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A Celebration of Dante Alighieri

This month, celebrate the legacy of Dante Alighieri on the 700th anniversary of his death! Keep an eye on our blog for content featuring our Dante studies books, and take a peek in our William and Katherine Devers Series in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature catalog to learn more. Finally, through September 30th, enjoy 50% off a curated list of titles about the renowned poet and his work. Visit our sale page to see which books are discounted.

In collaboration with the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame, the Devers Program initiated a series dedicated to the publication of the most significant current scholarship in the field of Dante studies. In 2011, the scope of the series was expanded to encompass thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Italian literature. In keeping with the spirit that inspired the creation of the Devers program, the series takes Dante and medieval Italian literature as focal points that draw together the many disciplines and lines of inquiry that constitute a cultural tradition without fixed boundaries. Accordingly, the series hopes to illuminate this cultural tradition with contemporary critical debates in the humanities by reflecting both the highest quality of scholarly achievement and the greatest diversity of critical perspectives.

Rather than speak of Dante’s “minor works,” according to an age-old tradition of Dante scholarship going back at least to the eighteenth century, Dante’s “Other Works” puts forward the designation “other works” both in light of their enhanced status and as part of a general effort to reaffirm their value as autonomous works. Indeed, had Dante never written the Commedia, he would still be considered the most important writer of the late Middle Ages for the originality and inventiveness of the other works he wrote besides his monumental poem, including the Rime, the Fiore, the Detto d’amore, the Vita nova, the Epistles, the Convivio, the De vulgari eloquentia, the Monarchia, the Egloge, and the Questio de aqua et terra.

Dante’s ‘Other Works’ is altogether excellent, and it fills a much-lamented gap in the bibliography on Dante in English.”

—Lino Pertile, co-editor of Dante in Context

Although a number of articles have addressed particular aspects of violence in discrete parts of Dante’s oeuvre, a systematic treatment of violence in the Commedia is lacking. Dante and Violence is an ambitious overview of violence in Dante’s literary works and his world and examines cases of violence in the domestic, communal, and cosmic spheres while taking into account medieval legal approaches to rights and human freedom that resonate with the economy of justice developed in the Commedia.

“Schildgen has written a groundbreaking study of Dante and violence. Dante and Violence will be of value to all those interested in a great thinker’s views on a paramount and enduring topic—one whose relevance, moreover, never diminishes.”

—Teodolinda Barolini, editor of Dante’s Lyric Poetry

In Liturgical Song and Practice in Dante’s “Commedia,” Helena Phillips-Robins explores for the first time the ways in which the relationship between humanity and divinity is shaped through the performance of liturgy in the Commedia. The study draws on largely untapped thirteenth-century sources to reconstruct how the songs and prayers performed in the Commedia were experienced and used in late medieval Tuscany. 

Liturgical Song and Practice in Dante’s ‘Commedia’ is highly original. It offers the first sustained treatment of its topic, providing substantial and wide-ranging insight on the nature and implications of the Commedia’s representation of, engagement with, and conscious self-articulation of the relationship between humanity and divinity expressed in and as liturgy.”

—Vittorio Montemaggi, co-editor of Dante’s “Commedia”: Theology as Poetry

A Boccaccian Renaissance brings together essays written by internationally recognized scholars in diverse national traditions to respond to the largely unaddressed question of Boccaccio’s impact on early modern literature and culture in Italy and Europe. The essays investigate what it means to follow a Boccaccian model, in tandem with or in place of ancient authors such as Vergil or Cicero, or modern poets such as Dante or Petrarch. It treats not only the literary legacy of Boccaccio’s works but also their paradoxical importance for the history of the Italian language and reception in theater and books of conduct.

“The book enhances in a number of ways our knowledge of Boccaccio’s legacy in the Renaissance, particularly in the area of the history of the book, but also Boccaccio’s significance as a political thinker, his obsession with the pastoral, his role in the birth of Renaissance comedy, and new aspects of his influence in France, Spain, and England.”

—Martin McLaughlin, University of Oxford

The Portrait of Beatrice examines both Dante’s and D. G. Rossetti’s intellectual experiences in the light of a common concern about visuality. Both render, in different times and contexts, something that resists clear representation, be it the divine beauty of the angel-women or the depiction of the painter’s own interiority in a secularized age. By analyzing Dante’s Vita Nova alongside Rossetti’s Hand and Soul and St. Agnes of Intercession, this book examines how Dante and Rossetti explore the tension between word and image by creating ‘imaginary portraits.’

“Elegantly written, carefully researched, and beautifully erudite, The Portrait of Beatrice offers an original and compelling interpretation of Dante’s Vita Nova and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s post-enlightenment reappropriations through the concept of metamorphosis. Camilletti challenges the distinction between original and copy and between image and writing and not only offers unexpected and thought-provoking analyses but also helps the readers to embrace an intellectual journey into uncharted territories that is both unsettling and tremendously rewarding.”

—Manuele Gragnolati, Sorbonne Université and ICI Berlin

In Boccaccio’s Corpus, James C. Kriesel explores how medieval ideas about the body and gender inspired Boccaccio’s vernacular and Latin writings. Scholars have observed that Boccaccio distinguished himself from Dante and Petrarch by writing about women, erotic acts, and the sexualized body. Because of this, Boccaccio has often been heralded as a protorealist author who invented new literatures by eschewing medieval modes of writing. This study revises modern scholarship, showing that Boccaccio’s texts were informed by contemporary ideas about allegory, gender, and theology.

“James Kriesel makes a distinct and original contribution to the study of Boccaccio’s role as a leading intellectual in the cultural turmoil between medieval and Renaissance conceptions of literature. The book has the potential to reorient the current debate on several key issues in Boccaccio studies for the wide scope it takes as well as the pointed analyses of central texts it provides throughout.”

—Simone Marchesi, Princeton University

Meditations on the Life of Christ was the most popular and influential devotional work of the later Middle Ages. This volume is a critical edition, with English translation and commentary, of a hitherto-unpublished Italian text that Sarah McNamer argues is likely to be the original version of this influential masterpiece. Livelier and far more compact than the Latin text, the Italian “short text” possesses a stylistic and textual integrity that appears to testify to its primacy among early versions of the Meditations.

“Through this labor of love and painstaking editorial scholarship, Sarah McNamer provides us with a first opportunity to read a beautiful and succinct Italian life of Christ. She further invites us to consider this text as the earliest, and female-authored, version of the Meditations on the Life of Christ, a text read everywhere in Europe from the Prague of the Emperor Charles IV to the Lynn of Margery Kempe. Highly recommended.”

—David Wallace, Judith Rodin Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania

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