Dante for the New Millennium

Dante for the New Millennium

Dante for the New Millennium

Dante for the New Millennium

Synopsis

The twenty-five original essays in this remarkable book constitute both a state of the art survey of Dante scholarship and a manifesto for new understandings of one of the world's great poets. The fruit of an historic conference called by the Dante Society of America, the essays confront a range of important questions. What theories, methods, and issues are unique to Dante scholarship? How are they changing? What is the essence of the distinctive American Dante tradition? Why--and how--do we read Dante in today's global, postmodern culture? From John Ahern on the first copies of the Commedia to Peter Hawkins and Rachel Jacoff on Dante after modernism, the essays shed brilliant new light on Dante's texts, his world, and what we make of his legacy. The contributors: John Ahern, H. Wayne Storey, Guglielmo Gorni, Teodolinda Barolini, Gary P. Cestaro, Lino Pertile, F. Regina Psaki, Steven Botterill, Giuseppe Mazzotta, Alison Cornish, Robert M. Durling, Manuele Gragnolati, Giuliana Carugati, Susan Noakes, Zygmunt Baranski, Christopher Kleinhenz, Ronald L. Martinez, Ronald Herzman, Amilcare Iannucci, Albert Russell Ascoli, Michelangelo Picone, Jessica Levenstein, David Foster Wallace, Piero Boitani, Peter Hawkins, and Rachel Jacoff.

Excerpt

This volume is the fruit of a unique conference, “Dante2000,” sponsored by the Dante Society of America and the Italian Academy of Advanced Studies in America and held at Columbia University on April 7–9, 2000. When I became the fifteenth president of the Dante Society in 1997, with a tenure that fell over the cusp of the millennium, it occurred to me that the spring of 2000 would offer an excellent symbolic vantage point from which both to assess our past accomplishments, as Dante scholars, and to outline and suggest the avenues of scholarship that we believe would be most exciting to pursue in the years to come. and I had no doubt that Dante would have considered the weekend of his vision in the year 2000 an appropriate and worthy opportunity to celebrate his poetry.

In deciding to organize and sponsor its first full-scale conference in a history that reaches back to 1881, when the poet Longfellow organized a group of friends and scholars in the environs of Harvard University into a Dante Club, the Dante Society of America hoped to capitalize on the millennial spirit in the air to serve up the best and most provocative Dante scholarship we could find: the scholarship most likely to set the agenda for “the next millennium” of Dante studies. We wanted to crystallize and highlight a moment in time—“Dante2000”—and to suggest the plenitude of this moment with respect to the future.

Our goal was to nudge the course of scholarship by suggesting new avenues of research and discussion; to accomplish this goal we invited our contributors to write on preselected topics. a Program Committee consisting of Kevin Brownlee, Robert Durling, Richard Lansing, and me chose the topics over the course of an intense weekend meeting in January 1998. My notes to that meeting show that we were asking ourselves big questions: What methodologies and approaches are particular to Dante scholarship? Why do we read Dante today? What are the topics that need to be explored in the years to come? the pages and pages of “high energy topics” that we generated at that meeting were . . .

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