“Newly Uncovered DNA Evidence Frees Thousands Of Damned Souls From Hell”

“Hear how justice was finally served for those wrongfully accused of greed, gluttony, and premarital sex.”   —The Onion, 2020

Listen to the full podcast here.

“Dante’s Descendant Seeks to Overturn Poet’s 1302 Corruption Conviction”

guardian-dantes-descendant-tries-to-overturn-conviction-2021“”There were two sentences inflicted on Dante. The first was exile, the second was death and it will be interesting to understand whether in the light of the Florentine statutes of the time and the current legal principles the two judgments could be subject to revision,’ said Traversi.

“The plans to clear Dante’s name will begin with a conference in May, with participants including historians, linguists, lawyers – and Antoine de Gabrielli, the descendant of Cante de Gabrielli da Gubbio, the Florentine official who convicted Dante. They will be investigating if Dante’s sentences were just, said Traversi, or “the poisoned fruit of politics that used justice to attack an opponent”.

“‘Not everyone is convinced of the need for rehabilitation. Writing in the same paper, journalist Aldo Cazzullo said that Dante “is the one who invented the word ‘belpaese’ [beautiful country]’. ‘What could a late acquittal add, however necessary?’ he asked.”  [. . .]    –Alison Flood, The Guardian, February 1, 2021.

Akash Kumar, “A Dante Who Valorizes Difference” (2020)

“Teaching Dante’s Divine Comedy in 2020 is not without its challenges. In 2012, the UN-sanctioned human rights organization Gherush92 proclaimed that Dante’s poem was discriminatory, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and should not be taught in classrooms. For some years now, I have taken this objection as my point of departure in crafting my Dante course and promoted a reading of the poem that interrogates issues of social justice with respect to the representation of religious and cultural difference, gender and sexuality, and social class. In the wake of a summer of protest, I felt all the more impelled to bring such considerations to bear in my Dante class this Fall. [. . .]”   –Akash Kumar, “A Dante Who Valorizes Difference,” The Medieval Studies Institute Blog, Indiana University

Akash Kumar is Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian at Indiana University. Read his full essay on teaching Dante through the lens of social justice here.

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.

Danielle Callegari and Akash Kumar on Par. 19 for “Canto per Canto”

“Dante has just reached the heaven of Jupiter when the shape of an eagle, made by the gathering souls, lights up before his eyes. To the eagle Dante poses a question he had thought about for a long time: how can somebody who is utterly virtuous be excluded and condemned for having been born out of the boundaries of Christianity? Dante’s doubt concerning God’s inscrutable justice is followed by a reflection on the necessity for earthly rulers to act justly and by an attack against those who do not. While considering the issue of justice in Paradiso 19, Danielle Callegari and Akash Kumar explore the relevance of the canto to our time and its pressing questions. As human beings, across time and space, we must ask ourselves what is the extent of our communities, of our forms of justice, and of our responsibilities. Dante appears to suggest that what binds us is not an answer to such questions, but the posing of the questions itself. The message he appears to convey in this canto is the same our times are giving us: ‘we all fall short, but by engaging we do the work that is to be done’.” – Leonardo Chiarantini

Watch or listen to the video “Paradiso 19: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” 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.