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“Politics vs. Literature – The Myth of Dante and the Discourse on Italian National Identity”, lecture by Stefano Jossa, Royal Holloway, University of London

CANCELED due to epidemiological emergency Covid-19

The Italian Cultural Institute, in collaboration with the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures-Italian Studies McGill University are pleased to present the conference, by Prof. Stefano Jossa, entitled: “Politics vs. Literature – The Myth of Dante and the Discourse on Italian National Identity

Tuesday March 31st , 11:35am to 12:55pm
McGill University, Arts Building, 260
853 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal (QC) H3A 2T6
The conference will be held in English

During the Italian Risorgimento, Dante was considered the National Hero, as is evident in the memoirs of D’Azeglio, Mazzini, and Settembrini. The literary imagination of the Italian Risorgimento has been studied in depth by Alberto Mario Banti in his book La nazione del Risorgimento. Yet the consequences of this literary foundation of the Italian national identity have not yet been discussed. Why Dante and not Petrarca, Boccaccio, Ariosto, or Tasso? Why was Dante taken as a man, in recognition of his exemplary human experience, rather than as a poet, for his universally celebrated extraordinary literary achievements? In this lecture, I shall reconstruct the process leading to the separation of Dante, the man, from Dante, the poet, in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian literary and political discourse.

Stefano Jossa is Reader in Italian at Royal Holloway, University of London. He specialises in the Italian Renaissance and the Italian national identity expressed through literature. He is the author of L’Italia letteraria (Il Mulino, 2006), Ariosto (il Mulino, 2009) and Un Paese senza Eroi: L’Italia da Jacopo Ortis a Montalbano (Laterza, 2013). He has also edited and co-authored the following books: with Claudia Boscolo, Scritture di resistenza. Sguardi politici dalla narrativa italiana contemporanea (Carocci, 2014); with Giuliana Pieri, Chivalry, Academy, and Cultural Dialogues: The Italian Contribution to European Modernity (Legenda, 2016); and, with Jane E. Everson e Andrew Hiscock, Ariosto, the Orlando Furioso and English Culture (Oxford, 2019). He held the De Sanctis Chair at the Polytechnic (ETH) of Zurich and was Visiting Professor at the University of Parma and Roma Tre. His most recent book is La più bella del mondo. Perché amare la lingua italiana (Einaudi, 2018).

  • Organized by: Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Montréal
  • In collaboration with: Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures