Carteggio Di Agostino Morini, O.S.M. (1853-1874): Vita Quotidiana, Culture E Letture Nel Secondo Ottocento

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Carteggio di Agostino Morini, OS.M (1853-1874): Vita quotidiana, cultura e letture nel secondo Ottocento. Edited by Filippo Berlasso, O.S.M. 2 vols. [Monumenta Ordinis Servorum Sanctae Mariae, nova series, I/1-2, published by the Istituto Storico O.S.M.] (Rome: Edizioni Marianum. 2001. Pp. liv, 562,563-1367. Paperback.)

Agostino Morini was born in Florence on March 4, 1826, and there he received his early education, joined the Servants of Mary, was ordained to the priesthood in 1850, and became a teacher and a scholar, editing classics and corresponding with other intellectuals. Then historical events intervened. Italy's unification adversely affected the Servants of Mary, and the order tapped its best and brightest, including Morini, to find ways to secure its future. Morini became a missionary, arriving in London on Columbus Day, 1864. In 1870 he brought the Servants of Mary to the United States. His work in the mission led to leadership positions within his community, which brought him to Rome. There he died,July 17,1909.

The two volumes under review are editions of Morini's correspondence from 1853 to 1874, from the beginning of his teaching career to his days in the U.S. mission field. A thirty-five-page introduction provides a brief biography and a lengthy description of the editing process, explaining the choice of material, the gathering of material from diverse archives, and the decisions made in dealing with handwriting, abbreviations, and punctuation. Each letter is numbered, comes with a header listing sender and recipient, place and date, and is followed by the source, lettered footnotes explicating linguistic matters and numbered footnotes annotating the text. Further context is provided by a chronological index at the beginning of the work and by a bibliography, and an index of letters cited but not included in the work. Most of the letters are in Italian; the second most frequently used language was Latin, then French, and finally (two pieces) English; sometimes one letter contains two languages. …