Antonio Franceschetti (13 October 1939 – 11 May 2021) was Professor Emeritus in Italian Studies at both the University of Toronto, St. George Campus, and the University of Toronto Scarborough. A scholar in literature, he published extensively on Italian literature and poetry from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, with particular focus on works from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and on Italian Canadian writing and culture.
Franceschetti was born in Padua, Italy. He studied at the University of Padua where he received his Dottore in Lettere in 1963. His thesis, L’Arcadia e la ricerca di un nuovo linguaggio, was the first of many papers he wrote on Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia. Franceschetti began teaching at the University of Reading in 1964 and lectured in Italian at Barnard College, Columbia University from 1964 to 1969. During this time, he also received his PhD in Italian (1968) from Columbia University. His thesis, Per una lettura dell’Orlando Innamorato, formed the basis of a significant portion of his later research and writing.
In 1969, Franceschetti was hired as an assistant professor of Italian at Scarborough College, University of Toronto. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1978 and Professor at the St. George campus in 1995, when he became acting head of the department. Professor Franceschetti lectured at universities and other institutions in Canada, the United States, Italy, England, France, Yugoslavia, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Hungary and Poland. In the year before his retirement in 2004, he taught as a visiting professor at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice.
At the University of Toronto, Professor Franceschetti taught numerous courses in Italian at the undergraduate and graduate level on the St. George and Scarborough campuses. He has also held numerous administrative positions: In the 1970s, he was Discipline Representative for Italian studies at Scarborough College and at various times in the 1970s and the 1980s, a member of the Senior Committee and the Scholarly Initiatives Committee (chair, 1989-1991) in the Department of Italian Studies. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he served as a member of the Promotion and Tenure Committee of the department. In these years he was frequently also a member of the Graduate Admissions, Fellowship and Awards Committee, and the Goggio Committee. Between 2001 and 2002, he served as a member of the Conference and Research Grants Committee and Supervisor of Reading Knowledge Examinations in Italian, and a member of the Committee on Faculty Appointments at the Toronto School of Theology.
Professor Franceschetti was very active as an editor and member of multiple professional associations. His interest in Dante was reflected his term as secretary of the Società Dantesca Italiana from 1961-1963 and president of the Dante Society of Toronto from 1971-1974. He held numerous administrative positions in the Associazione Internazionale per gli Studi di Lingua e Litteratura Intaliana (AISSLI): he was a member of the organizing committee of its conferences in New York (1973), Toronto (1985), Odense, Italy (1993) and Turin (1994), a member of its executive board (1976-1982, 1994-2003), vice-president (1982-1985, 1991-1994) and co-president (1985-1988). At the Canadian Society for Italian Studies (CSIS), he was president from 1980-1982 and has chaired various sections at a number of its conferences. He served as associate editor of its journal, Quaderni d’italianistica, from 1985 to 1989 and editor from 1990 to 1999.
Franceschetti served as a member of the publications committees of the Humanities Research Council of Canada (1977-1980) and the Canadian Federation for the Humanities (1980-1983). He served on the latter’s board of directors for 1982-1983. In 1980-1981, he sat on the advisory board of the Canadian Academic Centre in Italy of the newly established Canadian Mediterranean Institute. In 1982-1983, he was regional representative for Canada at the American Boccaccio Association. He chaired a section at the conferences of the American Association of University Professors of Italian (now the American Association of Italian Studies) and the annual Symposium on Italian Canadiana in Toronto (1988 and 1989). He also helped organize or chair sessions at a number of other international conferences, including commemorating the sixth centennial of the death of Petrarch (Washington, 1974), ‘Italian literature in North America: pedagogical studies’ (Toronto, 1989), ‘La litteratura dell’emigrazione de lingua italiana nel mondo’ (Lausanne, 1990), the 500th anniversary of the death of M. M. Boiardo (New York, 1994), and two conferences on Pirandello (Toronto, 1994 and 1997).
Professor Franceschetti published a book on Matteo Maria Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato (1975), edited the three-volume proceedings of the 1985 Toronto conference on Letteratura italiana e arti figurative (1988), and co-edited and co-translated La Moschetta by Angelo Beolo (Ruzante) (1993).
Professor Franceschetti died on May 11, 2021.