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Dante Festival

By Connor Smith; For the Clock
On October 6, 2016

Dante Festival

Connor Smith

For The Clock

What is a better way to spend a weekend than enjoying the works of one of the most influential writers in the Western world, Dante Alighieri?

At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Saturday, Oct. 29, starting at 11:30 a.m., an entire day will be dedicated to celebrating the works and poetry of Dante.

Both the Medieval Society and History Club here at Plymouth State University plan on going to Dante Festival. Dante is most famous for creating works of literature such as “The Divine Comedy”, which describes Dante's journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise ,and “La Vita Nuova”, which an expression of the medieval genre of courtly love in a prosimetrum style.

There will be many activities, such as performances, shorts talks, and creative experiences to indulge in. For performances, there will be a show of dancers from the dance company Urbanity Dance. They will be using improvisatory techniques, showing the cantos from Dante’s “Divine Comedy". In addition, there will be impromptu renditions of vocal music from Dante’s time in fourteenth-century Florence.

Professors and doctors from schools such as Harvard University, Wellesley College, and Yale Divinity School will give discussion on themes from Dante’s works.

There will be illuminators helping those who participate apply gold leaf edging to original poems on an old fashion typewriter.

Dantefest is a great occasion for people to understand why and how Dante’s works became so influential. Also, being able to listen to some top professors helps explain Dante’s important role in today’s literature.

The Medieval Society is interested in literature that dates pre 1500 AD. Dante, being a writer and living during the time period of 1265 to 1321 AD, would fall under this category. But their interest in old literature isn’t the only aspect that makes up the Medieval Society club. Andrew Towne, one of the officers of Medieval Society, said “We are interested in many facets of history, and tracing day to day details as well as societal realities through history to see where and when they start and end.”

Towne continued, “mundane things, such as pre-Roman shaving habits, or large things, such as gender roles in thirteenth-century England; these are the more intangible things we deal with--the tangible is more exciting to most people. We make it a point to learn new skills with some historic value, usually taking a modern ap- proach to the craft--making chainmail, glass etching, sewing, leather working, carving, Illumination, and more.”

Non-member students of the club are welcomed to join Medieval Society on the trip to Dantefest. For the chance to go, email either the two facility members that are coordinating this event; Professor Kinane ( or Professor Axen ( Admission is $5 for students, $15 for nonstudents, and $12 for senior citizens.


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