Today is Dantedì in Italy, that is Dante Day: a day to celebrate Dante Alighieri, in view of the 700th anniversary of his death next year.
Indeed, on 25 March 1300 Dante is supposed to have started his long journey to Hell, Purgatory and finally to Paradise, which is told in his Divine Comedy. This is the reason why 25 March has become Dante Day.
Dante and Verona
Dante is important for Verona. Together with Florence and Ravenna, Verona is one the ‘dantesque’ cities in Italy. He has lived in our city for some years and dedicated his Paradise to the Lord of Verona Cangrande della Scala.
Dante and INVITE
But Dante is important also for the INVITE project: Hasmik Vardanyan, one of our fellows, is carrying out her research on the Dante’s influences on the Armenian literature. We asked her to explain us an example.
The Armenian literature of the 20th century has formed an interesting tradition of poems written in allusion to Dante’s work. The most ‘dantesque’ poet of this tradition is Eghishe Charents (1897-1937).
He used to call himself ‘Dante of the Armenian poetry’. Among his poems written during the last years of his life in prison (Charents became a victim of Stalinist repression) he recalls the portrait of Dante in his room:
When I am looking for myself
My eyes meet the wall in front
In my room,
And like the lid that is put at its place
I magically find myself
Looking at the yellow face of Dante,
That has become for me
An identity devise,
A password to existence,
A lighthouse to find myself…
(1936-37, translation by H. Vardayan)
Mentre il cervello mio mi cerca,
gli occhi trovano di fronte il muro della stanza,
e d’improvviso, come un coperchio che va a posto,
riprendo contezza di io chi sono,
il che mi vien magicamente rivelato
dall’ingiallito volto di Dante
appeso su quel muro, che per me
è il mio passaporto, parola d’ordine,
il mio faro, cioè
il marchingegno fatto apposta
per ritrovar me stesso….
(Translation by A. Pompella)
Երբ ուղեղս փնտրում է ինձ
Հայացքըս դիպչում է միշտ
Սենյակիս — դիմացի պատին…
Եվ իսկույն, անմիջապես
Ինչպես տեղը գտած կափարիչ, —
Ինքնությունս, տեղս նորից
Հրաշքի պես — գտնում եմ ե՛ս…
Դարձել է ինքնության դևիզ,
Սեփական գոյության պարոլ,—
Ինքնագտնման փարոս, —
Այդ դեղին դեմքը Դանթեի…