“L’Orientale” University: homage to Boris Uspenskij


“L’Orientale” University: homage to Boris Uspenskij

Boris Andreevic Uspenskij

On the 5th of March, the University of Naples “L'Orientale” dedicated a special session to the world-famous Russian semiologist Boris Andreevic Uspenskij, one of the most important semilogists, recently retired from the University.
The occasion was to launch the book Forma Formans published by Auria, an historic Neapolitan library and publishing house. The book consists of two volumes, seven hundred pages edited by Sergio Bartolissi and Roberta Salvatore.

During the event, in the impressive setting of Palazzo du Mesnil, several high-profile personalities paid homage to a colleague, which will be missed for a long time. The University Chancellor Lida Viganoni presented the session and focused on the importance of Uspenskij's scientific research and his indescribable biography. Professor Uspenskij received a medal representing Matteo Ripa – founder of the “Collegio dei Cinesi”. 
Afterward, the invited speakers recalled anecdotes about professor Uspenskij's career and various important characteristics of his scientific research. The speech of Pina Napolitano, one of Uspenskij's alumnae, was one of the most interesting, recalled her first lessons, the professor’s strictness and contemporary politeness of gentlemen during her education. If you were in need of a book, he took ten of his rare ones to you; if you were in Moscow looking for a hotel room, he was there – with his family – willing to give you a hand; and, last but not least, the unforgettable Russian lessons that could be experienced solely in such a University. 
Professor Uspenskij explained that Naples always impressed him because of the particularly high level of oriental studies and added that, thanks to this specificity, the University achieved its international prestige. Such a statement assumes particular importance on account of Uspenskij’s stature. In addition, he affectionately recalled one of the most important slavists, Riccardo Picchio, and his collaboration with “L'Orientale” University. 
Professor Uspenskij finally remembered his arrival in Naples. It was not by chance, but by choice. In fact, there were two alternatives, “L'Orientale” and Stanford University, too. He explained the reason of his choice in a brief amazing story: a child runs and reaches the edge of a cliff; he stops for a while, and then he takes flight. And again: a child runs and reaches the edge of a cliff; he stops for a while, and then he takes flight. 
One of them chooses to get at the top, the other one to explore different places.

Raffaella Sbrescia, Traduzione di Azzurra Mancini