2008-2009

Academic Programs and Support

During the Spring semester, the Devers Program in Dante Studies organized and co-sponsored, together with the Medieval Institute and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures an international colloquium on "The Italian Duecento." The colloquium, held on April 6, 2009, featured a keynote lecture by Professor Roberto Antonelli, President of the Athenaeum of Human Sciences of the University of Rome, "La Sapienza," titled "Giacomo da Lentini e l'invenzione della lirica italiana".

Lectures were also given by:

  • H. Wayne Storey, Indiana University: "Recent Tools for the Duecento: Implications for Texts and Methods"
  • Justin Steinberg, University of Chicago: "The Magnate, the Popolo and Stilnovists"
  • Theodore Cachey, University of Notre Dame: "A Note on the 'Dolce Stil Novo' and Renaissance Historiography"

Also during the Spring semester, the Devers Program in Dante Studies organized and co-sponsored, together with the Nanovic Institute for European Studiesthe Ph.D. in Literature Program, and the College of Arts and Letters, an international symposium titled "Why Italy?" This trans-disciplinary symposium, held in McKenna Hall on April 20 and 21, 2009, was designed to bring together distinguished scholars from the University of Rome "La Sapienza" with Notre Dame faculty members from various departments whose scholarly interests and research are related to some facet or another of Italian history and culture from classical antiquity to the present. The aim was to showcase the importance and prominence of Italian Studies at Notre Dame and within the humanities at large.

In addition to helping those of us at Notre Dame assess more or less coherently the range and variety of our colleagues' scholarly interests that fall within the compass of Italian Studies, the symposium provided a valuable occasion to further enrich and extend the relationship between our university's faculty and La Sapienza's. A similar event occurred in June 2007, when the Faculty of Letters of the University of Rome "La Sapienza" and the Devers Program in Dante Studies co-hosted a two-day symposium at which faculty members from the two universities delivered papers and held discussions on their scholarship and research projects.

Participants included:

  • Maurizio Albahari (Anthropology, ND)
  • Roberto Antonelli (Romance Philology, University of Rome)
  • Martin Bloomer (Classics, ND)
  • Piero Boitani (Comparative Literature, University of Rome)
  • Keith Bradley (Classics, ND)
  • Joseph Buttigieg (English, PhD in Literature, ND)
  • Theodore Cachey (Romance Languages and Literatures, ND)
  • Paolo Carozza (Law, ND)
  • Robert Randolf Coleman (Art History, ND)
  • Claudia Cieri Via (Art History, University of Rome)
  • JoAnn Della Neva (Romance Languages, ND)
  • Dennis Doordan (Art and Architecture, ND)
  • Sabrina Ferri (Romance Languages, ND)
  • Sabine McCormack (Classics and History, ND)
  • Elizabeth Mazurek (Classics, ND)
  • Margaret Meserve (History, ND)
  • Christian Moevs (Romance Languages, ND)
  • Vittorio Montemaggi (Religion and Literature, Romance Languages, ND)
  • Thomas F.X. Noble (History, Medieval Studies, ND)
  • Pierpaolo Polzonetti (Program in Liberal Studies, ND)
  • Charles Rosenberg (Art History, ND)
  • Ingrid Rowland (Architecture, ND Rome)
  • Maria Serena Sapegno (Italian Literature, University of Rome)
  • Andrea Simoncini (University of Florence, Fulbright Visiting Prof., Law, ND)
  • John Welle (Romance Languages, ND)
  • C.W. Westfall (Architecture, ND).

In addition, during the Spring semester, the Devers Program organized and sponsored two days of lectures by Wolfango Peretti, an internationally known painter, printmaker and illustrator of Dante, which were held April 1 and 2, 2009 in the Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Library: "L'Illustrazione: Saggio Critico"
and "Il Dante di Wolfango: Tre Canti."


Graduate student support

The Devers Program supported the graduate studies of Ms. Eleonora Buonocore of Siena, Italy, in the form of an M.A. graduate teaching assistantship during the 2008-2009 academic year. Buonocore completed the M.A. degree in Italian Studies and graduated in May 2009. Ms. Buonocore was accepted to the doctoral program in Italian Studies at Yale University where she will be continuing her graduate studies in the Fall of 2009.

Devers Program in Dante Studies Post-doctoral Fellow

During the Spring Semester of 2009, and for 2009-2010, Laurence Hooper, a 2008 Ph.D. in Medieval and Modern Italian Literature from the University of Cambridge, has been appointed Devers Program in Dante Studies post-doctoral fellow.

Hooper's research interests span two distinct areas: medieval literature and Dante Studies; and Italian culture of the secondo Novecento. He won studentships from the UK national Arts and Humanities Research Council to fund his Masters and PhD research in these fields. He is currently working on a book about exile in Italian culture.

During the Spring term of 2009, Hooper had an essay on Dante's Vita Novaaccepted by Dante Studies, the official journal of the Dante Society of America. In addition, he taught undergraduate courses on Dante and Pasolini.

Outreach: Summer Scholars Dante course

During the summer of 2008, the Devers Program offered for the second time a Summer Scholar Dante course for high school students sponsored by Notre Dame's Summer Scholar Programs. Theodore Cachey taught the course, which was focused on the study of Dante's Inferno, in collaboration with Christian Moevs (on "selected cantos from the Inferno"), John Welle (on "Dante and the Cinema") and Ben Panciera (on "The Zahm Dante Collection"), who each offered seminars as part of the course. The program will be on hiatus for the summer of 2009.

Scholarly publications

Volume 10 in the Devers Series in Dante Studies, Petrarch and Dante: Antidantism, Metaphysics, Tradition, edited by Zygmunt G. Baranski and Theodore Cachey, with the assistance of Demetrio S. Yocum, appeared in the Spring of 2009.

The volume originated as a series of seminars organized by the Devers Program to celebrate the seventh centenary of Petrarch's birth and held at the University of Notre Dame during the Fall of 2004. It features contributions by Albert Ascoli (Berkeley), Zygmunt G. Baranski (Cambridge), Teodolinda Barolini (Columbia), Theodore Cachey (Notre Dame), Ronald R. Martinez (Brown), Sara Sturm-Maddox (University of Massachusetts at Amherst), Giuseppe Mazzotta (Yale), Christian Moevs (Notre Dame) and Justin Steinberg (Chicago).

William J. Kennedy of Cornell University described it as,

"[A] magnificent volume of uniformly superb essays. Instead of surveying Petrarch's variety or his influence upon later culture, the authors have ingeniously focused on shifting relationships with the poet's most formidable Italian predecessor, Dante; in so doing, they have produced scholarship that teases out the issues with great subtlety and nuance."

CHOICE Magazine named Winthrop Wetherbee's book The Ancient Flame: Dante and the Poets, the ninth volume in the award-winning and critically acclaimed William and Katherine Devers Series in Dante Studies, an outstanding book for 2008, calling it "… [l]earned, readable, genuinely and profoundly humane …"

"A well-known scholar of classical and medieval Latin poetry, Wetherbee brings his enormous expertise in that field to bear on Dante's Commedia, with consistently original and thought-provoking results … these readings succeed admirably in attaining their author's stated goal of showing 'the extent to which [Dante's] gradual discovery of his own mission as a vernacular poet depended on a close and attentive reading of his Latin models.'"

—CHOICE, October 2008

Internet research and development

The Devers Program has continued its support of the ItalNet project.

In the summer of 2008, as part of their association with the Opera del vocabolario italiano (OVI), a branch of the famous Accademia della crusca, the Devers Program in Dante Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies co-sponsored an instructional program in Italian philology and lexicography. The OVI is a Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche (CNR) sponsored Italian national research institute located in Florence, Italy. The Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini (TLIO), a historical dictionary of the Italian language before 1375, is the product of this research. The Devers Program in Dante Studies has been collaborating with the OVI on the ItalNet project since 1994, and is a partner on the TLIO project. The University of Notre Dame is currently the only university outside Italy to contribute research to this project.

From June 17th through August 12th of 2008, six members of the Notre Dame community conducted research on early Italian texts and wrote entries for the TLIO dictionary based on these findings. The program was led by Charles Leavitt, a graduate student in the Ph.D. in Literature Program and Italian Studies, who participated in a yearlong internship at the OVI in Florence in the academic year 2006-2007. Participants included:

  • Giovanna Lenzi-Sandusky, Lecturer in Italian Studies
  • Jenna Olson, Lecturer in Italian Studies
  • Demetrio Yocum, Researcher in the Devers Program in Dante Studies
  • Gretchen Busl, a graduate student in the Ph.D. in Literature Program and French and Italian Studies
  • Elizabeth Simari, BA in Italian Studies (ND '08)

The participants continued to work on the TLIO dictionary throughout the 2008-2009 academic year.

The Summer 2009 OVI Program at the University of Notre Dame will run May 20th through August 14th of 2009. Seven Italian faculty members of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures will conduct research on early Italian texts and write entries for the TLIO dictionary based on these findings.

The 2009 program will be led by Dr. Demetrio S. Yocum, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Researcher in the Devers Program in Dante Studies. Participants include:

  • Jacob Blakesley, Visiting Adjunct Professor
  • Gretchen Busl, a graduate student in the PhD. in Literature Program and French and Italian Studies
  • Charles Leavitt, a graduate student in the PhD. in Literature Program and Italian Studies, who participated in a yearlong internship at the OVI in Florence in the academic year 2006-07
  • Giovanna Lenzi-Sandusky, Lecturer
  • Laurence Hooper, Devers Program in Dante Studies post-doctoral fellow 2009-10
  • Chiara Sbordoni, Visiting Assistant Professor

The participants will continue to work on the TLIO dictionary throughout the 2009-10 academic year. During this time, new students in the Masters program in Italian Studies, the PhD. in Literature Program, and the Medieval Institute are expected to join in collaboration.

Rare Book Acquisitions

A list of works purchased during the 2008-2009 academic year is available here.