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February 12, 2020 English Language Meeting

February 12, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

When: February 12, 2020
Speaker: Prof. Lloyd Howard
Topic: The Power of Music on the Shore of Dante’s Purgatory

About the Speaker:

Lloyd Howard received his PhD from the Johns Hopkins University in 1976, after which, the subsequent year, he was appointed to a tenure-track position at the University of Victoria, where he taught until his retirement at the rank of Professor in 2016.  Along with teaching in the Department over 39 years, he served as Chair of the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies for a total of 15 years, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Humanities for six-month terms in 1997 and 2000, and Director of the Medieval Studies Program for 3 years.  His research focussed initially on the extant poetry of Guido Cavalcanti, before turning to Dante’s Commedia.  His approach to interpreting this work follows an alternate, non-linear journey through Dante’s three realms of the afterlife.  The signposts that mark the way consist of recurrent linguistic patterns, or formulas, by which the reader is guided through the space that comprises the poem’s 100 cantos.  Along with numerous articles, he has written two books adopting this method: Formulas of Repetition in Dante’s Commedia: Signposted Journeys across Textual Space (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001); Virgil the Blind Guide: Marking the Way through the Divine Comedy (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010).  Scholarly recognition of his methodology includes the former book being chosen as an “Outstanding Title” for 2002 by the American Library Association, and one of its chapters being selected by Harold Bloom to form part of Bloom’s edition on the CommediaDante Alighieri, published in 2011.  His articles in more recent years have been published by Letteratura Italiana Antica in Rome.

About the Presentation:

Professor Howard will begin his talk with a brief description of Dante’s world and how the Commedia was transmitted both in written form and orally by singing Dante’s text. He will then turn to the second canto of the Purgatorio, where Dante introduces the soul of the musician, Casella, who, while living, sang Dante’s love poems. He will explore how Casella’s “encore” performance of Dante’s song, “Amor che ne la mente mi ragiona,” goes wrong, as opposed to the Psalm “In exitu Israel de Aegypto,”sung in tonus peregrinus by all the delivered pilgrim souls earlier.  Lastly, Professor Howard will discuss the Paradiso where, by flight through the music enhanced spheres, Dante, a famed writer of worldly love songs, reaches the Celestial Rose and, in contrast to when his attention was focused on unworthy loves, the once straying poet fixes his attentive eyes upward to the Virgin Mary, whose intercession brings Dante the pilgrim home to God.


February 12, 2020
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


St Patrick Catholic Church
815 E Edgar St
Seattle, WA 98122 United States
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2021-2022 Season

Live Meeting COVID Guidelines

Even as COVID variants continue to plague the population, we are trying to return to offering live meetings for Dante this season. We’ve all been longing for a return to shared meals, and since this is foundational to Dante activities, we want to make it possible. Following the guidelines and regulations now in place by many workplaces, public venues and community groups, the Dante Board of Directors has agreed to the guidelines listed below as an acceptable plan to keep us as safe as possible when meeting in person. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by these regulations and will continue to stay current as the season evolves. If things get better, we may be able to loosen up the current plans. But meanwhile, we ask that Dante members and those from our wider mailing list cooperate with the plans as outlined below. These are also in keeping with the rules provided by St. Clements, our new residence.

1) Mandatory proof of full vaccination is required for anyone attending any live Dante Meeting. This applies to members, presenters, cooks and guests. Please bring a photo or photocopy of your COVID card with you when you come to any meeting. Dante is not set up to offer secure web-site proof, where you can upload a photo, as some workplaces are able to do. Please just bring the photo on your phone or a photocopy of the card with you. We will make the check-in process as streamlined as possible, hopefully needing to screen your proof only once.

2) Obviously – please do not attend if you have been exposed to COVID, or are experiencing any symptoms of illness. We will make best efforts to record the presentations so that those who cannot attend in person can enjoy them afterwards. There will also be a few meetings presented on ZOOM instead of live this season, for all to enjoy like last year.

3) Masks should be worn at all times at meetings except when seated for dining. This roughly follows the current Washington State rules for indoor restaurant dining and is in line with St. Clements current practice. We will have the windows and doors open as possible in our downstairs dining area. Presentations will take place in the upstairs sanctuary where there is more room for seating at distanced intervals. Presenters can unmask for their talks, as they will be distanced from those seated.

4) Those preparing and/or bringing food to meetings: please mask and wash hands in the preparation of food to be shared. Pre-Dante-Pasta chefs will stay masked in the kitchen. For anyone bringing antipasti or desserts: please portion for individual servings; avoid serving common dips, spreads etc. Food (including bread, cookies, etc) will be served with utensils. Hand sanitizer will be provided and we ask that we all use it each time we return to the table.

Thank you again for your understanding and observance of these guidelines. Let’s eliminate COVID contagion together!!!