Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2007.09.51

Giovanna Granata, L'Archivio Arnaldo Momigliano. Inventario Analitico. Sussidi Eruditi 73.   Roma:  Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2006.  Pp. cviii, 465.  ISBN 978-88-8498-325-1.  €76.00 (pb).  



Reviewed by Jan Nelis (jan_nelis@hotmail.com; jan.nelis@ugent.be)
Word count: 851 words

This new volume presents an analytical inventory of the Pisa-based Archivio Arnaldo Momigliano (AAM). These archives contain a very large amount of papers originally belonging to the well known Italian historian Arnaldo Momigliano (1908-1987), author of a multitude of studies on Greek, Jewish and Roman history and religion. Having started his academic career in Turin and Rome, the Jewish Momigliano left Italy in 1939. He first went to Oxford, then to Bristol and London, where he worked until 1975, meanwhile also lecturing at, among others, the University of Chicago and the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. As we shall discuss, this book is first and foremost a highly practical tool for all those wishing to consult the various documents contained in the AAM.

Except for a short preface by Riccardo Di Donato, curator of the Momigliano Archives, the volume is for the most part the work of Giovanna Granata. It is her aim to provide a detailed overview not only of the contents, but also of the history of the AAM. Her introduction starts off with a brief description of the genesis of the archives(pp. xiii-xv), to proceed with a concise biographical sketch of Arnaldo Momigliano (p. xv-xxii) and an in-depth account of how the Archives have been assembled and organised. The author has also produced a very useful analytical description of the AAM (pp. xxvii-xxix), which is divided into two sections containing various series and subseries. More importantly, she has also included a more detailed analysis of the nature of the sources constituting the archives (published and unpublished papers, work notes, documents, correspondence and bibliographical material, pp. xxix-xxxiv). The extensive introduction is followed by a bibliography on Momigliano, organised both chronologically and alphabetically. The actual inventory is prefaced by a guide to the AAM. This guide is an even more thorough description of the two sections and various subdivisions of the archives. At the end of it, we also find a schematic two-page general structure of the AAM. The catalogue or inventory itself takes over 350 pages, describing into the smallest details (even the exact size of documents is included) the contents of the Momigliano Archives. As these are essentially organised thematically, the chronological index, the index of names and the bibliographical index at the end of the book are very welcome additions.

As we have said, this volume is a useful, necessary instrument for research on Arnaldo Momigliano. Since his death in 1987, his work and personality have been the subject of no less than 335 academic publications (so many titles are listed in the bibliography). In this respect the analytical disclosure of his archives is of course an invaluable aid to anyone aiming to reconstruct the intellectual biography of this eminent Italian historian. Momigliano had close contacts with Italian intellectuals such as Gaetano De Sanctis and Benedetto Croce, but also with various British and other European intellectuals. Having worked in Italy, England and the United States, Momigliano was a truly universal historian of antiquity whose career covers some 50 years. All this adds to the overall interest in Momigliano, in that through his vicenda one can gain an overview of intellectual life between Italy and England in the twentieth century, of the way in which the academic world had (and of course to a certain extent always has) positioned itself in society. Momigliano's is of course a case study, but a very informative one, not in the least due to his extraordinary intellectual qualities. The disclosure of the archives will render future research on Momigliano easier and it will allow academics to gain access to new source material. The availability of his personal correspondence, of work notes which reflect the writing process of his publications and of some unpublished papers will stimulate future studies on Momigliano, and will in some cases also permit adding information to published papers, sometimes even correcting them.

The book's presentation is impeccable. As far as we have been able to observe, it contains hardly any typographical errors, and it is written in very readable scholarly Italian prose. It is an inventory, that is, first and foremost an analytical research tool. While finding it entirely successful, this reviewer would like to offer a couple of practical suggestions. The first one arises from the fact that Momigliano built his academic career for the most part in the English-speaking world, and that, partly because of this, his work and personality have been studied widely, and not only by Italians: an English translation would be useful, especially of the descriptive guide to the AAM. After all, Momigliano, as Granata emphasizes, was "perfettamente padrone dello strumento linguistico che avrebbe privilegiato per il resto della sua vita, trovando anzi nella sintassi scarna e asciutta dell'inglese il mezzo espressivo più idoneo per la propria prosa" (p. xvii). The second suggestion concerns digitization of the Archives, which would be an immensely valuable online resource. Nevertheless, L'Archivio Arnaldo Momigliano is a necessary book, and a very well constructed one. It is yet another important contribution to the ever more interesting 'studi momiglianei', and the result of an impressive amount of research and dedication.

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