Lecture: "Towards a New Biography of Dante Alighieri" - Paolo Pellegrini (Verona)

Paolo Pellegrini (Verona) - "Towards a New Biography of Dante Alighieri" 

Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Library

In 2004 Umberto Carpi published a two-volume study devoted to Dante’s biography, which aimed to turn upside down our traditional way of looking at the poet’s life. Dante, who had always been considered a man who had supported with unswerving will the tremendous blows of his undeserved exile, became through Carpi’s perspective a man given to compromise and to self-promotion. In 2012 Marco Santagata issued his “Dante: Il romanzo della sua vita” (Milano, Mondadori), exploiting and popularizing Carpi’s main assessments, and taking them to extremes. He proposed again the old interpretation of the Divina Commedia which established a close correspondence between its text and the different phases of Dante’s life: an instant book where Dante immediately recorded people he had met or places he had visited. New documents and a new and deeper way of studying Dante’s works, their texts and their historical and cultural context carried on by younger scholars is disclosing a different biographical perspective: it is time to write a new life of Dante which could take into account and exploit all these new instruments.

Paolo Pellegrini received his Ph.D. in Philology of Italian Literature. He has been a tenured Assistant Professor in Italian philology and linguistics (SSD 10/F-3) at Università di Verona, Department of Cultures and Civilizations, licensed to the role of Full Professor in 2017. He has been a visiting fellow to K.U. Leuven, Catholic University of Pilicsaba (Budapest), Harvard University (Houghton Library), and an invited speaker at Beijing (Normal University), Helsinki (University of Helsinki), New York (Columbia – NYU), Firenze (Società Dantesca), and Padova (Ente Nazionale Francesco Petrarca). He is a member of the Ph.D. board of Philology, Literature, and Linguistic Studies (Università di Verona). Since 2015, he has been a partner of the Scientific board of the International Summer School of Dante Studies (Catholic University ‘S. Cuore’ Milan – Università di Verona). He serves on the editorial board of StEFI (Studi di Erudizione e di Filologia Italiana) and L’Ellisse. He is a member of the S.F.L.I. (Società dei Filologi della Letteratura Italiana), A.S.L.I. (Associazione per la Storia della Lingua Italiana), Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Venezie and AASL (Accademia di Agricoltura, Scienze e Lettere di Verona). His research focuses on medieval latin and old Italian language and literature with special regard to Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio. He published essays concerning Dante’s life and works: Il testo critico della «Monarchia» e le ragioni della filologia. Ancora su «sicut in Paradiso Comedie iam dixi» (I xii 6), “Filologia Italiana” (2015); La Comedìa tra Firenze e il Casentino: lettura del canto XVI dell’Inferno, “L’Alighieri” 47 (2016); Dante: biografia, ideologia e politica editoriale (1965-2015). Proceedings of the International conference of Helsinki (October, 26th 2015); Il riso di Aristotele e l’autenticità della Questio de aqua et terra di Dante,“L’Alighieri” 49 (2017). His last book, Dante tra Romagna e Lombardia (2016), follows Dante’s life during the first years of the poet’s exile.

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