Cover: Dante’s Bones: How a Poet Invented Italy, from Harvard University PressCover: Dante’s Bones in HARDCOVER

Dante’s Bones

How a Poet Invented Italy

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$37.00 • £32.95 • €33.95

ISBN 9780674980839

Publication Date: 05/12/2020

Academic Trade

384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

46 photos

Belknap Press

World

Add to Cart

Educators: Request an Exam Copy (Learn more)

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Raffa tells the remarkable story of Dante’s afterlife, by turns grotesque, lively and farcical, as the loss and recovery of his bones intertwines with the tempestuous fate of Italy.—Barbara Newman, London Review of Books

As Guy Raffa charts in his beautiful book Dante’s Bones, Dante’s corporeal afterlife is its own story.—Candida Moss, Daily Beast

Meeting the challenge of invigorating historical events with whodunit tones of intrigue, Guy P. Raffa’s Dante’s Bones delivers a fairly adventurous tale.—Patrick James Dunagan, Rain Taxi

In fiction and in fact, Dante Alighieri has been influencing the world order for centuries. Just how he’s achieved global-icon stature is the subject of Guy P. Raffa’s fascinating, comprehensive new book.—Jenny McPhee, Air Mail

A fascinating narrative of translation (literal), cultural appropriation, and myth making. Dante becomes a humanist ideal, a nineteenth-century prophet, and hence father for Italy, and abstraction to which all political persuasions have sought to harness themselves. The actual travails of Dante’s remains also make for fascinating reading.—Daragh O’Connell, Annali d’Italianistica

Details the path that Dante’s remains trod in his physical afterlife, from the time of his death to the present, and of the people who wanted a piece of him for themselves… Has the marks of a detective story.—John M. DeJak, Chronicles

An intensively researched, gripping story of Dante’s lively bones that also tells a brisk history of modern Italy. Raffa keeps a detached historian’s eye on how Italian political figures used Dante to justify their own vision of the nation, the race, and the culture… Fascinating.—Kelly Scott Franklin, Law and Liberty

Learned, literate, and quite entertaining… Raffa’s tale touches on art and architecture, forensic science, war, public spectacle, political machination, literary trends, body snatching, air raids, and more… An excellent book for anyone with an interest in Dante, the arc of Italian history, or merely an historical adventure well told.StrategyPage

Pulling together many threads of Dante’s story, Raffa offers an engaging, informative, and original account of the material culture of the poet’s epic body of work. Highly recommended.Library Journal

Fascinating… In tracing the history of Dante’s bones, Raffa also provides an illuminating exploration of Italian nationalism and political thought.Publishers Weekly

Dante Alighieri changed literature forever by reimagining the afterlife, and Dante’s Bones now captures Dante’s afterlife in a way that has never been done. Adeptly guiding us through medieval politics as well as modern science, Guy Raffa achieves the elusive accomplishment of vividly bringing Dante to life through his death.—Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club

Dante’s Bones is at once a vivid retelling of Dante’s fortunes in the centuries following his death and an important work of historical scholarship. Guy Raffa’s deft prose illuminates the enduring contest over the great poet’s mortal remains, providing a remarkable instance—by turns comical, deadly serious, and always captivating—of the appropriation of literary genius for political and cultural purposes.—Albert Ascoli, author of Dante and the Making of a Modern Author

Dante’s Bones is an enormous gift to readers and scholars of the poet and Italian history. With intensive scholarship in a wide variety of fields as his loom, Raffa has woven a fascinating tapestry out of 700 years of guarding, stealing, hiding, maintaining, studying, celebrating, debating, and claiming the material form and symbolic meaning of Dante’s remains.—Arielle Saiber, author of Measured Words

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Composite photograph showing (top) entrance to the Prudential Center in Boston and (bottom) an internal construction partition/wall printed with the words 'Opening Day 2023' and other decorative text

A New Chapter for Harvard Book Store

Starting in the summer of 2023, for the first time in almost thirty years, Harvard Book Store will have two locations: the flagship store in Harvard Square, and a large new store in the Prudential Center in Boston. For University Press Week we wanted to show some bookseller love, so we reached out to Rachel Cass, General Manager of the Harvard Book Store, to see what’s planned for their exciting new location