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Guy Placido Raffa
University of Texas, Austin (Austin, TX 78712-0100)
Dante's Bones and the Idea of Italy

This book will provide the most complete account of the history of Dante's tomb and bones, from his burial in Ravenna in 1321 to a computer-generated reconstruction of his face in 2007, and will be the first work to show how this history is inseparable from pivotal ideas in the national life of Italy, which celebrates its 150th birthday in 2011. Centered on a major event in Dante's skeletal history-- burial, theft, recovery, exhumation of his bones--each of the book's four parts shows how, after Florence and Ravenna competed for Dante in the Renaissance, he became a symbol for Italy during the Risorgimento and later evolved into an advocate of Italian nationalism under Fascism before attaining the global status he enjoys today. I argue for the significance of Dante's bones by analyzing their presence in works by major authors (Boccaccio, Leopardi, Byron, Foscolo, Carducci, and Longfellow) and in popular materials, such as newspapers, pamphlets, guidebooks, letters, and memoirs.

[Grant products][Media coverage][Prizes]

Project fields:
Italian Literature

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$29,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2012 – 12/31/2012