2020 Annual Meeting and Symposium

Dante, Somma Luce

Dante Society of America, 2020 Annual Meeting and Symposium

Washington University in St. Louis

We regret that this conference, previously scheduled for 1-2 May 2020,
has been canceled due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

We plan to reschedule the conference in Fall 2020. Please check back for details.

last updated 17 March 2020



All sessions will be held in the Eric P. Newman Education Center of the Washington University School of Medicine, located at 320 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110 (see map).

Friday [formerly May 1; to be rescheduled]

9:00-10:00 am.  Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America. Presiding: Alison Cornish, New York University, Acting President of the Dante Society

10:15-11:45. Session I. Dante, Knowledge and Wonder. Organizer and chair: Federica Coluzzi, University College Cork

  1. “Dante and Odysseus: Masters of Wonder, Travelers to the Unknown.” Niccolò Benzi, University of Winchester
  2. “’A Story for Little Children’: Mediating Knowledge and Wonder in Nineteenth-Century Adaptations of Purgatorio.” Federica Coluzzi
  3. “Exploring Wonder in Dante’s Paradiso.” Emilia di Rocco, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”/Northwestern University

11:45-1:00. Lunch (on your own)

1:00-2:30. Session II. Dante beyond Dante I. Chair: Christian Dupont, Boston College

  1. “Dante’s Hellmouth. Drawings and Graffiti in the Prisons of the Inquisition in Palermo.” Andrea Celli, University of Connecticut, Storrs
  2. “The Music of the Spheres Gone Acoustic: Folk Music as the “Bread of Angels” for High School Dante Students.” Daniel Christian, Independent Scholar
  3. “Susan Blow’s Dante.” Carol Chiodo, Harvard University

3:00-4:30. Session III. Dante beyond Dante II. Chair:

  1. “Dantis Infernum: Onore e lume per i traduttori albanesi.” Lisandri Kola, University of Michigan
  2. “The Commedia and Il Trittico.” Dominic A. Aquila, University of St. Thomas
  3. “Back to the Human: Filippo Balducci and Son in Florence as a Parody of Paradiso 31.” Olivia Holmes, Binghamton University

5:00-6:15. Session IV. KEYNOTE. Welcome and introduction: Michael Sherberg, Washington University

“Circles in the Sky: Halos, Coronae, and Round Meteorological Phenomena in Dante's Paradiso.” Arielle Saiber, Bowdoin College

6:15. Reception

Saturday [formerly May 2; to be rescheduled]

8:30-10:00. Session V. Magister Dantes: Informing the New Vernacular Culture. Organizer: Filippo Gianferrari. Chair: Justin Steinberg, University of Chicago

  1. *“Dante at the ‘schools of the religious’: from Vita nova to Le dolci rime (1294-1295).” Lorenzo Dell’Oso, University of Notre Dame
  2. *“‘And your very flesh shall be a great poem’: Personification, Pedagogy, and Poetics in the Vita nova.” Paola Nasti, Northwestern University
  3. “Who is Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Dante, Aesop, and the Latin Fable.” Filippo Gianferrari, University of California, Santa Cruz

10:30-12:00. Session VI. The Limits of the Human: Nonhuman, Posthuman, Transhuman in the Commedia. Chair: Elizabeth Coggeshall, Florida State University.

  1. “Contemplating Sin in the Body of Satan: The Painted Sermon of the Chantilly Manuscript of the Inferno.” Giovanni Braico, New York University
  2. *“Are you naked in heaven? Dressing celestial, terrestrial, and material bodies in Dante’s Commedia.” Julianna Van Visco, Columbia University
  3. *“Stretching the Human Bounds and Making the Unknowable Known: The Literary Phenomenon of Trasumanar,” Aniello Di Iorio, University of Wisconsin, Madison

12:00-1:30. Lunch (on your own)

1:30-3:00. Session VII. Thinking about Dante’s Politics. Chair:

  1. *“Pope Gregory X, Empire, and Dante’s Florence in International Perspective.” William Caferro, Vanderbilt University
  2. “Dante’s ‘Optimum Homo’: Decoding Traces of Divine Participation in Monarchia III.xii.” Corey Flack, Independent Scholar
  3. *“Dante’s Garisenda Puzzle Solved: A Rhetoric of Hyperbole.” Ronald Martinez, Brown University

3:30-5:00. Session VIII. Thinking about the Comedìa. Chair:

  1. “Note marginali nei manoscritti della Commedia di Dante.” Elisabetta Tonello, eCampus University and Luca Lombardo, Università di Ca’ Foscari Venezia and University of Toronto
  2. “‘Chi intender ben cupe’: Desire for Knowledge in Paradiso 13.” Albert Ascoli, University of California, Berkeley
  3. “Dante and the Language of Infinity.” P. Christopher Smith, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

5:15-6:30. Session IX. KEYNOTE. Welcome and introduction: Albert Ascoli, University of California, Berkeley

“‘Faith: What is it?' The Problem of Credibility.” Alison Cornish, New York University

6:30. Reception


If you registered for the conference that was to have been held in May, your registration will be automatically refunded.

Travel and Lodging

The event venue is the Eric P. Newman Education Center of the Washington University School of Medicine, located in St. Louis’ Central West End, a lively area with plenty of coffee shops, bars, and restaurants and an independent bookstore, all within walking distance. The Newman Education Center and conference hotel, which is directly adjacent to the Center, are accessible via Metrolink from Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

The conference hotel is the Parkway Hotel in St. Louis. 

Sponsors and Contacts

This symposium is presented by the Dante Society of America with substantial financial support from Washington University in St. Louis. The program was organized by DSA Treasurer and Washington University Professor of Italian Michael Sherberg from responses to a call for papers.

For questions about the symposium, Professor Sherberg may be contacted at sherberg@wustl.edu.

Questions about the Dante Society, including membership, may be directed to DSA Secretary and Librarian Christian Dupont at dantesociety@gmail.com.