From the second half of the 16th century to today, Jacopone’s life has been told with a legend that has profoundly altered his image and which is in evident contrast with the autobiographical testimony that the poet offers us in the Laudi. An analysis of this historical fake that risked destroying Jacopone’s memory is reported in the book of Laudi (edited by C. Peri, Fabbri Editore, 2020, p. 353).
The serious damage and prejudice of this legend to historical truth can be summarized in four fake information: the first two are in addition (two fakes, stories of non-existent facts, are added), while the second two are in subtraction (two true facts are eliminated from the story):
TWO FAKES WERE ADDED…
– The legend presents an invented account of Jacopone’s conversion. The wife Vanna, beloved and deeply religious, who with her tragic death would have determined the conversion of Jacopone, never existed. A little romance was invented to make the story more attractive to unsuspecting readers.
– The humiliations that Jacopone would have imposed on himself after his conversion, which portray him as an eccentric on the verge of insanity, are part of the nonsense that was told to edify the people, especially in the Catholic and Franciscan milieu
… … AND TWO TRUE FACTS WERE CONCEALED
– The legend completely ignores the almost 20 years that Jacopone spent as a Minor friar in the convent of San Fortunato. These are the 20 most important and fruitful years of his mystical journey and poetic production
– The legend ends Jacopone’s life in 1296 by eliminating the last 10 years of his life (in fact, he died in 1306). The memory of his contrast with Boniface VIII, his excommunication and his sentence to prison were hidden, but also the highest moment of his spirituality.