The Modern Language Association of America will award University of Virginia professor of Italian Christina Della Coletta its fourth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies for her book "World's Fairs Italian Style: The Great Exhibitions in Turin and Their Narratives, 1860-1915."
The selection committee cited Della Coletta's "contribution to the field of Italian cultural studies, integrating reading of world's fairs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries — so fruitful for investigating narratives of nation building and colonialism — with the work of two rather disparate Torinese writers: Salgari and Gozzano. Della Coletta shows how different forms of cultural production — the city guide, the ballet, magazines, the construction of a colonial library — are engaged in what she calls 'explosive narratives.' Particularly compelling is her case for a comparison between Alexander Duma's biography of Garibaldi, the Italian 'hero of two worlds,' and Sandokan, the exotic hero of Salgari's adventure novels."
Della Coletta will receive the award Dec. 28 at the MLA's annual convention in Chicago.