Dante 2021 – Humanities Cultural Programme: October – December 2021
"Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita."
Canto 1, Inferno
Halfway through the story of my life
I came to in a gloomy wood, because
I’d wandered off the path, away from the light.
Trans. Ciara Carson
Oxford will be alive with opportunities to celebrate Dante in 2021 -- exactly 700 years since the great poet's death.
Best known for his astonishing Divine Comedy -- a three-stage epic poem, narrating a journey through the afterlife from Hell through Purgatory to Heaven, with all of human history, knowledge, love, and life encountered on the way -- Dante was an advisor to princes, a political exile, and a revolutionary poet.
His richly visual imagination has inspired poets and painters, novelists and composers, film makers and gamers alike. From Chaucer through Margaret Cavendish to Philip Pullman and Ciaran Carson; from Monteverdi through Tchaikovsky to Tangerine Dream ; from Milton to Miyazaki and from Samuel Beckett to Tony Soprano: the significance of Dante's life and work is reflected in the diverse ways in which he is reimagined, studied, and researched today.
Dante in Oxford 2021 will explore the work and its many and rich afterlives, by exploring new forms of public engagement with research, with artistic practice, and with political and cultural history. We will draw on the strength of Oxford's research community to curate a wide-reaching cultural festival with a range of public events, including live in person and online programming.
We are collaborating with important partners across and beyond the university, including the Oxford Dante Society (see full programme here), the Ashmolean Museum, and other national and international partners. Bringing together scholars and translators, international artists, dancers, theatre-makers, and musicians, community groups and schools, our ambition is both to disseminate and showcase Oxford’s world-leading research, and to experiment with new forms of critically informed public engagement – all in celebration of Dante’s life and the many and complex contexts in which his work lives on, through both research and reinvention in contemporary cultures across the world.