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Introducing Dante



Introducing Dante

With Alessandro Scafi (The Warburg Institute, University of London) and John Took (UCL)

A course designed to explore some of the leading ideas of Dante’s work and their continuing significance to us will begin in the new year. Topics will include Dante’s approach to love, philosophy, theology, language, literature, politics, mysticism, astrology, as well as his understanding of nature, grace and the afterlife, his sources and his relevance to contemporary existential concerns.

Our preliminary session on 23 October 2017 aims to confirm Dante’s status as a poet not so much of condemnation as of celebration – as a poet of life, love and light at their most sublime. For this purpose, we shall in this first session join Dante on a journey from the dark wood of despair, through hell and purgatory to the bliss of paradise. And again for purposes of getting under way in January we shall also consider Dante’s life and work in the round, beginning with earliest extant lyric poems and the Vita nova as testimony to his youthful encounter with Beatrice and proceeding by way of his various philosophical works (the Convivio, the De vulgari eloquentia and the Monarchia) to the Commedia itself.

And the object of it all? To confirm Dante’s continuing presence to us as a fellow traveller, a guide to what it meansto be fully and unequivocally as a human being. At the Italian Cultural Institute we approach Dante’s work thematically but members of the audience are warmly invited to attend our complementary series of Dante events at the Warburg Institute where we offer a reading of the Divine Comedy.


Alessandro Scafi is Lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance Cultural history at the Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London. He is the author of Mapping Paradise: A History of Heaven on Earth (London: British Library; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), winner of the 2006 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence, and Maps of Paradise (London: British Library; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013). He has published several essays and articles on the history of cartography and pilgrimage, Aby Warburg, the relationship between the Italian and Hungarian Renaissances and on Italian art and literature, in particular on Dante and Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini.

John Took is Emeritus Professor of Dante Studies at University College London. Among his principal publications are volumes on Dante’s general aesthetic and literary aesthetic, on the minor works, on Dante’s theology and phenomenology, and on the Fiore (a cycle of sonnets based on the Roman de la rose and attributed by many scholars to Dante). He is at present at work on an intellectual biography of Dante for Princeton University Press and on a proposed volume on Dante for the "intelligent enquirer" – a work setting out to explore Dante’s continuing relevance to us as a poet and philosopher – for the Bloomsbury Press, with further work on Dante as a theologian on the horizon.


Date: Monday, October 23, 2017

Time: From 7:00 pm To 8:30 pm

Organized by : IIC Londra

In collaboration with : The Warburg Institute, University of London

Entry : Free


ICI London