Baylor Honors College Will Present Seminar on Italian Poet Dante

Feb. 17, 2012

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Baylor University's Honors College will present a seminar on Italian poet Dante Alighieri with two lectures on Tuesday, Feb. 21, on the Baylor campus. Co-sponsored by Susan and Robert Pence and the Great Texts program at Baylor, the events are free and open to the public.

Dr. Christiana Purdy Moudarres, M.A.R. candidate at Yale Divinity School, will present the first lecture, "Bodily Starvation and the Ravaging of the Will: a Medical Reading of Inferno 32-33," at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Armstrong Browning Library Lecture Hall. Purdy Moudarres will discuss the "Ugilino Episode" in the final cantos of Dante's Inferno and show how Dante considers bodily action as revealing an spiritual condition.

After receiving her doctoral degree in Italian literature from Yale University in 2010, Purdy Moudarres has begun work on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, "A Sacred Banquet: Medicine and Theology in Dante's Inferno." Last year, she was awarded the Charles H. Grandgent Award by the Dante Society of America for her essay on Inferno 6, "Devouring Selves in the Circle of Gluttony" and published her first edited volume of collected essays, "Table Talk: Perspectives on Food in Medieval Italian Literature." She is currently a master's of arts in religion degree candidate at Yale Divinity School and co-organizer of the Dante Working Group for the Whitney Humanities Center.

Dr. Ronald Martinez, professor and chair of Italian studies at Brown University, will present the second lecture, "Dante's Anti-Ecclesiastical Triptych in the Inferno (Cantos 19, 23, 27)," at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Alexander Reading Room of the Honors Residential College. Martinez will present three episodes in Dante's Inferno that focus on different aspects of fraud and, when taken together, present Dante's treatment of corrupt church leaders.

In addition to authoring about 40 articles on topics in Italian literature from Guido Cavalcanti's lyrics to Ariosto's Orlando furioso, Martinez has collaborated with Robert M. Durling on a monograph of Dante's lyric poetry, Time and the Crystal: Studies in Dante's Rime Petrose, and on an edition of Dante's Divine Comedy. Martinez received his bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa., in 1969, and his doctoral degree in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1977. He is preparing for a book-length study on Dante's appropriation of liturgy for narrative and linguistic aspects of his work.

For more information, contact the Baylor Honors College at (254) 710-7689.

by Katy McDowall, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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