophone, Italian, and Rumanian Narrative Prose]. 1996. 303 p. (Der Romanführer, 32) ISBN 3-7772-9632-5: DM 238.00

Part one of this guide to Romance-language prose written between 1989 and 1995, which forms volume 32 of the venerable series Der Romanführer (1950- ), covers francophone, Italian, and Rumanian literature. Articles devoted to French literature dominate the 250 book summaries, some of which are supplemented by quotations and key passages to give a feel for the novel's style and tenor.

The use of the guide is complicated by a number of editorial practices. For example, treatment of newly added authors may include works written before the reporting period stated in the title. Also, the reporting period refers to the publication date of the German translation, not the publication date in the original language.

In addition to the plot summaries there are author and title indexes, arranged by language. Unfortunately, the title index lists only the translation title, making it sometimes very difficult to locate the desired entry. [bk/jb]


Francesistica: bibliografia delle opere e degli studi di letteratura francese e francofona in Italia [French Studies: Bibliography of Works of and about French and Francophone Literature in Italy]. Ed. Giovanni Bogliolo for the Società Universitaria per gli Studi di Lingua e Letteratura Francese. Fasano: Schena; Genève: Slatkine. 24 cm

2d ed. 1990-94 (1996). 567 p. ISBN 88-7514-557-7: Lit. 70,000

The second volume of this bibliography of French and francophone literary studies in Italy lists 6,800 entries for the period 1990-1994 (compared to 7,703 titles in the first volume [1992], which covered the entire 1980s). It is a useful supplement to the standard bibliography of French literature, the Bibliographie der französischen Literaturwissenschaft (known as "Klapp") for relatively obscure citations and for its bibliography of translations from French into Italian. [sh/mjc]


Molière auf Deutsch: eine Bibliographie deutscher Übersetzungen und Bearbeitungen der Komödien Molières; mit Kurzbeschreibungen [Molière in German: A Bibliography of German Translations and Adaptations of Molière's Comedies; With Annotations]. Thomas A. Keck. Hannover: Revonnah-Verlag, 1996. 188 p. 21 cm. (Bibliographische Bibliothek, 3) ISBN 3-927715-63-8: DM 78.00

This bibliography of German translations and editions of Moliere's comedies aims for comprehensiveness, although spot checking in Wolfgang Rössig's Literaturen der Welt in deutscher Übersetzung reveals gaps. The quality of the bibliographic descriptions falls far below acceptable standards, and the organizational details of the work are poorly thought out. [sh/mjc]


Bibliografia delle opere a stampa su Francesco Petrarca nella Biblioteca Civica "Attilio Hortis" di Trieste [Bibliography of Published Works About Francesco Petrarch in the Biblioteca Civia Atillio Hortis in Trieste]. Francesca Gregoratti. Firenze: Olschki, 1996. 189 p. 24 cm. (Biblioteca di bibliografia italiana, 147) ISBN 88-222-4461-3: Lit. 42,000

The bibliographic apparatus on Petrarch consists primarily of the catalogs of three significant collections that date from the nineteenth century: the collection of Antonio Marsand, which was dispersed in Paris in 1871; that of the municipal library of Trieste; and Cornell University Library's Willard Fiske collection. The first catalog of Petrarchan holdings of the Trieste collection, compiled by Attilio Hortis, was limited to primary literature and was published in 1874. It was succeeded in 1908 by a catalog of the secondary literature, prepared by Luigi Suttina and continued by the bibliography under review, which is current as of 1995 and includes 2,137 titles. Since entries are in alphabetical order only, and the volume is entirely without indexes, one cannot locate authors of criticism and other secondary works, let alone search by subject. This leaves the secondary literature on Petrach in this century distributed among three overlapping bibliographies: Petrarch: Catalogue of the Petrarch Collection in Cornell University Library (1974), Joseph Fucilla's Oltre un cinquantennio di scritti sul Petrarca (1982), and the work under review--all without any subject access. [sh/mjc]


Bibliografía crítica comentada de "La vida es sueño" (1682-1994) [Critical Annotated Bibliography on La vida es sueño from 1682 to 1994]. Jesús A. Ara Sánchez. New York; Bern [et al.]: Lang, 1996. xiv, 427 p. 24 cm. (American University Studies: Ser. 2, Romance Languages and Literatures, 222) ISBN 0-8204-3132-X: SFr. 78.00, DM 98.00

Given that the second volume of the Bibliographisches Handbuch der Calderón-Forschung (1979- ), which is supposed to cover secondary literature, has yet to be published, one welcomes this bibliography on La vida es sueño, one of Calderon's most significant dramas. It is international in coverage, selective, and provides extensive annotations. Regrettably, Ph.D. dissertations and reviews are excluded, and the principles governing selection are nowhere stated. There are three indexes, none of them particularly useful, and no subject index. [sh/mjc]

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