Book coverHot on the heels of the publication of Cultural Reception, Translation and Transformation from Medieval to Modern Italy: Essays in Honour of Martin McLaughlin edited by Guido Bonsaver, Brian Richardson, and Giuseppe Stellardi, comes a further accolade. We congratulate Martin, who served as general editor of Legenda for nearly a decade, on being awarded the Serena Medal by the British Academy: a medal awarded for ‘eminent services towards the furtherance of the study of Italian history, literature, art and economics’.

Arthur Serena doesn't have a Wikipedia page, a little unfairly, but here he is in the Dictionary of National Biography (paywalled, alas) — an entry written by John Woodhouse, a former medal-winner himself. Serena, born in Antwerp around 1852, was the son of an exiled Venetian revolutionary, but became a pillar of the London establishment: a prison inspector, treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce, Liberal parliamentary candidate, and, most fruitily of all, honorary consul-general for San Marino and minister plentipotentiary at the coronation of George V. His passion was the Anglo-Italian alliance, and he endowed both Italian chairs in England and English chairs in Italy. The Times reported his endowment of the Medal only two days after the armistice in 1918. He left his entire fortune to good causes, and to his company staff, remembering every single employee.


I suspect Martin would have liked Arthur. It's tempting to imagine them watching the celebrated England v San Marino world cup qualifier together, the one which England managed to win 7-1 instead of 7-0, and was thus put out of the 1994 tournament by a minuscule Italian republic with a population four times smaller than that of the Isle of Wight.

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