Dante and Somerville, an exhibtion – 1-7 February

Rebecca Bowen and I have curated an exhibition to celebrate Somerville’s long history of study and teaching of the poetry Dante Alighieri.

Somerville exhibition landscape poster

The exhibition is made up of items from the library’s special collections, including a 16th-century edition of the Divine Comedy, complete with commentaries a lovely woodcut illustrations, a first edition of Gustave Doré’s 19th-centrury illustrations for Dante’s Inferno, and Mary Somerville’s own copy of the Divine Comedy.

Current graduate and undergraduate students – Anna Branford, Katie Bastiman, Sofia Derer, Aleksandra Rutkowska, and Joanna Raisbeck – have researched and written a lot of the information included in the exhibition. We are also very grateful to Anne Manuel, Sue Purver, and Matthew Roper for their help and advice, without which this exhibtion wouldn’t have been possible.

The exhibition is Library Loggia, and you can ask at the porters’ lodge for directions and access.

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Dante’s World

This looks likes a wondrous exhibition. It’s exciting to see the level of engagement and re-elaboration of Dante’s work across media at the moment.

The exhibition of Rachel Owen’s new illustrations of the Inferno at Pembroke College, Oxford, represents another rich addition to this tradition.

RachelOwenFlyer-jpgforwebsite

Part of this must certainly be to do with this particular temporal sweet spot, between the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth (which we celebrated in 2015) and the 700th anniversary of his death (to come in 2021), but this isn’t the only explanation.

Dante’s have been a source texts for visual, musical and new literary art for centuries, something I’ve written about elsewhere, and it’s rewarding, as a researcher, to see the everliving and developing nature of his artistic legacy.

Ordered Universe

A new exhibition opens in Durham this week, at the Palace Green Library Galleries. Curated by Annalisa Cipollone Dante: Hell, Heaven and Hope – A Journey through Life and the After-Life with Danteopens on Saturday 2nd December 2017, and runs until early March 2018. Following Dante’s poem The Divine Comedy with its tour through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, the exhibition features rare manuscripts of Dante’s work, printed copies and artistic responses to one of the greatest imaginative achievements of the Middle Ages. 

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