The encounter between literary criticism, cultural studies, affect theory, and the history of emotions is currently contributing to the development and testing of new research and critical trajectories. Taking Dante as a case study, this talk will focus on the literary performance of the sharing of emotions, as well as on its relation to friendship, community-building, and interreligious dialogue, from the Vita Nova’s attempts at affective outreach to the empathetic bonds that initiate the action in the Commedia. Read in the framework of the medieval reception of Cicero’s Laelius de Amicitia, Christian anthropology, and the history of emotions, Dante’s longstanding interest in the implications of friendship and empathy (compassione, pietà, misericordia) stands out as a key element within the narrative, didactic, and spiritual scope of his writings.
Professor Giulia Gaimari is the author of Per amore di giustizia. Dante fra diritto, politica e teologia (2022). Her current research explores Dante’s use of classical moral philosophy, the interactions between medieval encyclopaedic culture, civic rhetoric, and vernacular literature, and their intertwining within the history of emotions in the late Middle Ages.