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History & Politics, Literature

Dante Our Contemporary


October 4, 2018
6:30 pm

Please note: This event will be held IN ITALIAN.

The author of The Divine Comedy is near and far at the same time: we must “reach him”.

A lecture by
Filippo La Porta, critic and essayist

La Porta in conversation with Achille Varzi (Columbia University)

On the 750th anniversary of his birth, conventions and books about Dante are plentiful. Sometimes he appears distant, entirely immersed in the metaphysical certainties of the Middle Ages, alien to a modernity of doubts; sometimes he becomes surprisingly close, as he crosses the realms of the underworld stumbling, hesitating, fainting, and distracting, with the awareness that everything melts like snow in the sun.

Even the theologian Romano Guardini said that the Commedia is not really a theological poem (very little is spoken about by God, Christ is almost absent): above all it includes facts and consequences. Perhaps the scholar Gianfranco Contini was right to say that Dante is not behind us but in front of us, and we must “reach him”. So let’s try to use it, even in a “wild” way, to give an answer to our moral dilemmas. Tradition must be questioned, made to speak, otherwise it resembles those Stradivari violins behind glass that no one can play anymore.

The lecture will focus on various scenes of the Commedia in which an “ethical” Dante is revealed, more interesting today than a political or theological one.



Filippo La Porta
Born in  Rome, 1952

Regular contributor of main Italian newspapers and magazines: “Sole24ore”, “Messaggero”,  etc. as well as  “Espresso”, “Indice”, etc.(and of  some Radiotre broadcasts)

In 2007  six  months in USA with a Fulbright  grant for the research in Fordham University, New York (in that period  I had  also  many lectures in American universities: Yale, Houston, Ucla, Brown, NYU, Georgetown, etc.)

                                          Selected publications:

In Italian:
La nuova narrativa italiana (1995  e nuova edizione 1999), Bollati Boringhieri
Non c’è problema. Divagazioni morali su modi di dire e frasi fatte,   Feltrinelli 1997
Maestri irregolari  Bollati Boringhieri,  2007
Dizionario della critica militante  with  Giuseppe Leonelli, Bompiani 2007
Meno letteratura, per favore, Bollati Boringhieri, 2010
Un’idea dell’Italia. L’attualità nazionale nei libri , Aragno 2012
Pasolini, Il Mulino 2012
Roma , è una bugia,  Laterza 2014 
Indaffarati,   Bompiani 2017

In English:
The Horror Picture Show and the Very Real Horrors: about the Italian Pulp in Stefania Lucamante, ed. The New Narrative of the Giovani Cannibali Writers , Fairleigh UP, 2001
The Dragon of Unreality Against the Dream of a Thing: on Morante and Pasolini in S.Lucamante & S.Wood (eds), Under Arturo’s Star: The Cultural Legacies of Elsa Morante, Purdue UP, 2004