Literature seminar aims to strengthen the cultural bridge between Italy and Bengal


“Worlds of Poets: Dante, Tagore, D‘Annunzio”  is a literature seminar focused on strengthening the cultural bridge between Italy and Bengal, as the two places share similar kinds of emotions, taste and inclination towards art and literature. The seminar focused on the life and works of three eminent poets:Dante Alighieri, Rabindranath Tagore and Gabriele D’Annunzio.

The event was held at the Victoria Memorial Hall(Conference Hall) , with opening addresses from Jayanta Sengupta(Secretary & Curator, Victoria Memorial Hall) andGianluca Rubagotti(Consul General of Italy in Kolkata).The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Sukanta Chaudhuri (Professor Emeritus, Jadavpur University), highlighting the influences of Italian poets on the Bengal Renaissance.

A video message from Italy was seen as the first step in the process to unite two of the most-visited house-museums of the world: ilVittorialedegliItaliani and Jorasanko Thakur Bari.

A series of papers were presented: by Mario Prayer (Sapienza University, Rome), on the cultural relations between Italy and Bengal, bySujata Mukherjee (RabindraBharati University, Kolkata) on the roles of man and nature in Tagore’s work, byGiordano Bruno Guerri (President “VittorialedegliItaliani”, Gardone Riviera), on the Indian footprints in D’Annunzio’s life, byPietroGibellini(Ca’ Foscari University, Venice), on the influence of Dante Alighieri on D’Annunzio’s works. The last two papers highlighted other artistic forms, such as dance, byAishika Chakraborty (Jadavpur University, Kolkata), and music, by Luisa Prayer (Conservatory of Music ‘Giuseppe Verdi’, Milan).

The seminar was followed by the launch of the book Suddhilok (Il Purgatorio) by Dante Alighieri, translated into Bengali from Italian by Alpana Ghosh, edited by Sukanta Chaudhuri, which has been published by Jadavpur University Press.

The Consul General of Italy in Kolkata,Gianluca Rubagotti, said:“This event is an initiative to strengthen the cultural relations between Italy and Bengal. We have been working on the program for more than 2 years, but due to the pandemic it had to be postponed. The main objective of this seminar is to delve into possible influences and common themes which unite the works of these three great poets, beyond what may appear at a first glance. We do believe it is a great way to celebrate the 75 years of diplomatic relations between Italy and India through literature”.

Prof. Mario Prayer added: “the seminar is also the outcome of scientific collaborations between RabindraBharati University, Jadavpur University, D’Annunzio foundation “Il Vittorialedegliitaliani”and Sapienza University of Rome. The treasure trove of Bengal-Italy cultural influences in various fields – from literature to music to cinema – is being explored in a series of initiatives both in India and in Italy”.

Prof. Sukanta Chaudhuri said: “Dante, D’Annunzio and Rabindranath are not commonly linked in literary discourse. To bring them together in a deeper exploration of poetic themes and practices is likely to be a worthwhile exercise; all the more to explore, and compare, their engagement with their political, social and cultural milieu. It would also be interesting to look into the reception of the two Italian poets in Bengal and India. I am happy that the Consulate General of Italy in Kolkata is organizing a conference to examine these matters”.

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