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Vertical Readings in Dante's Comedy. Volume 1

George Corbett
Heather Webb


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1We owe a particular debt to the community in Cambridge who have supported the public lecture series, Cambridge Vertical Readings in Dante’s ‘Comedy’. We are also grateful to those who, following the series online, have contributed to this scholarly endeavour and experiment.

2The project has benefited from broad collaboration from the outset. Each public lecture was preceded by a video-conferenced workshop between the Universities of Cambridge, Leeds and Notre Dame on one of the three cantos in the vertical reading, and the first volume grows out of this three-way collaboration, with eight of the twelve contributors then based at one of the three institutions.

3There are many people who have helped us during the different stages of the project. We are deeply grateful to you all and we regret that, in these brief acknowledgements, we can only thank some of you by name. Apart from the contributors to this volume, we would like to thank Pierpaolo Antonello, Theodore J. Cachey, Ambrogio Camozzi Pistoja, Elizabeth Corbett, Mary Corbett, Robert Gordon, Ronald Haynes, Anne Leone, Helena Phillips-Robins, Federica Pich, Katherine Powlesland and Nan Taplin. Finally, we would like to extend our especial thanks to Simon Gilson for his support, advice and encouragement on this project from its inception.

4The master and fellows of Trinity College generously hosted the series and offered accommodation to the speakers. The series would not have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors: Trinity College; Selwyn College; the Italian Department, University of Cambridge; the Cambridge Italian Research Network (CIRN); the Centre for Medieval Literature (University of Southern Denmark and University of York); the University of Notre Dame; and the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds.

5Open Book Publishers has enabled us to build upon the growing public audience of the video-lectures by making all the volumes free to read online. We would like to thank especially Alessandra Tosi and Ben Fried at OBP for their meticulous comments on the manuscript, and for their help in preparing the bibliography and index. We are grateful to the anonymous peer reviewer for expert comments on individual chapters.

6This volume commemorates the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth. We would like to dedicate the volume to the memory of Robert M. Durling who died while we were preparing it for publication. With Ronald Martinez, Bob Durling pioneered the ‘vertical reading’ approach to the poem in the ‘Inter cantica’ sections of their edition of Purgatorio. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the series and had planned to give a lecture in its first year, but was prevented due to illness. A great scholar, he will be sorely missed.


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