After almost seven centuries, Dante persists and even seems to haunt the present. This conference investigates what so many authors, artists and thinkers from very different artistic, political, geographical and cultural backgrounds have found in Dante’s oeuvre in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The hypothesis is that, along with a corpus of multiple linguistic and narrative structures, characters and stories that lend themselves to evocation and re-activation, Dante has provided a field of tensions in which to mirror, explore and question one’s own time. Itself situated on critical points of tension (sermo humilis/sublimis, lyric/epic, life/afterlife, human/divine, present/future), Dante’s aspiration towards totality remains a daunting presence in the age of fragmentation, while – after the ‘death of the Author’ – his work seduces precisely as the site of a powerful production of authorship. Metamorphosing Dante, conceived within the frame of the Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry’s core project Tension/Spannung, gathers scholars from different disciplines and cultures to explore what the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have probed in Dante’s works, and the ways in which they have engaged with them through rewritings, dialogues, and transpositions.
Concept and Organization: Fabio Camilletti (Berlin), Manuele Gragnolati (Oxford, Berlin), Fabian Lampart (Freiburg)