James THOMAS, Dante, the Félibridge and the 1890 Exposizione Beatrice in Florence

Abstract: This article first contextualizes the reception of Dante in Occitan literature, particularly that of Provence, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Accordingly, it highlights the importance of Dante’s literary and philological treatment of the troubadours and the symbolism of the Romieu/Romeo episode from Paradiso 6. It then
focuses on a particularly important aspect of this reception, the role of Frédéric Mistral’s Félibrige movement in the May 1890 celebrations of Beatrice held in Florence (Exposizione Beatrice). By examining in detail the correspondence between Mistral and félibres Paul Mariéton and Léon de Berluc-Perussis (the main protagonist in linking the Félibrige with Italy), it explores the complexities and tensions in discourses of latinité, regionalism and federalism in late-nineteenth-century France. As these are teased out, it emerges that ‘Provence’ and its relationships with Dante functioned in multiple ways to symbolize issues of regional difference, Latin fraternity and national identity.

Key words: Félibrige, Exposizione Beatrice, Provençal, Occitan, Federalism, Latin Idea, Regionalism, Berluc-Pérussis, Mistral

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