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Dante and Memory: Composition, Publication, and Performance in the Textual Transmission of the Divine Comedy

When: Friday, April 15, 2022
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: Kresge Hall, 1-515, 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Leon Hedstrom  

Group: Department of French and Italian

Category: Academic


Looking at the remarkable unity and macrotextual solidity of Dante’s Comedy, it’s easy to forget that the Comedy was initially conceived as a trilogy of cantiche, and was never published in its entirety by its author. Delving into the problem of the Comedy’s early circulation—as suggested by extant documentation—and related chronological issues, this talk attempts to sum up recent acquisitions on such matters, paying due attention to the influence of orality and memory in the composition, performance, and diffusion of literary works. Although often difficult to assess, the latter is a paramount factor in the poem’s itinerary of knowledge. Moreover, the possible impact of orality and memory in both the Comedy’s composition and publication must be taken into account, in light of medieval practices in southwestern Europe.

Professor Michelangelo Zaccarello is Professor of Italian Philology at the University of Pisa. His principal research interests concern the textual criticism of early Italian literary texts, mainly comic verse and short stories, and he is a leading expert in digital philology. A prolific scholar, he has authored critical editions of early vernacular poets and writers such as Burchiello, Pulci, Sacchetti, and several books of textual scholarship, including, most recently L’edizione critica del testo letterario (Mondadori 2017), Teoria e forme del testo digitale (Carocci 2019), and Leggere senza libri. Conoscere gli e-book di letteratura italiana (Cesati 2020). In addition, he has published more than a hundred articles, chapters, and reviews in national and international presses and journals. He previously held positions in Dublin, Oxford and Verona, as well as visiting appointments at several North American universities (UC Berkeley, U. Arizona, Indiana U, Notre Dame, U. of Toronto) and in Europe: Cambridge (UK), Helsinki (Finland), Nitra (Slovakia), Lausanne (Switzerland).

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