Dante and the Reinvention of Poetry: Reading Purgatory with Dr. Joseph Luzzi
Can't make this time?
A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.
What makes Dante’s Divine Comedy such essential reading today, even though it was written seven centuries ago? And why have so many readers, especially poets, been drawn to his second canticle, Purgatorio? This seminar, led by Joseph Luzzi, the Asher B. Edelman Professor of Literature at Bard College, will explore the fascinating world of Dante’s epic poem in all its cultural and historical richness, as we consider Dante’s relation to his beloved hometown of Florence, his lacerating experience of exile, and his lifelong devotion to his muse, Beatrice, among many other issues.
Our focus will be on Dante’s second canticle, Purgatorio, which has enchanted readers for centuries because of its beautiful language, meditations on human time and forgiveness, and extraordinary development of characters including Dante himself and his guides, Virgil and Beatrice. Throughout our seminar, we will pay special attention to the originality and brilliance of Dante’s poetic vision, as we see how he transformed his great poem into one of the most influential works in literary history, both in Italy and throughout the world.
Joseph Luzzi received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is a Professor of Comparative Literature and Faculty Member in Italian Studies at Bard College, where he has taught since 2002 after being a visiting faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania. A frequent contributor to publications including the New York Times, TLS, and Chronicle of Higher Education, he is the author of 5 books, including "My Two Italies," a New York Times Editors' Choice selection and "In a Dark Wood: What Dante Taught Me About Grief, Healing, and the Mysteries of Love," a Vanity Fair “Must-Read” selection. His work has been translated into multiple languages and his many awards include a Yale College Teaching Prize, Dante Society of America Essay Prize, and Wallace Fellowship at Villa I Tatti, Harvard's Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. In 2017 he was named Cittadino Onorario/Honorary Citizen in Acri, Calabria, his Italian parents' birthplace. His next book is "Botticelli's Secret: The Lost Drawings and the Rediscovery of the Renaissance," which will be published by W. W. Norton. Professor Luzzi is the founder of the Virtual Book Club, an online community of readers dedicated to exploring some of the best books ever written. Learn more at JosephLuzzi.com.