Information for Librarians
Trinacria Editions, New York
"Margaret, Queen of Sicily should easily become the first point of reference for scholars of Margaret working in English and for general readers interested in her world."
Very few scholars have written books about the medieval queens of Sicily, and only two or three in English. One of them is Jacqueline Alio. Some of these books reflect original research – the kind of thing you would expect from an academic press having peer review – but each is eminently readable and informative for any curious student of history. Unlike the monographs published by most academic presses, these useful references are affordable.
Who is Jacqueline Alio? She's one of the best medievalist historians you've (probably) never heard of. Based in Palermo, the home of Sicily's queens, Jackie Alio is a dedicated scholar who has pursued academic projects like the first English translation of the Ferraris Chronicle, a work composed in Latin in 1228. (If you go to Bologna to consult the only surviving manuscript of this chronicle, it is Jackie's book the staff will hand you if you require an English text.) She co-authored a popular book on Sicily's multicultural history that has been used as a text in university courses and a practical guide for educators planning such courses in Sicilian studies. Her comments about her approach to writing these biographies shed light on the goals, research and historiography behind her work. Visit her site to read more about her.
Let's talk about the books... As a full-time librarian, you probably haven't much time to ponder a purchasing decision before making an acquisition. At the end of each brief description is a link to downoad a PDF file that includes part of the book's front matter, a sample chapter or two and, of course, its table of contents and index. The sections included are underlined in the table of contents following the preface and acknowledgments. Each volume is produced in B-format softcover on off-white, acid-free paper in a durable PUR binding, with the main body text set in legible 12-point Garamond. These books are available from IPG (based in Chicago), Baker & Taylor (Follett), Ingram, Gazelle (in the UK) and other distributors. An ebook of Women of Sicily is also available from the Hoopla™ catalogue, where an abridged version of Margaret, Queen of Sicily may be viewed.
• Margaret, Queen of Sicily (512 pages, ISBN 9780991588657)
This is the first-ever monographic biography of this queen who died in 1183 (the home page of this site is dedicated to her). Raised in Pamplona, where her father was King of Navarre, Margaret wed William II of Sicily in 1149 and later, as a widow, became regent for their son for five eventful years, emerging as the most powerful woman in Europe and the Mediterranean during that time. This landmark work, which established a new subject category in the Oxford and Harvard libraries, has initiated interest among many readers – including scholars in academia – who had never even heard of Queen Margaret before its publication. The book has ten informative appendices, a detailed bibliography, genealogical tables, numerous maps and figures, 444 endnotes and an index. An abridged electronic edition is published as Queen Margaret of Sicily (ISBN 978-1-943639-23-6); this is available from Hoopla™ with no notes and only two appendices. Preview of the book in PDF.
• Women of Sicily: Saints, Queens and Rebels (224 pages, ISBN 9780991588602)
This is an introduction to some of the historical women of Sicily. Though intended for the general reader, it presents much information that is rarely found in English. Its emphasis is the pre-modern era, from antiquity to around 1500. This is one of the few books published in English about Sicily's historical women. In addition to the seventeen mini-biographies, it includes a concise history of Sicily, a timeline and a section on the social state of Italian women today. This has several maps, a list of additional resources and an index. Preview of the Book in PDF.
• Queens of Sicily 1061-1266 (740 pages, ISBN 9781943639144)
An essential reference for any library, this volume is the first-ever compendium of biographies of Sicily's first eighteen countesses and queens, covering the Norman and Swabian reigns in one of medieval Europe's most important kingdoms. This is original work based on extensive research in primary sources (the chapter on Margaret is extracted largely from her biography mentioned above). Each chapter is accompanied by a genealogical table and relevant photographs. This book is like an "encyclopedia" of these queens, yet it's an interesting read. This "go to" resource has numerous maps, genealogical tables, photographs and other figures, 722 endnotes, seven appendices (presenting such material as translations of court poetry and the rite of coronation), a bibliography and index. Publication of this unique work was something of a milestone. Few other publishers would release a book of this length having so many pages of graphics, with the back matter (notes, bibliography, index) comprising two hundred pages. Preview of the Book in PDF.
• Sicilian Queenship (442 pages, ISBN 9781943639212)
While this supplement to Queens of Sicily follows a format popular in the edited collections favored by academics in humanities and social science – each thematic chapter is followed by its own series of endnotes – it presents some subjects of general interest that inform us about the power and identity of these women. Chapters are dedicated to the queens' suppression of adversaries, queenly patronage, the queens' formal titles, words spoken by the queens, court cuisine (with recipes translated for the first time from Latin and Neapolitan), court poetry (with original translations from Sicilian), places identified with the countesses and queens, the role of these women in Sicilian cultural identity, and more. A chapter lists work in the field by fellow scholars, and the lengthy introduction presents insightful information about the study of Sicily's queens in the context of feminist historiography. This book begins a new conversation about the first queens of Sicily. It has many photographs and other figures, a bibliography and index. Preview of the Book in PDF.
Published by Trinacria Editions LLC, New York