Turning to a Joy


Location: Hesburgh Library, Special Collections Room

Robin Kirkpatrick, professor of Italian and English Literatures, fellow of Robinson College, University of Cambridge

Kirkpatrick will explore the relationship between comedy and theology in Dante and Shakespeare. Can their language and imagination contribute to the pursuit of theological questions? Do they together ask us in any way to re-think or experiment with our familiar conceptions of academic study? Can comedy be seen, in Dantean and Shakespearean terms, as a legitimate mode in which to approach the pressing issues of the intellectual life?

To deepen exploration of the relationship between divinity and comedy as found in Dante and Shakespeare, after the lecture, at 8:00pm in the Philbin Theatre of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Kirkpatrick will guide a collective of Notre Dame and local artists that combine literature, dance, theatre, visual art, music, and videography in a structured improvisation that examines how seemingly disparate forms of artistic expression can be unified through a shared journey toward universal truth and divine inspiration.

Kirkpatrick’s recent publications include a new translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy (Penguin, 2006–7); The European Renaissance, 1400–1600 (Longman 2002); and English and Italian Literature From Dante to Shakespeare: A Study of Source, Analogue, and Divergence (Longman 1995). Professor Kirkpatrick is the founder of P*CEA (Performance, Collaboration, and Experiment in the Arts), a Cambridge-based multidisciplinary group bringing together artists in all branches of the arts.

Both events are sponsored by the Devers Program in Dante Studies and Shakespeare at Notre Dame. The visit is co-sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame, the Medieval Institute, the Nanovic Institue for European Studies, the Ph.D. in Literature Program, and Religion and Literature.