Dante's Afterlives

A postgraduate/early-career conference, marking the seven-hundredth anniversary of Dante’s death in 1321, will examine how Dante’s works continue to reach us in unexpected ways.

Dante’s Afterlives

Online Zoom Conference via Dante Network 

University of Oxford / University of Leeds

24 June, 12:30 – 17:45

25 June, 14:00 – 17:00 

Register for this conference. 

Dante has been an iconic figure from his time to the present day; ‘Dante’s Afterlives’ will therefore explore how Dante’s works, filtered through a variety of forms and contexts, have produced multiple interpretations (and misinterpretations). Rather than seeing the vast cultural diffusion of Dante’s works (principally the Commedia) as an interpretive obstacle to be overcome, this conference will take a step back, focusing instead on how this process has shaped (and continues to shape) the ever-increasing ways in which Dante speaks to us today.

By acknowledging and exploring the processes of mediation which stand between Dante’s time and our own, we can gain a better understanding of the historical contingency of Dante’s works. Furthermore, such a self-reflective approach will be useful for understanding how misunderstandings, (mis)representations, scholarly trends, and cross-cultural transformations all play a role in constructing the various ‘Dantes’ which have emerged over the centuries.


Day One

Thursday 24 June – 12:30 to 17:45

12:30 – 12:45 Welcome 

12:45 – 14:15 Panel 1: Rewriting Dante

Respondent: Claire Honess (University of Leeds)

Chair: Serena Vandi (University of Oxford)

Aistė Kiltinavičiūtė (University of Cambridge) Reimagining Dantean Transitions in Chaucer’s House of Fame

Domenico Fadda (Università per Stranieri di Perugia) Bernardo Bellini and the Rewriting of Inferno on the Occasion of the 1865 Dante Celebrations

Alejandro Cuadrado (Columbia University) Dante’s Poetic Universe in Shane McCrae’s A Fire in Every World

14.15–14.30 Coffee Break 

14.30–16.00 Panel 2: Performing Dante

Respondent: Paolo De Ventura (University of Birmingham)

Chair: Abi Rowson (University of Leeds)

Carmen Costanza (University of Leeds) Engaging with Liturgy in Dante’s Commedia

Sara Fontana (Università degli Studi di Verona) Performing Dante for Young People in Belgium and Italy: Two Case Studies

Camilla Bambozzi (University of Leeds) Following Dante’s Path to Salvation: The Reception of the Commedia Among Social Outcasts

16.00–16.15 Coffee Break

16.15–17.45 Panel 3: Contextualising Dante

Respondent: Simon Gilson (University of Oxford)

Chair: Caroline Dormor (University of Oxford)

Rebecca Bowen (University of Oxford) Cupids in Paradise: Botticelli’s Illustration of Paradiso XXI

Elisabeth Trischler (University of Leeds) A Divine View: Architectural Representations of Dante’s Cities

Matteo Ottaviani (McGill University) The Creation of a Dantesque Myth: The Case of Friar Alberigo

Day Two

Friday 25 June – 14:00 – 17:00

14.00 –15.00 Panel 4: Visualizing Dante

Respondent: Joseph Luzzi (Bard College)

Chair: Emma Wall (University of Durham)

Jacob Abell (Vanderbilt University) Dante’s Tinted Glasses: Sanctifying the Private Eye in Seymour Chwast’s Graphic Novelization of Dante’s Commedia

Rory D Sellgren (Cumberland University) ‘Io fei gibetto a me de le mie case’ (Inf. XIII, 151): Dante and Hannibal Lecter

15.00–15.15 Coffee Break

15.15–16.45 Panel 5: Reading Dante

Respondent: Matthew Treherne (University of Leeds)

Chair: Federica Coluzzi (University of Warwick)

Lachlan Hughes (University of Oxford) Dante’s Missing Sirventese

J.C. Wiles (University of Cambridge) ‘Ov’è?; ‘dov’è’; ‘dov’è?’: Absence, Desire, and the Meaning of Narrative in Dante’s Commedia

George Rayson (University of Cambridge) Is the Language of the Commedia Surprising? The Case of the Hapax ‘stupendo’ (Par. XXVI, 89)

16.45–17.00 Closing Remarks