Tag Archives: Vita nuova

Dante and the Afterlife of the Book: Rematerializing Literary History, from the Digits of Scribes to the Digital

This course uses Dante to intervene in current debates about the history of the book and media by investigating both the representations of books in Dante’s works and the afterlives of Dante’s own works in various media. At the center of our concerns will be how Dante’s Comedy and Vita nuova have been transformed by medieval scribes and illuminators, early modern printers and woodcutters, modern philologists and engravers, translators and altered-book artists, composers and filmmakers, cartoonists and comic-book writers, web-designers and video-game producers, painters and poets. By observing the changes these works undergo in these different media environments, this course aims not only to reflect on the current anxieties about the death of the book that has accompanied the birth of the Kindle and iPad, but also to reconsider the many possible meanings of Dante’s own works. Readings will draw from the rich literature in the history of the book and media (McLuhan, Darnton, Mitchell) as well as selections from the substantial critical corpus that has taken shape around Dante (Singleton, Barolini, Ascoli). Each seminar meeting will move between exploring Dante’s world, through historical materials from Special Collections, and the various “Worlds of Dante” and “Danteworlds” online. No previous knowledge of Dante required.


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