The four articles published in this special issue of Tenso, entitled "The Troubadours in Italy," were originally presented at one of two sessions sponsored by the Société Guilhem IX at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo on May 14, 2010. Organized by Sarah-Grace Heller, the session consisted of an introduction by Sarah Kay, who served as presider, and four presenters: Charmaine Lee, Sarah Spence, William Paden, and myself. The four papers were followed by a very energetic discussion, which came to an end only because the room needed to be cleared for the next session of the conference. It was decided later that day by members of the Société that this engaging panel should be preserved in Tenso. All four papers, slightly revised for publication, appear in the order they were presented and are augmented by a new introduction written for this volume by Sarah Kay.
When I was invited by Wendy Pfeffer and William Paden to serve as Guest Editor of this special issue, we all agreed on the importance of conveying the coherence of the four original presentations—an editorial task, I might add, which was made all the easier by the spirit of collaboration and dialogue that animated my exchanges with the contributors to this volume. Each of the articles printed here examines a different aspect of the troubadours' legacy in Italy, and yet each (true to the spirit of colloquium) remains in dialogue with the other three, encouraging the reader to reconsider the troubadours' literary and cultural legacy from multiple perspectives. To underscore the many connections that bind these essays together, an introduction was of the utmost importance. In her introductory essay, Sarah Kay highlights the thematic and intellectual continuity that exists between the four articles, helping readers to appreciate further the merit of each individual contribution while inviting them to see the value of this collaborative effort as greater than the sum of its parts.
As readers of Tenso know too well, the passage from oral performance to written text can never be without consequences. Although this volume is improved by a brand-new introduction and [End Page 1] revisions by each of its contributors, it cannot, unfortunately, reproduce Sarah Spence's creative use of multimedia during her presentation; nor can it replicate the many laughs elicited by William Paden's lively reading of his paper; nor can it recreate the dynamic and convivial discussion that followed the presentations. I am confident, however, that troubadour scholars—even without these performative elements that made the panel so successful—will find important new insights into, and fresh perspectives on, the cultural, linguistic, and literary heritage of the troubadours on the Italian peninsula. Furthermore, I hope, in the spirit of Tenso, that the animated discussion that took place viva voce after the panel will continue in print through written responses and further debate on the troubadours' literary afterlife in Italy. [End Page 2]