Each year the Dante Society of America awards the following prizes to recognize excellence among undergraduate and graduate students and secondary school teachers in North America in promoting a greater understanding of Dante’s life, time, and works:
For a listing of current and previous prize winners, please consult the following links:
Established in 2016 in memory of our late colleague Robert M. Durling, this award has recognized excellence in the teaching of Dante’s life, time, and works by educators working in North American secondary schools (i.e., high school and middle school). Beginning in 2023, the prize can also be awarded to encourage school teachers to develop courses or incorporate significant modules on Dante in their courses. Teachers may apply on the basis of a course or course component already taught or on one they intend to teach within the next two academic years. The prize winner receives a monetary award in the amount of $1,000.
Submissions should include a brief resume and a cover letter that highlights the instructor’s engagement with Dante to date as well as detailed plans for future incorporation of relevant material into the curriculum. Additional materials such as an annotated syllabus, detailed assignment descriptions, recordings of class instruction or examples of digital and other instructional aids can also be submitted to strengthen the dossier. Applicants will need one letter of support sent via email from a student or colleague familiar with the project and the pedagogical approach of the instructor and who can attest to its success and/or potential for success. Submissions must be received electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 1, and will be judged by the Prize Committee of the Society with the winner announced in the autumn of each year. Candidates not in receipt of the award remain eligible to participate in a future competition.
Since 1887 The Dante Society of America has presented annual prizes for the best student essays on a subject related to the life or works of Dante Alighieri. The Dante Prize of five hundred dollars ($500) is offered for the best essay submitted by an undergraduate enrolled in any college or university in the US, US territories, or Canada, or by anyone not enrolled as a graduate student who has received an undergraduate degree from a college or university in the US, US territories, or Canada within the past year. The Charles Hall Grandgent Award of seven hundred and fifty dollars ($750) is offered for the best essay submitted by a student enrolled in any graduate program in the US, US territories, or Canada. Submissions are also accepted from students who have graduated since the last prize submission deadline however they must have completed the essay while still enrolled in a graduate program within that calendar year.
Undergraduate essays should be no longer than 7,500 words and graduate essays should be no longer than 10,000 words, including footnotes but excluding bibliography. While these are the upper word limits, we do accept shorter submissions. The essay submitted can be a self-standing work or a portion of a larger work. In the latter case, writers are asked to include in the submission a description of how the essay fits within the larger whole. That description will not count towards the essay's overall word limit, but should not exceed 750 words for undergraduate essays or 1,000 words for graduate essays.
The deadline for submissions is June 30 of each year. All submissions must be sent as e-mail attachments to The Dante Society of America at email@example.com. Files should be saved as documents with either a .doc, .docx, or an .rtf extension. No hardcopy submissions will be accepted. Students may submit only one essay per year, but may submit entries each year they meet the eligibility requirements for enrollment in an undergraduate or graduate program. Essays that have been submitted in a previous round of competition are not eligible for resubmission (this includes essays in revised form).
Each author should provide a cover page (as the first page of the file) giving her or his name; institutional affiliation; local, permanent and e-mail addresses; and the title and category (undergraduate or graduate) of the essay. The author’s name should not appear on the essay title page (to follow the cover page) or on any other page of the text since the essays are submitted anonymously to the readers. Essays may be submitted in either English or Italian. Quotations from Dante's works should be cited in the original language. Students working primarily with English translations may quote the translations, but they should provide the corresponding Italian or Latin text in parentheses. Illustrations are acceptable if they are analyzed in the essay, or if they help illuminate a point made in the essay. The format of the essay should conform to either the Chicago or MLA Style Sheet guidelines. Body text should be set in Times New Roman 12, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins.
A special committee of the Society will judge the submissions. In either competition, the committee may, at its discretion, split the award between two contestants (each to receive one half of the prize), or it may make no award. Winners and their essay titles are announced in the autumn. The essays remain the intellectual property of their authors.
The Dante Society of America is pleased to announce an annual program of monetary awards to recognize outstanding student service contributions to its publications, activities, initiatives, and mission.
Beginning in 2024, students who have served the Society in some significant capacity can nominate themselves or their peers for an award by submitting a letter to the Secretary outlining the services rendered; applicants should request that a letter of recommendation from the council member, committee chair, or officer with whom they have collaborated be sent on their behalf to the Secretary. The deadline for nominations and completion of nomination portfolios to be received each year is April 15; applications received after that date will be considered the following year. Council members will select winners and announce them at the Annual Members meeting in May. Unsuccessful nominations may be resubmitted in the following year's competition. These prizes are made possible in part by an anonymous donation to the Society in 2021.
Winners of three inaugural Presidential Service Awards of $1000 each were announced at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Society. They are Mario Sassi of the University of Pennsylvania, Paolo Scartoni of Rutgers University, and Leonardo Chiarantini of the University of Michigan, who founded the DSA Graduate Student Group and conducted a series of online encounters among graduate students over the course of the last year, organized around specific texts with occasional visits by invited professors.
Graduate students interested in becoming more involved with the work of the Society can learn more about our Graduate Student Service Opportunities.
The Prize Committee is very pleased to announce the winners of the three prizes sponsored by the Dante Society of America for the 2022 calendar year:
Since 1887 The Dante Society of America has presented annual prizes for the best student essays on a subject related to the life or works of Dante Alighieri. The Dante Prize of five hundred dollars ($500) is offered for the best essay submitted by an undergraduate enrolled in any college or university in the US, US territories, or Canada, or by anyone not enrolled as a graduate student who has received an undergraduate degree from a college or university in the US, US territories, or Canada within the past year. The Charles Hall Grandgent Award of seven hundred and fifty dollars ($750) is offered for the best essay submitted by a student enrolled in any graduate program in the US, US territories, or Canada.
Established in 2016 in memory of our late colleague, the Durling Prize recognizes excellence in the teaching of Dante’s life, time, and works by educators working in North American secondary schools. The prize winner receives a monetary award in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000). The Durling Prize is awarded to an educator who demonstrates effective and innovative pedagogical approaches to teaching Dante, whether in a single unit, semester, or year-long course.
We warmly congratulate this year’s prize winners.
The Prize Committee of the DSA
William Stephany (chair)
Please consult the following pages for listings of the winners of our annual prizes and awards since their inceptions: