Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time

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Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time is a collaborative initiative between New York University's Department of Italian Studies and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, and the Dante Society of America. The aim is to produce podcast conversations about all 100 cantos of the Divine Comedy, to be completed within the seventh centenary of Dante's death in 2021.

The podcasts will be available as YouTube videos, hosted and archived by NYU and the Dante Society of America. Episodes are released on Mondays and Wednesdays, though not necessarily in numerical order, with postings to the Twitter and Facebook accounts of the Dante Society, NYU Italian Studies, and NYU Casa Italiana. To date, conversations about the following cantos are available from the "Canto per Canto" YouTube channel:

  • Paradiso 19: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere (Akash Kumar and Danielle Callegari) [released 23 Sep 2020]
  • Purgatorio 1: Cato the wise poet/prophet and the humble reed of exegesis (Paola M. Rodriguez and Raymond Capra) [released 21 Sep 2020]
  • Inferno 2: "..a thundering velvet hand": Virgil's Teaching Strategy (Dan Christian and Alex DeWeese) [released 16 Sep 2020]
  • Paradiso 28: The Heavenly Power Plant (Arielle Saiber and Guy Raffa) [released 14 Sep 2020]
  • Purgatorio 2: A New Law for the Song of Love Across Time Zones (Alison Cornish and Leonardo Chiarantini) [released 9 Sep 2020]
  • Inferno 26: Hey Sailor – Distraction and Seduction on the Wine-dark Sea (Mary Watt and Fabian Alfie) [released 7 Sep 2020]

Please see further below for additional details and guidelines and instructions for contributing to the project:


The Project

  • Skype, Zoom (or similar) recordings of 15-20 minute conversations between two people on all 100 cantos of the Divine Comedy that highlight how something in a particular canto resonates with us in our time, today, now.
  • Filmed individually by members of the Dante Society of America and friends.
  • Curated by the Department of Italian Studies and the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU, between Dantedì 2020 and Dantedì 2021, in the 700th anniversary of the poet’s death.
  • Episodes to be released regularly beginning in June 2020, publicized via social media of all three sponsoring entities.
  • Hosted and archived at NYU and Dante Society of America websites.

Guidelines for Contributors

Each episode/puntata will include:

  • A professionally curated 20- to 30-second animated intro, with credits for the project and names of presenters in the specific episode, somewhat different for each of the three cantiche.
  • Recommended platform:  Skype with blurred backgrounds.  Self-recorded by one of the speakers.  [Skype records it as a split-screen even though it doesn’t look that way to the recorders.] Other platforms are allowed.
  • Very brief self-introduction of the two speakers (one taking the lead).
  • Articulation of an aspect of the canto of particular interest to the two speakers at the present time.
  • A brief and lively reminder of where we are in the poem and the major events of the canto in question.
  • Some quotations of passages of particular interest to the speakers in the original, with spontaneous paraphrase or cited English translation (e.g. “Durling”)
  • Some closing thought, and salutations between the speakers.
  • Not to exceed 20 minutes in length.
  • Video recordings themselves will not be professionally edited.
  • There is no obligation to proceed in any particular order in the release of the cantos, although finished recordings will be archived in such a way as to make a complete, searchable set by the end of the project in 2021.
  • While English is expected to be the dominant language of these recordings, we will also accept them in Italian. In that case, we might solicit an additional episode for that canto, or provide subtitles.

Sign up to Contribute

Interested in contributing to this project? Great! Here's what you need to do:

Project Curators

To date, the organization of this project has engaged the time and talents of Alison Cornish, Eugenio Refini, Katherine Travers, and Maria Zilla of NYU, Leonardo Chiarantini of the University of Michigan, Stefano Albertini and Julian Sachs of Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò of NYU, and AWEN FILMS.