Academic Programs and Support

During AY 2012-2013, the Devers Program co-sponsored the second annual Italian Studies Research Seminar, which was organized by Notre Dame Professor of Dante and Italian Studies, Zygmunt G. Barański, Serena Professor of Italian at Cambridge, emeritus. 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 2012-2103 featured:

  • August 30: Christian Moevs (Notre Dame), “Triform Love: Desire as the Ordering Principle of Dante’s Comedy”;
  • September 27: Simone Marchesi (Princeton) - "Epic Ironies: Poetics, Metapoetics, Self-Translation (Inferno XVIII.1 - Purgatorio XXIV.52 - Paradiso I.13)";
  • October 25: Steven Semes (Notre Dame, School of Architecture) – "Another Rome: Architecture and Urbanism in the Eternal City 1918-1942"; 
  • January 31:  Denis Robichaud (Notre Dame, Program of Liberal Studies) - “Plato’s Prosopon: Marsilio Ficino and Quattrocento Humanism”; 
  • February 21: “Giles of Rome on Human Cognition” - Bernd Goehring (Notre Dame, Program of Liberal Studies);
  • April 2: Public Seminar: "Dante, Inferno 31: A Canto for the Boys?" - Martin McLaughlin (Oxford); and
  • April 4: Martin McLaughlin (Oxford), “Alberti’s Dog, Fly, and Autobiography: Life-Writing as Humanistic Mosaic”; 
  • April 18: Damiano Benvegnu (PhD Candidate, Notre Dame), " 'Le più liete creature del mondo': Giacomo Leopardi and the Language of Birds"; George Corbett (Junior Research Fellow, Cambridge), " 'Noi siam vermi / nati a formar l'angelica farfalla': Pride in the theology of Dante's Purgatory"; Anne Leone (Devers Program Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Notre Dame), “Distillation and Digestion in Dante’s Commedia”; Amanda Weppler (PhD Candidate, Notre Dame), “Dante’s Statius.”

The Devers Program in Dante Studies, The Italian Studies at Notre Dame Program, the Nanovic Institute and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures co-sponsored “Dante’s Theology. An International Summer Seminar on Theological Dimensions of Dante’s Work,” held at Notre Dame’s center in London, England (June 13-14, 2013) and at Notre Dame’s Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Jerusalem (June 17-29, 2013). 

The specific aim of the “Dante’s Theology” Seminar was to bring together Dante scholars and theologians so as to offer participants the opportunity for sustained, high level interdisciplinary engagement with Dante's theology, thereby creating the possibility for the development of new insights and fresh methodological perspectives from which the field at large may benefit. 

The program for the meetings is at:



The list of faculty is available at:


The list of graduate student and junior faculty participants is available at:


Further information regarding the Rome Seminar is available at:


The Devers Program co-sponsored numerous lectures and seminars in addition to the above during AY 2012-2013, 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); Vittorio Montemaggi (Notre Dame) - "Between Religion and Literature: Reflections on Meaning and Forgiveness in Dante and Shakespeare"; "Italian Nationality through Literature" with Luca Marcozzi (Roma 3);
  • November 15, Special Event-Presentation of volume in honor of Professor Paolo Cherchi (University of Chicago) on the occasion of his 75th birthday: Erudizione e leggerezza. Saggi di filologia comparativa, ed. By Giuliana Adamo (Rome: Viella Editrice, 2012). Presentations by Giuliana Adamo (Trinity College Dublin), Zygmunt Baranski (Notre Dame), & Theodore Cachey (Notre Dame)

The Devers Program gave special attention again during AY 2012-2013 to strengthening the Program’s commitment to the support of the undergraduate study of Dante and of the humanities.  The annual undergraduate course on Dante offered by Zygmunt Baranski, “Dante Comedy: The Christian Universe as Poetry” was successfully repeated. Christian Moevs, repeated his regularly offered spring semester course on Dante’s Purgatory and Paradise (“Dante II”).  In addition, during the fall of 2013, Theodore Cachey will offer for the first time a first-year seminar on Dante: “Dante’s Inferno: Instructions for Use.”

A new initiative in support of the undergraduate study of Dante was the successful “Dante Now! Divine Comedy Flash Mob Readings from the Divine Comedy” that was held Friday afternoon November 2 (Pittsburgh football weekend). Notre Dame’s beautiful campus became the perfect stage for this unique event, which gathered Notre Dame students, faculty, and other members of the Notre Dame community who love the Italian language, the poet Dante, and his immortal poem, the Divine Comedy for choral public readings from the poem.  A public illustrated lecture “Reading Dante Reading Hell” by Theodore Cachey (ND), Christian Moevs (ND), and Justin Steinberg, University of Chicago concluded the afternoon.  See the video at: https://al.nd.edu/news/latest-news/video-dante-now/

• The Devers Program inaugurated its collaboration with the Universities of Cambridge and Leeds in the UK: Cambridge Vertical Readings in Dante’s Commedia, a four-year long series of workshops via teleconference investigating collaboratively all 100 cantos of Dante’s most famous work. Further information about the project may be found at http://italianstudies.nd.edu/collaborations/university-of-cambridge/

The program included the following workshops and lectures:

  • November 8:

Teleconferenced worskop on Purgatorio II with scholars and students from Leeds, Notre Dame, and Cambridge;

Lecture on Inferno II, Purgatorio II, Paradiso II by Matthew Treherne (Leeds)

  • January 31:

Teleconferenced worskop on Inferno IV with scholars and students from Leeds, Notre Dame, and Cambridge;

Lecture on Inferno IV, Purgatorio IV, Paradiso IV by John Marenbon (Cambridge)

  • February 14:

Teleconferenced worskop on Purgatorio V with scholars and students from Leeds, Notre Dame, and Cambridge;

Lecture on Inferno V, Purgatorio V, Paradiso V by Robin Kirkpatrick (Cambridge)

  • February 28:

Teleconferenced worskop on Paradiso VI  with scholars and students from Leeds, Notre Dame and Cambridge;

Lecture on Inferno VI, Purgatorio VI, Paradiso VI by Claire Honess (Leeds)

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; and significant changes were made to the editorial structure of the series.  Zygmunt Barański joined Theodore Cachey and Christian Moevs as a series editor during 2011-2012.

Interpreting Dante Essays on the Traditions of Dante Commentary, edited by Paola Nasti and Claudia Rossignoli was accepted for publication during 2012-2013.  The book will appear in 2013 and will be the second volume to be published in the renamed series and the thirteenth volume to be published by the Devers series. 

Interpreting Dante gathers essays by prominent scholars of the Dante commentary tradition to discuss the significance of this tradition for the study of the Comedy, its broad impact on the history of ideas, and its contribution to the development of literary criticism. Interest in the Dante commentary tradition has grown considerably in recent years, but projects on this subject tend to focus on philological reconstructions. The contributors to Interpreting Dante shift attention to the interpretation of texts, authors, and reading communities by examining how Dante commentators developed interpretative paradigms that contributed to the advancement of literary criticism and the creation of the Western literary canon. Dante commentaries illustrate the evolution of notions of “literariness” and literature, genre and style, intertextuality and influence, literary histories, traditions and canons, authorship and readerships, paratexts and textual materiality.

The volume includes methodological essays exploring theoretical aspects of the tradition, such as the creation of a taxonomy for categorizing typologies of commentaries; the relationship between commentators and their contemporary readers; the interplay between written and visual commentaries; and the impact of patronage on the forms of exegesis. Other essays, including two in Italian, examine case studies of individual commentaries, giving an account of the modus operandi of Dante’s exegetes by relating their approaches to the cultural, ideological, and political agendas of the community of readers and scholars to which the commentators belonged.

Internet research and development

The Devers Program has continued its support of the ItalNet project. In particular Italian Studies at Notre Dame is partnering with the the Opera del vocabolario italiano (OVI), 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, including Filippo Gianferrari, Elisabetta Drudi, Giovanna Lenzi-Sandusky, and Charles Leavitt, have been conducting research on early Italian texts. Notre Dame researchers have authored more than 100 signed entries for the dictionary. In April, the Devers Program co-sponsored with Italian Studies a video-conference that brought together the Notre Dame participants in the project with the scholars based in Florence, including the Director of the OVI, Professor Pietro Beltrami.

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.