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Jon at the 2007 Venice Biennale

Jon R. Snyder is Professor of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

He has taught at the University of California in San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, as well as at the University of Turin
and the University of Macerata in Italy.


Jon Snyder has published and lectured extensively on the literatures, arts and cultures of early modern Europe, especially Italy. He has also produced a number of essays and translations concerning modern and postmodern Italy and Europe.

Among his books are:
  •  L'estetica del Barocco (The Aesthetics of the Baroque), written and published in Italian in 2005 and translated into Portuguese in 2007
  • Dissimulation and the Culture of Secrecy in Early Modern Europe, which appeared in the US in August 2009 and was re-released in paperback in August 2012
  • Love in the Mirror, which was published in Canada at the end of 2009

L'estetica del Barocco (ISBN 978-88-15-10779-4) takes the Baroque to be the
first global artistic movement, in which revolutionary new ways of representing and narrating sensual and spiritual experience were developed and disseminated on a vast scale. Baroque aesthetics constituted the attempt to "think through" this contemporary  cultural phenomenon without recourse to a genuine philosophy of art, which would emerge only in the eighteenth century. The book examines the principal concepts and themes embedded in Baroque aesthetic thought in Europe, which were essential to early modern art and artists: wit, concettismo, genius, illusion, imagination, the psychology of art, the fragment, the "je ne sais quoi" and others. The "je ne sais quoi" or "non so che" in many ways embodies the Baroque view of art: it eludes any fixed definition, but is there to capture "the immense subtlety of things" (Leibniz) and the mysterious "consonance" (Gracián) between them and us. For more information, click here to go to the Italian publisher's site (Il Mulino).





 
 "Larvatus prodeo," announced René Descartes at the beginning of the seventeenth century: "I come forward, masked." Deliberately disguising or silencing their most intimate thoughts and emotions, many early modern Europeans besides Descartes-princes, courtiers, aristocrats and commoners alike-chose to practice the shadowy art of dissimulation. For men and women who could not risk revealing their inner lives to those around them, this art of incommunicativity was crucial, both personally and politically. Many writers and intellectuals sought to explain, expose, justify, or condemn the emergence of this new culture of secrecy, and from Naples to the Netherlands controversy swirled for two centuries around the powers and limits of dissimulation, whether in affairs of state or affairs of the heart. Dissimulation and the Culture of Secrecy in Early Modern Europe (ISBN 978-05-20-22819-1) is an interdisciplinary study of subject-formation among early modern elites in Italy, France, Spain and elsewhere in Europe, as seen through the lens of the debate over dissimulation and the uses of secrecy.
See the University of California Press website for more information on the hardback edition. Dissimulation is now available as an e-book from the University of California Press as well as in a paperback edition. 
An Italian translation is also in preparation.





Love in the Mirror (ISBN 978-0-7727-2051-1) is a bilingual edition of the unique 1622 experimental Baroque comedy by G.B. Andreini entitled Amor nello specchio, with a lengthy translator's introduction and critical apparatus. This volume, which is the second in the new Toronto series of  "The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe," offers English-speaking readers a chance to encounter the most important and innovative Italian comic playwright of the seventeenth century, whose interests are akin to those of far better-known authors such as Shakespeare, Corneille and Calderón.  Love in the Mirror tells the path-breaking story of a passionate love affair between two women in early modern Florence. Despite the risk of social sanctions, Florinda and Lidia freely consent to love each other “breast to breast and mouth to mouth,” triggering comic confusion as well as  a surprising dénouement with unexpected consequences for the institution of marriage. See the publisher's site (CRRS, Toronto) for more information and an order form for the paperback edition. If you are interested in the electronic or e-book edition, please download the order form at the bottom of this page.











[This is a poster for the little-known 1999 film version
of Andreini's comedy (dir. Salvatore Maira); some clips are currently available on YouTube]









Jon Snyder is currently completing two book-length manuscripts:  a new translation/edition of Torquato Accetto's 1641 masterpiece entitled

Della dissimulazione onesta
(On honest dissimulation) and a study of Baroque anamorphosis in art and literature.
He also has a translation/edition of the late Italian postmodern architect Aldo Rossi's Quaderni azzurri (1968-1992) near completion for the Getty HRI, and has presented portions of his most recent research on Rossi at various North American venues in 2011 and 2012.



[The title page of one of the extremely rare extant copies of Accetto's treatise]


To read or download free of charge his essay, entitled "Bodies of Water: The Mediterranean in Italian Baroque Theater," see the first issue (Vol. 1, No. 1, 2009-2010)
of the on-line open access journal California Italian Studies: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/8dv7n1dk

His essay on the Italian writer Matilde Serao, together with six translations from her essays and stories about Naples, can now be viewed or downloaded free of charge from California Italian Studies (Vol. 3, No. 1, 2012). Click here to read or download the essay; click here instead to read or download Jon's translations of Serao's work.

Further abstracts and links concerning his publications may be found be clicking on: www.academia.edu

Born in Chicago, Jon grew up in Essex, Connecticut. He studied Comparative Literature at Princeton (AB 1976) and Yale (MPhil 1979; PhD 1982).
Now a resident of Santa Barbara, he enjoys—when not writing and teaching—tending his orchard, sailing, exploring the contemporary arts and traveling abroad.

You may download Jon R. Snyder's complete academic cv by clicking on the link below.

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Jon Snyder,
Jun 8, 2012, 3:19 PM
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Jon Snyder,
Feb 22, 2012, 3:28 PM