A Piercing Cry, along with Artemisia, is a vel of female development. The question who am I?, posed in Anna Banti's first vel Itinerario di Paolina, comes full circle in this, her final testimonial work. The central dilemma faced by the protagonist is also mirrored in the author's own life: whether her true vocation was as an art historian or as a writer of fiction. By revisiting the crucial events of her past, Agnese Lanzi dismantles all her certainties and questions the true value of her achievements. This largely autobiographical work, which comes at the end of Banti's career, is a story of both love and renunciation. The high value placed on art resonates throughout the vel. A Piercing Cry is a journey of self-discovery for a woman who boldly confesses her most cherished ambitions and most intimate compromises. Banti leads the reader along a hazardous yet illuminating path of emotional struggle and personal triumph.
The Translators: Daria Valentini received her Ph.D. in Italian from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1996. A specialist in twentieth-century Italian literature, Dr. Valentini has researched the fiction of Anna Banti, including not only her most celebrated novels, but also her lesser known short stories. She has also presented papers at several conferences and published articles on Italian women writers. S. Mark Lewis also graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a Ph.D. in German in 1992. He has combined his study of languages and literature with several years of experience as a computing consultant in the humanities. Dr. Lewis has published Modes of Historical Discourse in J.G. Herder and N.M. Karamzin (Peter Lang, 1995), and currently works as the Director of the Language Technologies Center at Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts.