Program Developments

During this academic year the Ravarino family of St. Louis, MO, endowed the directorship of the Devers Program in Dante Studies. An advisory board whose purpose is to provide collegial support, counsel and advice to the director of the program as it develops was formed. The Devers Program website was revamped through the campus website redesign program.

Academic Programs and Support

The Devers Program's sixth annual lecture series during the fall of 2001 illustrated the theme, "The Languages of Italy":

  • Justin Steinberg, University of Notre Dame, lectured on "Dante's First Editors: The Memoriali bolognesi and the Politics of Vernacular Transcription.”

  • Hermann Haller, Queens College, CUNY, spoke on "Italian Literature and Dialect."

  • Sherry Roush, Penn State University on "Dante's Ghost and the Language of Florentine Politics at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century."

Professor Haller was also Visiting Professor during the Fall semseter and offered the credit bearing mini-seminar "Italy's Other Voices: The Literary Tradition.”

During the Spring of 2002 the Devers Program co-sponsored together with the Core Course the visit of Robert and Jean Hollander of Princeton University, who offered a public lecture and series of seminars on Dante and Dante translation. The Devers Program also co-sponsored with the Medieval Institute a lecture by Ronald Martinez, University of Minnesota entitled "Written in Effigy: Speaking Pictures in Stilnovo and Petrarchan Lyric" (April 2002).

A first phase of an important new initiative, which builds on the established relationship between the Dante Program and the Core Course, was successfully completed during the past year: the co-sponsorship of a post-doctoral fellowship in Dante and Italian Studies in collaboration with the Core course. Dr. John Kerr, a 2001 University of Notre Dame Ph.D. in Medieval Studies was the first post-doctoral fellow in Dante and Italian Studies during the the 2001-2002 academic year. Kerr obtained a tenure track appointment at St. Mary's College (Minnesota).

The Devers Program during the past year contributed to the support of graduate students studying in Italy during the summer (under the category of Devers Dante graduate research travel award program) including:

  • Aileen Feng (Italian Studies MA student)
  • Katherine Hennessey (English/ Irish Studies Ph.D. and Italian MA student)
  • Erika Schutte (Theology Ph.D. student)
  • James Kriesel (Medieval Institute Ph.D. student)

The Devers Program was a proud co-sponsor of Medieval Manuscripts Conference organized by Professor Jill Mann (fall 2001) and of the College of Arts and Letters Teachers as Scholars Program during 2001-2002.

Scholarly Publication

A special category of scholarly publication that merits particular notice is the Devers Program's support of research into the history and significance of the Zahm Dante Collection at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Christian Dupont, Curator in Special Collections, has been engaged in extensive research into the origins of the Zahm Dante Collection at Notre Dame and its relation to Dante collecting by other American institutions at the end of the nineteenth century. Dupont published during 2001:

Dupont, Christian. "Collecting Dante in America at the End of the Nineteenth Century: John Zahm and Notre Dame, " Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 95:4 (December 2001): 443-81.

Dupont authored another important contribution during 2001, this one related to his work on Devers Program digital projects and in particular, the ItalNet publication of the Opera del vocabolario (OVI) database (see below):

Dupont, Christian, "The Opera del Vocabolario Italiano Database: Full-Text Searching Early Italian Vernacular Sources on the Web, "Italica 78:4 (December 2001): 526-39.

Internet Research and Publications

Several electronic initiatives fostered by the Devers Program and ItalNet consortium were enhanced during the last year.


A system for creating links from the new version of the TLIO (Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini) to the ItalNet implementation of the OVI database was created so that users of the TLIO can execute searches for individual words in the TLIO in the OVI corpus.

A revised and expanded corpus of 1581 texts (formerly 1498) was received in mid-February and an updated version of the ItalNet publication of the OVI database was released to the public on the Chicago server in late April. The mirror site at OVI was upgraded in late May. The Notre Dame mirror site was upgraded in mid-June.

The OVI became a Centro Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) Institute in February 2002. We plan to renew our collaborative agreement with the Opera del Vocabolario Italiano during the fall of 2002.


In March, a Ph.D. candidate in political philosophy from the University of Toronto, Marcus Green visited Notre Dame at the invitation of Joseph Buttigieg, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English, University of Notre Dame and editor of the Gramsci Society Newsletter. Green worked with Christian Dupont, Curator in the Department of Special Collections on redesigning the IGS Web site and taking over the daily duties of maintaining it. In mid-April, the new design went public and Marcus Green has effectively taken over maintenance of the site and has been adding valuable new content.


In anticipation of an expansion of the FIOLA database this spring, Dupont redesiged and improved the Perl-scripted search engine that has been used to provide access to the FIOLA corpus. Dupont created a new XperSearch engine as a part of this project, as he calls it, and XperSearch was first implemented with the Petrocchi edition of Dante's Commedia as a test. The FIOLA corpus was switched over to XperSearch in mid-April, at which time a new text was also added. Dupont's XperSearch will be used to create a searchable corpus of the principal vernacular poetical texts of Petrarch in July 2002 as part of an experimental site under development for the support of teaching and research on Petrarch's vernacular poetry..


The Ambrosiana Drawings Project database was upgraded in late November. There are now records for 7,025 drawings and images for the first 4,585 of these. At the time of the upgrade, access to the 50KB versions of the images was also restored to public access with the agreement of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (access to the images had been suspended by ItalNet since 1997).

Rare Book Acquisitions

A list of works purchased during the 2001-2002 academic year is available here.