Dante vs Dante: Material Traditions of the Lyric and the Construction of Poetic Authority
Laura Banella (University of Notre Dame)
Dr. Laura Banella is the 2022-2023 Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies and the Center for Italian Studies Fellow in Italian Manuscript Studies.
The talk illuminates the distinctive qualities attributed to lyric poetry and lyric poets through the lens of Dante and the material tradition of his lyrics between the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Through a selection of peculiar lyric anthologies, ranging from the few elite illuminated codices of Dante’s lyric poetry to the many humble collections and up to lyric series found in merchant account books that encompass Dante’s lyrics, coming from both dominant cultural centers–like Florence and Venice—and peripheral areas, from Dante’s times to the early Renaissance, the talk investigates the many ways in which Dante’s lyric poetry was read and circulated independently from the Commedia, thus illuminating how these diverse publics correspond to ‘different Dantes’. Exploring the role of Dante as a major cultural authority as diffracted by scribes, compilers, artists, and other poets, and the ways in which his authorial persona as a lyric poet has been (re)shaped as an authoritative or non-authoritative figure in various material contexts, allows for a new understanding of cultural authority and of the role of the diverse actors involved in the circulation of the literary work. What is more, it sheds new light on the ways in which cultural authority is diffracted and diversely constructed in relation to different literary genres (lyric poetry vs the poetry of the Commedia), times, and places.
The lecture is sponsored jointly by the Center for Italian Studies, the Italian Studies section of the Department of Romance Languages, and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies.
Laura Banella is an assistant professor in Italian at the University of Notre Dame and a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Her research interests lie in medieval Italian literature. Her research has focused on Dante and Boccaccio and on the books transmitting their works (13th-16th century). She has also worked on reception, the history of literary criticism, Renaissance literature, and the female auctor. Her recent publications include La ‘Vita nuova’ del Boccaccio. Fortuna e tradizione (Rome-Padua: Antenore, 2017) and Rime e libri delle rime di Dante tra Medioevo e primo Rinascimento (Rome: Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 2020).