Matilde Urbach’s virtual book club at the Biblioteca Joan Triadu’ de Vic (Barcelona, Spain): Dante 2021

 

“Llegir els clàssics és un club de lectura virtual de la Biblioteca Joan Triadú de Vic. Va néixer, per casualitat, el passat mes d’abril, en ple confinament covid, quan la biblioteca (l’edifici) va haver de tancar portes. A l’espai físic del carrer Arquebisbe Alemany, 5 no s’hi podia accedir, no, però la biblioteca obria per confinament a la xarxa. Els clubs de lectura presencials van parar en sec, és clar. Ens quedava De casa al club, en format blog, on es va poder celebrar la trobada per comentar Claus i Lucas i encara faltaven uns mesos per iniciar les sessions virtuals, via Jitsi Meet, del Club de lectura Dones i Literatura, per exemple. Llavors, cap a finals d’abril, va aparèixer Tellfy, una app de comunicació instantània per a dispositius mòbils, que permetia traslladar a la xarxa l’activitat de les comunitats de lectors. I ara entra en escena la casualitat. No la menystingueu mai. Resulta que, una tarda de finals d’abril, em vaig descarregar l’aplicació Tellfy a la tauleta per fer el xafarder. Vaig començar a fer provatures, per pura curiositat, insisteixo. Vaig triar un llibre, l’Odissea, que era el que estava llegint, en això no em vaig trencar gaire les banyes, i vaig començar de rumiar com carai m’ho faria, posat per cas que en volgués crear un club de lectura virtual amb aquell estri nou. Que si això que si allò, que tomba que gira. Però com que els meus experiments eren públics —estava emetent en obert— em vaig trobar, de sobte, que dues persones s’havien afegit a la comunitat lectora que acabava de crear. Ara pla, amb això no hi comptava.  I així és com el simulacre va acabar en una lectura compartida de l’Odissea, al Tellfy.

“Vaig acceptar el repte de bon grat perquè estic convençuda que els clàssics són els grans abandonats de les biblioteques públiques. Dediquem molts esforços a les novetats i als llibres que puguin acontentar els lectors. La majoria dels lectors, si més no. Així ho crec. Llegiríem, doncs, l’Odissea, tal i com diu el Senyor dolent en aquest apunt: a poc a poc (un cant per setmana) i trigant el que s’hagi de trigar.

“Amb el pas dels mesos i l’arribada d’allò que en diuen la nova normalitat (ecs!), la part participativa, d’interacció, de la comunitat Tellfy anava perdent pistonada fins a pràcticament desaparèixer i, per contra, la informació que anava penjant de cada cant agafava gruix, per acumulació, és clar. L’única pega és que aquests continguts quedaven absolutament enterrats en l’aplicació, sense accés obert des de la xarxa. Per aquest motiu m’he decidit a traslladar-los a un blog. Aquí el teniu: Llegir els clàssics. I com podeu apreciar, el títol —que no és Llegir l’Odissea apunta —ara que estem a quatre cants del final— que tinc tota la intenció de donar-li continuïtat. Amb covid o sense.”    —Matilde Urbach, Biblioteca Joan Triadu’ de Vic

A Word a Day from Dante

A word a day from Dante’s writing, hosted by Accademia della Crusca
See also this

Uffizi honors the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death with virtual exhibit of Federico Zuccari’s illustrations (Jan. 1, 2021)

“MILAN (AP) — Florence’s Uffizi Gallery is making available for viewing online 88 rarely displayed drawings of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” to mark the 700th anniversary in 2021 of the Italian poet’s death.  The virtual show of high-resolution images of works by the 16th-Century Renaissance artist Federico Zuccari will be accessible from Friday [Dec. 31, 2020] “for free, any hour of the day, for everyone,” said Uffizi director Eike Schmidt.” […]  AP News, January 1, 2021

See the 88 drawings by Federico Zuccari (1540-1609) done between 1586-1588 while in Spain here.

…mi ritrovai in una strana pandemia… (2020)

In the last days of 2020, the image below was circulating on various social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook):

Contributed by Irene Zanini-Cordi (Florida State University)

John Took, Why Dante Matters: An Intelligent Person’s Guide (2020)

“The year 2021 marks the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, a poet who, as T. S. Eliot put it, ‘divides the world with Shakespeare, there being no third.’ His, like ours, was a world of moral uncertainty and political violence, all of which made not only for the agony of exile but for an ever deeper meditation on the nature of human happiness.

“In Why Dante Matters, John Took offers by way of three in particular of Dante’s works – the Vita Nova as the great work of his youth, the Convivio as the great work of his middle years and the Commedia as the great work of his maturity – an account, not merely of Dante’s development as a poet and philosopher, but of his continuing presence to us as a guide to man’s wellbeing as man.

“Committed as he was to the welfare not only of his contemporaries but of those ‘who will deem this time ancient,’ Dante’s is in this sense a discourse overarching the centuries, a discourse confirming him in his status, not merely as a cultural icon, but as a fellow traveller.”   —Bloomsbury

See also the Virtual book launch event held at UCL’s Institute for Advanced Study, November 24, 2020.

Alessandro Barbero’s “Lezione su Dante e il Potere” (2020)

alessandro-barbero-lezione-su-dante-e-il-potere-2020“Grazie alla consolidata collaborazione con la Casa Editrice Laterza, la Fondazione del Teatro Grande propone per questa Stagione una speciale Lezione di Storia che vede protagonista Alessandro Barbero, storico e scrittore italiano tra i più acclamati degli ultimi tempi. Domenica 18 ottobre alle 15.30, anticipando gli eventi legati alle celebrazioni per i 700 anni dalla morte del Sommo Poeta, il Professor Barbero darà vita a una imperdibile Lezione sul tema “Dante e il potere.” Un incontro che insisterà soprattutto sulla grande passione di Dante per la politica.

“Oltre alla poesia, e a Beatrice, la politica è stata la passione dominante di Dante. Non solo la politica fatta di riflessione teorica e di alti ideali, ma quella concreta e sporca, fatta di gestione del potere, di lotte fra correnti, di disciplina di partito e di appoggio agli amici, di interventi in aula e di votazioni pilotate, di scelte drammatiche e di espedienti meschini. Alla fine della sua carriera lo aspettava un processo – politico anch’esso – per malversazioni e abuso di potere, un processo che gli sarebbe costato l’esilio, e grazie a cui noi oggi abbiamo la Commedia.

“Alessandro Barbero è considerato uno dei più originali storici italiani ed è noto al largo pubblico per i suoi libri – saggi e romanzi – e per le sue collaborazioni televisive. Studioso di prestigio, insegna Storia medievale presso l’Università del Piemonte Orientale, sede di Vercelli.” [. . .]    —QuiBresica.it, October 14, 2020

Beth Coggeshall and Deborah Parker on Purg. 16 for “Canto per Canto”

Deborah-Parker-Beth-Coggeshall-Purgatorio-16-Canto-per-Canto“’When I teach this canto I always like to get my students to think with me by analogy of other determining factors or determining forces that are external to ourselves, that we think of as placing some kind of condition or constraint on our free moral agency.’ To think about Purgatorio 16 ‘in light of the conversations about systemic racism and systemic injustices that we are confronting as a culture right now’ means to ask the right questions. Just like those that Dante asks Marco Lombardo. But it also means to entrust someone or something (Virgil? Reason?) in the dark, with our eyes bound to the fog, and with the intimate conviction of reaching the light, sooner or later, through questioning. Join Deborah Parker and Elizabeth Coggeshall in conversation about the compelling richness of this canto: the moral architecture of the poem, the visual aspects and its visual reception, the encounter with Marco Lombardo, the dichotomy ira bona (good anger)/iracondia (irascibility), the singing of penitents, the vacuum of leadership. All aspects that will lead to a concrete questioning of our modern society.”  –Maria Zilla

Watch or listen to the video of “Purgatorio 16: The Poem’s Moral Center” here.

Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time is a collaborative initiative between New York University’s Department of Italian Studies and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, and the Dante Society of America. The aim is to produce podcast conversations about all 100 cantos of the Divine Comedy, to be completed within the seventh centenary of Dante’s death in 2021.

James Torrens and Brenda Schildgen on Par. 23 for “Canto per Canto”

“While in the two preceding cantos Peter Damian and Saint Benedict vehemently incriminate the corruption of prelates and monastic orders, in Paradiso 23 invective gives way to rhapsody. The canto begins with Beatrice looking up eagerly at the saints – a looking up which is part of the outside of the mind experience that Dante’s guide encourages him to have. In their conversation on the canto, James Torrens and Brenda Schildgen discuss the various registers that Dante uses to express this experience of going beyond the mind as well as to speak of the Virgin Mary. The language goes from sublime to humble for ‘the Virgin herself represents that humility, on the one hand, and the sublime on the other’. As Dante uses a wide range of poetic registers, so does he use a wide range of images of the Virgin – early images as well as images drawn from the vernacular versions. Enjoy!” —Leonardo Chiarantini

Watch or listen to the video of “Paradiso 23: Preview of the Finale” here.

Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time is a collaborative initiative between New York University’s Department of Italian Studies and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, and the Dante Society of America. The aim is to produce podcast conversations about all 100 cantos of the Divine Comedy, to be completed within the seventh centenary of Dante’s death in 2021.

Olivia Holmes and Véronique Plesh on Purg. 19 for “Canto per Canto”

“Dante has a strange dream in which he is visited by a Siren, who is not all she seems. Professors Olivia Holmes and Véronique Plesh unpack this strange apparition and the many ups and downs in this canto, as Dante reaches the terrace of the avaricious and the prodigal, where the souls, including a former Pope, lie facing the ground to atone for their sins. Olivia and Véronique reflect on what the opposition between movement and stasis means for us, living in the confinement of Covid-19 precautions, and consider the racist paradigms of beauty and virtue that underpin Dante’s vision in Purgatorio 19.” – Kate Travers

Watch or listen to the video “Purgatorio 19: Stasis and Motion: False and True Images” here.

Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time is a collaborative initiative between New York University’s Department of Italian Studies and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, and the Dante Society of America. The aim is to produce podcast conversations about all 100 cantos of the Divine Comedy, to be completed within the seventh centenary of Dante’s death in 2021.

Ron Herzman and Bill Stephany on Inf. 27 for “Canto per Canto”

Bill-Stephany-Ron-Herzman-Inferno-27-Canto-per-Canto

“‘What do you need to be a member of Dante’s afterlife?’, Ron Herzman asks in conversation with Bill Stephany. To receive the privilege of being immortalized in the pages of the Inferno, one has to be, of course, dead by 1300 and an unrepentant sinner. The ‘mechanics of repentance’ in Hell is based on a subtle rhetoric of self-justification and reciprocal accusation hidden behind a submissive, noble or miserable attitude. Distinguishing between false and true repentance, as well as between false and true conversion, is as complicated as it was essential for Dante. The ‘exercise in reading’ required to orient us in this mechanics is complicated by the empathy for sinners and by the particular ‘foxiness’ of some of them. A prime example is that of Guido da Montefeltro in Inferno 27. The lacrimetta that redeems a life of sins is the same impalpable difference that separates falsehood from truth, Hell from Purgatory and Paradise. Because what can be feigned will never be in God’s eyes, and with him in Dante’s: Francesca, Paolo, Brunetto and, here, Guido are all, after all, in Hell.” –Maria Zilla

Watch or listen to the video “Inferno 27: An Offer He Couldn’t Refuse” here.

Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time is a collaborative initiative between New York University’s Department of Italian Studies and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, and the Dante Society of America. The aim is to produce podcast conversations about all 100 cantos of the Divine Comedy, to be completed within the seventh centenary of Dante’s death in 2021.