We invite you to spend an evening with Robert Durling, one of the preeminent translators of Dante into English and a scholar who has spent more than fifty years crafting versions of the Divine Comedy that bring this superlative 14th-century Florentine poet into conversation with contemporary Americans. Durling is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and three books on Italian Renaissance literature. In 1996, his eagerly awaited translation of Dante’s Inferno was published by Oxford University Press, followed by Purgatorio in 2003 and Paradiso in 2010. Durling’s translations have been described as “marvelous, in the richest medieval sense of the term.” When the Paradiso volume appeared, David Young of Oberlin College wrote that “The scholarship, as always, is graceful, comprehensive, and acute, and it surrounds a translation that is so carefully considered and fully realized as to be, at times, quite breathtaking.”
In English, there is no poet of Dante’s stature except Shakespeare, and in Italy, he is regarded as so unapproachably supreme that he is referred to simply as “The Poet”—no qualifiers are necessary. In this talk, Robert Durling will discuss the challenges—and the exhilaration—of bringing the work of such a vast, intimidating, and luminous poet into English, and how reading him, 600 years after he wrote, can transfix us and even change our lives.
ROBERT M. DURLING
Professor of Italian and English Literature, Emeritus, UC Santa Cruz Robert Durling has taught at Cornell, Haverford, Princeton, UC San Diego, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and the University of Oregon. He has been on the faculty at UC Santa Cruz for more than forty years. He has written extensively on Italian Renaissance literature, especially on Petrarch and Dante. Besides translating Dante’s Divine Comedy into English, Durling is the author of The Figure of the Poet in Renaissance Epic, and translator of Petrarch’s Lyric Poems.
Medieval Matters is a series of public lectures co-sponsored by the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Office for Religious Life, the Sarum Seminar, and Stanford Continuing Studies. I t explores the relevance of medieval history and culture to understanding the modern world.
Free and open to public.