Academic Programs and Support

During AY 2013-2014, the Devers Program co-sponsored the third 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 2013-2014 featured:

  • 29 August, John P. Welle (Notre Dame), “Reading Divismo: Chronicles from the Golden Age of Italian Silent Film”;
  • 26 September, Karla Mallette (Michigan) “Petrarch at Sea: Late Style in the Canzoniere”;
  • 14 November, Margaret Meserve (Notre Dame), “Heralds, Printers, and Humanists: Techniques of Publication in Early Modern Rome”;
  • 6 February, Graduate Research at Notre Dame: James Cotton, “Lavoro di Unificazione: Calvino’s Nationalizing Fiabe”; Xiaoyi Zhang, “Piacere delle spose: Nuptial Imagery in the Commedia”; Martino Rabaioli, “Alla sua donna: Leopardi’s Reflection Between Myth and Metapoetics”;
  • 27 February, David Forgacs (New York University), “Italy Seen At Its Margins: Photography and Social Exclusion Since 1861”;
  • 20 March, Simon Gilson (University of Warwick), “Reading and Defending Dante in the Florentine Academy: Giovan Battista Gelli’s Lectures on Dante (1541-63)”;
  • 17 April, Lucia Re (UCLA), “The Futurist Avant-Garde and Gender Roles during World War One: Femininity Unbound”.

The Devers Program in Dante Studies, the Italian Studies at Notre Dame Program, the VP for Research and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures co- sponsored the first academic meeting to be held at Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway, “Dante’s Intellectual Formation” (March 13-14, 2014).

The specific aim of the meeting was to bring together the leading academics on Dante from Italy, the UK and the US to provide participants the opportunity for sustained, high level engagement with issues relating to Dante’s intellectual formation, thereby creating the possibility for further development of international scholarly collaborations. Click here for the program of the meeting and list of invited participants.

The Devers Program in Dante Studies gave special attention during AY 2013-14 to strengthening the Program’s commitment to the support of the graduate study of Dante and of his near contemporaries, Petrarch and Boccaccio, as well as to the study of the humanities more generally. In commemoration of the 700th year of Boccaccio’s birth, the Devers Program sponsored a series of public seminars by visiting lecturers for Christian Moevs’ graduate course on Boccaccio as well as a public lecture.

The public seminars included: 3 September, David Lummus (Stanford), “Boccaccio’s Poetics between the Genealogy and the Decameron”; 19 September, Michael Sherberg (Washington University in St. Louis); 26 November, James Kriesel (Colby), “Boccaccio on Love and Hate”. The lecture by Franziska 
Meier (Göttingen) took place on 29 October “Boccaccio’s Dante and the Shaping of the Artist.”

The Devers Program co-sponsored numerous lectures and seminars in addition to the above during AY 2013-2014, including:

  • September 4: “Masterpiece of the Incarnation: The Marian Hermeneutics of Praise in the Patristic and Medieval Periods” - Brian Reynolds (Fu Jen Catholic University)

  • September 5: “Theo-poetic Approaches to the Virgin Mary in Dante’s Commedia” - Brian Reynolds (Fu Jen Catholic University)

  • November 15: “Dante’s Immortal Remains: From Florentine Martyr to Global Icon” - Guy Raffa (University of Texas at Austin), at the Newberry Library

  • March 19: “Dantes in Print: Paratexts and Readers in late 15C and 16C-Italy” - Simon Gilson (Warwick)
April 3: “Mendicant Schools and Philosophy in Dante’s Florence” by Anna Pegoretti (Warwick)
  • April 9: “The Representation of Space in Dante’s Commedia and in its Earliest Manuscripts” by Anna Pegoretti (Warwick)

The Devers Program in Dante Studies gave special attention during AY 2013-14 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 ND Professor of Dante and Italian Studies Zygmunt Barański, “Dante's Commedia” was successfully repeated. Christian Moevs, repeated his regularly offered spring semester course on Dante’s Purgatory and Paradise (“Dante II”). Vittorio Montemaggi taught a course in Theology called “Truth, Language, Love: The Theology of Dante’s Comedy”. In the Fall of 2013, Theodore Cachey offered for the first time a first-year seminar on Dante; “Dante’s Inferno: Instructions for Use.”

An important 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 September 27. Notre Dame’s 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: http://al.nd.edu/news/36332-videodante-now/

During 2013-2014 under the category of Humanities outreach programming, the Devers Program contributed to Notre Dame’s “Teachers as Scholars” Program of which the Devers Program is one of the founding co-sponsors. “Teachers as Scholars” is a professional development program that enables teachers in schools from South Bend, IN area school districts to participate in specially organized academic seminars offered by Notre Dame professors on campus.

Graduate student support

During 2013-2014 the Devers Program contributed to the research travel to utilize the Zahm Dante collection of several visiting scholars and funded the research travel of several Notre Dame graduate students through its annual research travel grant and travel to collections program.

Scholarly publications

Two years ago 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, which now includes Zygmunt Barański as series editor, Theodore Cachey and Christian Moevs. In 2013-14, the Devers series accepted for publication a volume based on last year’s conference “Dante’s Theology” which took place in Tantur, Jerusalem. Interpreting Dante Essays on the Traditions of Dante Commentary, edited by Paola Nasti and Claudia Rossignoli, was published in 2013 and is 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 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.

The ‘Dante’s Theology’ based on the conference at Tantur seeks to make a substantial contribution to the study of Dante's theology while also being true to the particular spirit of the meeting that took place in June 2013, capturing - in both its content and its form - the depth, breadth, energy and collaboration that characterized our proceedings at Tantur. In an academic climate that increasingly considers originality to be the hallmark of academic success, but does so in strongly individualistic ways, the volume seeks to provide fresh and original content, but also to make a strong and original statement concerning the importance of genuine friendship and collaboration in academic enquiry. The volume aims to share this with the wider academic community.

Internet research and development

The Devers Program continued to develop new initiatives utilizing emerging digital technologies to collaborate with institutions on a global scale. Two ongoing projects include:

  • Italian Studies at Notre Dame with support of the Devers Program is in the second year of 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/
  • Italian Studies at Notre Dame with support of the Devers Program continues to partner 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. During 2013-2014, several members of the Notre Dame community conducted research on early Italian texts. Two teleconference seminars were held featuring presentations and discussion between ND project participants and researchers at the OVI in Florence were recorded and made available for participants. The Devers Program also sponsored the travel expenses for three ND participants in the program to travel to Florence for training. Notre Dame researchers have authored more than a hundred signed entries for the dictionary.

Rare Book Acquisitions

During AY 2013-14, the Devers Program purchased the following rare items for the Zahm Dante Collection:

  • Ameto di Messere Giovanni Boccaccio: Con le osservationi in uolgare gra[m]matica sopra esso di Hier. [Colophon: Impresso in Milano : nella officina Minutiana a ispesa di Andrea Caluo, A di .X. de Giugn
  • Boska komedja, w przekładzie Edwarda Porebowicza. Warszawa : Nakład Gebethnera i Wolffa 1899-
  • Básnická osobnost Dantova :Praha, 1921.
  • Considerazioni sopra le rime del Petrarca. Col confronto de’luoghi de’poeti antichi di varie lingue. Modena: G. Cassiani, 1609.
  • Dante Alighieri. Praha: J.R.Vilimek, 1920.
  • Dante a Češi : k 600 letému výročí úmrtí největšího křesťanského pěvce. V.Olomouci : Družina literární a umělecká, 1921.
  • Dante. Praga, 1949.
  • Danteovo Peklo: 12 leptů / Jan Konůpek: [Introduction by Vlastimil Kybal] Praha : Alois Dyk, 1921
  • Dantova božská komedie : dramatické mysterium o 10 scénách / napsal Pavel Tkadlec V Praze : F.J. Müllerm, 1941 (F.J. Müller)
  • I cantici, del beato Iacopone da Todi : con diligenza ristampati, con la gionta di alcvni discorsi s Roma : Appresso H. Salviano, 1558.
  • L’Ulisse / di M. Lodovico Dolce da lui tratto dall’Odissea d’Homero et ridotto in ottava rima : nel Vinegia : Appresso G. Giolito, 1573.
  • Le bizzarre, faconde, et ingeniose rime pescatorie : nelle quali si conte[n]gono sonetti, stanze, ca Veniesia, MD. LVIIII (1559).
  • Tutte le opere di Nicolo Machiauelli cittadino et secretario fiorentino: diuise in v. parti, et di. [Place of publication not identified]: [publisher not identified], 1550 [i.e. between 1655-1670].
  • Zivot Dantuv. [Přeložil O. F. Babler. Dřevorytem doprovodil Jiří Jaška] Svatý Kopeček [u Olomouce, O.F. Babler] 1940.
  • [Three works] Vinegia: Gabriel Giolito de Ferrari, 1545.