In this edition of the Italian Research Seminar Series, on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of Dante Alighieri's birth, Corinna Salvadori Lonergan (Trinity College Dublin) will give a lecture titled: Dante, Florence and the florin, bewitched by greed and blinded ’neath its sway.
From the opening of Dante’s Commedia, with the pilgrim’s ascent towards light blocked by a she-wolf, symbol of insatiable greed, the entire work can be read as one strong condemnation of this powerful motivation of human action. The poet is as committed to personal salvation as he is to a just society, and in opposition to the predatory lupa, Dante presents the patron saint of Florence, John the Baptist, as the embodiment of ascetic spirituality; it is the Baptistry, his ‘bel San Giovanni’, that becomes the icon of the city that excluded him. Problematical is the gold florin, symbol of the city’s international standing and wealth, as it bears the effigy of the ‘gran Giovanni’.
Talk and discussion will be in English.