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MLN 119.1 Supplement (2004) S1-S5

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Salvatore I. Camporeale, 1928-2002

Walter Stephens

Over a year has passed since the death of our beloved Salvatore Camporeale, on December 17, 2002. It might therefore be thought that a more appropriate subtitle for this tribute to his scholarship, friendship, and mentoring would be "Essays in Memory of Salvatore Camporeale." But there is little danger of our forgetting him. Besides, at the time of his death, he was deeply involved in, and delightedly anticipating, the publication of this volume. The day before he died, I had lunch with Salvatore at his favorite pizzeria near Santa Maria Novella; that day much of our conversation was about this volume. His sudden death the next day was ironic, but not tragically so; for the previous few years he had been receiving some richly merited recognition, including prestigious invitations from beyond Johns Hopkins and Villa I Tatti—the Erasmus Institute and the Universities of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Berkeley, and Tel Aviv, among others. We have the comfort of knowing that he died at a good time, aware that his star was on the ascendant.

Early in 2000, Salvatore's graduate student Patrick Provost-Smith (now on the faculty at Harvard Divinity School) came to me with the idea for a Festschrift. Over the following year, the authors whose essays grace this collection joined the enterprise, and on March 15, 16, and 17, 2002, we held the Colloquium "Studia Humanitatis" in honor of Camporeale's completing seventeen years of teaching at [End Page S1] Johns Hopkins. The colloquium was sponsored by the Departments of Romance Languages and Literatures, History of Art, the Humanities Center, and Villa Spelman, the Charles S. Singleton Center for Italian Studies. All the essays in this collection were presented on that occasion, with the exception of those by Michele Ciliberto, Gérard Defaux, Guglielmo Gorni, Cesare Vasoli, and myself. Defaux and I were delighted to withdraw from the Hopkins program in favor of other presenters, to avoid stretching the weekend colloquium to three full days. Gorni, like Camporeale, has taught in the Department of Romance Languages, and thus accepted my invitation to include his article, which was presented at the conference "Dante 2000" at Columbia University in the Spring of that year. 1

The tributes by the current and emeritus Presidents of the Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento (Palazzo Strozzi), Professors Ciliberto and Vasoli, were presented in earlier form at a celebration in honor of Camporeale held at Villa I Tatti in Florence on September 12, 2002. On that occasion Christopher Celenza also presented a second lecture, not included here, in honor of Salvatore.

As mentioned previously, Camporeale taught for seventeen years at Johns Hopkins, offering a course every spring semester. His courses covered a variety of topics, from Aristotle in Greek, to Valla, Alberti, and the other humanists he understood so profoundly, to Marx and beyond. His voracious curiosity and selfless mentoring are well documented not only in the essays gathered here, but also in the dissertations and subsequent careers of dozens of Hopkins PhD's from History of Art, Humanities, Romance Languages, and other departments. Moreover, his influence on mature scholars, both here and during his two and a half decades at Villa I Tatti, is incalculable, in terms of both inspiration and howler-prevention.

By arranging the essays in their current order I have not attempted to create more than notional linkages among them. It could perhaps be said that the first seven concentrate most directly on Camporeale's own work, while the ones that follow pay tribute to his inspiration. But even that is an oversimplification. A variety of thematic and historical cross-references will present themselves to even a casual reader. [End Page S2]

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Figure 1
Salvatore Camporeale and Walter Stephens. Villa I Tatti, Christmas 2000.

A word about the pictures. Would that they were more numerous and better chosen, but these give some idea of his personality, with its alternation (and frequent compresence) of earnest rigor and birichino jest. I am grateful to Patrick...


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