Consider your origins: you were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.

Ambra D'Antone
Monday 8 June 2015
William Blake - The Lovers Whirlwind. (Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta)
William Blake – The Lovers Whirlwind. (Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta)

 

A week into my research on the study of literal and visual translations of Dante’s Inferno, I find it hard to believe how much my perspective of this project has changed since I applied for the internship itself, developing as I developed over the months. Over the next nine weeks, I shall analyse two different textual renderings in English of six canti from the famous poem, together with a study of the ways in which those canti have been depicted in art. More than just being a pedantic attempt to repeat what dozens of scholars have already said on the matter, my aim will be to provide an exegetic study of two different types of translation of a text so rich its interpretation is, to this day, still subject to debates. I also hope to be able to interview a contemporary Scottish artist, with the aim of discussing his own way of depicting the Comedy and, with some luck, of convincing him to engage with the established Lectura Dantis Andreapolitana for a sort of multidisciplinary exhibition, later in the year. Fingers crossed.

The Leadership weekend and the online modules on Research Ethics and Methodology have been very useful in shaping the first stages of my research, giving me the tools to prepare myself for the work I was delving into and to make the most out of it. I have had to design a new schedule for my days, involving becoming an early riser (which I am still struggling with) and a balanced ratio of work and rest. As the Proctor had anticipated in her speech, refusing my friends’ invitations to join them at the beach in these torrid days in Italy (I am talking 35 degrees…) has been incredibly challenging. Nevertheless, I am quite satisfied with my work so far, as I have been able to establish the foundations for the following nine weeks of my research.

On June 3rd and 4th I have had the fortune of being able to attend the annual two-day seminar AlmaDante, held by the University of Bologna, which brought together some of the most interesting new takes on the Comedy, with a series of presentations by Phd students from Italian and international academic institutions. Being there as an undergraduate student with little knowledge of philology and linguistics, I found it both intimidating and incredibly motivating. The wide range of presentations made me even more aware of the importance that Dante’s Comedy still holds in literary research as a perennial source of inspiration for further studies in several different disciplines. Most importantly, though, the seminar gave me a lot of new material to think about and to consider for my own work, for which I am incredibly grateful.

To everyone I wish good luck on their research, and an enjoyable summer.

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