Great Texts and Honors College Host Seminar on Dante's Commedia

Susanna Barsella, Ph.D.
Susanna Barsella, Ph.D. photo courtesy of Fordham University
Feb. 18, 2013

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Contact: Lori Fogleman, (254) 710-6275

WACO, Texas (Feb. 18, 2013) - Dante's The Divine Comedy is considered to be the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language. The epic poem will be the topic of an upcoming seminar when the Honors College at Baylor University hosts Susanna Barsella, Ph.D., professor of Italian at Fordham University. The seminar will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the Reading Room at Alexander Hall, 1413 S. Seventh St., on the Baylor campus.

In addition to her work as a professor, Barsella has published on Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio, Michelangelo, on the idea of work from antiquity to the Middle Ages and also on 20th-century literature. Her works have appeared in "Romance Quarterly," "MLN Journal," "Studi sul" "Boccaccio," "Italian Quarterly," "Italica" and in various essay collections, including, most recently, "The Panoptical Petrarch: A Life's Work" edited by V. Kirkham and A. Maggi. Barsella earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Pisa (Italy), a master's of philosophy in economics from the University of York (UK) and earned a Ph.D. in Italian literature from Johns Hopkins University.

"Each year, hundreds of Baylor students read the Dante's Divine Comedy, one of the most important works in world literature," said Phillip Donnelly, Ph.D., associate professor of literature in Baylor University's Honors College.

"The central character of the poem struggles to transform exile into pilgrimage; in this respect, the poem continues to speak to our own profoundly rootless culture. At the same time, the poem addresses enduring human questions concerning suffering and wisdom, faith and reason, the imagination and the affections," Donnelly said.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jill Joos at 254-710-7251.

by Rebecca Malzahn , student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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