The introduction to the monographic section Italy-Ireland: Cultural Inter-Relations, gives a brief account of how this part of the journal tries to fill a gap in transcultural studies by investigating the hitherto relatively underexplored relationship of Ireland with Italy. The editors argue that the topic deserves special attention because throughout the centuries, owing to a shared religion and Ireland’s colonial and postcolonial status, a special relationship was established. Without neglecting the many contributions published on this topic over the past thirty years, the papers collected in this first issue of SIJIS offer an overall view of the relations between Italy and Ireland from the Middle Ages to the present day demonstrating this special relationship.
The opening essay, drawing an ample and interdisciplinary panorama of the representations of Ireland in Italy over the centuries, and the concluding one, introducing new issues and suggestions for further investigations, frame seven papers organized thematically in subsections. The translation studies section highlights some specific problems presented to the translator because of the Irish nature of the translated texts. Exploration of the links between some major figures and Italy opens up new perspectives even regarding much studied figures such as Joyce while the time-honoured comparative method of studying influences yields ground-breaking insights as in the study of links between Commedia dell’Arte and Clarke or Mahon and Pasolini. Representations of Italy and the presence of Italian settings and characters acquire a specific Irish edge in the writings of Synge, Lady Morgan and Edward Maturin especially when both countries were still in search of their identities.