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Florio and Biancofiore: Peripatetic Lovers

Rocco Blasi

Florio and Biancofiore is set in the mid-eighth century when holy wars were uprooting people, cultures and social orders. As in biblical times, dreams could be visions and prophesies; seers and wizards were still consulted and feared. Travelers and troubadours reported miracles and magical phenomena. The old gods survived as long as people believed in them.

This is the story of two young lovers, brought together and torn apart by fate, hatred, love and the willful intervention of forces opposed to joy, freedom and the spontaneity of love. Long before Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Paolo and Francesca, came Florio and Biancofiore. This is their odyssey, the story of their love.

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Born in Laurenzana (in the Italian boot's ankle), I came to America around Christmas 1953. After studying Italian, Latin and Greek for thirteen years, I found English a most illogical subject at De Paul University where I earned a BA before joining the US Army in 1958. The GI Bill helped me attain a Master's in '64 and my PhD in '74 at Loyola University while teaching English to American students at Wright College in Chicago. I retired forty years later (sixteen as English Department Head). Life is full of delicious ironies, don't you find?

I have edited scientific books, Italian-American magazines, written songs, poems, short stories, a play, and three novels. My Italian poems were published in 2017 by BCC and Le Ali di Frida. The father of five, I coached soccer teams, Boy Scouts, women's karateka, and yet enjoyed playing cards and coffee klatches with my Italian-German-, French-, and Spanish-speaking American friends. I am still trying to solve one New York Times Crossword Puzzle.