Academic Programs and Support

The Devers Program co-sponsored the first annual Italian Studies Research Seminar. Zygmunt G. Barański, newly appointed  Professor of Dante and Italian Studies, inaugurated the seminar. The Italian Studies Research Seminar provides a regular forum for faculty, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and colleagues from other universities to present and discuss their current research. The Seminar is vigorously interdisciplinary, and embraces all areas of Italian history, language, and culture (from literature to film, from art history to music, and from anthropology to architecture), as well as perceptions of Italy, its achievements and its peoples in other national and international cultures. The seminar constitutes an important element in the effort by Notre Dame’s community of Italianists to promote the study of Italy and to serve as a strategic point of contact for scholars and students from a variety of disciplines.

The Italian Research Seminar during AY 2011-2102 featured:

  • September 15, 2011: “Poetry in Motion: Petrarch's Life in Writing” - Theodore J. Cachey (Notre Dame);
  • October 6, 2011: “Dante's Musical Journey: from Unholy Racket to Heavenly Polyphony” - Francesco Ciabattoni (Georgetown);
  • November 17, 2011: "Mary on Dante’s Mount Purgatory: Young mother or virtuous exemplar?" by Beatrice Priest (University of Cambridge PhD student); “Rolandino of Padua’s Chronicle of the Trevisian March,” by Emily Gandolfi (University of Notre Dame Medieval Institute PhD Student);
  • February 16, 2012: “The Devil's Fiddle and the Saint's Tongue” – Pierpaolo Polzonetti (Notre Dame);
  • March 22, 2012: “Making Guidos: The Construction of Italian- American Identity on Jersey Shore - By Sara Troyani (PhD in Literature Student); “What was Neorealism?” - By Charles Leavitt (Italian Studies Postdoctoral Fellow);
  • April 12, 2012: “Auschwitz-Italy” - Robert Gordon (University of Cambridge).

The Devers Program co-sponsored with the Italian Studies at Notre Dame Program (ISND) and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies the second annual Rome Summer Seminar. This year’s seminar, “CineRoma,” (June 11-28, 2012) was devoted to a critical analysis of the ways in which film genres and traditions (comedy, the fantastic, silent and popular cinema, realism) have addressed and represented Rome.

The Devers Program co-sponsored numerous lectures and seminars in addition to the above during AY 2011-2012, including: February 23, 2012: "An Ambiguous Sentence: Dante Confronting His Banishment" - Giuliano Milani (Italian Fulbright Scholar in the Department of History. Milani has held the position of Ricercatore of Medieval History at La Sapienza University of Rome since 2002).

The Devers Program gave special attention during AY 2011 -2012 to renewing the Program’s commitment to the support of the undergraduate study of Dante and of the humanities. The first initiative in the area was the establishment of an annual undergraduate course on Dante offered by Zygmunt Baranski. In addition, the Devers Program sponsored a musical concert of piano music attended by over three hundred undergraduate students, "Lisztian Interpretations of the Poetry of Petrarch and Dante,” featuring pianist and Italian Studies faculty member Patricia Keyes, and poetic readings by Professors Christian Moevs and Vittorio Montemaggi, held on February, 29, 2012 in the Leighton Concert Hall at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. 
Finally, a third special initiative in this area was the “Dante at Notre Dame: 100 Canti” project. To get this started the renowned Italian actor and director Franco Palmieri was invited by the Devers Program to Notre Dame and was in residence from March 26-31, 2012. He led a campus-wide pilot version of the project of public readings of Dante's Divine Comedy by undergraduate students around the campus in both English and Italian. All lovers of Dante or Italian, whatever their level of linguistic or textual expertise, were encouraged to attend. This successful pilot program of public readings of parts of the Divine Comedy was repeated in the fall of 2012 on Friday afternoon November 2 (Pittsburgh football weekend). The program of readings was concluded that afternoon with a public illustrated lecture “Reading Dante Reading Hell” by Theodore Cachey (ND), Christian Moevs (ND), and Justin Steinberg, University of Chicago.

Scholarly publications

Last year the scholarly remit of the award-winning Devers series in Dante Studies was expanded to include beyond Dante, all of 13th and 14th century Italian literature. Also, significant changes were made to the editorial structure of the series. Zygmunt Baranski joined Theodore Cachey and Christian Moevs as a series editor. During AY 2011-2012, Dennis Looney’s Freedom Readers: The African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy, the first volume to be published in the renamed William and Katherine Devers Series in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature, was awarded the best book prize by the American Association of Italian Studies during the spring of 2012.

Internet research and development

The Devers Program continued its support of the ItalNet project. In particular Italian Studies at Notre Dame is partnering with the Opera del vocabolario italiano in Florence, Italy, a branch of the prestigious Accademia della crusca (founded in 1583) on the creation of the Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini (TLIO), a historical dictionary of the Italian language before 1375. Over the last year, several members of the Notre Dame community conducted research on early Italian texts. Notre Dame researchers have authored more than a hundred signed entries for the dictionary.

Rare Book Acquisitions

During 2011–2012 the Devers Program purchased twelve rare items for the Zahm Collection:

1. Leonardo Bruni. De temporibus suis. Venice: Peregrinus de Pasqualibus..., 1485.

A brief memoir and continuation of Bruni’s Historiae Florentini populi.

2. Gabriele de Barletta. Sermones fratris Gabrielis Barelete .... et ubi prius fuerunt inter posita carmina Petrarche & Dantis in eorum vulgari. Lyon: Stephano Gueynard, 1507.

Sermons of Gabriel de Barletta, in which he interposes quotations from the poetry of Petrarch and Dante and gives expositions on the two poets along with other authors such as Virgil.

3. Francesco Alunno. Le ricchezze della lingua volgare sopra il Boccaccio ... Venice: Paulo Gherardo, 1557.

One of the first serious attempts at a systematic collection of vernacular language material, this volume contains an alphabetical index of words and phrases used by Boccaccio and in the minor works of Petrarch.

4. Francesco Guicciardini. La historia di Italia di M. Francesco Guicciardini, gentil' huomo Fiorentino. Florence: Lorézo Torretino, 1561.

First edition of Guicciardini’s History of Italy, which covers the period stretching from the death of Lorenzo de’Medici to that of Clement VII in 1534. Written by Francesco Guicciardini, Florentine statesman, diplomat, and critic of Machiavelli.

5. Gasparo Bugati. Historia universale. Venice: Gabriel Giolito, 1570.

A ‘universal history’ in eight books. Of particular interest is Book Six, which includes accounts of the voyages of Columbus, Vespucci, Magellan, and other explorers.

6. Modesta Pozzo de' Giorgi [Moderata Fonte, pseud.] Tredici canti del Floridoro. Venice: nella stamparia de' Rampazetti, 1581.

This is the first and only edition of Tredici canti del Floridoro, the most important 16th century Italian chivalric poem by a female writer. It was published in1581 by the Venetian publisher Francesco Rampazetti, accompanied by sonnets by Giovanni Niccolò Doglioni, Fonte’s guardian and biographer, and by Bartolomeo Malombra and Cesare Simonetti.

7. Belisario Bulgarini. Repliche di Bellisario … compost in difesa della Comedd di Dante. Siena: Luca Bonetti, 1585.

One of the many publications in the ‘quarrel over Dante’ involving Giacopo Mazzoni, Ridolfo Castravilla and Belisario Bulgarini in the 1570s and 80s.

8. Antonio Piller, ed. Miscellanea, o raccolta di pezzi scelti da’ più celebri autori classici italiani. Moscow: Vsevolojsky, 1817.

First (and only) edition of this anthology of literature, which is the first anthology of Italian literature and publication of Dante to have appeared in Russia. No complete edition of the Commedia appeared in Russia until 1840s.

9. Similes from the Divina Commedia of Dante. England 1890.

Set of 49 unbound manuscript cards in imitation of a 16th c. Book of Hours, containing all of the similes in the Commedia.

10. Art Young. Art Young's Inferno: a Journey Through Hell Six Hundred Years after Dante. New York: Delphic Studios, 1934.

Set of satirical cartoons based on Dante’s Commedia by Art Young, a socialist illustrator.

11. Sei canti della Divina commedia = Sechs Gesänge aus der Göttlichen Komödie. Zurich: Arcade-Presse, 1965.

Previously unowned illustration cycle of the Commedia by 20th century Italian artist Michele Mainoli.

12. Bill Kelley, woodcuts by James Renner. An Outline of Reparation. San Diego, Calif.: Brighton Press, 2006.

New poem and series of woodcuts based on Dante’s Commedia.