Encountering Dante’s Beatrice: Poetry, Persons, Theology and Thought

This two-day online conference, held on Zoom, will examine critical questions raised by the figure of Dante’s Beatrice.


8 and 9 July 2021 

Papers will consider the following questions:

  • What role does Beatrice play in Dante’s poetic, theological and philosophical projects?
  • How might recent developments in our understanding of Dante’s works and context affect scholars’ (often unspoken) assumptions about the figure of Beatrice?
  • What is the importance of biographical and historical information in interpreting Dante’s Beatrice?
  • How do the differing presentations of Beatrice across all of Dante’s works affect our reading of those texts – and to what extent is it legitimate to think of her as a consistent presence in Dante’s opus?
  • What can past debates about the figure of Beatrice, and representations of her, still contribute to reading Dante today?

How to register

Please email Matthew Treherne (m.treherne@leeds.ac.uk) to register interest in attending, or for further information.

Speakers include:

Online reading groups

In a series of online reading groups leading up to the conference, we’ll discuss some key texts on Dante’s Beatrice. For each reading group, extracts of the texts discussed will be circulated in advance. The reading groups will be held on Zoom; please register in advance using the links below.

26 January 2021, 3pm 
Early vernacular commentaries on the appearance of Beatrice in Purgatorio XXX (with Simon Gilson, University of Oxford).
Register now

24 February 2021, 2pm
Etienne Gilson, Dante the Philosopher
Register now

17 March 2021, 3pm
Charles Williams, The Figure of Beatrice: A Study in Dante
Register now

5 May 2021, 3pm
Charles Singleton, Dante Studies II: Journey to Beatrice
Register now


Hosted by the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies, with support from the Modern Humanities Research Association Conference fund

Organisers: Dr Abigail Rowson and Professor Matthew Treherne