Academic Programs and Support
Notre Dame and Leeds Dante and Italian Studies Colloquium
During the 2009 fall semester, the Devers Program in Dante Studies organized and co- sponsored, together with the Medieval Institute and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures a research colloquium with the University of Leeds Centre for Dante Studies. The meeting was held on the afternoon of September 8, 2009 in the Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Library.
The following papers were discussed: “Language as Love: the Theology of the Commedia,” by Vittorio Montemaggi, University of Notre Dame; “Love, acedia, and the structure of Dante’s Commedia,” by Christian Moevs, University of Notre Dame; “Last but Not Last? Dante and St. Thomas on Two Ultimate Ends for Man,” by Patrick Gardner, University of Notre Dame; “Dante’s Commedia and the Liturgical Imagination,” by Matthew Treherne, Co-director of the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies, University of Leeds; “Dante and the Poetics of Politics,” by Claire E. Honess, Co-director of the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies, University of Leeds; “Exile and Authorship in Dante,” by Laurence Hooper, Devers Program in Dante Studies Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Notre Dame; “Cartographic Dante,” by Theodore Cachey, University of Notre Dame; “Love Letters in Medieval Italian Fiction: Dialogic Forms and Discourses,” by Chiara Sbordoni, University of Notre Dame; “Renaissance ‘Views’ of Boccaccio’s Corpus,” by James Kriesel, Sorin Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Notre Dame.
Zygmunt G. Baranski, Serena Professor of Italian, University of Cambridge, provided a response to the afternoon’s papers.
Ronald Herzman lecture and seminar
During the 2010 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 a lecture and a seminar by Professor Ronald Herzman, Distinguished Teaching Professor of English at the State University of New York, College of Geneseo. On Monday March 22, in the Department of Special Collections, Herzman gave the lecture: "Dante’s Francis”; on Tuesday, March 23, in the Department of Special Collections, he gave a seminar on "Dante and the Frescoes at Santi Quattro Coronati.”
Italian Studies “Work in Progress” meeting
During the 2010 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 a research colloquium on Italian Studies: “Work in Progress.” The meeting was held Wednesday afternoon, April 14, 2010, in the Department of Special Collections.
The following papers were discussed: “What’s so new about the Vita nova?” Zygmunt G. Baranski, Serena Professor of Italian, University of Cambridge, and Albert J. and Helen M. Ravarino Family Visiting Professor of Italian; “Exile and the canzone in Dante’s Eden: The case of Tre Donne,” Laurence Hooper, Devers Program Postdoctoral Fellow in Dante and Italian Studies; “Cartographic Dante: Mapping Inferno 28,” Theodore Cachey, University of Notre Dame; “Triform Love in Dante’s Comedy,” Christian Moevs, University of Notre Dame; “Literature and Theology” Vittorio Montemaggi, University of Notre Dame; “Faith and speech: Tongues of fire in Dante and St. James’ Epistle” Filippo Gianferrari, MA candidate, University of Notre Dame; “Bembo’s Elegy of Fiammetta,” James Kriesel, Sorin Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Notre Dame; “Catastrophe and Renewal: Reactions to the 1783 Calabro-Sicilian Earthquake,” Sabrina Ferri, University of Notre Dame; “Reading ‘Divismo’: Pirandello and the Print Media of Early Cinema” John Welle, University of Notre Dame.
Graduate student support
The Program supported during AY 2008-2009 the graduate studies of Mr. Francis Hittinger, in the form of a MA graduate teaching assistantship. Hittenger completed the M.A. degree in Italian Studies and graduated in May 2010. Mr. Hittinger was accepted to the PhD program in Italian and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He was offered a Faculty Fellowship, Columbia’s highest honor for entering grad students.
Devers Program in Dante Studies Post-doctoral Fellow
During AY 2009-2010, Laurence Hooper, a 2008 Ph.D. in Medieval and Modern Italian Literature from the University of Cambridge, was 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 second half of the 20th century. 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. Hooper taught two undergraduate courses during 2009-2010: “Passages to Italy,” the gateway course for Italian majors in Italian, and the “Italian Theatre Project,” which produced plays by Goldoni and Pirandello in April 2010. Hooper has been awarded the prestigious two-year Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago beginning 2010-2011.
In addition, the Program co-sponsored the Newberry Library Dante lecture given by Professor Rachel Jacoff of Wellesley College (April 22, 2010); and supported the research travel of several graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, including Damiano Benvegnù, Filippo Gianferrari, and Laurence Hooper.
Dante’s Commedia. Theology as Poetry
Edited by Vittorio Montemaggi and Matthew Treherne, volume 11 in the Devers Series in Dante Studies, appeared in the spring of 2010.
In Dante’s Commedia: Theology as Poetry, an international group of theologians and Dante scholars provide a uniquely rich set of perspectives focused on the relationship between theology and poetry in the Commedia. Examining Dante’s treatment of questions of language, personhood, and the body; his engagement with the theological tradition he inherited; and the implications of his work for contemporary theology, the contributors argue for the close intersection of theology and poetry in the text as well as the importance of theology for Dante studies. Through discussion of issues ranging from Dante’s use of imagery of the Church to the significance of the smile for his poetic project, the essayists offer convincing evidence that his theology is not what underlies his narrative poem, nor what is contained within it: it is instead fully integrated with its poetic and narrative texture.
As the essays demonstrate, the Commedia is firmly rooted in the medieval tradition of reflection on the nature of theological language, while simultaneously presenting its readers with unprecedented, sustained poetic experimentation. Understood in this way, Dante emerges as one of the most original theological voices of the Middle Ages.
Vittorio Montemaggi is assistant professor of religion and literature at the University of Notre Dame; Matthew Treherne is senior lecturer in Italian and co-director of the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies, University of Leeds.
Contributors to the volume are: Piero Boitani, Oliver Davies, Theresa Federici, David F. Ford, Peter S. Hawkins, Douglas Hedley, Robin Kirkpatrick, Christian Moevs, Vittorio Montemaggi, Paola Nasti, John Took, Matthew Treherne, and Denys Turner.
Steven Botterill, of the University of California, Berkeley, wrote about this book:
“Long taken for granted in Dante studies, the nexus between theology and poetry in Dante’s work, especially in the Commedia, has only really been subjected to searching critical analysis in the last few decades. The scholars represented in this interdisciplinary collection explore the poem’s claims to function as a text embodying theological truth and, more particularly, as a poetic representation of the experience of the mystical. Their efforts comprise a landmark in modern Dante studies.”
Freedom Riders: the African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy
Volume 12 in the Devers Series in Dante Studies, by Dennis Looney, is forthcoming during AY 2010-2011.
Internet research and development
The Devers Program has continued its support of the ItalNet project.
In the summer of 2009, as part of their association with the Opera del vocabolario italiano (OVI), a branch of the famous Accademia della crusca (founded in 1583), 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. Members of the Notre Dame community conducted research on early Italian texts and wrote entries for the TLIO dictionary based on these findings. Charles Leavitt, a graduate student in the PhD in Literature Program, directs the group. Leavitt participated in a yearlong internship at the OVI in Florence in the academic year 2006-2007.
Rare Book Acquisitions
Rare book collecting during 2009-2010 was particularly fruitful. Important acquisitions were made in several different categories, including rare incunabula (printed books before 1500: n.1), Renaissance classics and linguistic treatises related the legacy of Dante’s language and literature (n.2- n.10), documents relating to the popular cultural reception of Dante and his poem (n.11- n.17), deluxe editions of Dante’s works, including facsimiles of rare manuscripts (n. 18 and n.19). The Devers Program purchased nineteen rare items for the John A. Zahm, C.S.C, Dante Collection during AY 2009-2010. In several cases the Devers Program combined its resources with those of other units to make these purchases. The list of these follows with brief annotations:
1. Bruni, Leonardo. Historia Fiorentina . Venice: Perlo … huomo … Iacomo de Rossi …, 12 Feb., 1476.
A history of Florence, mostly covering the period 1250–1400, in twelve books. Translated from the Latin of Leonardo Bruni. First Italian edition. Handpainted illuminated initial F on first page (a2 recto).
The fourth book of Bruni’s Historiae Florentini Populi, written in 1421, contains the first printed biographical account of Dante including details of his involvement at the battle of Campaldino and of his political activities during his priorate.
2. Parabosco, Girolamo. I Diporti. Venezia: Giovanni Griffio, 1550.
Best-selling collection of short stories set in similar form to the Decameron; a group of friends spend three days in a villa outside Venice and amuse themselves by telling tales and reciting verses.
Parabosco was a multi-faceted figure who was a poet, playwright, and composer; twelve of his madrigals were sung during the third day of the party described here.
This is a rare [undated] first edition.
3. Dolce, Lodovico. Osservationi nella volgar lingua, divise in quattro libri. Vinegia: Gabriel Giolito de Ferrari e Fratelli, 1550.
First edition of this important Italian grammar by the celebrated humanist Ludovico Dolce. Dolce made significant contributions to the Italian language and literature with his publications of linguistic studies, original literary works, and translations of Greek and Latin classics into the vernacular.
4. Ramusio, Giovanni Battista. Delle navigationi et viaggi. Venice: Stamperia di Giunti, 1554, 1583, 1606.
One of the earliest and most important collections of travellers’ accounts as issued by ‘the Italian Hakulyt’ with map of the Western hemisphere the most complete of its time. This is one of the earliest and most important collections of voyages and travels and may be said to have opened a new era in the literary history of voyages and navigation. This work was the first great systematic collection that had so far appeared.
The first volume is primarily concerned with Africa and southern Asia. The second is concerned with Central Asia, Russia, and the Northern Seas, while the third volume is entirely devoted to America, and includes accounts of Peter Martyr, Oviedo (whose book XX is published here for the first time), Cortes, Cabeza de Vaca, Guzman, Ulloa, Coronado, Fray Marcos di Niza, Xerez, Verrazano and Cartier. The final section comprises the first general publication of Cartier’s Canadian experiences. Accounts of Marco Polo, Niccolò Da Conti and Magellan are also included.
5. Biondo, Flavio. Roma ristaurata, et Italia illustrata, di Biondo da Forli. In Venetia: Appresso Domenico Giglio, 1558.
First reconstruction of the ancient city of Rome. Includes personal observations on such contemporary endeavors as the building projects of the Malatesta, penned ca. 1444-1446. Arranged topographically and by building type.
Also includes Italia illustrata (1474), a description of Italy in fourteen regions, with an accurate list of the cities, etc.
6. Rota, Berardino. Sonnetti et canzoni, con l’Egloghe pescatorie. Vinegia: Appresso Gabriel Giolito de’ Ferrari, 1567.
Bernardino Rota [1509-1575], was a Neapolitan gentleman and a successful, sought after writer of both Italian and Latin poetry. His Piscatory Eclogues received contemporary praise, but his sonnets are more remembered today as a reflection of Southern Italian taste for Classicism and Petrarchan poetry. As a parallel to Petrarch’s Laura, his verses mourned the death of his beloved wife Porzia Capece.
7. Rime de gli academici Eterei… Padoua: Gli Eterei, 1567.
First edition of this work, which contains poetry from the academicians of the short lived Accademia degli Eterei, founded at Padova in 1563 by Scipione Gongaza and dissolved between 1568-69. Contains twenty-eight pages of verse by Tasso. Bound with Giunta fatta al ragionamento degli articoli et de verbi di Messer Pietro Bembo by Lodovico Castelvetro 1563. Contains Castelvetro’s additions to Bembo’s linguistic study Prose.
8. Salviati, Leonardo. Degli Accademici della Crusca Difesa dell’Orlando furioso dell’Ariosto contra ’l Dialogo dell’epica poesia di Cammillo Pellegrino. Firenze: Domenico Manzani, 1584.
This text continues the literary debate between Tassisti and Ariostisti that raged between 1584-1590 about the proper model for epic poetry. This is the second publication printed by the Crusca.
9. Guastavini, Giulio. Del sig. Giulio Guastauini Risposta all’infarinato academico della Crusca intorno alla Gierusalemme liberata del sig. Torquato Tasso. In Bergamo: Per Comino Ventura e compagni, 1588.
Continues the literary debate between Tassisti and Ariostisti, 1584-1590. Rare edition printed by Giulio Guastauino, who went on to print a much-celebrated edition of La gierusalemme liberate in 1590.
10. Bastiani, Giuseppe. Della nuoua poesia, ouero, Delle difese del Furioso, dialogo del signor Gioseppe Malatesta. In Verona: Per Sebastiano dalle Donne, 1589.
Continues the literary debate between Tassisti and Ariostisti, 1584-1590. ND’s copy is only one is U.S.
11. MacGregor, Mary. Stories from Dante: told to the children. London: T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1909.
Described in advertisements as “Dante’s Commedia is retold here by the children’s writer MacGregor, who devotes seventy pages to the Inferno, thirty-six to the Purgatorio, and none at all to the Paradiso.” The Told to the Children series also encapsulated Chaucer, Arabian Nights, Beowulf, and other classics for young audiences.
12. Righetti, Luigi. Nuovi argomenti contro l’autenticità del canto XI dell’Inferno dantesco. Firenze: Stab. tip. E. Ducci, 1912.
One of a series of three pamphlets in which Professor Luigi Righetti argues that the eleventh canto of the Inferno was a forgery by Jacopo Alighieri, who, according to Boccaccio, was anxious to rewrite thirteen cantos of the Commedia. With this purchase, ND now owns complete set of three pamphlets.
13. Dante’s Inferno. New York: Little Leather Library Corp., [192-?]
The Little Leather Library Corporation was founded in 1916 with the purpose of mass- marketing inexpensive books in the U.S. Originally sold in Woolworth’s stores, by the 1920s volumes such as these were distributed as promotional items in cereal boxes.
14. Dante and Beatrice Silk cigarette card. London: Godfey Phillips, B.D.V Cigarettes, 1939.
These cards were distributed within cigarette packs and encouraged customers to purchase ‘just one more’ pack to complete thematic sets.
15. Behrens, Franklin Allen. Dante’s infernal guide to your school, with illus. by Gustave Doré. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1971.
Humorous advice for new teachers utilizing Doré’s engravings. 16. Gage, Christos. Dante’s Inferno. New York: DC Comics, 2010.
Set of six comics released in conjunction with Dante’s Inferno video game developed by Visceral Games.
17. Jewiss, Virginia. Dante’s Journey: An Infernal Adventure. Florence: Mandragora, 2009.
18. La Commedia di Dante Alighieri. Torino: UTET, 2009.
Facsimile of Biblioteca nazionale marciana, viz. Cod. It. IX. 276.
19. Alighieri, Dante, translated by Harry Duncan. Io son venuto al punto de la rota. Omaha, Neb.: Bradypress, 1994.
Artists’ book with photo engravings and new translation.