Società Dante Alighieri UK

Some of you may know about the Società Dante Alighieri, which operates all over the world to promote the study of Dante and his works. They’re a pretty amazing organisation (they once funded a scholarship for me when I was doing my UG to go and study in Italy for a month), and have a really interesting history in the UK. Unfortunately we don’t have a Dante Society in Leeds (CAN WE CHANGE THIS PLEASE? I WILL BE WILLING TO RUN IT MYSELF!) but our nearest established franchises are in Hull and Manchester.

I don’t mean to promote Manchester more than Leeds, because obviously Leeds is brilliant and we have amazing Dante resources, but something quite big is going down in M-town right now. To celebrate 150 years since the Unification of Italy, Manchester Dante Society is running a series of events, billed as the ‘Festa Italia‘. Aside from the talk about illustrations in 20th century editions of the Commedia, the society has organised concerts, film screenings, celebratory dinners, and parades per festeggiare the brilliance of Italian culture.

I’m so excited about all of this, because I feel like sometimes Medieval Italy is a little bit sidelined in modern-day England. This is the perfect excuse for us to boast about how lucky we are to work on this amazing poet and have a bloody good time whilst doing so.

S x



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2 responses to “Società Dante Alighieri UK

  1. richard ludlow

    I have enjoyed your site. Thank you. I am 58 years old and for the last six months have been enthralled with the Commedia. I would like, if possible, to in a couple years read the Italian. Would learning modern Italian enable me to enjoy the poem? I know I would not be able to understand the subtleties of medieval Italian. But would I be able to get a sense of the power, beauty and genius of the writing? Or should I just soak myself in the english translations?

    I would appreciate any advice or referral to someone who can address this.



  2. Dear Richard,
    Thanks for getting in touch. Many of the English translations are really quite good – I’d suggest either the John Sinclair translations (the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso are all published separately), which is quite literal and gives a good idea of the sense of the poem; or if you’re looking for a more poetic translation, I’d suggest looking at the version by Daniel Halpern (Dante’s Inferno: Translations by Twenty Poets). Unfortunately, Halpern hasn’t released the same volumes for Purgatory and Paradise.

    Of course, I’d always recommend reading the original if you can, and being a linguist, I’d always endorse learning languages. Luckily, unlike English, medieval Italian and modern Italian aren’t that different, so if you could get to grips with modern Italian, it should be relatively easy for you to be able to understand at least some of the Commedia.

    In bocca al lupo! (This means good luck, so now you at least know some Italian!)


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