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Dante Society of America Annual Meeting and Symposium – Part 2

Guy Raffa, University of Texas–Austin: “Translating Dante’s Body” Arielle Saiber, Bowdoin College: “An Esoteric Illus-Translation of the Commedia: Paul Laffoley’s Divine Comedy Triptych (1972 – 1975)”

Dante Alighieri may be best known for authoring the “Divine Comedy,” with its vivid depictions of heaven, purgatory and hell, but he contributed much more than just one literary work — enough that there is an entire society dedicated to studying and appreciating his life, works and cultural legacy: The Dante Society of America.

May 5 and 6, the UO sponsored The Dante Society of America’s annual meeting, the first time the society met at a university on the West Coast. The meeting was organized by English professor Warren Ginsberg and by Regina Psaki, a UO professor of romance languages, and the theme will be “Dante in Translation, Translation in Dante.”

“Dante is the most important literary figure in Italy — he’s said to actually have invented the Italian that Italians speak today,” said Ginsberg, a member of the society. “The Divine Comedy is obviously his divine masterwork — and actually set the standard when Italian as a common language became more settled in the 19th century — but there’s a lot of other things that he wrote.”

The Dante Society was founded in 1881 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell and Charles Elliot Norton. It publishes an annual journal, semiannual newsletter and maintains an online version of the American Dante Bibliography. It also holds the annual meeting.

This year’s meeting featured a symposium, with guests from all around the country.