Z. D. R. Mackin is a professor of Italian literature. His dissertation, “Dante Praedicator: Sermons and Preaching Culture in the Divina Commedia,” was defended in 2013 under the supervision of Teodolinda Barolini, at Columbia University’s Department of Italian. He currently lives in Tokyo with his wife, and teaches literature at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (東京外国語大学).
Prof. Mackin’s research interests are in medieval literature, rhetoric and sermon studies, cultures of orality, hybrid textualities. He is currently expanding his research to include medieval Buddhist discussions on Hell, particularly Genshin’s Oujōyōshū (往生要集, Essentials for Rebirth in the Pure Land) and the “hell-tour tales” (jigoku henreki dan 地獄遍歴譚), found in the widely-known short prose otogizōshi (お伽草子). The influence of these texts on Buddhist preaching echoes that of Dante’s Commedia on preachers of his own time and geographic region.