A Brigham Young University student has won this year's Dante Prize for the top undergraduate essay in the nation about classical Italian writer Dante Alighieri, making it the second consecutive year a BYU student has won the prize.
Benjamin Johnson, who is attending graduate school at Oxford University, won the prize for his essay, "Rekindling Dante's Carboni Spenti: Vindicating Virgil to Preserve an Empire."
"I was genuinely surprised to receive the award," Johnson said. "I submitted my essay with the mindset that a slim chance is still a chance."
Johnson graduated BYU with a major in English and is at Oxford reading for a master's degree in research techniques in English language and literature from 1790-1900.
The competition is sponsored annually by the Dante Society of America.
The Dante Society was founded in 1881 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell and Charles Eliot Norton. Dedicated to the furtherance of the study of the works of Dante Alighieri, its headquarters are at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
Writer: Rebekah Hanson