Evelyn Underhill, “Jacopone da Todi Poet and Mystic, 1228-1306 – A Spiritual Biography”, J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1919

Italian translation by Claudio & Massimo Peri (Tau Editrice, Todi, 2019)

A DETEILED AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Preface, pages VI-VII

“Jacopone was one of the most subjective of writers. In his poetry, he admits us to close intimacy with his many-sided character, tells us of his political, social and intellectual experiences, and all the secrets of his inner life. His laude, when we have learned to read them rightly, constitutes a human document as complete as the Confessions of St. Augustine, or the autobiography of Suso; perhaps more trustworthy, since they record his immediate reactions to experience, and are not – save in a few instances – the fruit of reflection upon emotions that are past.

History and comparative psychology help us to fill the gaps which they leave, and to construct from them the picture of a living man, with characteristics both medieval and universal. This man is no mere arid theologian or pious emotionalist; but a vigorous human creature, full of ardent feeling, keen of intellect though unstable and eccentric, passionately interested in the realities both of the temporal and of the eternal worlds”.

When I hear 

the false story of Jacopone’s life and when I hear from so-called experts that nothing is known about Jacopone’s real life, I want to run on the piazza of Todi and start shouting like a madman these words of Evelyn’s.

Italiano (Italian)