Dante and Milton – National Visionaries and Visionary Nationalists, 1. & 2. November 2013, Senate House, University London

full name / name of organization: 
Universität Paderborn, Universität Regensburg, at the Senate House, University of London

1.& 2. November 2013, Sentate House, University of London

Dante Alighieri and John Milton, the two vernacular composers of epic poems, hold firm positions in the literary canons of Italy and England respectively. Both authors have also become universal cultural icons deeply engrained in the world's cultural memory, with their importance extending vastly beyond their literary and political influence: on the one hand, Dante as the exiled avenger of sins and crimes, on the other, Milton as the blind polemicist and observer of current political affairs.

This conference aims to explore the synchronic as well as the diachronic constructions of Dante and Milton as cultural icons, and so the main focus of analysis is the production of cultural memory, national and transnational alike. What makes this production and perpetuation of cultural memory so interesting is the variety of cultural techniques and media involved, from the highbrow to the lowbrow, scholarly articles to computer games.

We invite papers that explore the motivations, mechanics, and symbolic processes that perpetuate certain images of Dante, Milton, and the relationship of both. The juxtaposition and comparison of Dante and Milton should invite a broader perspective that goes beyond the merely national contexts and also touches on the question of the emergence of a European Dante and a European Milton. At the same time, this comparison allows us to explore the opposite of cultural memory, namely processes of forgetting and side-lining authors or parts of their respective histories, which both authors have been subjected to throughout their literary reception. We therefore invite papers on the respective relations of these authors to, and their translation into, cultural icons as well as case-studies on the inter-relation or comparison of both.

Please send an abstract (max 300 words) by 28 June 2013 to
christoph.lehner@daad-alumni.de or csinger@mail.uni-paderborn.de

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Nick Havely, University of York
Andrew Sanders, University of Durham

Conference Organisers:
Christoph Lehner (University of Regensburg)
Christoph Singer (University of Paderborn)

Possible topics may include:
What is the synchronic/diachronic function of Dante and Milton
in regard to cultural memory?
Dante/Milton and national identities Dante and/or Milton and the literary canon the role of Dante and/or Milton in contemporary culture Dante and/or Milton as subjects in contemporary public
Dante and/or Milton in contemporary pop-culture "Milton's Bogey", cultural memory and gender-roles the politics of memorization Milton/Dante and the Modernists (T.S.Eliot, Ezra Pound) Dante as the political icon of Italy's reunification Form follows function? Dante/Milton and the epic narrative Dante/Milton as European epic poets? Dante's influence on Milton Dante/Milton and visual art