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Celebrating Dante's – and Dan Brown's – Inferno at the University of Bristol

Dante Alighieri

Dante Alighieri

Dan Brown's Inferno is the latest work to be inspired by Dante's poem

Dan Brown's Inferno is the latest work to be inspired by Dante's poem

Press release issued: 9 May 2013

A group of Bristol experts on Dante will be speed-reading Dan Brown's eagerly anticipated new novel Inferno, inspired by the Italian poet's masterwork of the same name, ahead of a round table discussion at the University of Bristol this Tuesday [14 May], the day the book is published by Transworld. The event, Dante and Dan Brown, takes place in the Old Council Chamber, Wills Memorial Building from 6pm. All are welcome but booking is required.

The event, Dante and Dan Brown, takes place in the Old Council Chamber, Wills Memorial Building from 6pm.  All are welcome but booking is required; a wine reception will follow. 

The speakers will share their views on Brown's book and how it relates to the poem that inspired it. Set in Florence, Inferno is the latest mystery to feature Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who also appears in Brown's bestselling novels The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.

Those taking part in the discussion include Dr Tristan Kay, a specialist in medieval Italian culture and early lyric poetry, Dr Carolyn Muessig, who studies medieval religion, and Professor Ralph Pite, an expert on Dante and the Romantic poets. Students and members of the public, including Ralph Hoyte, poet and creator of a unique 'soundscape' for Dante's work, will also participate. Copies of both Dante's and Dan Brown's Inferno will be on sale at the event.

During the day, University students and staff, together with members of the public will also be staging a marathon reading of Dante’s Inferno.  Thirty-four volunteers will read the poem aloud – in English translation – over six hours. The event's organiser, George Ferzoco, Teaching Fellow in the Department of Religion and Theology, will read the final canto in the original Italian. The event will take place in the Seminar Room, Institute for Advanced Studies, Royal Fort House, University of Bristol between 10.30am and 4.30pm, with listeners welcome to drop in for as long as they wish.

Mr Ferzoco said: "Dante's Inferno was intended to be read aloud. This event gives students a real sense of how the poem was meant to be received: not solely on the page, but orally. It also gives them a common purpose and a great sense of achievement to share this incredible poem together."

He continued: "We're also thrilled to be able to follow the reading with an event which focuses on the latest work to be inspired by Dante's masterpiece. The fact that a medieval poem can still be a source of inspiration to all kinds of writers almost 700 years after it was created is a testament to the enduring power and mystery of this great work."

The event is sponsored by the Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts (BIRTHA) and the Institute for Advanced Studies