Framing the Bones of Dante and Petrarch: Literary Cults and Scientific Discourses

In: Great Immortality
Author: Harald Hendrix

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This chapter offers a comparative analysis of the way the bones and graves of Dante and Petrarch have been perceived and used, from the burial of these poets in the thirteenth century to today. Within this long history of veneration, appropriation, and violation, it focuses on two elements that promise to provide a deeper understanding of the ideologies informing these practices: the conflicting interpretations of what motivated people to get close to these bones by opening the tombs of Dante and Petrarch, and the relationship between scientific discourses emerging from the late nineteenth century on the one hand, and the memorial culture promoted by stakeholders in the heritage movement rooted in a much older habit to celebrate famous compatriots on the other.

Great Immortality

Studies on European Cultural Sainthood