Nuccio Ordine 2023 Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities


Nuccio Ordine (Diamante, Italy, 18th July 1958 - Cosenza, Italy, 10th June 2023) graduated in Modern Literature from the University of Calabria’s Faculty of Philosophy and Letters in 1982 and earned his PhD in Literary Sciences: Rhetoric and Techniques of Interpretation in 1987. He lectured in Italian Literature in the Department of Humanistic Studies at the university in his home region and has been visiting professor at American universities such as Harvard, Yale and New York, and European universities such as the EHESS and ENS, both in Paris, the Warburg Institute in London, the Max Planck Society (2013 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation) in Berlin and the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (Germany).

Philosopher, writer and expert in literary theory, he was recognized worldwide as one of the leading experts on Renaissance thought and literature, and, specifically, on the figure of Neapolitan humanist Giordano Bruno. One of his outstanding books on this subject is Giordano Bruno and the Philosophy of the Ass (English translation, 1996). Author of numerous essays on the Cinquecento and in the field of literary theory and aesthetics, he has published numerous articles in both individual and collective works. In his books L'utilità dell’inutile: Manifesto [The Utility of the Useless. Manifesto] (2013), and Classici per la vita: Una piccola biblioteca ideale [Classics for Life. A Small Ideal Library] (2016), works with which he managed to reach the general public, he reflects on the peripheral situation of the humanities in today’s world and vindicates them as necessary disciplines in the civic formation of the human being and in the creation of fundamental critical thinking for development and social well-being.

Video: "Do I study what I like or what can give me a job?"

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A staunch defender of education not based on the trend towards pragmatism, he advocated instilling in students the pleasure of and curiosity for knowledge. According to his view, a broad base of general culture constitutes the best tool for young people to be able to successfully face the variables of the labour market in the future. He delves deeper into this line of thought in his book Gli uomini non sono isole. I classici ci aiutano a vivere [Men are not Islands. The Classics Help Us Live] (2018), in which he offers his proposal of essential books from world literature.

He was an honorary member of the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a member of the Royal Academy of Belgium and a founding member of the Italian Association for Theory and Comparative History of Literature. In addition, he chaired the Centro Internazionale di Studi Telesiani, Bruniani e Campanelliani (Cosenza, Italy) and sat on the executive board of the Italian Institute of Philosophical Studies. He was an advisor to the publications Albertiana and Journal de la Renaissance, and co-directs the Giordano Bruno and Biblioteca Italiana collections at Les Belles Lettres publishing house in Paris, and Sileni, Theatrum Sapientiae and Umbrae idearum for various publishing houses in Italy, in addition to other collections in different countries, such as Russia, Romania and Brazil. He was a regular contributor to the Corriere della Sera newspaper. In addition to those already mentioned above, his book Tres coronas para un rey. La Empresa de Enrique III y sus misterios [Three Crowns for a King. The Endeavour of Enrique III and its Mysteries] was published in Spanish in 2022.

Some quotes:

We currently have more need for what is useless than for what is useful; this is because our society considers only that which is profitable to be useful. However, literature, art, philosophy and music are likewise important for humankind.”
“When you have a broad-based culture, curiosity allows you to learn all sorts of trades.”

Source: RTVE


Holder of honorary degrees from the Brazilian universities of Rio Grande do Sul, Caxias del Sur and Porto Alegre, the University of Valparaíso (Chile), the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), the Pontifical University of Comillas (Spain) and the Sello Ateneo of the University of Urbino (Italy), he was Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (2018), Knight and Commander of the Order of the Academic Palms (2009 and 2014) and Knight of the Order of the French Legion of Honour (2012). He was awarded the Siracusa Philosophy Award (Italy, 2007), the Il Sogno di Piero Award from the Urbino Academy of Fine Arts (2015), the Liberpress Prize for Literature (Gerona, Spain, 2019), the Special Prize from the Carical Foundation (Italy, 2020) and the International Prize for Humanism and Renaissance of the Egyptian Lyceum Museum (León, Spain, 2021), among many others.


At its meeting in Oviedo, the Jury for the 2023 Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, composed of Luis María Anson Oliart, Rosa María Calaf Solé, Irene Cano Piquero, Gabriela Cañas Pita de la Vega, Adela Cortina Orts, Miguel Falomir Faus, Gloria Fernández-Lomana García, Taciana Fisac Badell, Alma Guillermoprieto, Catalina Luca de Tena y García-Conde, Marchioness of Valle de Tena, Enrique Pascual Pons, Carmen Riera i Guilera, Elena Sánchez Caballero y Diana Sorensen, chaired by Víctor García de la Concha and with Alberto Anaut González acting as secretary, has decided to confer the 2023 Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities on Italian lecturer, writer and philosopher Nuccio Ordine for his defence of the humanities and his commitment to education and values rooted in European thought which is universal in scale.

Ordine establishes a dialogue with contemporary society in order to transmit –especially to the younger members of society– the idea that the importance of knowledge is to be found in the learning process itself. The usefulness of education must be understood in terms of passion for the search for knowledge and for the best in each person, without being limited by economic interests. His academic work, which focusses on relevant figures of the Renaissance, highlights the need to recover the richness of humanism for the up-and-coming generations.

Oviedo, 4th May 2023


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