Cite as: Jürgen Trabant, Signum: On Dante’s Ideal Language, lecture, ICI Berlin, 11 February 2011, part 1, video recording, mp4, 21:36 <>
11 Feb 2011


On Dante's Ideal Language
By Jürgen Trabant
Dante’s discovery of linguistic variability is a painful insight: the historicity of language jeopardizes the poet’s aspiration to eternal glory. Dante’s vision of an ideal language in ‘De vulgar eloquentia’ presents a rather radical solution of the language problem in the European philosophical tradition.

Lecture in occasion of the publication of two new ICI books on Dante: Dante’s Plurilingualism: Authority, Vulgarization, Subjectivity, ed. by Sara Fortuna, Manuele Gragnolati, Jürgen Trabant (Oxford: Legenda, 2010) and Metamorphosing Dante: Appropriations, Manipulations, and Rewritings in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, ed. by Manuele Gragnolati, Fabio Camilletti, Fabian Lampart (Wien/Berlin: Turia + Kant, 2011).

Jürgen Trabant is Professor for European Plurilingualism at Jacobs University Bremen, and Professor emeritus of Romance Linguistics at the Freie Universität Berlin. He taught at the Universities of Tübingen, Bari, Rome, Hamburg, Berlin, and was a Visiting Professor at Stanford University (1988/89, 1991), Leipzig (1992), University of California Davis (1997), EHESS Paris (1998, 2003), Limoges (2003), Naples (2005, 2007, 2010), and Bologna (2008). He is Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (1992), Chairman of the Humanities Division of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (1998-2003), Officier de l’ordre national du mérite (1998), and Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2004). He has been working on the French and Italian linguistics, semiotics, History of European linguistic thought, philosophy of language, historical anthropology, and language politics.


ICI Berlin
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Fabio Camilletti
Sara Fortuna
Manuele Gragnolati

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ICI Berlin

Video in English

Part 1

Format: mp4
Length: 00:21:36
First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin