A Lectura Dantis (‘reading of Dante’) is a public reading and explanation of all 100 cantos of Dante’s Divine Comedy canto by canto. The tradition goes back to the 14th century when Boccaccio began a series of public lectures on Dante in Florence on 23 October 1373. The modern lectura is a series of public lectures with each canto of the Commedia discussed by a different scholar.
It is traditional to use a Latin title which includes the name of the place where the lectures are given, such as the Lectura Dantis Neapolitana which took place in Naples, the Lectura Dantis Turicensis in Zürich, and the Lectura Dantis Romana which continues in Rome.
Here in St Andrews, the Lectura Dantis Andreapolitana (LDA) is organised by Robert Wilson and Claudia Rossignoli of the Italian Department of the University’s School of Modern Languages.
It will be the first complete Lectura Dantis of its kind held in the UK and is free and open to everyone – all members of the university and the public.
The LDA began in 2009, and now meets four times a year. Each meeting, normally on a Friday, has lecturae on two cantos in the morning and two in the afternoon, and concludes with a round table discussion. The day is scheduled with breaks so that if you are unable to attend everything you can come and go throughout the day.
The lectures are given by speakers from the UK and abroad, including well-known scholars in Dante studies, and experts in other relevant disciplines here in St Andrews, such as Mediaeval History, Philosophy, and English Literature.
All lectures are video recorded and several are now available on the website so that you can listen again to those you particularly enjoyed, and catch any you may have missed.
The LDA has expanded its activity to other related events and collaborations, bringing Dante’s writing and ideas to a wider public in a range of contexts.