Advertisement
Thursday, Dec 02, 2021
Outlook.com
Foreign Hand

Andante, A Poet in Slow Motion

“Even if you have read and reread it, Dante always has something new to tell us.” Italy celebrates an icon. The richest tributes are happening in Ravenna.

Andante, A Poet in Slow Motion
Andante, A Poet in Slow Motion
outlookindia.com
2021-06-04T14:24:23+05:30

As she has each evening for the past eight months, Giuliana Turati opened her well-worn copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy as the last of 13 peals of a church bell reverberated around the tomb of the great Italian poet. Italy is honouring Dante Alighieri—who died in exile from Florence on September 13, 1321—in myriad ways on the 700th anniversary of his death. Those include new musical scores and gala concerts, exhibits and dramatic readings against stunning backgrounds in every corner of the country, reports the Associated Press. But nowhere is the tribute more intimate than before his tomb, which was restored for the anniversary, as dusk falls each day in the city of Ravenna, a former Byzantine capital. Turati, a life-long Ravenna resident, comes to listen as volunteer Dante-lovers read a single canto, following along in the copy of the Divine Comedy inscribed with the year she studied the poet’s masterwork in school: 1967. “Even if you have read and reread it, Dante always has something new to tell us,” Turati says. The daily reading, part of a yearlong celebration of Dante that started in September, is intended to connect ordinary people—residents and tourists, scholars and the uninitiated—with the Divine Comedy as an appreciation by the city he adopted while in exile.  Copies of the Divine Comedy in 60 languages are housed nearby, and organisers envision they also will be read by foreign tourists as soon as post-pandemic travel resumes.

Dante spent years composing Divine Comedy during his banishment from his native Florence, the home of the vernacular he elevated to a literary language through his poetry. While Dante was embraced as a symbol of Italy’s unification in 1861, Florence and Ravenna continue to battle for Dante’s legacy. Disputes over who has the right to claim his remains still erupt in newspapers seven centuries after his death. Florence, so it seems, would have given up its claim by sentencing Dante to exile, his return punishable by death. The sentence is written in a 14th-century court ledger on display through August 8 as part of an exhibition on Dante’s relationship with Florence at the Bargello National Museum. The museum also holds a fresco of Dante, painted by his contemporary Giotto after the poet’s death. He died of malaria.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

UN Seeks Release Of Kashmiri Activist Khurram Parvez, Amendment In UAPA

UN Seeks Release Of Kashmiri Activist Khurram Parvez, Amendment In UAPA

The UN has sought probe into civilian killings in Jammu and Kashmir’s Hyderpora and called on the security forces and armed groups to exercise restraint.

Omicron Cases Spike: 21 Countries That Recorded New Covid-19 Variant

Omicron Cases Spike: 21 Countries That Recorded New Covid-19 Variant

South Africa, the first nation where the virus variant was detected, has reported 77 cases of Omicron so far, prompting travel bans across the world.

Man United, IPL Big Boys, Sydney Sixers Enter UAE T20 League

Man United, IPL Big Boys, Sydney Sixers Enter UAE T20 League

Lancer Capital has made its first-ever historic foray into cricket by acquiring a franchise in the UAE T20 league. The ECB has already roped in IPL teams like MI, DC and KRR.

Five Powerful Indian-Americans Rocking Silicon Valley, Parag Agrawal Latest Addition

Five Powerful Indian-Americans Rocking Silicon Valley, Parag Agrawal Latest Addition

As Parag Agrawal becomes the CEO of Twitter, the Indian diaspora's representation in the tech giants of America, especially the companies in Silicon Valley gets a new badge.

Advertisement