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Vertical Readings in Dante's Comedy: Volume 1

Vertical Readings in Dante's Comedy: Volume 1 George Corbett and Heather Webb
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-172-4 £17.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78374-173-1 £32.95
PDF ISBN: 978-1-78374-174-8 £0.00
epub ISBN: 978-1-78374-175-5 £5.95
mobi ISBN: 978-1-78374-176-2 £5.95
XML ISBN: 978-1-78374-610-1 £0.00

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While all the essays are well-considered and extraordinarily illuminating, the strength of the collection lies in the willingness of the contributing scholars to look for correspondences in the parallel cantos that they might not otherwise have noted. […] The results of this exploration have enormous implications for Dante Studies as we move into the new millennium.
—Mary Watt, Quaderni d’italianistica 37:1 (2016), 159-62

Nel complesso, questo volume si configura come un originale attraversamento dantesco in continuitŕ con la tradizione del "secolare commento". Appare chiaro che ognuna di queste letture verticali rappresenti soltanto una delle piste perseguibili nell'analisi delle trilogie di canti, analizzate di volta in volta secondo i diversi approcci degli studiosi che si sono confrontati col testo.
—Valentina Sferragatta, Annali d'Italianistica 35 (2017), 557-59

The commemorative nature of these 750th anniversary volumes is joined by another commonality, that of the continuities that exist across Dante's work in spite of his tergiversations over the decades of his public life. To that end, another fascinating volume has appeared in time for the anniversary, entitled Vertical Readings of Dante's 'Comedy' [...] the volume is an ambitious study of the Comedy's whole by way of its parts.
—Anthony Nussmeier, This Year's Work in Modern Languages 77 (2017), p.164

Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy is a reappraisal of the poem by an international team of thirty-four scholars. Each vertical reading analyses three same-numbered cantos from the three canticles: Inferno i, Purgatorio i and Paradiso i; Inferno ii, Purgatorio ii and Paradiso ii; etc. Although scholars have suggested before that there are correspondences between same-numbered cantos that beg to be explored, this is the first time that the approach has been pursued in a systematic fashion across the poem.

This collection – available in three volumes – offers an unprecedented repertoire of vertical readings for the whole poem. As the first volume exemplifies, vertical reading not only articulates unexamined connections between the three canticles but also unlocks engaging new ways to enter into core concerns of the poem. The three volumes thereby provide an indispensable resource for scholars, students and enthusiasts of Dante. Volume 2 and Volume 3 are also available to read for free.

The volume has its origin in a series of thirty-three public lectures held in Trinity College, the University of Cambridge (2012-2016) which can be accessed at the ‘Cambridge Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy’ website.
This series would not have been possible without the generosity of certain sponsors: Trinity College, Cambridge; Selwyn College, Cambridge; the Italian Department, University of Cambridge; the Cambridge Italian Research Network (CIRN); the Centre for Medieval Literature (University of Southern Denmark and University of York); the University of Notre Dame; and the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds.

Click here to purchase all three volumes of Vertical Readings in Dante's Comedy at a discounted rate.

Vertical Readings in Dante's Comedy: Volume 1
George Corbett and Heather Webb (eds) | September 2015
xiii + 275 | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783741724
ISBN Hardback: 9781783741731
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783741748
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783741755
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783741762
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783746101
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0066
BIC subject codes: DS (Literature: history and criticism), DSC (Literary studies: poetry and poets); BISAC: LIT004200 (Literary criticism: Italian), LIT011000 (Literary criticism: Medieval); OCLC Number: 960769392.

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Editions Followed and Abbreviations
Notes on the Contributors
George Corbett and Heather Webb

1.i. Pagan Dawn of a Christian Vision
George Corbett

1.ii. Orientation
Heather Webb

2. Reading Time, Text and the World
Matthew Treherne

3. The Bliss and Abyss of Freedom: Hope, Personhood and Particularity
Vittorio Montemaggi

4. Virtuous Pagans, Hopeless Desire and Unjust Justice
John Marenbon

5. Massacre, Miserere and Martyrdom
Robin Kirkpatrick

6. Divided City, Slavish Italy, Universal Empire
Claire E. Honess

7. The Wheeling Sevens
Simon A. Gilson

8. Civitas and Love: Looking Backward from Paradiso viii
Brenda Deen Schildgen

9. ‘Without Any Violence’
Zygmunt G. Barański

10. Humility and the (P)arts of Art
K P Clarke

11. The Art of Teaching and the Nature of Love
Paola Nasti

Index of Names

Zygmunt G. Barański
is Serena Professor of Italian Emeritus at the University of Cambridge and Notre Dame Chair in Dante & Italian Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He has published extensively on Dante, medieval Italian literature, Dante’s reception, and twentieth-century Italian culture. He is senior editor of Le tre corone.

K P Clarke was the Keith Sykes Research Fellow in Italian Studies at Pembroke College, Cambridge, before taking the post of Lecturer in Medieval Literature at the Department of English and Related Literature, University of York, where he teaches undergraduate and graduates courses on Dante. He is the author of Chaucer and Italian Textuality (2011), and a number of articles on the Italian Trecento in Dante Studies, Studi sul BoccaccioItalian Studies, and MLN.

George Corbett is Junior Research Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and Affiliated Lecturer of the Department of Italian, University of Cambridge. He is the author of Dante and Epicurus: A Dualistic Vision of Secular and Spiritual Fulfilment (2013), and is co-organiser, with Heather Webb, of the Cambridge Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy lecture series. He was recently appointed Lecturer in Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St Andrews.

Simon A. Gilson is Professor of Italian at Warwick University. He teaches and researches on Dante and Italian Renaissance culture, and is the author of Dante and Renaissance Florence (2005). He is General Editor of the monograph series ‘Italian Perspectives’ published by Legenda.

Claire E. Honess is Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Leeds and co-director of the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies. She studied at the University of Reading, where she completed a PhD on the image of the city in Dante’s writing. Her primary and continuing interest is in the interface between social and religious concepts and images in Dante’s poetry. She is the author of, among other contributions, From Florence to the Heavenly City: The Poetry of Citizenship in Dante (2006) and a translation of Dante’s political letters (2007). She is also an editor of The Italianist.

Robin Kirkpatrick is Emeritus Professor of Italian and English Literatures at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Robinson College. He has written a number of books on Dante and on the Renaissance, and is particularly interested in the relationship between Italian and English literature from 1300 to 1600 and in the Modern Period. His verse translation of the Commedia with notes and commentary was published by Penguin Classics in 2006-2007.

John Marenbon has been a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge since 1978. He is also Honorary Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Professor at Peking University. He has published books on various subjects in medieval philosophy, including Boethius, Abelard, and the problem of divine foreknowledge, as well as some more general surveys and, as editor, The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy. His most recent work is Pagans and Philosophers: The Problem of Paganism from Augustine to Leibniz (2015).

Vittorio Montemaggi is Assistant Professor of Religion and Literature in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame, where he is also Concurrent Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology. Following degrees in Theology and in European Literature, his work has centered on the relationship between language, truth, and love. To date, his publications have focused primarily on Dante’s Commedia, and on its relationship with the works of Gregory the Great, Shakespeare, Primo Levi, and Roberto Benigni.

Paola Nasti is Associate Professor in Italian Studies at the University of Reading. She is the author of a monograph on Dante and the Solomonic biblical tradition (Favole d'amore e "saver profondo": la tradizione salomonica in Dante, 2007). She is author of several articles on Dante’s ecclesiology, on Dante’s commentary tradition, and on the tradition of Boethius in Dante and the early Trecento. She also edited Interpreting Dante: Essays on the Traditions of Dante Commentary (2013), which includes her article, ‘A Friar Critic: Guido da Pisa and the Carmelite Heritage’. 

Brenda Deen Schildgen, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, UC Davis, and 2008 recipient of the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement, specializes in the European Middle Ages, the Bible as Literature, Dante, and Jewish, Christian, and Moslem relations in the European Middle Ages. She is the author of over fifty articles and book reviews and of numerous books including, most recently, Divine Providence, a Study of Virgil, Bible, Augustine, and Dante; Heritage or Heresy: Preservation and Destruction of Art and Artifacts; Other Renaissances: A New Approach to World Literature, with Zhou Gang and Sander Gilman (translated into Arabic); Dante and the Orient (translated into Arabic and Italian); and Power and Prejudice: The Reception of the Gospel of Mark.

Matthew Treherne is Senior Lecturer in Italian at the University of Leeds, where he is Head of the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies and Co-Director of the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies. His publications include Dante’s "Commedia”: Theology as Poetry (co-edited with Vittorio Montemaggi, 2010), Reviewing Dante’s Theology (co-edited with Claire Honess, 2013), and Se mai continga…: Exile, Politics and Theology in Dante (2013). He is Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Dante and Late Medieval Florence: Theology in Poetry, Practice and Society’. 

Heather Webb is University Lecturer in Medieval Italian Literature at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Selwyn College. She is the author of The Medieval Heart (2010) and articles on Dante, Catherine of Siena, and others. She is co-organiser, with George Corbett, of the Cambridge Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy lecture series. She is co-editor, with Dr Pierpaolo Antonello, of Mimesis, Desire, and the Novel: René Girard and Literary Criticism (2015).

This volume has its origin in a series of thirty-three public lectures held in Trinity College, the University of Cambridge (2012-2016) which can be accessed at the ‘Cambridge Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy’ website.