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Faculty Member and Alumnus To Receive Modern Language Association Award for Dante Studies

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Teodolinda Barolini, the Lorenzo Da Ponte Professor of Italian, and Richard Lansing CC ’65, professor of Italian studies and comparative literature at Brandeis, are receiving the Modern Language Association of America’s 15th annual Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies for their work, “Dante’s Lyrics: Poems of Youth and the Vita Nuova.” The award is one of 15 that will be presented during the association’s annual convention in January.

The committee’s citation for the winning manuscript reads: “This extraordinary manuscript traces Dante’s poetic and ideological itinerary from the poetic production of his youth to the Commedia. Teodolinda Barolini’s scholarship melds a theoretically and philologically rigorous critical apparatus and analysis with the superb translations of Dante’s poems by Richard Lansing, excellent notes by Manuele Gragnolati, and translations of the volume’s commentary by Andrew Frisardi. ‘Dante’s Lyrics: Poems of Youth and the Vita Nuova’ attends to long-standing questions regarding the development of Dante’s poetics, the poems’ transmission tradition, and the editorial interventions that have profoundly shaped our understanding of Dante’s early poems.

“Lansing’s new translations will prove to be an invaluable resource for an audience without access to Dante’s original Italian, while the volume’s rich commentary includes rigorous explications of the poems and extends to gender theory and contemporary readings of Dante that engage themes of friendship, social classes, urban politics, and desire.”

Barolini is the Lorenzo Da Ponte Professor of Italian and chair of the Department of Italian. She is the author of Dante’s Poets: Textuality and Truth in the Comedy, which received the MLA’s Howard R. Marraro Prize and the Medieval Academy of America’s John Nicholas Brown Prize; The Undivine Comedy: Detheologizing Dante; and Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture, which won the Premio Flaiano di Italianistica. She is the editor of Dante’s Rime giovanili e della Vita Nuova and is working on the second volume of her commentary to Dante’s lyric poems for the Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli. Barolini is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Medieval Academy of America. She served from 1997 to 2003 as the 15th president of the Dante Society of America.

Lansing is a professor of Italian studies and comparative literature at Brandeis. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the editor of The Dante Encyclopedia (a Choice Outstanding Book) and Dante: The Critical Complex, the associate editor of Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia, and author of From Image to Idea: A Study of the Simile in Dante’s Commedia. He is editor in chief of the journal Dante Studies and a member of the editorial board of La parola del testo, Studi Danteschi, Letteratura italiana antica, and Dante: Rivista internazionale di studi su Dante Alighieri. Lansing is an honorary member of the Società Dantesca Italiana.

The Modern Language Association of America and its 30,000 members in 100 countries work to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literature. Founded in 1883, the MLA provides opportunities for its members to share their scholarly findings and teaching experiences with colleagues and to discuss trends in the academy. The MLA sustains one of the finest publication programs in the humanities, producing a variety of publications for language and literature professionals and for the general public. The association publishes the MLA International Bibliography, the only comprehensive bibliography in language and literature, available online. The MLA Annual Convention features meetings on a wide variety of subjects; this year’s convention is in Boston and is expected to draw 8,000 attendees.

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More information on the award is available here.