Themed Semester

Italy Reading Events


The Spectacular World of Italian PoetryThe Spectacular World of Italian Poetry

Noon, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013
Phelps Theater in Beimdiek Recreation Center
Admission: free

Poetry written in Italian and its dialects is among the most exquisite ever written. Though Italian poetry as such is relatively recent, with origins in the 13th century, it grows out of a rich tradition with roots in classical Latin verse. Like its Latin ancestor, Italian poetry reflects a range of spiritual and secular topics, including love, religious devotion, nature, heroism, nationalism, and contemporary issues, always explored through incomparably resonant language. This session will feature readings by English professors from a broad spectrum of wonderful Italian lyric poets, from Petrarch to Leopardi to more recent masters such as Ungaretti and Montale.

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Dante: Italy's Eminent PoetDante: Italy’s Eminent Poet

9:30 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013
Phelps Theater in Beimdiek Recreation Center
Admission: free

Dante Alighieri has been universally regarded not only as Italy’s most gifted poet but also one of the outstanding poets in all of world literature. His Divine Comedy (Commedia), written in the early 14th century, is considered by many as the masterpiece of Italian literature. This extraordinary epic poem traces Dante’s journey during Easter time through hell (Inferno), purgatory (Purgatorio), and heaven (Paradiso) in beautifully crafted cantos, or songs. Dante is guided by Virgil, the famous poet of ancient Rome, in the first two realms and by Beatrice, an idealized woman whom Dante adores, in the third realm. This session will bring The Divine Comedy to life through readings of intriguing selections presented by Dr. William Kumbier, professor of English and philosophy. Throughout the centuries, many artists have represented scenes from The Divine Comedy in fascinating illuminations, paintings, engravings, and sketches, and this session will feature many examples.

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Italian FictionItalian Fiction Over the Centuries

12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013
Phelps Theater in Beimdiek Recreation Center
Admission: free

Among the many contributions Italy has made to world literature is fiction. Over the centuries, Italy has produced vivid narratives in the form of folk tales, short stories, novellas, and novels.  An extremely influential writer of the early years is Giovanni Boccaccio, who wrote a collection of 100 stories in The Decameron, penned in the 14th century. The stories cover a wide range of topics and incidents, told by a group of people who have fled the city of Florence to avoid the plague. Other fiction writers flourished over many generations, reflecting an impressive array of subjects and styles. This session will be devoted to readings presented by English professors from selections by Boccaccio along with recent writers, such as Calvino, whose stories have entertained and informed readers in Italy and around the world.

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