Visualizing Dante's World: Geography, History and Material Culture Allison DeWitt This study examines the importance of geographical ideas in Dante's Commedia and develops a historically sensitive geocritical methodology to analyze the function of real world geography within Dante's poem. I aim to expand our understanding of the importance of the poet's use of geography beyond the consulation of geographical sources and consideration of place names. In the first chapter case studies of
... cal references with connections to the Islamic world show how historicized approaches open up new possibilities of understanding the medieval significance of the poet's references. Subsequent chapters explore the relationship of the Commedia's geography to medieval mapping technologies; comparing the parameters and borders of Dante's world to the genre of medieval mappaemundi as well as putting this worldview into conversation with the emerging field of portolan charts and the developing navigational technology of the thirteenth century. This project further expands our definition of the stakes of geographical knowledge and traces the the social, political and cultural implications of the various modes of representing the world and how these implications are evident in the scholarly responses to the worldview represented within the Commedia. Ultimately, this project shows how a geocritical historicized reading of the Commedia opens up new directions for Dante studies and puts the geographical material of Dante's work into conversation with other disciplines. The conclusion ends with a proposal for future digital directions for this research. ! 5 relying on these sources we must also contextualize the ideas and assumptions underlying their engagement with geographical ideas and the ways in which they conceived of the importance of their approach to Dante's geography. In order to do this, we must look at developments in the history of cartography and how scholarly understandings of medieval geographical ideas have changed.