Dennis Looney, Professor of Italian, to speak on “Freedom Readers”

Dennis O. Looney, Professor of Italian at the University of Pittsburgh, will deliver a lecture titled “”The Poetics of Lynching: Dante, Allen Tate, and other Freedom Readers” on Monday, October 15, at 4:00 p.m. in Welles 121.

Examining “The Swimmers,” a poem written amid American poet and literary critic Allen Tate’s “literal conversion to Catholicism and his move away from segregationist ideology,” Looney argues that the poet turned—as did many African American writers—to Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy in order to grapple with the legacy of white supremacy.

Professor Looney is the author of Freedom Readers: The African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy, published by the University of Notre Dame Press in its Devers Series in Dante Studies, 2011, and of Compromising the Classics: Romance Epic Narrative in the Italian (1996).


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