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Dante as a Linguist and Dante as a Lyricist



Dante as a Linguist and Dante as a Lyricist

Webinar by Mirko Tavoni and Claudio Giunta

700th Anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s Death

21st Week of Italian Language in the World

On the occasion of the 21st Week of Italian Language in the World, organized every year around the world under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Italian Cultural Institute of Sydney and the Department of Italian of the University of Sydney have organized a series of four webinars, which will take place over two separate days, aimed at celebrating the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri's death.

The last two webinars (in Italian) will take place on Wednesday, 20 October 2021, at 5.30 pm:

de vulgari eloquentiaDante as a linguist today
Mirko Tavoni, University of Pisa

Until a few decades ago the De vulgari eloquentia, a treatise written by Dante in the years 1304-06, was interpreted essentially as a linguistic and rhetorical self-commentary to his own lyrical poems, especially to the great doctrinal songs. This idea is still valid to explain the second book of the treatise, but it is inadequate to account for the entire first book: the philosophical definition of the essence of language (chapters 1-3); the linguistic history of humanity from Adam to the Tower of Babel (chapters 4-7), then the colonization of Europe by three Babelic idioms, ancestors of all the languages of Europe (chapter 8); the discovery of the intrinsic variability of every human language in time and space, the consequent invention of grammar and the creation of the two grammatical languages of Europe, Greek and Latin (chapter 9); up to the map of the dialects of Italy (chapters 10-15) and the idea of the "illustrious vulgar" (chapters 16-19), with its political implications connected with the imperial idea. All these contents, their disparate sources, and the entire universe of discourse thus created by Dante, fall completely outside the poetic dimension: they originate in other dimensions of Dante's personality, in other philosophical interests, reveal different cultural and political projects and they look to a more composite audience, in tune with the work conceived and carried out in parallel, the Convivio.

Mirko Tavoni, former professor of Italian Linguistics and Dante Philology at the Universitymirko tavoni of Pisa, edited the translated and commented edition of De vulgari eloquentia (Mondadori, 2011 & Oscar Classici 2017) and the volumes Dante e la lingua italiana and, with Bernhard Huss, Dante e la dimensione visionaria fra medioevo e prima età moderna (Longo, 2013 and 2019). He is the author of Qualche idea su Dante (il Mulino 2015). He coordinated the creation of DanteSearch, a digital archive of Dante's vulgar and Latin works with linguistic annotation and initiated the creation of DanteSources, a knowledge base on the sources of Dante's works merged into the project HDN. Hypermedia Dante Network coordinated by Michelangelo Zaccarello. Another line of research cultivated by Tavoni is the history of linguistic theories in Italy and in Renaissance Europe: see the books Latino, grammatica, volgare (Antenore 1984), Il Quattrocento (il Mulino 1992 & 2015). He has also edited the two-volume Italy and Europe in Renaissance Linguistics (Franco Cosimo Panini, 1996). He is an academic of the Accademia della Crusca and a corresponding member of the Commission for Language Texts.

claudio giuntaOn Lyrical Dante
Claudio Giunta, University of Trento

Starting with the reading of a sonnet of the Vita nuova, I’ mi senti’ svegliar, which has an interesting connection with other poems by Dante and with the Commedia, we will ask ourselves how Dante's lyrical poems should be read, that is, what is appropriate and sensible to say about it, and above all what it is appropriate not to say, through examples taken from the Vita Nuova and the Rime.

Claudio Giunta teaches Italian literature at the University of Trento, and is a specialist in medieval literature (La poesia italiana nell’età di Dante, il Mulino 1998; Due saggi sulla tenzone, Antenore 2002; Versi a un destinatario, il Mulino 2002; Codici. Saggi sulla poesia del Medioevo, il Mulino 2005; a commentary on Dante's Rime for the Meridiani Mondadori, 2011-2012). His latest works are a book on argumentative writing (Come non scrivere, Utet 2018), the essay Le alternative non esistono. La vita e le opere di Tommaso Labranca (il Mulino 2020), the reportage Togliatti. La fabbrica della FIAT (Humboldt 2021). He co-directs the «Nuova rivista di letteratura italiana». He regularly collaborates with "Sole 24 ore" and "Internazionale". His site is

Join online via Zoom

Meeting ID: 865 9965 5397
Password: 189779


dante700 positivo logo usyd logo settimana della lingua nuovo


Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Time: At 5:30 pm

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

In collaboration with : University of Sydney

Entrance : Free