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The Global Translation History of Dante’s  Divina Commedia



The Global Translation History of Dante’s  Divina Commedia

allen mandelbaumWebinar by Ass. Prof. Jacob Blakesley, University of Leeds

700th Anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s Death

As part of the events aimed at celebrating the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri's death (which took place on the night between 13 and 14 September 1321), the Department of Italian Studies of the University of Sydney, in collaboration with Italian Cultural Institute, is organizing a webinar entitled The Global Translation History of Dante’s  Divina Commedia given by Ass. Prof. Jacob Blakesley of the University of Leeds.

Dante’s Divine Comedy charts the voyage of the narrator through the afterlife, as he goes through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, ending with a final vision of God. His poem, steeped in Catholic theology and scholastic philosophy, is written in medieval Italian, in a verse form invented by Dante himself. Professor’s Blakesley’s talk will present a panorama of its global translation history from the very first translations in the 15th century until today. We all know Dante’s Divine Comedy is quite popular, but how famous is it really? Where has it been translated – and where has it not been translated? Is this medieval Catholic text read in many diverse cultural and religious settings? What problems of censorship does it face when translated into languages like Arabic and Persian, or Victorian English? In what languages does it circulate? As will be shown during the webinar, in many countries its text is read and studied exclusively in translation. Finally, the webinar be concluded with a reflection on whether Dante’s magnum opus can be considered a text of world literature – or not.

Jacob  Blakesley is associate professor in comparative literature and literary translationjakob blakesley at the University of Leeds, where he co-directs the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies. He has written two books on poetry translation and poetry translators (Modern Italian Poets: Translators of the Impossible and A Sociological Approach to Poetry Translation: Modern European Poet-Translators), and edited a third book on the sociology of poetry translation (Sociologies of Poetry Translation: Emerging Perspectives). He is currently writing the first global history of Dante translations from the 15th century until today, and co-editing a volume on English translations of the Vita Nova for Routledge. He is one of the directors of the Leeds Studies in Dante (Peter Lang) and Routledge Studies in Literary Translation (Routledge) book series, and he chairs the John Dryden Translation Competition.

Join Online via Zoom

For more information contact:

Associate Professor Francesco Borghesi: 


Date: Monday, September 20, 2021

Time: At 5:00 pm

Organized by : Department of Italian Studies

In collaboration with : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

Entrance : Free