Dante in the Americas A Conference at the University of California Los Angeles
Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies
April 7-9, 2011
The literary appropriation of Dante over the last century has been enormous. His influence has been front and center in all major modern literary traditions—from T. S. Eliot to William Butler Yeats, from Albert Camus to Jean-Paul Sartre, from Jorge Luis Borges to Derek Walcott, from Giorgio Bassani to Giuseppe Ungaretti. Why such fascination? What are the textual characteristics of Dante’s Commedia that make it an ideal vehicle for literary appropriation, thereby allowing it to enjoy a sustained cultural afterlife? What, moreover, are the more accidental factors (e.g., taste, world view, political agenda, religious, and mystical convictions) which account for the popularity of Dante—after 300 years of neglect during which the Florentine poet was relegated to the shadows of Petrarch and his works—among artists, novelists, poets, playwrights, and cinematographers? This symposium, co-organized by Professor Massimo Ciavolella (Italian, UCLA), Professor Efraín Kristal (Comparative Literature, UCLA), and Heather Sottong (Italian, UCLA), considers these questions, concentrating on Dante’s influence in North America and especially in Latin America.
This symposium is generously supported by the Ahmanson Foundation, with additional funding provided by the Franklin D. Murphy Chair in Italian Renaissance Studies.
DAY 1: THURSDAY, APRIL 7, 2011 UCLA, Royce Hall 314