“Sophie Giacomelli (1779-1819) is the earliest known female illustrator of Dante. Her engravings were published in 1813 – some years after John Flaxman’s ground-breaking, privately printed, neo-classical outline illustrations in 1793. Giacomelli has patently imitated the style but her Divine Comedie has undoubtable unique approaches, as this engraving of The Simonists (Canto XIX, Inferno) demonstrate. The popes are plunged head down into infernal holes so that only their flaming feet are seen. But it’s how this illustrator has captured Dante’s occasional ‘scaredy-cat’ episodes by having him caught in the arms of his strong and protective guide, Virgil. Giacomelli was also known as Billet (father’s name), Janinet (her stepfather’s name) and Madame Chomel. I’ve not been able to find information on this last name – which may have been a stage-name (she sang as well, after meeting up with her musician husband, Joseph Giacomelli). She was, by the briefest accounts available, a most impressive woman and it was many decades before another female had her Dante designs published. She is very rarely mentioned in Dante illustration.” –Emma Marigliano
Victoria Ocampo, Autobiografía II: La rama de Salzburgo (1980)
“Victoria utilizará también una serie de referentes literarios, teniendo siempre como principal a la pareja Francesca y Paolo, dos amantes que aparecen en la Divina Comedia en el Canto V del Infierno. Dante habla con ellos y siente gran compasión por su amor, de modo que entabla un diálogo con ellos – algo que el autor no hace con casi nadie de los personajes en los tres libros. Asimismo, habla de Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, Emily Brönte, entre otros.” –Review on El buen librero (August 8, 2014)
Ocampo also published De Francesca à Beatrice, a commentary on Dante’s Divine Comedy, in 1923.
Tracy Daugherty, Dante and the Early Astronomer: Science, Adventure, and a Victorian Woman Who Opened the Heavens (2019)
[…] “Dante and the Early Astronomer is an eclectic and engaging look at the Victorian and Edwardian ages, from the perspective of minor-league astronomers working in the hinterlands. The story centers on Mary Acworth Evershed (pen and maiden name M.A. Orr), an Englishwoman born in 1867. She was a lover of both poetry and the celestial sky, and a trip to Italy at the age of 20 set the foundation for her life’s quest: to closely examine all the astronomical references in Dante’s The Divine Comedy, not only to catch the mistakes but to find the ‘poetic prologue to future discoveries,’ as the author puts it.” […] –Marcia Bartusiak, The Washington Post, May 24, 2019