October 29, 1999 – Dennis Looney: “Dante in Black and White: The African-American Reception of The Divine Comedy A Pre-and Early Modern Studies Lecture and Video Presentation”

Friday, October 29 | Kresge 159 | 4:00 PM

In the United States, Dante’s The Divine Comedy has been acknowledged as a formative influence on Emerson, Eliot, and Pound. In this talk, Dennis Looney considers an important but neglected facet of Dante’s U.S. reception. Looney tracks the changing reception of Dante over the last 150 years from what he calls the Colored Dante, to the Negro Dante, to the Black Dante, and finally to the African-American Dante. Moving from slavery and reconstruction in the nineteenth century to segregation in the South in the first half of the twentieth century, to the Black Revolution of the 1960s, and finally to the tensions between the urban ghetto and suburbia of today, he exposes a chronology of reception that has been largely ignored by students of Dante. Dennis Looney is Associate Professor of Italian and Chair of the department of French and Italian at the University of Pittsburgh. He has written a number of essays on the encounters between ancient and early modern Italian culture. His book, Compromising the Classics: Romance Epic Narrative in the Italian Renaissance, was published in 1996.
For more information contact Deanna Shemek. This event is sponsored by Pre- and Early Modern Studies and the Department of Literature.