“Dante Behind Bars: Not Made to Live Like Brutes.”
The Annual Dante Lecture the Vanderbilt editions the Divine Comedy
Created in the Fall of 2022, the Annual Dante Lecture at Vanderbilt celebrates the life and works of Dante Alighieri, one of the greatest poets in world literature. This lecture series features renowned scholars and experts in Italian literature and provides a platform to delve into the profound and timeless contributions of the Divine Comedy to the realms of literature, philosophy, and cultural history. This year’s lecture – titled “Dante Behind Bars: Not Made to Live Like Brutes.”- presents Ronald Jenkins, a former Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellow who has facilitated theater workshops in prisons in Italy, Indonesia, and the United States. A Professor at Wesleyan University, Jenkins specializes in documentary theater, focusing on themes of social transformation and human rights. During his lecture at Vanderbilt, he will discuss his transformative experience in teaching Dante’s Divine Comedy in Prison.
In collaboration with the Annual Dante Lecture, the Vanderbilt Special Collection presents a mini-exhibit on different editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy selected by Yvonne Boyer and Teresa Gray. An exhibit pedestal case in Central Library’s lobby, near the campus entrance, will show two prestigious editions. The first is a facsimile of the manuscript Palatinus 313, also known as Dante Poggiali. The codex, dating back to around 1325-1350, is considered the first illustrated Divine Comedy ever produced and includes glosses by Dante’s son, Jacopo Alighieri. A second volume on display at the Central Library will be the recently acquired Aldine edition of the Divine Comedy, printed in Venice in 1502. Aldine editions are volumes published by Aldine Press (founded by Aldus Manutius in the late 15th century), one of the most influential printing houses of the Renaissance. Their rarity and historical significance make them valuable for those interested in the history of printing literature and are highly sought after by collectors and scholars.