Was Dante telling the truth? Re-reading Dante’s Vita nova, chapters V-XII at UCL, a report by Kate Sparrow

1 month on from our event at UCL, here’s a chance to refresh your memories of the presentations, or read about them for the first time, if you weren’t able to join us!

Re-reading Dante's Vita nova

UCL, 10 November 2017

image-6-png.jpeg The Giuntina from the UCL Special Collections book display

At the second event in the ‘Re-reading Dante’s Vita nova‘ series, researchers from all over the UK came together with interested students and members of the public to hear new ideas about Dante’s formative early work, the Vita nova, presented by researchers from UCL’s School of European Languages, Culture and Society (SELCS). Dr Catherine Keen and Dr Alex Lee welcomed us on the day, and we were also joined by researchers from the University of Notre Dame via video uplink.

Sophie Fuller (a PhD student at UCL) reports:

The second meeting of the ‘Re-reading Dante’s Vita nova’ project followed a display of special editions of the Vita nova with presentations from both UCL staff and students. Giulia Gaimari, a current PhD student, opened the presentations with an overview of chapters V-XII of the Barbi edition…

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Call for Papers – SEEING (WITH) DANTE – AAIS 2018, Sorrento, 14-17 June #AAIS2018

Please circulate and consider submitting to our call for papers for AAIS 2018:

Dante’s works are thick with visionary and visual scenes. Readers are encouraged to see with Dante as he narrates his love for Beatrice in the Vita Nuova, and to look at and through the Commedia as visual artefact (‘Aguzza qui, lettor, ben li occhi al vero, / ché ‘l velo è ora ben tanto sottile, / certo che ‘l trapassar dentro è leggero.’, Purg. VIII, 19-21). Dante himself is commanded to look innumerable times throughout the poem. The visual textures of Dante’s texts have also provoked a long tradition of visual responses to his works. Building on seminal contributions in recent scholarship (Iannucci, 2004; Braida and Cale 2007;  Lehner, 2017), this panel seeks interventions expounding the role played by the visual arts in the cross-cultural mediation and interpretation, appropriation and popularisation of Dante’s textuality and imagery from the early modern era to postmodernity. The intention is historicize the modes of visualisation of Dante’s poetry in both traditional and more experimental forms of representation ranging from painting, illustration and sculpture to film, graphic novels and videogames. In mapping the dynamics of this Dante’s productive responses in visual arts, the panel will discuss:

  • The visuality of Dante’s works: from the lyrics to the Commedia, in terms of their material imagery, visual and visionary language, episodes of ekphrasis, synaesthetic and optical illusions and effects. Dante’s seeing, and the reader as observer.
  • ·The construction of the visual canon: from Botticelli’s Disegni per la Divina Commedia (1480-1495) to Robert Rauschenberg Thirty-Four Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno (1958-1960) and beyond.
  • The dialectic of centrality/marginality at play within the canon: i.e., the macroscopic predilection for the representation of the Commedia over the Vita Nuova and other minor works; as well as the microscopic selection of episodes and passages from the poem itself.
  • The multiple uses of illustration as commentary: from early modern manuscripts to nineteenth-century illustrated editions for young and adult readers.

Please submit abstracts of not more that 200 words, a brief biographical note, and requests for audio-visual equipment to David Bowe (University of Oxford) david.bowe@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk and Federica Coluzzi (University of Manchester) federica.coluzzi@manchester.ac.uk by 20 December 2017.

Rereading Dante’s Vita nova in print and in translation: a UCL Special Collections exhibition, by Paolo Gattavari (UCL)

This is a lovely write up of the exhibition of rare and important printed books of Dante’s works and about Dante, written by Paolo Gattavari, a PhD student at UCL.

Re-reading Dante's Vita nova

The second seminar of the collaborative research project ‘Re-Reading Dante’s Vita nova’, held at University College of London on the 10th November, was accompanied by a book display showing a wide range of print editions of Dante’s works, from the editio princeps of the Vita nova, dating back to 1576, to translations of his texts into English and French.

displayUCL Library Special Collections hosted a display of books from their Dante Collection

The books on display were kindly made available by the UCL Dante Collection, an real treasure trove for anyone interested in Dante and the history of Dante Studies. With almost 3000 volumes, the Dante Collection took its origin from the bequest made in 1876 by the eminent Dante scholar Henry Clark Barlow and, from that moment onwards, it continued to blossom thanks to other donations or acquisitions.

The editio princeps of the Vita nova was…

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UCL Vita nova exhibition

This was a great second event in out #VitanovaUK series, hosted by colleagues at UCL, with a lovely exhibition of important early printed editions of Dante’s Vita nova and the Divine Comedy. Have a look for the Catherine Keen’s twitter live introduction to the collection on the #VitanovaUK hashtag.
There will be some more blogs about this and other events soon, so do keep an eye on the ‘Re-reading Dante’s Vita nova’ blog, and sorry about the coffee Kenneth…

Re-reading Dante's Vita nova

We’re delighted to announce that, as well as the presentations and discussion, there will be a small book display to accompany the day, featuring Special Collections material including the editio princeps of 1576, and some other wonderful 16th, 18th and 19th century material. This will be on display in the Special Collections Reading Room in the South Junction, adjacent to the main event in the Institute for Advanced Studies.

Full details on the poster:Vita Nova 10 Nov poster update

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‘Re-Reading Dante’s Vita nova’ 2, Friday 10 November, 2.00-5.00 pm, UCL

Updates on our next event in the #VitanovaUK series at UCL, 10 November, 2-5pm

Re-reading Dante's Vita nova

The Seminar is being hosted by UCL’s Institute for Advanced Studies, in the ‘Common Ground’ seminar space, Wilkins Building South Wing, UCL. The chapters proposed for close discussion this time are Vita nova ch. 5-12 (Barbi’s numbering), and the speakers will include (in alphabetical order) Giulia Gaimari, Catherine Keen, Jennifer Rushworth, and John Took.

Plans for the day are being finalised, so watch this space for a full formal programme. Meanwhile, please save the date, and spread the word.

RP-P-1931-2038 ‘Portrait of Dante and Beatrice’, by Bernard Essers, 1922 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

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Beyond Between Men: A symposium report – and a call to arms

A helpfully detailed conference report from a fascinating sounding conference, which I was sad not to be able to attend.

Rachel E. Moss

“Frynd synd on eorþan, / leofe lifgende leger weardiað”
[There are friends/lovers on earth, / dear ones living who lie in bed (together)]
The Wife’s Lament, a tenth-century Old English poem

conference The definitely-not-homosocial social space of the conference: relaxing over dinner

In Oxford, around 30 scholars from several disciplines, working on periods ranging from the early medieval to the near-contemporary, met to attend Beyond Between Men: Homosociality Across Time on the what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far – Monday 19 June. The Radcliffe Humanities Building, usually an airy space, gradually took on the feeling of a steam room as the day progressed. Yet delegates – with fans improvised out of the programme, slurping water and wryly tweeting pictures of the Circles of Hell – gamely stayed engaged from 9.30pm to 6pm, through an incredibly packed schedule. A plenary paper, twelve papers…

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First event, Leeds, 28 April 2017

The programme for the first Re-reading Dante’s Vita nova event is out! #VitanovaUK

Re-reading Dante's Vita nova

We’re very pleased to announce the programme for the first event in the ‘Re-reading Dante’s Vita nova‘ series. We’ll be meeting in the Research Hub at the University of Leeds from 2pm (full details on the poster below), and we welcome you to join us there!

Poster-2

There will be presentations from members of the Italian programme at Leeds and the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies, followed by ample opportunity for a discussion of the start of Dante’s little book, the Vita nova.

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Rereading Dante’s Vita nova

I want to take a moment to introduce a new Dante project taking place over the next two years, led by researchers from eight universities, and involving colleagues from even more institutions. This ambitious network will go back to the Florentine poet’s ‘little book’ and, through rereading Dante’s Vita nova in it’s historical, intellectual, material, literary context and afterlife will reconsider the import of Dante’s (probably) first foray into long form literary production.

Source: The Project