Meetings and Events

The Dante Society of America regularly organizes panel sessions at various academic conferences, and holds its own annual meeting and conference:

We also include postings here about Dante-related conferences and events around the world. Please contact our secretary with information about your event:

DSA Sessions at the 2017 Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting (March 30 - April 1, 2017)

The Dante Society of America has organized three sessions for the next annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, which will be held in Chicago, on March 30 - April 1, 2017.


Organized by Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College) and Deborah Parker (University of Virginia); chair: Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College)

Friday March 31, 1:30 to 3:00pm, The Palmer House Hilton, Seventh Floor, Sandburg 3

Diletta Gamberini (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut) “Francesco da Sangallo: The Construction of the Artist’s Persona as a Dantista”

Several painters and sculptors who operated around the Florentine court of Cosimo I de’ Medici shared with the contemporary literati of the Accademia Fiorentina a strong interest in Dante, an interest that was reflected in the creation of a number of artistic celebrations of the author and his writings. In fact, scholars have called attention to the literary meanings embedded in such iconic works as Agnolo Bronzino’s allegorical portrait of the writer, Giorgio Vasari’s figuration of the author within the group of the Six Tuscan Poets, or Pierino da Vinci’s relief of the Death of Count Ugolino. The significant interest in Dante on the part of Francesco da Sangallo, a prominent sculptor, architect, and medallist in Cosimean Florence, has, however, remained unnoticed. Drawing on newly discovered or little known documents, this paper sets out to illuminate the pivotal role of Dante for the artist’s careful self-fashioning and pronounced desire for intellectual self-promotion.

Aida Audeh (Hamline University) “Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio: The Tre Corone as Model of Creative Influence and Collaboration”

For Boccaccio and Petrarch, Dante existed as a formidable presence whose influence on Italian literature could not be ignored. Ultimately, the three poets would be grouped and labeled the “Tre Corone” in recognition of their part in establishing the Renaissance. Their dynamic of admiration, emulation, and deep rivalry was repeated by later writers and artists who saw it as a utopian model for collaboration in pursuit of creative innovation. The most ill-fated of these appropriations was that of Vincent Van Gogh who used it as model for his own collaborative effort with Paul Gauguin in which they replicated not only the Tre Corone’s positive aspects of inspiration and innovation, but also their rivalries and jealousies, ultimately shattering Vincent’s utopian aspirations for creation of a new “Renaissance” of painting.

Leyla Maria Gabriella Livraghi (Università degli Studi di Pisa) “Dante’s Thieves (Inf. 24–25): A Figurative Approach”

My talk focuses on the section of Dante’s Inferno devoted to the thieves (cantos 24–25). I discuss the specific punishments that are assigned to Vanni Fucci and to the second couple of Florentine thieves — which are based on classical subtexts mainly from Ovid. To demonstrate Dante’s original approach to his sources, I comment the way in which the illuminations in the famous Chantilly manuscript deal with the text of the Commedia, by misinterpreting it (in Vanni’s case) or on the contrary by making an effort to translate it into images in the best way possible (in the Florentine thieves’ case). I also compare Dante’s innovative respect to the representative features of Ovid’s metamorphoses of Cadmus and Armonia to the figurative tradition of the myth from Dante’s time to the Renaissance and the Modern Age, when it finally developed in a way comparable to the one reached by Dante centuries before.


Organized by Deborah Parker (University of Virginia) and Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College); chair, Justin Steinberg (University of Chicago)

Friday March 31, 3:30 to 5:00pm, The Palmer House Hilton, Seventh Floor, Sandburg 3

Ronald L. Martinez (Brown University) “Dante Measures and Sews a Gown: Paradiso 32.127–51”

Paradiso 32.127-51, preparing the final prayer to the Virgin, is a  tour-de-force of metapoetics, in which Dante deploys, with the metaphor of the journey as a gonna, a visual blueprint of the Commedia. Dante invokes rhetorical texts regarding how a discourse is measured in advance, so that sufficient material is provided, but also to arrange what comes first, what last: implicitly showing how the Commedia was imagined from the beginning. The journey is recalled, from the pilgrim’s ruinarein Inf. 1.61 to the present punto, as well as the Brunetto episode (sartor, drappo). Describing the experience as “il tempo che t’assonna,” the sartorial image is troped so that punto defines a temporal point rather than a stitch, just as the idea of the journey as a dream is reintroduced, linking the passage back to Inf. 1.7 (“tant’era pien di sonno in quel punto / che la verace via abbandonai”).

Marguerite Waller (University of California, Riverside) “Dante’s Historiography and the Visual Culture of the Roman Jubilee”

The incorporation of pre-Christian Roman architectural elements in Rome’s churches are among the many instances of the production and location of meaning by Roman urban planners, architects, and artists in the relations between the structures and settings they inherited and their own contributions to ongoing visual and structural dialogues (Kessler and Zaccharias 2000, 65-79). Dante would have seen churches like San Clemente and Santa Prassede along the pilgrimage route he encountered during his diplomatic mission to Rome in 1300, the year of Pope Boniface VIII’s Jubilee and the year in which Dante sets the Commedia’s counter-pilgrimage. Challenging the typological reading of Rome enshrined in much contemporary Dante scholarship, I read the relations set up between the various and incommensurable images of the “Triumph of Christ” that make up the visual program in Santa Prassede as an analogue for Dante’s historiographical treatments of the Roman Empire in the Commedia.

Giovanni Braico (New York University) “Re-Constructing Demonic Anatomies: The Demons of Chantilly, MS 597”

By focusing on the famous MS 597 of Chantilly, this talk will point out the sophistication with which the often-ambiguous demonic representations of the Inferno are rendered in both the visual and written interpretations included in the manuscript. Scholars have already underscored how the text-image interactions conceived for the incipits of the texts contained in MS 597 address the complex issue of prophetic visio VS poetic fictio and impact the reception of the Commedia. This talk will build on this latter idea by suggesting that the editors of MS 597 not only shaped the accessus ad auctorem (and “ad textum”) but they also employed specific reading strategies to reconstruct the demonic anatomies and features depicted by Dante in a way that suits the moral and ethical program of the manuscript, dedicated to the eminent political figure of Lucano Spinola. This talk, then, will engage with questions related to the making of literary sense and practices of textual transmission in the Late Middle Ages.


Organized by Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College) and Deborah Parker (University of Virginia); chair: Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College)

Friday March 31, 5:30 to 7:00pm, The Palmer House Hilton, Seventh Floor, Sandburg 3

Victoria Kirkham (University of Pennsylvania) “Dante’s Beard”

Dante’s iconography, although strikingly constant through the centuries, conflicts both with his own words as poet and written commentary. From manuscript miniatures to monumental public art, he appears profiled in medieval headgear with an aquiline nose and strong but beardless chin. By contrast, precisely the dramatic cantos of Purgatorio that bear the artist’s signature and bring him at last to Beatrice, attribute him a beard. “Alza la barba,” [lift up your beard], she instructs in words of stinging rebuke (Purg. 31.68). Early biographers, beginning with Boccaccio, report the beard; commentators, on the other hand, have dealt with it variously—”removal” sometimes total, by reducing it to a synecdoche for the face; sometimes partial, by proposing that he wore the whiskers intermittently. This talk, turning on the beard, interweaves verbal and visual traditions of Dante portraits from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries.

Federica Caneparo (University of Chicago) “Illustration, Inspiration, and Interpretation: The Life of Dante’s Characters Inside and Outside the Commedia

This paper will investigate three different approaches to Dante’s Comedy experimented with artists through the centuries: first, illustrations conceptually and physically bound with the text, offering the reader a visual translation of the verses; second, references to the poem as an authoritative literary source. Representations of the Last Judgment are eloquent examples in this respect: for instance, Nardo di Cione’s frescoes in Florence, frequently remembered as the first pictorial reference to Dante’s Comedy in monumental art, represent Hell and Paradise accordingly to Dante’s description, but without showing Dante and Virgil traveling in the afterworld. Such an absence is nothing but the natural consequence of the fresco’s declared purpose, which is to represent the Last Judgement, and not the Divine Comedy. Finally, I will examine examples of artworks where characters from Dante’s Comedy acquired an independent life outside the poem, like in Pierino da Vinci’s bronze relief with the Death of Count Ugolino and his Sons.

Zoe Zane Langer (Brown University) “Mapping Dante’s Inferno in Renaissance Print: The Visual Context of the Accademia Della Crusca Map (1595)”

Often praised for its philological accuracy, the Accademia della Crusca’s edition of Dante’s Commedia (1595), also featured a detailed map of the Inferno as its frontispiece. Despite the map’s prominent position, scholars have tended to emphasize the literary context of the volume. This situates the map within a rich visual legacy of mapping the Inferno in editions of the Commedia, including the 1506 Giuntina and editions by Vellutello 1544 and Giambullari 1544. Attending to the role of maps in each edition and on the print market, in cartographic imagery as well as in the illustrations of Giovanni Stradano (1587-8) for example, also allows us to see how maps of the Inferno were not only used in scientific debates but were vital to arguments about Dante’s poetics and politics. Maps, therefore, contribute to our understanding of the Commedia’s production and reception across fields of knowledge in the early modern period.

2017 Annual Meeting and Conference (May 6, 2017)

The 135th Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America will be held at the University of Oregon on Saturday, May 6, 2017. In conjunction with our Annual Meeting, University of Oregon professors Regina Psaki and Warren Ginsberg will host a symposium on "Translation in Dante: Dante in Translation." Please click here for program details and local arrangements.

DSA Sessions at 2017 International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 11-14, 2017)

The Dante Society of America will sponsor three sessions on Dante at the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, May 11-14, 2017.


Chair: Catherine Adoyo

Laurence Hooper (Dartmouth College) “Dante’s Exiles, Figures of Injustice or Figures of Hope?”

Philip F. O’Mara “‘The Whole Catastrophe’: Kinship and Tragic Transformation in the Commedia

Dabney Park (University of Miami) “The Pope in Hell—Nicholas III”

Kathleen Verduin (Hope College) “‘A Mare Magnum for Adventure’: The Dante Studies of George Ticknor”


Chair: Laurence Hooper

Leonardo Chiarantini (University of Michigan) “‘And that bending is love’: Dante’s Exposition of Aristotle’s Desire.”

Christiana Purdy Moudarres (Yale University) “‘The Face That Most Resembles Christ’: The Matter of Motherhood for Dante’s Holy Family”

Catherine Adoyo (Independent Scholar) “The Geometer’s Trinitary Ontology of Dante’s terza rima

Roberto Casazza (Universidad de Buenos Aires) “Spherical Radiation, Astral Determinism and Philosophical Happiness in Dante’s Convivium


Chair: Kathleen Verduin

Wuming Chang (Brown University) “Dante’s Three Styles Revisited: Constructio”

James T. Chiampi (UC Irvine) “Dante’s Retrospective Illumination of Irony–the Inferno.”

Henry Ansgar Kelly (UCLA) “Dantean Contradictions: ‘Cangrande’ on Tragedy, and Satan as Both Active and Inactive”

Aparna Chaudhuri (Harvard University) “Studying Death with Dante: The Vita Nuova and Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess”

Past Meetings and Events

A listing of meetings and events sponsored by the Dante Society in previous years is available here.