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Durham University

Research & business

Research lectures, seminars and events

The events listed in this area are research seminars, workshops and lectures hosted by Durham University departments and research institutes. If you are not a member of the University, but  wish to enquire about attending one of the events please contact the organiser or host department.


Dante for the Modern Reader

17th January 2018, 18:00, Palace Green Library Learning Centre, Peter Hainsworth and David Robey

Tickets for the lecture, wine reception, and tour of the exhibition 'Hell, Heaven and Hope: A Journey through life and the afterlife with Dante' will cost £12.50. Booking is essential.

Dante’s Divine Comedy is often seen as a kind of encyclopaedia of medieval thought and culture. But it also speaks strongly to the present day. Following on from our Very Short Introduction to Dante, we will discuss the problems and issues that arise in presenting him to the modern general reader, and give our own view of what makes Dante such a startlingly distinctive and original author both within medieval culture and within European literature generally. Though we shall take due account of the distance between Dante and ourselves, we shall emphasise how and why he can be read with pleasure and profit for more than historical reasons.

A new exhibition at Palace Green Library will follow the story of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Reflecting the entire human experience, Dante’s work considers the power of resilience through difficult times and ultimately offers a message of hope.

Peter Hainsworth is an Emeritus Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. After lectureships at Hull and Kent Universities, he taught at Oxford until retiring in 2003. As well as Petrarch the Poet (1986), he has written widely on other Italian authors, medieval and modern. He has recently published two volumes of translations: The Essential Petrarch (2012) and Tales from the Decameron (2015).

David Robey was Lecturer in Italian at Oxford, then Professor of Italian at the universities of Manchester and Reading. Chair of the Society for Italian Studies from 1998 to 2003, he is currently Digital Humanities Consultant at the Oxford e-Research Centre. His publications include Sound and Structure in Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ (2000), now extended to include the major narrative poems of the Italian Renaissance in an on-line analytical database.

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