[This lecture was delivered twice: An earlier first version where I read some of my translations from Vittoria Colona was delivered as part of a panel on "Publishing on Web" at the EC/ASECS October 2002 meeting in Rosemont College, Pennsylvania, and the present version as part of the same panel the ISECS/ASECS August 2003 meeting at the University of California at Los Angeles.]

Conference Paper

A Website: Freedom of the Press Belongs to the Woman who Owns One

by Ellen Moody

It was in 1997 that I decided to put onto the World Wide Web an annotated chronology of all Anne Finch's poems and my translation of Vittoria Colonna's Rime and Veronica Gambara's "Quando miro la terra ornata e bella." I planned to supplement the Finch chronology, with texts of Finch's anonymously-published and unprinted poems, sources of her translations, what I had completed of a biography, I On Myself Can Live, and a bibliography. I planned to accompany the Colonna and Gambara poems with bibliographies, and biographical and critical essays.

It would be very difficult for me to untangle all the motives actuating me at that time. I can highlight a few of my goals and a personal circumstance. The Finch texts consist of forty-five poems with arguments for attribution and nineteen source-texts; the chronology is extensive and longer than the average monograph. To publish the texts in academic journals I would have had to separate them; the chronology was probably not publishable. One of my goals, to make all this swiftly available as one package to anyone interested in Finch, could only be achieved by putting it on the Internet. I was free to do so because I was not seeking tenure.

I never considered publishing my work on Vittoria Colonna separately. I did not follow the editor of the recent 1982 edition of the Rime. Each of my translations is based on a comparative study of the texts of the 1982 and 1840 standard editions, texts from intervening printed editions and manuscripts going back to before Colonna's death, and exegeses from many essays.1 Fundamental to the value of my work is my attempt to order all 396 poems coherently.2 I did try to publish my translation of Gambara's "Quando miro" in a popular journal which specialized in literary translation, and the result was the journal's editor wrote me a gracious letter in which he praised my translation, but regretted he could not publish it because his journal, like most commercial non- academic journals, did not publish translations of non-contemporary verse. I also tried an academic journal which specializes in older translations; again, my translation and an edition of the Italian text were rejected, this time on the basis that Gambara was almost wholly unknown and thus "Quando miro" was not of sufficient interest to his readership. This editor suggested that I write an essay on Gambara's political activities and send that to an academic Early Modern History journal.3

I encountered no problem in obtaining enough cyberspace and a reader-friendly design for my site (Homepage) which you see here.4 I was hindered for a time by my aim to provide facing Italian texts for my Colonna and Gambara translations and explanatory notes for the Finch chronology and poems. I solved the problem for Colonna by scanning in xeroxes of the 1840 edition of Colonna's poetry, and linking each translation and accompanying Italian text to a PERL- scripted first-line index keyed to both the 1840 and 1982 editions of her Rime (click on Amaro Lagrimar). Here you see my book, Amaro Lagimar, which consists of 396 poems in two parts. The reader can go from an alphabetical index at the bottom of the page to any one of the texts of all Colonna's poems (click on "Index of First Lines").

Let us go back to Amaro Lagrimar, to the famous opening sonnet, with which I preface my Part One, "Prologues", then "I write to vent the inward pain . . . ", where you can see the image that accompanies the translation the notes and Key). Here from Part One, under "Death's Dart, is "Why endlessly appeal to Death's cold ear" ("A che sempre chiamar la sorde morte") , and accompanying Italian image, notes and key. Part Two of Amaro Lagrimar includes autobiographical, occasional, and epistolary poems, 27 poems to Christ, 16 to the Virgin Mary, and 5 to Mary Magdalen, all of which I have grouped together for the first time. A poem which hitherto was analyzed as about a mosaic, "A mosaic high on the wall", is now part of a sequence to the Virgin. Here once again is a translation, image of the Italian text, notes and key.5

PERL scripts also allow a reader to reach either a text or notes at the appropriate year in the Finch chronology. For example, the reader can reach one of Finch's as yet unpublished poems by clicking on "Texts", then under "MS Portland Volume 19," the manuscript in which the poem occurs "The long the long expected Hour is come"; once there, you can read the text and about the manuscript, and then click on Annotated Chronology No. 175 for the notes. Alternatively, you can can begin with the "Annotated Chronology", "1709 - 1720: Poems 161 - 271" and hit "1712, August 4 (after) - 1715: Anne at Eastwell" for same notes.

Suppose you want to read the source texts of Finch's translation of Tasso's Aminta, you can begin with "Hard-To-Find and Unknown Original Source Texts"; then under the "Abbé de Torches, L'Aminte du Tasse. Pastorale," click on "Then, to the snowy Ewe, in thy esteem", and read the French and Italian texts and learn more about the copy texts; again from there, you can go to to find a list of the editions in which Finch's text appears. I include a bibliography of the original source texts too. Internet technology enabled me to present an enormous amount of information in an attractively-designed, visually intelligible, and easy-to-use format.

In 1999, as a result of putting these texts on my website and the responses I have had to the website, of my activity on a few literary listservs, and of my continuing academic work, I began to expand my site. In 1998 the Chairman of the Trollope Society, John Letts, had commissioned me to write a book on Anthony Trollope. Trollope on the Net was published by Hambledon Press and the Trollope Society and became the complementary book for the year 2000. I now have a large Trollope section on my site, which, beyond the usual extensive bibliographies), includes a complete chronology of Trollope's writing life; descriptions and annotations on the original illustrations for his novels; for example, from his Orley Farm, illustrations by John Everett Millais, and accompanying analysis; and essays on Trollope's short stories, all of which the publisher at Hambledon Press said would be of no interest to his readership and would make publishing the book too expensive.

Around the time of my writing Trollope on the Net a group of professional baroque musicians came to my site. One of them read my biography of Finch, I On Myself Can Live, and commissioned me to write an appreciation of Finch's life and poetry which would provide the material they needed for a script for musical accompaniment to Finch's poems. I turned my work for Musica Dolce into a complete narrative life with accompanying poems and placed Apollo's Muse on the Net.

In 2001 I wrote an essay arguing that Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility was once epistolary based on my study of its underlying calendar; "A Calendar for Sense and Sensibility" was published by Philological Quarterly. I then drew out calendars for Austen's five other novels, for Lady Susan and The Watsons and uploaded them all onto the Net. I venture to suggest the introductory matter, calendars, and bibliography under the title "Time in Austen: A Study of her Uses of the Almanac" are much easier to read and to use as instruments to discover things about Austen's novels than the essay and calendar published in Philological Quarterly. Here is my calendar from Mansfield Park. You see a design which uses colored tables against a white background: each calendar is prefaced with an outline of what the calendar reveals about how and when Austen wrote, and what has been said by other scholars about the time-schemes in, this particular novel. Where Austen is keeping time minutely, the tables are colored pink; where time is indeterminate, they are colored blue. Each is followed by a brief summary and further bibliography.6

I want to draw attention to my translation of all of Veronica Gambara's poems with accompanying Italian texts, Secret Sacred Woods, now on my site. After coming to the Eastern Region meeting of this society this past fall, I attempted to publish all the Colonna texts and a selection of my translations of Gambara's poems. This June, after I sent Italica Press sample texts from my website, two editors from the press wrote me to express real interest in publishing all Gambara's poems with my translations facing them, and requested a typescript of all the poems with an introduction sometime in the fall. I am now working on this, and here show what I have on the Net.

For Gambara's poetry I have had to modify the method I had adopted for the Colonna poems because until 1996 there was no previous scholarly or even half-way complete edition of Gambara's poetry. The only edition had been Felice Rizzardi's 1759 Rime e lettere which had been reprinted by Pia Mestica Chiappetti in 1879; these books excluded about 2/3s of the love poetry. Most of Gambara's love poetry was published for the first time in two obscure slender pamphlets, one in 1890 and the other in 1916. All these editions scanned very badly.7 Since Gambara wrote only about 80 poems, I typed them into templates whose texts were based on a comparative study of the texts available to me and those in the 1996 edition. Again, I provide a first line index and notes. If we go to "Landscape Poems", and then go to "Cherished waters, and you, enchanted shores" ("Onorate acque, e voi, liti beati", we see a typed Italian text facing an English translation, notes and key. Out of all these materials, I will read just the first 5 of Gambara's once famous 27 stanza poem "Quando miro" ("On the Fleetingness of Earthly Good", "When I see the earth's spring so beautiful" . . . [to] . . . "she cannot make death merciful to us."

Who is my audience? I originally imagined people interested in women's poetry, the Italian Renaissance and eighteenth century, and translation. I have reached a much wider variety of scholars, students and readers from all over the earth.8 A website is not a static thing; it can be added to, and subtracted from at any time. My most recently completed project was an etext edition of the 1815 text of Isabelle de Montolieu's seminal partly epistolary Caroline de Lichtfield. You see a reproduction of a contemporary painting of a scene from the novel. The section includes Montolieu's preface to her translation of Austen's Sense and Sensibility, as well as a short biography, bibliography, and notes. I am now working on an etext edition of an 1809 French text published in London of Sophie Cottin's equally important wholly epistolary Amélie Mansfield. No part of either novel has been printed since the later 19th century.

In the spirit of my Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen sections, I have also gathered together materials which came out of my publications on Fanny Burney and made a Fanny Burney page. Here is a somewhat unconventional review of a recent Penguin edition of a selection of Burney's letters and journals which I wrote and was published in the Burney Letter, "On Reading Divergent Fanny Burney D'Arblays". I'll mention that after reading this Burney page, an editor connected to an academic press contacted me to tell me her press was thinking of reprinting Claire Harman's biography in a paperback and asked me if I thought it might be assigned in a college class; and, if I were teaching such a class, would I assign it?

At this point my site runs about 18,000 hits a week which I subdivide into visits. A hit is defined as one element being delivered to a browser. I define a visit as a person coming to the website and viewing some set of pages or reading a page and then going somewhere else. For the last week of this past June the Trollope region got 1,267 visits over the week; the Finch, 853, the Colonna, 822, the Austen 789, the Gambara, 301, a Richardson section (which contains posting-essays from a reading and discussion of Clarissa which occurred in cyberspace and hasn't been updated in a couple of years) 214, and the latest scholarly part of my site, the Montolieu 203. In the same week in June I had 101 visits to the Burney region of my site; 40 people spent time (possibly) reading Amelia Mansfield. Two hundred and twenty-eight people visited my personal materials (CV, stories, and pictures). If we go to the section of the my site for the list "Trollope-l," and then click on "Pictures of members of Trollope-l from a trip to England we took together in November 1999", you see pictures of places which Trollope is said to have described in his famous novel, The Warden, and pictures of my husband, daughter, and I in an old pub, and members of Trollope-l, one of whom, Sigmund Eisner, now an old friend, looks out at us from Trollope's grave in Kensal Green cemetery, just outside London.

Cyberspace can handle amounts and kinds of information books cannot or at least usually do not and texts which are not commercially viable. Websites are themselves objects of academic study: Mot Pluriels, a monthly online electronic review, publishes scholarly essays about texts made for the Internet, for example, one on how websites constructed by academic men differ from websites constructed by academic women.9 The newly proverbial joke that websites are perpetually "under construction" makes visible the self-generating and productive living nature of websites.


1 The three most important recent publications of Vittoria Colonna's poetry are: Tobia R. Toscana, ed. Sonetti : in morte di Francesco Ferrante d'Avalos marchese di Pescara: edizione del ms. XIII.G.43 della Biblioteca nazionale di Napoli / Vittoria Colonna [1492-1547] (Milano: G. Mondadori, 1998); Vittoria Colonna, Rime, ed. Alan Bullock (Roma: Gius. Laterza & Figli, 1982); Rime di Vittoria Colonna, ed. Pietro Ercole Visconti, Pietro Ercole (Roma, Dalle Tipografia Salviucci. 1840). The important early one which I used is Girolamo Ruscelli's Tutte le Rime della Illustriss. et Eccellentiss. Signora Vittoria Colonna. Marchesana di Pescara Con l'espositione del Signor Rinaldo Corso, nuovamente mandate in luce da Girolamo Ruscelli. (In Venetia, per Giovan Battista Et Melchior Sessa Fratelli, 1558). All of Domenico Tordi's late 19th and early 20th century publications of and about her work and life remain important to any student of Colonna's life and work.

2 Tobana who has gone back to the manuscripts and examined Bullock's table mounts a persuasive argument against Bullock's decision to follow a single manuscript for his first set of love poems. The traditional five groupings of Colonna's poetry (which Bullock also repeats), represent the arrangements of different editors after Colonna's death. These arrangements are inconsistent, confusing and the result of chance. They consist of two sections of "amorous," two sections of "religious," and fifth section of "epistolary" poetry. Over the centuries numbers of Colonna's poems have been moved back and forth between the "amorous," "religious," and "epistolary" sections; there are numbers of extant published essays on Colonna's poetry whose central purpose is to argue whether a particular poem or poem is to be categorized as "amorous," "religious," or "epistolary." There is no modern biography; for analysis of the poetry, see Mila Mazzetti, Mila. "La Poesia Come Vocazione Morale: Vittoria Colonna," Rassegna Della Letterature Italiano, 77, Serie VI (1973), 58-99, and Suzanne Thérault, Suzanne, Un Cénacle humanist de la Renaissance autour de la Vittoria Colonna, Châtelaine d'Ischia. (Paris: Librairie Marcel Didier, 1968) and Petra Wend, The Female Voice: Lyrical Expression in the Writings of Five Italian Renaissance Poets (European University Studies: Series IX: Italian Language A, Peter Lang 1995).

3 These attempts occurred in the mid-1980s. The academic journal was Allegorica whose subtitle at the time was Texts and Documents for the Study of Medieval and Renaissance Literature; the more popular magazine was the Washington Review.

4 I had an account at George Mason University and bought space at hosting company so that I could move everything over to a virtual server should it become necessary; my husband designed the site.

5 For those poems by Colonna which were too long for my scanner, for those not included in the 1840 edition, and for Gambara's "Quando miro" I used tables and simply typed the texts in.

6 My calendars are a permanent highlighted feature of the website The Republic of Pemberley and have been featured on a monthly rotating basis on the website maintained by the Jane Austen museum in Bath. More individually they formed the basis of a German student's Masters thesis on Jane Austen and an adaptation of Northanger Abbey by a semi-professional acting company in England. Among the many many people who have contacted me about my calendards, I'll mention a man who studied them carefully and sent me sufficiently complicated time schemes of his own in order to point out to me how at various points in her novels Austen aligns the phases of sunlight and the moon from the almanac to create atmosphere in the novels.

7 The editions in question are: Francesco Rizzardi, ed. Rime e lettere (Brescia: Rizzardi, 1759); Emilio Costa, Sonetti Amorosi Inediti o Rari di Veronica Gàmbara da Correggio (Parma: Casa Editrice Luigi Battei, 1890); A. Salza, ed., Rime inedite e rare di Veronica Gàmbara (Ciriè: Cappella, 1915); and Veronica Gambara, Le Rime, ed. Alan Bullock (Firenze: Olschki, 1995). See also Alan Bullock, "Per una Edizione Critica della Rime di Veronica Gambara", Veronica Gambara e la Poesia del suo Temp nell'Italia Settententrionale, ed. Cesare Bozzetti, Pietro Gibellini, Ennio Sandal (Firenze: Olschki, 1989), 99- 124. Since all analyses of Gambara's poetry have been based on texts which lack the love poetry, a reassessment of her poetry is needed.

8 Some more examples: the Victorian and 18th century materials on my siteis are linked to Literature Online, Chadwick- Healey,George Landow's Victorian Web, Jack Lynch's Eighteenth-Century Resources, a British educational site entitled Knowledge Notes, and Charles Hinnant's site on Anne Finch. After the publication of my book I invited to write and deliver the yearly lecture to the society which was published in the society's journal, Trollopiana, as "Partly Told in Letters: Trollope's Story-telling Art". This too is now on my website: . Three students working on Masters' theses, one of them at Oxford, used the Colonna poems and my translations; recently I have been receiving as many queries and acknowledgement of use of the Gambara texts and translations.

9 See Jill Arnold and Hugh Miller, "Academic masters, mistresses and apprentices: gender and power in the real world of the web," Mots Pluriels, 19 (October 2001),

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Page Last Updated 4 September 2003