Special Med-Ren Seminar: Prof Zyg Baranski, “Language as sin and salvation in Dante: Inferno XVIII”

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Date(s) - 10/10/2014
11:00 am - 11:45 am

Faculty Seminar Room, E561, Menzies


baranskiProf Zyg Baranski (Professor of Dante and Italian Studies Notre Dame University US, and Emeritus Serena Professor of Italian, University of Cambridge, UK), a world’s leading expert on Dante, medieval literature and poetics, and expert on modern literature and film, is Visiting Scholar at the Monash Italian Studies program. 

This public lecture is a collaboration between Medieval & Renaissance Seminar Series and the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics.


On account of its sexual overtones and scatological references, Inferno XVIII has caused considerable embarrassment to Dante scholars, who have tended to offer partial and reductive readings of the canto. The present lecture aims to establish Inferno XVIII’s key role in the structure of the Commedia, not only as regards its function as ‘prologue’ to one of the most original sections of Dante’s afterlife, the richly stratified circle of fraud Malebolge, but also as the canto in which the poet addresses two of the major controversial questions relating to the form of his great poem, namely, its status as ‘comedy’ and its linguistic eclecticism