May 01, 2008

Benigni electrifies the island


The puny, wiry actor hailed by many as Italy's remaining believable ambassador visited Malta in April where he received an Honoris Causa doctorate from the university. His visit proceeded to great media acclaim, with the world-renowned protagonist of 'La Vita e Bella'  offering his Lectura Dantis in front of an audience packed to the gunwales. His reading of an entire Canto from Dante's magnum opus, 'La Divina Commedia' was preceded by an exchange (a 'chiaccherata) with Dante expert Robert Hollander of Princeton, a brief but charged dialogue that may well leave its indelible mark in the history of Dante Studies. Unmistakably, Benigni's visit will be hailed as the Maltese university's signature event this academic year, and certainly an event to be remembered within Malta's cultural history itself. Benigni's visit was made possible thanks to the work of Dr Gloria Lauri-Lucente, Deputy Dean of Arts at the Uni, and many others. Well done!

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