Book2023-10-31
Elena Lombardi

Ulysses, Dante, and Other Stories

Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2023
ISBN 978-3-96558-057-2 | Paperback | 17 EUR | x, 310 pp. | 16 b&w images | 20.3 cm x 12.7 cm
ISBN 978-3-96558-056-5 | Hardcover | 44 EUR | x, 310 pp. | 16 colour images | 20.3 cm x 12.7 cm
ISBN 978-3-96558-058-9 | PDF | Open Access | 16 colour images | 18 MB
ISBN 978-3-96558-059-6 | EPUB | Open Access | 16 colour images | 19 MB
Ulysses, Dante, and Other Stories presents a unique form of creative scholarship. It employs Dante’s late medieval take on Ulysses and his tragic pursuit of ‘virtue and knowledge’ as a prism that refracts an ancient myth of journey and return into a modern story of discovery and nostalgia. Working notes, fragments from Ulysses’ many stories, personal memories, illuminations, and rewritings combine to form a new chain of narratives about the desire to create, the art of travelling, and the will of self-reinvention.
Elena Lombardi is Professor of Italian Literature at Oxford, and is a Fellow of Balliol College. She is the author of four books: The Syntax of Desire: Language and Love in Augustine, the Modistae, Dante (2007), The Wings of the Doves: Love and Desire in Dante and Medieval Culture (2012), and Imagining the Woman Reader in the Age of Dante (2018), Beatrice e le altre. Dante e l’universo femminile (2021), as well as several articles on topics related to the medieval and early modern periods. She is one of the co-editors of the Oxford Handbook of Dante (2021).
A uniquely brilliant, insightful, learned, passionate, funny ‘monologue’ in six chapters on Dante’s Ulysses, which is also a compelling introduction to the beauties of the Divine Comedy — and of some of the great literature associated with it, from Pico della Mirandola to Primo Levi. The only book on Dante in which the bibliography makes irresistible reading, its scholarship (whether creative, post-, or punk) is genuine and profound, even if often it turns out to be comically deflated in the autobiographical context of the down-to-earth experiences of the mother and teacher who has written it. Elena Lombardi’s irreverent love of Dante and literature is moving and inspiring. — Lino Pertile, Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Emeritus, Harvard University, author of Dante popolare (2021) and Dante controcorrente (2023).
Ulysses, Dante, and Other Stories hides within its simple title something infinitely more delicious and digressive (but not, let me stress, deceitful): a series of overlapping divagations — the aquatic metaphors are irresistible — on desire, reading, and reading as desire. There is a wideness to this book’s culture — like, in the words of an English hymn, ‘the wideness of the sea’. You’ll find some expected figures and voices — Homer, Virgil, Ovid, among the ancients; Levi, Walcott, among the moderns — as well as some more unexpected ones: Rimbaud, Claudel, Saba, Aznavour, Tina Turner. But it is not the degree of expectation that makes the difference; it is what one does with expectancy: the place set for the stranger who may or may not arrive, the stranger that each of us becomes to ourselves, the moment we are deracinated and, if you will, re-racinated by a literary or lived encounter that truly changes us. This is the book’s lush wager: that, with and against Dante, we can be washed ashore on the beach of our own longings and find there new bright things — perhaps, as in the book’s concluding image, initially lusterless, but only apparently so: awaiting our own brightening touch and enlivening voice. At one point, this book suggests that desire may be ‘the human superpower’, and it is a testament to the book’s compelling, ironic, reflexive voice and vision that the reader emerges from it feeling a bit like a dazed and dazzled hero, at once hoarse with desire and somehow surprised by his, by her, by our new, old eloquence. — Cary Howie, Professor of Romance Studies, Cornell University.

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Title
Ulysses, Dante, and Other Stories
Author(s)
Elena Lombardi
Bio(s)
Elena Lombardi is Professor of Italian Literature at Oxford, and is a Fellow of Balliol College. She is the author of four books: The Syntax of Desire: Language and Love in Augustine, the Modistae, Dante (2007), The Wings of the Doves: Love and Desire in Dante and Medieval Culture (2012), and Imagining the Woman Reader in the Age of Dante (2018), Beatrice e le altre. Dante e l’universo femminile (2021), as well as several articles on topics related to the medieval and early modern periods. She is one of the co-editors of the Oxford Handbook of Dante (2021).
Identifier
Description
Ulysses, Dante, and Other Stories presents a unique form of creative scholarship. It employs Dante’s late medieval take on Ulysses and his tragic pursuit of ‘virtue and knowledge’ as a prism that refracts an ancient myth of journey and return into a modern story of discovery and nostalgia. Working notes, fragments from Ulysses’ many stories, personal memories, illuminations, and rewritings combine to form a new chain of narratives about the desire to create, the art of travelling, and the will of self-reinvention.
Is Part Of
Place
Berlin
Publisher
ICI Berlin Press
Date
31 October 2023
Number in Series
28
Subject
Ulysses
Alighieri Dante
Medieval studies
Theory of knowledge
Myth
Voyage of discovery
Memory
Fragment, literary criticism
Rights
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Language
en-GB
number of pages
x, 310
Table Of Contents
List of Figures
Incipit | 1-12
1. Lectura | 13-45
2. Sing me, o Muse, again | 47-90
3. To Pursue Virtue and Knowledge | 91-124
4. ‘… And Maybe Sometime’ | 125-172
5. It Was Sunset | 173-212
6. All In One Place | 213-263
Colophon | 265-270
A Narrated Bi(bli)ography Preceded by a Postface and Interspersed with Notes that Lack Superscript. Also Illustrated, for that Matter. With the Addition of a One-word Glossary.
A List of Primary Sources
has manifestation
ISBN 978-3-96558-057-2 | Paperback | 17 EUR | x, 310 pp. | 16 b&w images | 20.3 cm x 12.7 cm
ISBN 978-3-96558-056-5 | Hardcover | 44 EUR | x, 310 pp. | 16 colour images | 20.3 cm x 12.7 cm
ISBN 978-3-96558-058-9 | PDF | Open Access | 16 colour images | 18 MB
ISBN 978-3-96558-059-6 | EPUB | Open Access | 16 colour images | 19 MB