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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dante's Afterlife in Argentina

  • Author(s): Sottong, Heather R
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC' version 4.0 license

In the 1890s, Bartolomé Mitre (President of Argentina from 1862-1868) published a Spanish translation of the Divine Comedy that was as key to the diffusion of Dante in the Río de la Plata as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s English translation (1867) was in the U.S. This article examines Mitre’s motives for dedicating a decade of his life to the translation, as well as his mission to bring European (and specifically Italian) high culture to his fledgling nation. I have found Mitre’s reading of Dante to have important resonances with the readings of Risorgimento Italians such as Mazzini, who associated Dante with political unity, morality, and high culture. This study also examines Mitre’s role as an advocate of Italian immigration to Argentina.

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