American Dante Bibliography for 2000

H. Wayne Storey and Christopher Kleinhenz

This bibliography is intended to include all the Dante translations published in this country in 2000 and all Dante studies and reviews published in 2000 that are in any sense American. The latter criterion is construed to include foreign reviews of American publications pertaining to Dante.

Special thanks go to the team of associate bibliographers who have assumed responsibility for the annotation of many of the items listed herein. The Society is very grateful to the following scholars for their invaluable expertise and for their continuing contributions to the journal: Fabian Alfie (University of Arizona), V. Stanley Benfell (Brigham Young University), Dario Del Puppo (Trinity College), Cristiana Fordyce (Brown University), Jessica Levenstein (New York, New York [JL]), Joseph Luzzi (Bard College [JLu]), Christian Moevs (The University of Notre Dame), Marco Pacioni (Indiana University [MPa]), Michael Papio (College of the Holy Cross [MP]), Alessandro Vettori (Rutgers University), and Lawrence Warner (Australian Academy of the Humanities). Their initials follow their abstracts.



Alighieri, Dante. Cantos from Dante’s Inferno. Translated by Armand Schwerner. Preface by Michael Heller. Jersey City, New Jersey: Talisman House, 2000. 73 p.

Contents: Preface (vi-vii), Canto I (1-4), Canto II (5-9), Canto III (10-14), Canto IV (15-19), Canto V (20-24), Canto VI (25-28), Canto VII (29-32), Canto VIII (33-38), Canto IX (39-43), Canto X (44-49), Canto XV (50-54), Canto XXI (55-60), Translator’s Process Notes to Cantos VIII, IX, X, and XXI (61-73).

Alighieri, Dante. Dante’s Lyric Poems. Second edition, revised and expanded. Edited by Giuseppe C. Di Scipio. Translated by Joseph Tusiani. Introduction and Notes by Giuseppe C. Di Scipio. Brooklyn, New York: Legas, 1999. 177 p. (Italian Poetry in Translation, 4) (See Dante Studies 111 [1993], 268.)

The volume contains on facing pages the Italian text and the English translation of Dante’s lyric poetry in Italian and Latin. Also included is the Italian text of the Vita Nuova as an appendix. Contents: Index of First Lines (14-16); Introduction (17-22); Poems from the Vita Nuova (23-44); Convivio (45-52); Canzoniere (53-63); Tenzone con Forese Donati (63-66); Cazoniere: poesie d’amore (67-108); Eclogues to Giovanni del Virgilio (109-114); Notes (116-137); Appendix: Italian Text of Vita Nuova (138-177).

Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy. Revised Edition. Translated by James Finn Cotter. Stony Brook, New York: Forum Italicum, 2000. 652 p. (Forum Italicum Publications)

The first edition of this verse translation of the Comedy appeared in 1987 (see Dante Studies 106 [1988], 124). Contents: Introduction to The Inferno (3-14); Inferno (15-196); Introduction to The Purgatorio (199-209); Purgatorio (211-393); Introduction to The Paradiso (397-407); Paradiso (409-591); Notes on the Inferno (595-612); Notes on the Purgatorio (613-632); Notes on the Paradiso (633-652).

Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy: Selected Cantos = La Divina Commedia: Canti Scelti: A Dual Language Book. Edited and translated by Stanley Appelbaum. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 2000. xiv, 291 p.

Includes the complete text of thirty-three cantos (thirteen from Inferno [1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 17, 21, 24, 26, 30, 33, 34] and ten each from the other two canticles [Purg.: 1, 6, 7, 9, 11, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30; Par.: 3, 10, 11, 17, 23, 27, 30, 31, 32, 33]) in Italian with English translation on the facing page with brief summaries of the omitted cantos in their proper place to ensure narrative continuity, as well as an introduction that presents a concise introduction to Dante’s life, times, and works. Contents: Introduction (v-xiv); Inferno/Hell (2-113); Purgatorio/Purgatory (114-203); Paradiso/Paradise (204-291).

The “Fiore” and the “Detto d’Amore”: A Late 13th-Century Italian Translation of the “Roman de la Rose,” Attributable to Dante. A translation with introduction and notes by Santa Casciani and Christopher Kleinhenz. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000. ix, 558 p. (The William and Katherine Devers Series in Dante Studies, 4)

This first English translation of these two works presents the Italian text with the English on the facing page. Contents: Acknowledgments (ix); Introduction to the Fiore (3-34); The Fiore (36-499); Introduction to the Detto d’Amore (503-507); The Detto d’Amore (510-539); Bibliography (541-546); The Rubrics of the Fiore (547-552); Index of Characters and Places Mentioned in the Poems (553-555); General Index (556-558).

Alighieri, Dante. Inferno. Translated by Robert and Jean Hollander. Introduction and notes by Robert Hollander. New York: Doubleday, 2000. xxxiii, 634 p.

This new translation with extensive commentary presents the text of the Inferno with English on the facing page. Contents: Note on the Translation (vii-ix); Table of Abbreviations and List of Commentators (xi-xiii); Map of Dante’s Hell (xiv-xv); Introduction (xvii-xxxiii); Inferno (1-590); Index of Names and Places (591-597); Index of Subjects Treated in Notes (599-602); List of Works Cited (603-634).

Alighieri, Dante. Purgatorio. Translated by W. S. Merwin. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. xxix, 359 p.

The Foreword also includes Merwin’s English versions of Cantos 26 and 27 of Inferno. The body of the volume presents on facing pages the Italian text and the English translation. Contents: Foreword (vii-xxix); Purgatorio (1-331); Notes (333-359).

Alighieri, Dante. Paradiso II. Translated by W. S. Merwin. In The Yale Review, 88, No. 2 (April, 2000), 33-38.



Bemrose, Stephen. A New Life of Dante. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2000 (available in North America through Northwestern University Press). xxi, 249 p.

The volume “weaves into a single narrative thread the whole of Dante’s life and works. Beginning with his early activity as a lyric poet and this political career in Florence, it then moves to the power struggles leading to his exile in 1302. It goes on to cover his increasingly isolated wanderings ending with his final years in Verona and Ravenna. Dante is an intensely philosophical writer as well as a socio-political one, and these intimately connected aspects are kept constantly in view in the extensive discussion of his writings. As well as his masterpiece the Divina Commedia, other works are also given considerable attention, particularly the De Vulgari Eloquentia, the Convivio, the Monarchia and the political letters. The aim is to make an account of Dante’s life accessible to students and to the non-specialist reader.” Contents: Preface (xi-xii); A List of Dante’s Works and the Editions Used in this Book (xiii-xiv); A Guide to Further Reading in English (xv-xviii); Guelph and Ghibelline, Prefatory Note (xix-xxi); 1. A Florentine Childhood (1265-1283) (1-5); 2. Beatrice and the Vita Nuova (1283-1295) (6-20); 3. The Consolation of Philosophy (1290-1296) (21-36); 4. Guilds and Government: Dante the Politician (1295-1300) (37-50); 5. Boniface VIII and the Black Coup (1300-1302) (51-63); 6. Early Exile (1302-1304) (64-83); 7. A One-Man Party (1304-1308) (84-112); 8. The Sacred Poem: A Survey of the Divine Comedy (1308-1321) (113-172); 9. Henry VII and Dante’s Imperial Dream (1308-1313) (173-188); 10. The Gentleman of Verona (1312-1318) (189-206); 11. Ravenna (1318-1321) (207-220); Conclusion (221-222); Notes (223-233); Bibliography (234-240); Index (241-249).

Cherchi, Paolo. L’alambicco in biblioteca: distillati rari. Edited by Francesco Guardiani and Emilio Speciale. Ravenna: Longo, 2000. viii, 374 p. (Il Portico. Biblioteca di Lettere e Arti, 116)

This homage volume contains reprints of twenty-five essays by Cherchi, as well as a bibliography of his writings (1966-1999). Three essays are concerned with Dante: “Gerione” (61-73), “Il canto VII del Purgatorio” (75-91), and “Pound e The Spirit of Romance” (315-327). The first is an Italian version of “Geryon’s Canto,” which appeared in Lectura Dantis (see Dante Studies, 107 [1989], 128); the second originally appeared in Atti dell’Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti (142 [1983-84], 39-59); and the third appeared in the volume Pound e Dante (see Dante Studies, 118 [2000], 368-369).

Cornish, Alison. Reading Dante’s Stars. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2000. ix, 226 p.

“In this brief, tightly composed book Cornish examines Dante’s frequent use of descriptions of the heavens and analogies based on astronomy throughout the Divine Comedy. She follows the specific arguments and imagery of each selection, offering a guide both to his poetics and his ethics.” Contents: Acknowledgments (ix); Introduction (1-11); 1. The Allure of the Stars: Vita nuova, Convivio, Commedia (12-25); 2. The Date of the Journey (26-42); 3. The Harvest of Reading: Inferno 20, 24, 26 (43-61); 4. Orientation: Purgatorio 9 (62-78); 5. Losing the Meridian: From Purgatorio to Paradiso (79-92); 6. The Shadows of Ideas: Paradiso 13 (93-107); 7. The Sufficient Example: Paradiso 28 (108-118); 8. Planets and Angels: Paradiso 29 (119-141); Conclusion (142-144); Notes (145-214); Index (215-226).

The Craft and the Fury: Essays in Memory of Glauco Cambon. Edited by Joseph Francese. West Lafayette, Indiana: Bordighera, 2000. 424 p. (Italiana 9)

Four essays in this commemorative volume for Glauco Cambon are concerned with Dante. The essays by Zygmunt G. Barański, Teodolinda Barolini, Luca Bufano, and Franco Masciandaro are listed separately in this bibliography under the individual author’s name.

The Dante Encyclopedia. Edited by Richard Lansing, with Teodolinda Barolini, Joan M. Ferrante, Amilcare A. Iannucci, and Christopher Kleinhenz. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 2000. xxvi, 1006 p. (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, 1836).

Entries on thematic, linguistic, historical, biographical, artistic and cultural items. The volume includes the following tables and appendices: 1) a Chronology of the Life of Dante Alighieri; 2) a useful list of the popes (from the period 33-1334 C.E.) and the Roman and Holy Roman emperors; 3) a prospectus of the Musical Settings of the Comedy (arranged by year of composition, from 1562 to 1997); 4) Recorded Musical Settings of the Commedia; 5) Reference Works; 6) an Index of Italian and Latin Proper Names in Dante’s Works; and 7) a General Index.

Holmes, Olivia. Assembling the Lyric Self: Authorship from Troubadour Song to Italian Poetry Book. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2000. ix, 245 p. (Medieval Cultures, 21)

This study of the authorial poetry book in late Occitan and early Italian literary culture “explores the efforts of individual poets to establish poetic authenticity and authority in the context of expanding vernacular literacy.” Two chapters are of particular interest to dantisti: Chapter Six, “Dante’s Vita nova” (120-144) and Chapter Seven on Nicolò de’ Rossi (145-169). Treating the Vita Nova “as essentially a compilation of lyrics, despite its inclusion of both poetry and prose,” Chapter Six charts the development in Dante’s libello from a “performance-oriented poetics” with evangelical origins to a written poetics of praise, conversion and salvation. Chapter Seven investigates Nicolò’s ordering and preparation of his “autobiographical” canzoniere, analyzing closely the poet’s use of anniversary poems and the protagonist’s role homo amator rather than homo viator (167). The author argues for Dante’s role as a poetic guide for Nicolò’s organizing strategies.

Parker, Deborah. Bronzino: Renaissance Painter as Poet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. x, 233 p.

Studies the long-neglected poetry of the well known Renaissance painter Bronzino, arguing that his “poems ... are considerable literary achievements” and that “our understanding of Bronzino’s paintings is incomplete without careful attention to his creative work as a poet.” In the course of her analyses Parker discusses, among other things, the general influence of Dante on Bronzino and how the latter either alludes to or parodies certain passages in the Comedy (e.g., Inf. 2, 15, 31, 34; Purg. 9, 18; Par. 17, 25) in his poems (especially “La cipolla” and “Il piato”).

Raffa, Guy P. Divine Dialectic: Dante’s Incarnational Poetry. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000. xii, 254 p. (Toronto Italian Studies)

“By transforming the mystery of the Incarnation” into what Raffa calls “an incarnational dialectic, Dante promotes a paradoxical, ‘both-and’ way of reading his poetry” (3-4). Divided into three chapters according to the function of the dialectic (“Divisive Dialectic: Incarnational Failure and Parody” [One: 23-66], “Incarnational Dialectic Writ Large” [Two:67-124], and “Dante’s Incarnational Dialectic of Martyrdom and Mission” [Three: 125-195]), Raffa’s study traces the progression, and regressions, in the development of Dante’s application of dialectic both to define himself as thinker/poet and to define his work. Chapter One moves from the “failed incarnational union of human and divine love” (16) in the Vita nuova to the dialectic grouping of sinners in Hell as parody. Divided into four sections, Chapter Two “examine[s] Dante’s transformation of the failed and mocked unions of the Vita nuova and the Inferno into the achieved incarnational dialectic represented in the final cantos of the Purgatorio and the opening cantos of the Paradiso” (17). Chapter Three “takes as its subject the poet’s projection of his incarnational dialectic into history, based on hardships endured and lessons learned during life in exile” (19). Includes an Introduction (3-21), Notes (197-239), and an Index (241-254).

Sloane, Patricia. T. S. Eliot’s Bleistein Poems: Uses of Literary Allusion in “Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar” and “Dirge.” Introduction by Shyamal Bagchee. Lanham, Maryland: International Scholars Press and Jewish Scholars Press, 2000. 400 p.

“This book, projected as a first of three volumes, shows that Eliot’s borrowings from the Commedia are more extensive than previously thought, and that most of his early poems appear to have been developed as improvisations on episodes from the Commedia.”

Smith, Graham. The Stone of Dante and Later Florentine Celebrations of the Poet. Firenze: Leo S. Olschki, 2000. x, 70 p. (Biblioteca dell’«Archivum Romanicum», Serie I: Storia, Letteratura, Paleografia, 290)

Smith studies first the legend of “Dante’s Stone” (the “sasso di Dante” found in piazza del Duomo) and the literature that it inspired, and then focuses on “later Florentine commemorations of Dante, considering also the trecento fresco portrait of the poet that was rediscovered in July 1840 in the Chapel of the Palazzo del Bargello” and including the cenotaph by Stefano Ricci (in Santa Croce) and the monument by Enrico Pazzi (in piazza Santa Croce). Smith “concludes by proposing that the new sculptural monuments to Dante, together with the virtual resurrection of the poet that was achieved by the discovery of his portrait, effectively eclipsed the more elusive commemoration that had been provided by the Sasso di Dante. Indeed, for Florentine and British travellers visiting the city, these explicit celebrations of the poet supplanted his simple stone tablet, and, as a result, both the stone and the rich fabric of associations that it once generated are now virtually forgotten” (4). Contents: Acknowledgments (ix-x); Introduction (1-4); Part I (5-31); Part II (33-56); Bibliography (57-63); Illustration Credits (65); Index (67-70).

Sparks and Seeds: Medieval Literature and its Afterlife. Essays in Honor of John Freccero. Edited by Dana E. Stewart and Alison Cornish, with an Introduction by Giuseppe Mazzotta. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, 2000, x, 347 p. (Binghamton Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 2)

More than half of the sixteen essays in this Festschrift for John Freccero are concerned, either wholly or in part, with Dante. The essays by Marguerite Chiarenza, Alison Cornish, Dennis Costa, Peter S. Hawkins, Rachel Jacoff, John Kleiner, Giuseppe Mazzotta, James Nohrnberg, Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Walter Stephens, and Warren Ginsberg are listed separately in this bibliography under the individual author’s name.

Talbot, George, ed. Lord Charlemont’s History of Italian Poetry from Dante to Metastasio: A Critical Edition from the Autograph Manuscript. Volume 1. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000. 589 p. (Mellen Critical Editions and Translations, 4)

Charlemont “conceived of his three-volume history of Italian poetry as a contribution to the reputation in the English-speaking world of the Italian literary tradition, by means of a substantial annotated anthology of texts, with his translations in parallel.” A contemporary of Johnson and an aficionado of medieval and Renaissance Italian poetry, Charlemont’s texts and translations represent “the most detailed treatment in English before the work of professional scholars in the nineteenth century.” Vol. 1, book 1, part 1 contains an introduction to Dante’s allegory, passages from the three canticles of the Commedia, and notes. Part 2 of book 1 contains an introduction to Trecento poetry influenced by Dante, as well as poems by Fazio degli Uberti and Frederico Frezzi, followed by an appendix, editorial notes and an index.

Witt, Ronald G. “In the Footsteps of the Ancients”: The Origins of Humanism from Lovato to Bruni. Leiden: Brill, 2000. xiii, 562 p. (Studies in Medieval and Reformation Thought, 74)

Contains numerous references to Dante, particularly in the chapter on “Florence and Vernacular Learning” (174-229).



Alfie, Fabian. “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: Jean de Meun, Durante and Bindo Bonichi.” In Rivista di Studi Italiani, 18, No. 1 (giugno, 2000), 34-59.

Traces the lines of development and imitative thematic and linguistic mutations of sonnet 97 of the Fiore, “Chi della pelle del monton fasciasse” (Falsembiante) in three versions (respectively in Urbinate Lat. 1439, Gaddiano 198, and Magliabechiano VII 1034) of Bindo Bonichi’s own poem, with the same capoverso, that develops the anticlerical overtones of the original tradition. “The tortuous history of these verses provides a unique glimpse into the unstable evolutionary nature of literary invention in the Middle Ages” (55).

Barański, Zygmunt G. “Notes on the Genesis of Dante’s Commedia: ’l poema sacro [...] che m’ha fatto per molti anni macro’.” In The Craft and the Fury... (q.v.), pp. 58-81.

Illustrates the philosophical, intellectual, poetical and theoretical transformations of Dante’s thought from about 1294 to the beginning of the Commedia’s composition in 1306-07. Because Dante spent nearly half of his adult life perfecting his highly coherent masterpiece, most evidence needed to demonstrate the constant elaboration and reevaluation of the wide-ranging ideas that lay behind the genesis of the Commedia must be sought in the influence of his contemporaries and in an analysis of his minor works. The first eight cantos of the Inferno, for example, seem to belie an initial intention to structure the work based on the Seven Cardinal Sins. The spurious Epistola di Ilario, the fundamental impact of exile, Convivio IV and De vulgari eloquentia are taken into consideration not only to explain Dante’s choice of the vernacular as his linguistic vehicle but also to elucidate the consequences of his ever fuller understanding of ethics and politics upon the creation of the Commedia’s eschatological perspective. Dante chose to present himself as a scriba Dei in order to communicate his sincere message of reform to a larger audience than that which would have responded to a philosophical encyclopedia and abandoned his earlier moral allegorical readings of the Aeneid in favor of a more congruously constructed theory of allegoresis that stemmed to a certain degree from an increased familiarity with Latin literature. These fresh concerns drove him to find a new language and a new literary form that were appropriate for the realization of his most ambitious project. (MP)

Barolini, Teodolinda. “Dante and Francesca da Rimini: Realpolitik, Romance, Gender.” In Speculum, 75, No. 1 (January, 2000), 1-28.

Carefully reviewing the treatment of Francesca in the early commentators, especially in Lancia’s Commento and Boccaccio’s Esposizioni, and the politics of the Romagnoli in early chronicles, Barolini solidly addresses Dante’s fusion of history, romance and gender in the portrayal of Francesca in Inferno 5. Arguing both on linguistic and historical grounds for a narrative tension between “the realpolitik of dynastic marriage and the wish-fulfillment fantasy of romance” (7), Barolini demonstrates Dante’s use of Francesca’s dual passivity, both in dynastic and sexual realms, to establish her simultaneous lack of agency (at best in the “forms of acceptance and resignation” [11]) and her elevation in Dante’s text from historical obscurity to literary fame. Essential to this historical-literary tension is, of course, the reception and expansion of Francesca’s “history” by subsequent readers and commentators, which Barolini outlines as part of an essential strategy for recuperating the role of the original historian of Francesca’s complex significance as but a sole female member of the treacherous political unions among the tyrants of Romagna.

Barolini, Teodolinda. “Guittone’s Ora parrà, Dante’s Doglia mi reca, and the Commedia’s Anatomy of Desire.” In Italian Quarterly, 37, Nos. 143-146 (Winter-Fall, 2000), 33-49.

Barolini argues that Guittone’s conflation of different kinds of desire in Ora parrà provides an important precedent for Dante’s Doglia mi reca, and she concludes that its influence extends to the Commedia as well. In Ora parrà, Guittone reduces courtly love to carnal desire and then links this desire to other forms of cupidity, such as avarice. All desire, Guittone maintains, makes man an enemy to reason and thus results in a metaphorical death in life. Dante’s Doglia mi reca expands on Guittone’s vision of desire, and, like Ora parrà, grafts a discussion of avarice onto courtly material. Dante’s canzone marries carnal desire to material desire, asking why we direct our desire away from virtue, the only possession worth having. Barolini analyzes Doglia mi reca as the poem moves from courtly matters to moral concerns, drawing attention to the submerged common theme of the poem: desire. As Doglia mi reca considers various discourses of desire, Dante expands “the problematic of desire from the courtly and private to the social and public” and thus enacts in miniature the transition from the enclosed lyric world of the Vita Nuova to the larger civic concerns of the Commedia. In the Commedia, Dante makes use of the line of argumentation already established in Doglia mi reca (and Ora parrà before it): everything we do can be traced back to a motive in desire, but reason must not allow desire to overpower it completely. [JL]

Barolini, Teodolinda.“Medieval Multiculturalism and Dante’s Theology of Hell.” In The Craft and the Fury... (q.v.), pp. 82-102.

Analyzes the eclectic and syncretic representation of Dante’s Hell, which appears as a unprecedented blend of pagan and Christian culture and of both popular and high theological tradition. While the image of the afterlife finds many of its sources in the popular tradition, it is mostly high Christian theology that influences the uniquely detailed structure of the Inferno. From the contrapasso to the deadly potential of human desire, to improperly directed love, the theology of Hell draws its laws from Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. The “taxonomy” of sin, classified according to penitential literature and qualified by the Aristotelian distinction between malice and incontinence, is governed by an overarching principle of gradatio, the essence of the theological and scholastic discussion on the theory of human desire. As the hypotaxis of Inferno 11 announces, the representation of Dante’s Hell is grounded in the distinctions of desire and of its quality; a lesson inspired by the spiritualism of Augustine’s City of God, laid out by Saint Thomas in the Summa (1a.2ae,30; 1a2ae.24.3; 1a2ae.87.5) and in De Passionibus (33, 49, 85, 111, 63), and illustrated by the same Dante in the Convivio (4.12.16). [CF]

Block, Haskell M. “Theory of Comedy from Dante to Joyce.” In Comparative Literary Dimensions: Essays in Honor of Melvin J. Friedman, edited by Jay L. Halio and Ben Siegel (Cranbury, New Jersey: Associated University Presses, 2000), pp. 19-30.

Considers the general question of the definition of “comedy” over the centuries with numerous references to Dante.

Bolduc, Michelle K. “The Poetics of Contraries: The Sacred and Profane in Vernacular Literature of the High Middle Ages.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 61, No. 2 (August, 2000), 601. Doctoral dissertation, University of Oregon, 2000, 360 p.

“My dissertation examines the intersections of the sacred and the profane in four major poetic works of the High Middle Ages. Although linguistically and generically different, the four texts that I examine all juxtapose the sacred and profane in dynamic and non-hierarchical ways. Gautier de Coincy’s Miracles de Nostre Dame (c. 1218) ... Matfre Ermengaud’s Occitan Breviari d’Amor (c. 1275), the secular, satirical Roman de Fauvel .... Finally, in his Commedia (c. 1315), Dante employs the sacred and the profane in such as way that his work, and his voice as poet, both secular and vernacular, take on the status of sacred auctoritas.”

Boni, Franco. “Dante’s Dynamic Cosmology.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 61, No. 4 (October, 2000), 1440. Doctoral dissertation, City University of New York, 2000, 378 p.

“The first goal of our study is to set forth a survey of the historical background of the problem of motion and change and of some Greek cosmological views of the universe. If Dante’s cosmological view of the universe as a whole goes beyond the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic view accepted in medieval times, then an introductory historical background of some Greek models or cosmologies of the universe may be set usefully forth as a source of Dante’s thought, especially those of such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, and Ptolemy. Likewise, I shall deal with some of Dante’s precursors and contemporaries in the Middle Ages. I shall survey the views of some cosmographers who had a direct influence on Dante, such as Dionysius the Aeropagite, Avicenna, Albertus Magnus, and St. Thomas of Aquinas. As to the second goal, which is actually the nucleus of our study, we shall consider the Neoplatonic concept of love and its procession of emanation in relation to Dante’s concept of dynamic and creative power of love which, as the First Efficient Cause, pervades everything in the universe. Thus, Dante’s dynamic force of love, whose source is God, eliminates the dichotomy between the supralunary and the sublunary realms of the Aristotelian-Ptloemaic cosmology, and it gives rise to a pre-Newtonian uniform space. As to the third goal, we shall attempt to show how this dynamic power or virtue of Love moves and connects the angelic Intelligences of the Empyrean, as Dante calls it, with the planetary spheres of the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic universe. The angelic Intelligences, or orders, are considered as the Platonic ‘pattern’ with their respective virtues, or motive powers, bestowed. upon them by God’s dynamic love, whereas the planetary spheres are considered the ‘copy’ and are moved and guided by the emanative virtue of those motive angelic orders or Intelligences. This relation, in Dante’s cosmological system, unveils how the invisible theological framework (the Invisibilia) is imposed on and operates in the physical framework (the Visibilia) of the cosmos. This feature in Dante’s cosmology is a significant and radical advance beyond the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic system.”

Boyle, Marjorie O'Rourke. “Closure in Paradise: Dante Outsings Aquinas.” In MLN, 115, No. 1 (Jan., 2000): 1-12.

Branca, Vittore. “Philology and Criticism. An Introduction to a Seminar.” In Italian Quarterly, 37, Nos. 143-146 (Winter-Fall, 2000), 303-314.

Critical trends following romantic and idealistic perspectives have eclipsed the search for the author’s intent and message in the text, thereby losing the real center of any reading investigation. The critical focus has drastically shifted from the author-and-text-combination to the reader in his/her relation to the text. It is time, then, for a new marriage of culture and philology, according to the lesson given in the west by Martianus Capella. For example, the interpretation of the “Canticle of Brother Sun” by Francis of Assisi depends on verification of the preposition per, which occurs eight times and changes the meaning of the poem entirely according to how it is interpreted. Philology also serves the purpose of dating literary works with more exactness. In Dante’s works there is a noteworthy example of “internal philology,” that involves the verification of the author’s references to his own work and of the resulting chronological implications. The 1965 edition of Dante’s Monarchia by Pier Giorgio Ricci proved that the composition of Monarchia can be justifiably shifted from the early 1300s to the years after 1317. Petrarch’s sonnet 188 reveals the author’s change of attitude between the first version of the poem in 1337 and the second version in 1366. A melancholy has come over the mind and heart of the author, which colors the message with a completely new tone. The discovery of the autograph manuscript of Boccaccio’s Decameron radically changed the critics’ perception of the author’s own view of his work. The widespread belief that Boccaccio disavowed and condemned the Decameron as a youthful mistake is discredited by the discovery of a manuscript carefully handwritten and fastidiously illustrated by the author himself between 1371 and 1373, when Boccaccio was almost sixty years old. It is solely by departing from the two unavoidable starting points—the author and the text—that criticism can also consider the audience’s reception. Criticism must first grasp the author’s personality and the expressivity of the text and engage them in a dialogue in which the voice from the past comes through authentically. [AV]

Bufano, Luca. “Dante e l’esercizio dell’artista. Lettura della sestina Al poco giorno e al gran cerchio d’ombra.” In The Craft and the Fury... (q.v.), pp. 103-112.

In this article, the author discusses Dante’s experiences with the sestina form as he inherited it from Arnaut Daniel. Bufano performs a reading of the sestina “Al poco giorno” and discusses its phonic qualities. (FA)

Cambon, Glauco. “Dante’s Presence in American Literature.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 217-242.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in Dante Studies 84 (1966), 27-50.

Carugati, Giuliana. “Dante, il ‘breve uso’ dell’amore.” In Quaderni d’italianistica 21, No. 2 (2000), 93-112.

Argues that carnal love figures as the imperceptible, precarious point of contact with the divine. It is the momentary stepping into the absence of rationality, the passage from history to the “u-topia” of an original paradisiacal dimension. The aporia between carnal love and reason finds resolution in the written word in Dante, as the confluence of two otherwise conflicting agents: love dictates and reason writes. In Inferno 5, the love of Paolo and Francesca bears witness to the irreconcilable relation of eros, on one side, and history, law, and reason, on the other. The Earthly Paradise at the end of Purgatorio proves that carnal love alone allows human beings to transcend history and rationality and become one with the divine. The Earthly Paradise is the ideal locus, or rather a non-place, in which humans exit history to be rejoined with the divine, where reason and the babelic confusion of languages no longer exist. [AV]

Cervigni, Dino S. “Dante’s Judeo-Christian Mytho-Poiesis.” In The Waters of Hermes / Le Acque di Ermes. Proceedings of a Festival of Italian Poetry and Myth, The College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, Lightsey Conference Center, March 18-20, 1999, edited by Massimo A. Maggiari (Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Annali d’Italianistica, 2000), pp. 189-195.

Proposes that all of Dante’s work “is constructed on a fourfold Judeo-Christian myth, which functions as an all-pervasive master story or narrative: humankind’s beginning, fall, conversion, and glorification.” This master myth, which for Dante encompasses and transforms all other myths, can then be analyzed by Northrop Frye’s fourfold hermeneutical approach: 1) Historical criticism (modes); 2) Ethical criticism (symbols); 3) Archetypal criticism (myths or seasons); 4) Rhetorical criticism (genres). The author develops the correspondence between the archetypal season-myths, each associated with a genre, and the main stages of “Dante’s fourfold Judeo-Christian mytho-poiesis”: primordial and restored innocence with spring and with comedy; the fall into sin with autumn and tragedy; the infernal journey with winter and satire; purgatory with spring and comedy; paradise with summer and romance. (CM)

Cervigni, Dino S. “From Beginning to End: Dante’s Judeo-Christian Fourfold Mytho-Poiesis.” In Annali d’Italianistica, 18 (2000), 143-174.

Develops the shorter article, “Dante’s Judaeo-Christian Mytho-Poiesis” (q.v.), to discuss at much greater length the correspondence of the four stages of a mythic Judeo-Christian master-narrative (“humankind’s creation, fall, renewal, and redemption”) with the particular narratives of Dante’s works. The first and second encounters between the protagonist and Beatrice in the Vita nuova represent the primordial innocent encounter of man and woman at first creation before the fall, and by Northrop Frye’s categories correspond to the mythos of spring and the genre of comedy; the transgressions of the protagonist in the Vita nuova, and of the pilgrim at the start of the Comedy, represent the fall from Eden, and correspond to autumn and tragedy; Dante’s Hell itself, as a parody of God’s loving act of creation, corresponds to winter and satire; the purgatorial ascent as rebirth and as the recovery of innocence through atonement corresponds to two phases of spring and “comedy regained”; the Paradiso represents the quest fulfilled, and thus corresponds to the mythos of summer and to romance. The Comedy can thus be seen as comprising all literary genres. Briefly discusses also the Monarchia and De vulgari eloquentia. (CM)

Chiampi, James T. “Ser Brunetto, Scriba and Litterato.” In Rivista di Studi Italiani, 18, No. 1 (giugno, 2000), 1-25.

Translating Brunetto Latino’s name as “Dark Language” (4), Chiampi offers an interpretation of Brunetto as a negative model and a foil to Dante’s positive configuration of writing in the portrayal of Justice. Brunetto’s very name “introduces a scribal dimension to his figuration that makes it the antithesis of Dante’s figuration of salvation as inscription... ” (5), whereby Brunetto’s significance functions as a kind of “version in malo of visibile parlare” thanks to an historical reputation earned by “relentless and unforgiving vituperation of the Florentines.”

Chiarenza, Marguerite. “Solomon’s Song in the Divine Comedy.” In Sparks and Seeds ... Essays in Honor of John Freccero (q.v.), pp. 199-208.

Solomon appears both in Purgatorio 30, as one who speaks in welcome of Beatrice, and in the Heaven of the Sun, where Dante controversially portrays him as saved. The language of the Heaven of the Sun, especially its portrayals of Francis and Dominic, draws heavily on Solomon’s Song of Songs and, though celebrating the intellect, “is curiously laced with images of passionate love” (201-202). Solomon’s love poetry does not lead to sensual sin, but through sensual language to the mystical contemplation of God, and Dante’s portrayal of Solomon and his Song of Songs makes a distinction between “the beauty that reflects and points to truth and the beauty that seduces away from it” (204). (VSB)

Colilli, Paul. “Dante e il medioevo italiano nella critica nordamericana (1989-99).” In Esperienze letterarie, 25, No. 1 (gennaio-marzo, 2000), 105-115.

Highlights the main interpretative trends in Dante criticism, focusing on some of the most significant works in the field. Colilli touches upon The Undivine ‘Comedy’ by Teodolinda Barolini (on the artistic form of the Commedia), Dante’s Aesthetics of Being by Warren Ginsberg (on poetic vision and aesthetic imagination), Dante and the Mystical Tradition: Bernard of Clarivaux in the Commedia by Steven Botterill (on Bernard and the representation of the Virgin in the Paradiso), Dante’s Christian Astrology by Richard Kay (on the connection between astrology and human virtues). Of hermeneutic interest are two books: Dante’s Interpretative Journey by William Franke and Foundation Sacrifice in Dante’s Commedia by Ricardo J. Quinones. Some of the essays contained in Dante Now: Current Trends in Dante Studies, edited by Theodore J. Cachey, are also presented as examples of the variety of North American scholarship on Dante. Among the most interesting translations and editions, Colilli mentions the Vita Nuova translated and edited by Dino S. Cervigni and Edward Vasta. The work is of particular interest for the reconstruction of the Italian text offered in what is believed to be the original text, free of chapters and numbered divisions. The article concludes with commentary on some recent contributions to criticism on Petrarch and on Boccaccio. [CF]

Colonnese-Benni, Vittoria. “Dante and Maciste: A Very Improbable Couple.” In Rivista di Studi Italiani, 17, No. 2 (dicembre, 1999), 150-161.

In 1925, the director Guido Brignone made Maciste all’Inferno, a silent film depicting a stock character of early Italian cinema, the giant Maciste, protector of the weak. This film about Maciste’s adventures in hell was a box-office success and proved a profound influence on the young Fellini, Its special effects included a whirl of flame, a headless devil and a massive octopus. It also featured several captions or intertitles that cited directly from Dante. Colonnese-Benni considers the “improbable couple,” Maciste and Dante. She looks at the film as a parody of Dante’s Inferno and makes the claim that the accessibility of Dante’s text, its wide popular appeal, and its literal narrative all animate Brignone’s film. Citing a 1962 remake of the movie, Colonnese-Benni asserts that we have evidence for the “continuing vitality of our odd couple.” [JL]

Cornish, Alison. “A Lady Asks: The Gender of Vulgarization in Late Medieval Italy.” In PMLA 115, No. 2 (March, 2000), 166-180.

This essay explores the fascinating interactions among gender, power, and language in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Italian vernacularizations. Vernacularization lies at the heart of Italian writing in this period, from prose versions of classical literature and rhetoric to the translation of Aristotelian science implicit in the love lyric. The vernacular (or mother tongue) was commonly gendered female over and against patriarchal Latin, and the stated pretext for vernacular composition was often accessibility for female readers (even though “unlettered” male readers were also increasingly in need of translations). Cornish probes these commonplaces to show how some texts complicate them, in particular Guido Cavalcanti’s learned lyric disquisition on the nature of love, “Donna me prega” (“A Lady Asks”). Infamously arcane, “Donna me prega” resists the notion that vernacularization was always divulgative; Cavalcanti’s poem prompted the physician Dino del Garbo to write an explanatory commentary — in Latin! —, which was itself subsequently vernacularized. Ostensibly written in response to a query poem by Guido Orlandi, “Donna me prega” invents a female interlocutor, Aristotelian efficient cause of Cavalcanti’s lyric reasoning. Cornish considers the historical possibility of such a learned lady and feels that her presence signals the poem’s participation in the lyric genre. (Cornish notes a similarly intriguing gender collaboration in a vernacular text from the following century, Francesco da Barberino’s didactic Reggimento e costumi di donna.) Ultimately, this essay shows how gender complicated the already anxiety-ridden project of vernacularization by feminizing the discourse of Latin learning, ennobling the vernacular and those who used it, and thus posing a potential threat to learned, Latin, male privilege. [GPC]

Cornish, Alison. “Telling Time in Purgatory.” In Sparks and Seeds ... Essays in Honor of John Freccero (q. v.), pp. 139-154.

Drawn in part from the author’s Reading Dante’s Stars (q.v.). Argues that the multiple time-references in Purgatory (establishing time in reference simultaneously to a “there, then” and a “here, now”) amount to addresses to the reader, and “are the cosmological correlative of the moral sense of Scripture in so far as they constitute an invitation to read the signs of the liber coelestis as they relate to me, here, now.” Analyzes closely the exordium of Purgatorio 9, with the image of Aurora as the concubina di Titone antico, and concludes that it is a double time-reference (night in Purgatory, dawn in Italy), meant as a “reminder that the alternation of dark and light is merely the impression of an individual bound to any one particular terrestrial location in a cosmos that is in reality wholly flooded with light.” The union of the goddess Aurora “always and forever just leaving the bed of her beloved husband,” the aging Tithonus, represents “the principle of eternity linked by love to the principle of time.” (CM)

Costa, Dennis. “Conversion to the Text’s Terms: Processes of Signification in Bonaventure’s Itinerarium Mentis in Deum.” In Sparks and Seeds ... Essays in Honor of John Freccero (q. v.), pp. 17-36.

In his more general discussion, Costa presents certain points of similarity between Bonaventure’s Itinerarium and the Divine Comedy—especially Inferno 1 and 3, Purgatorio 7-8, and Paradiso 23.

Davis, Charles T. “Dante’s Vision of History.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 243-259.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in Dante Studies 93 (1975), 143-160. In his influential essay, Davis explores Dante’s providential sense of history and his eschatological vision of the future. Davis argues that Dante’s vision of history is “largely a vision of Rome”: Rome had been singled out by God as the seat of the once untainted church and as the home of the only empire that had conferred universal peace. Dante makes clear his disgust with the present state of Italy and the degeneration of the church; Constantine’s donation to the church and the absence of any authoritative emperor have cleared the way for unchecked avarice and corruption. The Lupa in Dante’s prophecy of the Veltro, Davis suggests, stands for unimpeded, violent, whorish greed, prevailingly found in Paris, Florence and papal Rome. The Veltro, who will be an emperor yet to come, will finally destroy such greed through restraint of law. Such an emperor will be free from avarice because he already possesses all. He will restore the “‘good old time’ when the Church was apostolic and the Empire was universal in fact as well as theory.” Moreover, Davis asserts, just as universal peace under Augustus paved the way for the coming of Christ, so too will the new peace of this second Augustus presage the last days. Thus Dante’s vision of history both “looked back to an idealized past” and looked forward to a new ruler’s eradication of evil and the “final victory of the heavenly emperor Christ.” [JL]

Di Scipio, Giuseppe. “Dante Alighieri.” In Medieval Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs, edited by Carl Lindhal, John McNamara, and John Lindow, 220–27. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2000.

Di Scipio, Giuseppe. “In atto soave: Maria nel Purgatorio.” In Maria Vergine nella letteratura italiana, edited by Florinda Iannace, 85–102. Stony Brook, N.Y.: Forum Italicum Press, 2000.

Fitzsimmons, Lorna. “The Socially ‘Forsaken Race’: Dantean Turns in Ann Petry’s The Street.” In Notes on Contemporary Literature 30, No. 2 (March, 2000), 6-8.

The author explores the use by Petry of Dantean tropes in order “to suggest that discrimination and prejudice in U.S. society reduce African Americans to the ‘forsaken race’ of the doomed in The Inferno” (6). Overall, Fitzsimmons proposes that the futile attempts by the novel’s African American characters to pursue their dreams in a racist society represent a suggestive parallel to the equally hopeless events concerning the damned in Dante’s Hell. [Jlu]

Francini, Antonella. “La Verna di Dino Campana: riscontri danteschi.” In Forum Italicum, 34, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), 157-161.

The early twentieth-century Italian poet Dino Campana’s work Canti orfici contains many reminiscences and allusions to Dante, especially in the La Verna section, where the Purgatorio serves as a backdrop for the ascent of the mountain of La Verna by the pilgrim Dino Compana. There is not a precise correspondence between the two; rather, Campana incorporates allusions and reminiscences of Dante’s work in order to create a different textual tapestry.(SB)

Freccero, John. “Dante’s Prologue Scene.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 189-216.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in Dante Studies 84 (1966), 1-25, and was reprinted in the author’s Poetics of Conversion (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986). The essay traces an Augustinian paradigm in the prologue scene of Inferno 1, in the figure of Ulysses, and in the overarching conception of the Comedy as a spiritual autobiography. In the first part of the essay (“The Region of Unlikeness”) the pilgrim’s failure to scale the mountain in Inferno 1 is linked to Augustine’s failed philosophical-neoplatonic ascent in the seventh book of the Confessions; the obstacle to reaching the heavenly Jerusalem is in both cases not the intellect, but the fallen flesh, or crippled will, which strands both Augustine and the pilgrim in the desert of exile. This obstacle can be overcome only through an askesis, a descent into oneself in humility, or death to the self, which in the Comedy becomes the journey through Hell. In the second part of the essay (“The Wings of Ulysses [Inf. XXVI, 125]”), Ulysses’s catastrophic attempt to “make wings of his oars,” on the model of the Vergilian remigium alarum of Daedalus, is read as another image of philosophical presumption, the failure of the self-reliant neoplatonic “flight of the soul to the absolute.” Key elements of Dante’s imagery are traced to the seventh book of the Confessions and to the prologue of the De Beata Vita of Augustine. The conclusion develops the parallels between the Confessions and the Comedy as spiritual autobiographies, particularly in the relation between author and protagonist. (CM)

Gillerman, Dorothy Hughes. “Trecento Illustrators of the Divina Commedia.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 129-165.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in the Annual Report of the Dante Society of America 77 (1959), 1-40. Gillerman's discussion of several of the more important illustrated manuscripts notes the presence of two distinct kinds of illumination: there are codices that depict scenes from the poet's narrative and others that interpolate scenes from classical mythology. She notes that a comparison of the various manuscripts with other religious and secular codices from the same period could help identify the individual artists and help date the illuminated manuscripts of the Commedia. [DDP]

Gilson, Simon A. Medieval Optics and Theories of Light in the Works of Dante. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000. xiv, 301 p. (Studies in Italian Literature, 8)

Examines “Dante’s knowledge of several traditions of the extensive medieval literature on light and optics,” including the transmission of Arabic theories, and how this knowledge is translated into his poetics, themes, and devices, including meteorological and scientific experience in the Commedia. Contents: Acknowledgments (ix); Abbreviations (xi-xii); Preface (xiii-xiv); Introduction (1-5); Part One: Optical Science in Dante’s Thought and Poetry. 1. The Science of “Perspective”: Light, Vision, and Optics in the Thirteenth Century (7-37); 2. Optics and Vision in Dante before the Comedy (39-73); 3. Aspects of Vision in the Comedy: Blinding, Optical Illusions, and Visual Error (75-107); 4. Light Reflection, Mirrors, and Meteorological Optics in the Comedy (109-149); Part Two: Theories of Light in Dante. 5. Dante and the “Metaphysics of Light”: A Reassessment (150-169); 6. Light in the Cosmos and in God’s Creative Act (171-216); 7. Adaptations drawn from Light in the Imagery and Doctrine of the Paradiso (217-256); Conclusion (257-260); Appendix: Principal Optical Works Available to Later Thirteenth-Century Europe (261); Bibliography (263-289); Index of Longer Quotations from the Works of Dante (291-292); Name and Subject Index (293-301).

Ginsberg, Warren. “Dante’s Aesthetics of Being.” In Sparks and Seeds ... Essays in Honor of John Freccero (q.v.), pp. 155-173.

The essay first appeared as a chapter in the author’s book with the same title: Dante’s Aesthetics of Being (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999) (see Dante Studies, 118 [2000], 343-344).

Gorton, Lisa. “The Paradox Topos.” In Journal of the History of Ideas, 61, No. 2 (April, 2000), 343-346.

In reference to an essay by William Egginton (see below under Addenda: Studies) Gorton discusses Dante’s seeming spatial paradox of earth-centered spheres that are apparently surrounded by another set of concentric spheres centering on God and argues that another possible source for this paradox may be “the symbolic geometry of Neoplatonic philosophy.”

Grandgent, Charles Hall.Quid Ploras?” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 85-94.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in the Annual Report of the Dante Society of America 42-44 (1926), 8-18.

La versione inglese della Bibbia, al versetto 10 del Salmo LVIII recita: “The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.” Nella Vulgata (v. 11, Salmo LVII) troviamo: “Laetabitur justus cum viderit vindictam: manus suas lavabit in sanguine peccatoris”. Grandgent si chiede se la differenza fra mani e piedi, nelle due versioni, implichi la possibilità di un diverso atteggiamento del beato nei confronti del dannato. In che misura il beato può o non può provare pietà per il dannato? In che misura il beato può o non può chiedere per il dannato intercessione a Dio? Grandgent cita un testo protestante del 1662 (The Day of Doom di M. Wigglesworth) e alcuni testi cattolici, quali la Summa teologica di San Tommaso (Suppl., Qu. XCIV, Art. 3), le Sentenze di Pietro Lombardo (Lib. IV, Dist. I, Cap. 6) e le Omelie sul Vangelo di San Gregorio (Homil. XL, N. 7 e N. 8), per evidenziare bene come il cristiano debba teologicamente affrontare tale problema. I testi teologici citati da Grandgent non lasciano lato ad equivoci: “the blest who shall be in glory shall have no compassion for the damned” (p. 86). Si tratta di una dura verità che viene avvertita in tutta la sua drammaticità anche da Dante. Nella Commedia non c’è una trattazione sistematica di ciò, ma “some trace of the struggle” (p. 89) che il poeta aveva dovuto affrontare sicuramente fra sè e sè, in vista di accettare il verdetto teologico della dottrina. Una di queste tracce si trova in Inferno 20:25-30, che secondo Grandgent riproduce lo schema di due scene di un apocrifo, largamente diffuso nel medioevo col titolo Vision of St. Paul, nel quale l’apostolo si trova nella situazione di provare pietà per i dannati, ma viene rimproverato dall’angelo (“Quid ploras? Vis plus esse misericors filio Dei?”). Ciò che Grandgent ritiene molto importante, è che tali tracce, nel poema, pur apparendo in contesti non appropriati, hanno in realtà una loro logica. La logica del piano dantesco è chiaramente mostrata dalla simmetricità strutturale e numerica, nella quale vengono inseriti altri due episodi nei quali Dante affronta il problema della pietà e dell’intercessione per i dannati: Inferno 2:76-93 e Purgatorio 1:76-93. Per rafforzare il senso della visibilità della simmetricità con cui Dante elabora alcune strategie testuali, Grandgent cita anche l’esmpio della relazione fra prodigalità e avarizia fra Inferno e Purgatorio attraverso la relazione familiare fra i personaggi Guido e Buonconte da Montefeltro. “The two passages, then, stand in corresponding cantos. [...] The matter of the two is identical in purpose, though widely different in treatment. It is identical also with the moral of the incident we have been examining, the reproof of Virgil, or Reason: ‘Quid ploras? Vis plus esse misericors filio Dei?’” (p. 90). Nell’episodio dell’Inferno, appare Beatrice, “insensible to the pains of the justly condemned” (p. 91). E tuttavia, proprio a mostrare il piano simmetrico di Dante, “Beatrice’s declaration that she is immune to compassion for the damned is balanced by a similar statement from another spirit at the beginning of the Purgatorio” (p. 91). Si tratta dell’episodio in cui Virgilio si appella a Catone, in nome della moglie Marzia che come Virgilio si trova nel Limbo, per lasciar proseguire lui e il pellegrino Dante. Nelle parole di Beatrice e Catone, Grandgent ritrova due passaggi fondamentali attraverso i quali San Gregorio affronta il problema della pietà per i dannati. Rispettivamente, Beatrice esprime il passaggio in cui la beatitudine dei giusti è posta come ciò che non può diminuire alla vista della pena e Catone esprime il passaggio riproducente il concetto per cui i beati sono costretti dalla loro stessa rettitudine a non essere mossi a compassione per il dannato. (MPa)

Hawkins, Peter S. “‘Are You Here?’ Surprise in the Commedia.” Sparks and Seeds ... Essays in Honor of John Freccero (q.v.), pp. 175-197.

Reconsiders the nature of the unexpected in the Divine Comedy. Whether attributed to destiny, predestination or Fortune (especially as she is redefined in Inf. 7), several of Dante’s narrative twists encourage a closer examination of his underlying authorial strategies. Given that in Dante’s major source texts there is rarely a sense of happenstance or disorientation, Hawkins points out that this new technique is fundamental to the elaboration of the first two canticles, as one might expect, but no less significant to Paradiso. Dante uses dramatic moments of surprise in the encounter of Brunetto in Inferno 15 and in the reversal of expectation in the minor catalog of shades in Inferno 6 in order to spark the imagination of contemporary readers. It is in Paradiso, however, that the technique of unanticipated disclosure holds more profound implications: the inclusion of Ripheus in the eyebrow of the eagle of divine justice (Par. 20) inspires the reader to further reflection on the limits of human comprehension and the mystery of divine will; Dante’s fusion of a candida rosa and an amphitheater to describe the arrangement of the blessed underscores the unfathomable nature of predestination; the metaphor of the civitas Dei as Rome (Par. 32:102) brings the empire into the Empyrean. Contrary to the expectations of those who are familiar with Bernard’s thoughts on the direct vision of God and with the common notion that the resurrected body would be one in its prime, the saint takes on the role, as an elder (“sene,” Par. 31:59f), of the Pilgrim’s final guide. Dante’s choices here, as in Bernard’s presentation of unevenly distributed grace among infants, are made along the lines of theologically marginal possibilities and remind us that “it is always the joy of the Creator to do as He sublimely pleases.” The article closes with a consideration of two final “surprises”: where is St. Paul? and why is Beatrice so highly placed? Citing Curtius and Harold Bloom, Hawkins emphasizes the fact that “God’s ‘eternal law’ is merely the poet’s will in disguise.” Dante presents a world in which these narrative surprises encourage the reader to consider the interplay between the desire of mortals to establish solid ontological premises and the uncertainty of the providential design. (MP)

Hogan, Jennifer Ann. “Digital Democracy: A Series of Reflections on Plato, Rousseau and Dewey and the Role that Technology Played in Constraining and Liberating Their Imagination, the Plight of Educational Reform in the Midst of Digital Innovation, and the Potentiality of Dante in the Transformation of Education into a Relevant, Integrated and Democratic Incubator for Citizens (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Dewey).” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 60, No. 12 (June, 2000), 4361. Doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 2000, 261 p.

“The aspects of educational institutions and the systemic practice of education are the product of two distinct features of education. The first is the institutional practice of a chosen philosophy of education. The second is the technologies that have afforded the facilitation of information production, consumption and distribution-essential processes of education. Taking advantage of major reform opportunities in educational practice, made possible by an emerging digital information system, the current trend in education tends to relinquish the long tradition of philosophy of education and embraces the cultivation of a reflective and productive citizenry through education. However, by looking at the ways in which the technologies of their time constrained or enabled the imaginations of our most influential philosophers of education (Plato, Rousseau and Dewey), we will better understand how real technologies and ideal philosophies are necessarily related. With such knowledge, we may inform our educational reform alternatives with the goal of developing a democratic citizenry through education. In no way, is this dissertation meant to provide specific recommendations for educational reform, though the Digital Dante case study illustrates some possible reform alternatives. Rather, it is meant to demonstrate the ways in which technology and philosophy, educational institutions and industry and K-12 and higher education are all necessary players in the goal of creating a new form of civic education.”

Hollander, Robert. “Dante Theologus-Poeta.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 261-302.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in Dante Studies 94 (1976), 91-136. Hollander's landmark essay proposes that Dante was not a poeta-theologus but a theologus-poeta who “creates a fiction which he pretends to consider not to be literally fictitious, while at the same time contriving to share the knowledge with us that it is precisely fictional.” The argument treats a range of crucial issues in Dante criticism, including allegoresis, figuralism, the relationship between poetry and truth in the Middle Ages, and the nature of the Virgilian subtext in the Commedia. [JLu]

Hollander, Robert. “Dante’s Antaeus (Inferno 31.97-132).” In the Electronic Bulletin of the Dante Society of America: posted May 31, 2000, at > Publications > Electronic Journal (EBDSA).

Hollander, Robert. “A New Translation of Dante.” In The Literary Review, 44, No. 1 (Fall, 2000), 48-55.

Discusses some of the underlying principles and motivating factors of their new translation of the Inferno (see above under Translations) and present two passages from Cantos 24 and 33.

Howland Schotter, Anne. “The Role of the Feminine in Dante’s Model of Literary Influence.” In The Rhetorical Poetics of the Middle Ages: Reconstructive Polyphony. Essays in Honor of Robert O. Payne, edited by John M. Hill and Deborah M. Sinnreich-Levi (Madison-Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2000), pp. 258-268.

Schotter explores the “feminist implications in Dante’s meditations of literary influence.” Arguing against the agonistic model described by Harold Bloom, she asserts that in Purgatorio 21-26 in particular, Dante does not treat his poetic precursors as rivals in a literary battle. Rather, he demonstrates what Schotter deems a “feminine” generosity toward them; in Statius’s reverence for Virgil and in the pilgrim’s appreciative stance toward Bonagiunta, Guido Guinizzelli, and Arnaut Daniel, Schotter finds a nurturing, generative version of literary influence. She attributes Dante’s openness to such a maternal model to the emphasis on the feminine in twelfth-century religious writing. Finally, Schotter concludes that because Dante’s portrayal of literary composition is “more like germination and growth than strife and warfare,” his view of influence ultimately bears “striking similarities to the model recently proposed by feminist critics as characteristic of women writers.” [JL]

Iannucci, Amilcare A. “Dante’s Theological Canon in the Commedia.” In Italian Quarterly, 37, Nos. 143-146 (Winter-Fall, 2000), 51-56.

Surveys Dante’s relation to his four most important theological sources: Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Augustine. The author evaluates in each case the nature of Dante’s debt, and his divergences from his source. He concludes that Aquinas “was the chief theological point of reference for the Commedia,” although with much revision in some metaphysical and anthropological questions and in the portrayal of Limbo. Bonaventure’s mystical theology is crucial as the basis of Dante’s itinerarium, and supplies the “contemplative touch” to Dante’s personal experience of God. St. Bernard’s works inspire many details of the Comedy, and the saint shares Dante’s “‘transhumanizing’ faith” and “mystical approach to the Godhead.” Augustine is a lesser influence, but important to Dante for the tragic potential of the notion of predestination. There is ultimately no polarity between poetry and theology in Dante: theology is “the very source of the poetry and poetry the ultimate expression of theological truth.” (CM)

Images of Quattrocento Florence: Selected Writings in Literature, History, and Art. Edited by Stefano Ugo Baldassarri and Arielle Saiber. Preface by Giuseppe Mazzotta. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2000. lxiv, 350 p. (Italian Literature and Thought Series)

Fifty-one translated readings of first-hand accounts, both by citizens and “stranieri,” of fifteenth-century Florence. The collective nature of these accounts and impressions from people from the period offer a wide range of observations of diverse cultural and social trends, not to mention the growing propaganda of the Florentine Together, the documents demonstrate the social, political, religious, and cultural impact Florence had in shaping the Italian and European Renaissance, and they reveal how Florence created, developed, and diffused the mythology of its own origins and glory. “The documents point up the divergences in [Q]uattrocento accounts of the origins of Florence, and … reveal the importance of the city’s economy, social life, and military success to the formation of its image.” Images contains an introduction, a detailed chronology of fifteenth-century Italy, maps, photographs, an annotated bibliography, and a biographical sketch of the author of each document.

Jacoff, Rachel. “‘Our Bodies, Our Selves’: The Body in the Commedia.” In Sparks and Seeds ... Essays in Honor of John Freccero (q.v.), pp. 119-137.

Medieval theologians grappled with the paradox posed by the incorporeal soul’s experience of physical pain in the afterlife. Dante, too, struggles with the concrete and abstract implications of the interim between death and the resurrection of the body. Jacoff examines three passages in the Commedia in which Dante presents “theoretical formulations about the nature of the afterlife body,” and she sets these passages alongside the poet’s representation of the bodies of the souls the pilgrim encounters in the other world. First, she examines Virgil’s comments on the infernal body after Ciacco’s collapse in Inferno 6. In Hell, the resumption of flesh is presented negatively, as an increase in pain for the damned. In Purgatory, on the other hand, the body assumes a positive role, as Statius’s analysis of the union between body and soul in Purgatorio 25 makes clear. Combining embryology and eschatology, Statius describes the body “as the soul’s instrument and expression rather than its prison.” Finally, Solomon’s speech on the glorified body in Paradiso 14 grants the individual body an overwhelming effulgence. At the same time, Solomon implies that the body acts as a signifier of human affective history. Jacoff concludes with a contradiction: these three theoretical representations of the afterlife body, which, notably, are all delivered by poets who were not born Christian, do not always conform to the dramatic representations of the bodies of the souls the pilgrim meets. Thus, “the status of the afterlife body can never be thought about without reference to context and to the other questions it engenders.” [JL]

Kleiner, John. “On Failing One’s Teachers: Dante, Virgil, and the Ironies of Instruction.” In Sparks and Seeds ... Essays in Honor of John Freccero (q.v.), pp. 61-74.

Dante scholarship over the last half-century has underscored the contrary motives of the poet’s affection for his teachers. For example, the reverence and affection critics have said characterize the poet’s rendering of his encounter with Brunetto Latini have been replaced by a “savage irony.” Perhaps contemporary readings of Inferno 15 reflect the passage in the teacher/ student relationship from initial reverence to disillusionment with, as Kleiner suggests, the intermediate phase of identification with the teacher’s limitations. Dante’s representation of Virgil, particularly in Purgatorio 6, also reflects the Florentine’s ironic reconsideration of his master. In Dante the poet’s use of the gambler’s simile (vv. 1-10), it is Dante who is the winner and Virgil the loser. The Florentine poet once again reveals his own ambivalence about his teachers. Virgil is not the visionary of the Roman Empire as much as the pagan teacher who can never reach paradise. [DDP]

Kleinhenz, Christopher. “American Dante Bibliography for 1999.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 331-386.

With brief analyses.

Koch, Theodore W. “Dante in America: A Historical and Bibliographical Study.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 7-56.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in the Annual Report of the Dante Society of America 15 (1896), 1-63.

Lajos, Cheryl Ann. “Artistic, Poetical, Rhetorical, and Prophetic Aspects of the Medici Family

Gardens in Florence, at Fiesole, and at Castello: New Aesthetic Paradigms for Quattrocento and Cinquecento Italian Renaissance Gardens.” In Masters Abstracts International, 38, No. 4 (August, 2000), 812. Master’s thesis, State University of New York at Buffalo, 2000, 146 p.

“I examine the iconographic origins of the gardens of the Italian humanists, linking them to developments in the visual and liberal arts as well as to the rediscovery of classical antiquity. In particular, I show that the aesthetic paradigms that governed the designs of the fifteenth and sixteenth century, Medici family gardens in Florence, at Fiesole, and at Castello were derived from artistic, poetical, and rhetorical traditions as well as from practical and religious ones. I claim that certain texts, such as the Bible, Macrobius’s Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, and Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, acted as inspirational works. I contend that the Medici family gardens constituted historie in the Albertian sense and that Leon Battista Alberti’s On Painting served as a primary source. In conclusion, I posit that in accordance with humanist ideals, the dream and its related, contemplative imageries functioned as unifying devices for the diverse messages of the gardens’s art works.”

Lombardi, Elena F. “Syntax of Poetry: Language and Desire in the Middle Ages.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 61, No. 4 (October, 2000), 1394. Doctoral dissertation, New York University, 2000, 247 p.

“This dissertation explores the notion of syntax in the Middle Ages, within the three different yet interrelated fields of theology (Augustine), linguistics (Modistae) and poetics (Dante). It is structured in the form of an interlacing of three textual chapters related to the Middle Ages and two theoretical sections. In the first chapter, I explore the relationship between the two Words of God (the Word in Principio and the Word Made Flesh) and the two words of man (interior and exterior word). I then propose an understanding of syntax—which describes in turn the creative act of God in the Universe; Christ, the syntax of history; and the underlying structure of human speech—as a collaboration between time and eternity. Chapter III explores the primacy of syntax within the linguistic theory of the Modistae, a group of grammarians operating in Paris at the end of the XIII century. Within their linguistic system I highlight the notion of ‘syntax of reality,’ as an interplay between substance and accident, matter and form. I finally detect, within syntax, a notion of desire as a drive toward stillness and termination. Desire becomes central in the chapter on Dante (ch. V). I first examine Dante’s ‘theory of language’ in terms of the widening gap between the language of God and the mutable, unruly human language, which only poetry can ‘syntactically’ bind and regulate. I then trace, within the Divine Comedy, the interconnected maps of language (as mere sound in Inferno, sign in Purgatorio and pure meaning in Paradiso) and of desire (as drive toward communication and as structural notion). At the end I propose the idea of ‘syntax of poetry,’ as a coming together of language and desire in the construction of the poem. Two theoretical sections—‘Syntax’ (II) and ‘Desire’ (IV)—are intended to sharpen the key-notions of syntax and desire and to verify them against contemporary reflection.”

Luzzi, Joseph. “Heirs of a Dark Wood: European Romantic Identity and the Question of Dante.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 61, No. 5 (November, 2000), 1867. Doctoral dissertation, Yale University, 2000, 242 p.

“This dissertation argues that the rebirth of interest in the Commedia in late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century Europe altered the landscape of the contemporary autobiographical genre. Following a theoretical discussion of the shift from Enlightenment to Romantic modes of literary self-representation, Chapter One explores how Dante’s writings, by offering one of the most sustained and complete notions of personal identity in medieval European literature, anticipated how they would be later debated. Chapter Two begins with Voltaire’s infamous rejection of Dante in 1756 (‘Nobody reads Dante anymore’) and demonstrates that Enlightenment indifference to Dante reflected a much larger intellectual development: the hostility of the philosophes to the introspective, personal, and transcendental narrative that reached its heights in the Commedia. Chapters Three to Five trace respectively how this question of Dante stimulated intense debate in and around the autobiographical writings of Vittorio Alfieri, William Wordsworth, and Ugo Foscolo. Centered on the Commedia’s reception, this study explores how the shift in the relationship between aesthetic experience and the construction of personal identity between 1750 and 1825 influenced the evolution of the autobiographical genre in Europe. As aesthetic response became less disinterested and more laden with experiential value, the models of personal identity in literary texts shaped how writers constructed their histories of the self. Dante figured prominently in this process of self-representation: Romantic theorists sensed that he exemplified what Hegel described as the ‘world-historical individual,’ or the heroic actor who understood intuitively that he was internalizing epochal change on the most personal level. Romantics thus bracketed the Christian and communal aspects of the Commedia in order to integrate with their own autobiographical works the model of poet-as-hero that the persona ‘Dante’ came to embody. By showing that Dante represented for many writers the beginning of their own ‘Romantic’ (A. W. Schlegel), ‘modern’ (Shelley), and ‘heroic’ (Alfieri) historical development this dissertation hopes to deepen our knowledge of how aesthetic experience molds the formation of identity.”

Masciandaro, Franco. “Appunti sul paesaggio dantesco (Inferno V, XXVI, e Paradiso IX).” In The Craft and the Fury... (q.v.), pp. 113-121.

L’articolo di Masciandaro costituisce un’applicazione dell’assunto di Auerbach circa la non autonomia lirica dei paesaggi nella Commedia. In particolare Masciandaro mostra in che misura i paesaggi costituiscano “scena adeguata o simbolo metaforico” (113) della sorte umana dei personaggi Francesca, Ulisse e Cunizza. Nel caso di Francesca, il paesaggio in cui è nata (Inf. 5:97-99), costituisce il simbolo metaforico che spiega perché il suo amore è peccaminoso. Il desiderio di Francesca invece “di volgersi a una pluralità di beni” (115), al consorzio umano, alla civitas, segue “esclusivamente […] quell’unico oggetto che per lei è Paolo” (115). In altre parole, secondo Masciandaro, Francesca non segue lo stesso itinerario simbologgiato dal Po e descritto nei vv. 97-99. L’amore di Francesca “brucia ogni possibilità di durata, […] di un divenire, di una storia, quale si può intravvedere nello scorrere del Po” (115). Le descrizioni paesaggistiche contenute in Inf. 26, vv. 1-3, vv. 17-18, vv. 25-33, contengono invece, secondo Masciandaro, la metafora o meglio la “scena adeguata” nella quale si chiarisce la portata del peccato del fraudolento Ulisse. Nei vv. 3-5, Dante, descrivendo il “batter l’ali per mare e per terra […] ci preannuncia le immagini dell’ ‘alto mare aperto’ e del ‘folle volo’ di cui parlerà Ulisse” (116). Il ‘folle volo’ è poi contrastivamente richiamato dalla descrizione di Dante-personaggio che si muove carponi, saldamente attaccato alla terra (vv. 17-18). L’ ‘attaccamento alla terra,’ cioè l’ingegno accompagnato da virtù, espleta più chiaramente il suo significato metaforico e la relazione contrastiva col ‘folle volo’ di Ulisse, nei vv. 25-33, cioè quelli in cui Dante, descrivendo il paesaggio del “villan,” rappresenta “l’uomo in pace con se stesso e il suo mondo,” il mondo cioè in cui “egli coopera per dar frutti indispensabili alla civitas” (117). Attraverso la descrizione dell’attaccamento alla terra del “villan,” il graduale avvicinamento alla descrizione del peccato di Ulisse compie un altro passo, proprio ancora grazie alla descrizione del paesaggio. Attraverso la comparazione con la valle del “villan,” il peccato di Ulisse, rivela tutta la sua profondità. Il suo “folle volo” cioè, rivela tutto il suo significato di abbandono della “vita laboriosa della civitas” (117). Il caso di Cunizza è speculare a quello di Francesca. “I punti di contatto e di divergenza tra i due amori [...] acquistano però maggior rilievo non appena volgiamo l’attenzione al paesaggio” (118). Nei versi che descrivono il paesaggio in cui nacque Cunizza (Par. 9:25-36) infatti, secondo Masciandaro, troviamo elementi opposti a quelli che analogamente descrivono il luogo di nascita di Francesca. In particolare secondo Masciandaro, il paesaggio natìo di Cunizza è improntato ad una descrizione dinamica e ad un’attenzione all’elemento etico-politico, cioè proprio i due caratteri che distinguono l’amore di Cunizza da quello di Francesca. Attraverso la citazione retrospettiva dell’ “episodio di Carlo Martello” (120) Par. 8:32-39, infine Masciandaro stabilisce chiaramente come l’amore-passione di Cunizza, non sia peccaminoso, come quello di Francesca. Ciò proprio grazie al fatto che la passione di Cunizza è diretta “virtuosamente nella collettività” (121), come appunto l’elemento etico-politico aveva già segnalato nella descrizione del suo paesaggio natìo. (MPa)

Mazzotta, Giuseppe. “Introduction.” In Sparks and Seeds ... Essays in Honor of John Freccero (q.v.), pp. 1-15.

Discusses the impact of John Freccero as a teacher and scholar, situating his contributions within the larger intellectual context of nineteenth- and twentieth-century thought.

Mazzotta, Giuseppe. “Reflections on Dante Studies in America.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 323-330.

As a sort of “post-face” to the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000, Mazzotta presents a synthetic view of American Dante scholarship over the past century with special reference to many of the scholars and essays contained in this volume. In particular, he meditates on the changes in the nature of Dante scholarship in the United States since the establishment of Dante Studies as a professional journal (1966). Mazzotta notes the tension in the profession as North American scholarship tends to favor allegoresis over the historical-philological readings more typical of traditional European criticism. (FA)

Miller, D. Quentin. “‘Making a Place for Fear’: Toni Morrison’s First Redefinition of Dante’s Hell in Sula.” In English Language Notes, 37, No. 3 (March, 2000), 68-75.

In this brief essay, Miller examines the resonance of linguistic echoes and thematic motifs of Dante’s general poetics in the Divine Comedy in Morrison’s 1973 novel. Focusing much of the analysis on the Inferno, Miller establishes Morrison’s tense orientation toward Dantean influence in the community’s definition and redefinition of hell, to contrast the individual’s (Shadrack’s) action vs. the community’s passivity in the face of evil (74). Remarkably, Miller concludes that “by challenging Western definitions of hell such as Dante’s, Morrison helps her readers to sift through common myths …” (74).

Moevs, Christian. “The Primo Mobile as a Pot of Time: Paradiso 27.115-120.” In Romance Notes, 40, No. 3 (Spring, 2000), 247-257.

In the Primo Mobile Beatrice explains to Dante the origin of time (Par. 27:115-120) as having its roots in the flower-pot of the Primo Mobile, while its fronds are in the other spheres. On the simplest level, Beatrice is saying that the diurnal motion of the Primo Mobile, the complete revolution that constitutes one day, is the fundamental measure of time; it provides the natural base unit of temporal measure. But it is also the origin and measure of time in the sense that it imparts diurnal motion to all other spheres, since it is the origin of all motion, change, and alteration in the physical world. As naturally as fronds grow from the hidden roots of a plant, time is born out of the unity and simple causal motion of the Primo Mobile. However, by comparing the birth of time to motion measured as numbers measure each other, Beatrice is invoking Aristotle’s analysis of time in Physics 4.10-14. Aristotle located the universal measure of time in the cyclic and eternal evolution of the spheres, and by implication in the perfectly simple motion of the first-moved sphere, the Primo Mobile. Beatrice explains that the motion of the other spheres is “measured” by the “unfactorable” motion of the Primo Mobile as ten is measured by a half and a fifth. Two and five are highly symbolic numbers in medieval tradition. The key to Beatrice’s riddle may be found in Convivio 2.14.14-15, where the Primo Mobile represents moral philosophy and Dante quotes Thomas Aquinas’s commentary on the second and the fifth books of Aristotle’s Ethics. The “testo,” both “pot” and “text,” could then be a pun directing the reader back to Aristotle, since according to Dante the second and the fifth books of Ethics (out of its ten) demonstrate that moral philosophy orders and directs the acquisition of all knowledge. [AV]

Moevs, Christian. “Pyramus at the Mulberry Tree: De-petrifying Dante’s Tinted Mind.” In Imagining Heaven in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays, edited by Jan Swango Emerson and Hugh Feiss, O.S.B. (New York: Garland, 2000), pp. 211-244.

“Dante refers directly to the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe twice in the Commedia, once in Purgatorio 27, as the pilgrim is about to enter the garden of earthly paradise to meet Beatrice, and once in Purgatorio 33, when Beatrice rebukes the pilgrim in the garden for the past moral failings which prevent him from understanding her. The references bracket Dante’s reunion with his long-lost Beatrice, and frame his recovery of Eden, lost innocence, and eternal life.” Argues that “these telegraphic references to Pyramus signal the failure of love or understanding through which Eden is lost, and thus point to the Christic revelation through which Eden, and beatitude, is recovered. In its simplest form, the revelation is that the kingdom of heaven lies within; to seek any good as other is already to have lost it. A good can therefore be lost only by a failure to know oneself; it can be regained only by sacrificing false self-conceptions.”

Nassar, Eugene Paul. “The Santa Croce Inferno Fragment and Its Relations to the Iconographic Tradition.” In the Electronic Bulletin of the Dante Society of America: posted May 20, 2000, at

The fresco fragment portraying hell that was found behind an altar in the church of Santa Croce in 1942 has traditionally (by Ghiberti and Vasari) been attributed to Andrea Orcagna. Vasari also attributed the Pisan Camposanto Inferno fresco to Orcagna and his brother Nardo di Cione. More recently, however, that attribution has been widely disputed. The numerous similarities between the two frescoes, however, suggest that they could well be by the same artist and that Vasari’s attribution of the Camposanto fresco may be correct. (VSB)

Nohrnberg, James. “The Love that Moves the Sun and Other Stars in Dante’s Hell.” In Sparks and Seeds ... Essays in Honor of John Freccero (q.v.), pp. 87-118.

Studies the structural patterns within the eighth circle of hell which prefigure the cosmic patterns in Paradise. According to Nohrnberg, Dante anticipates Paradiso through allusions, imagery and metaphors which are found running throughout the Inferno. The author focuses, however, on the circle of fraud for his discussion. He begins the analysis with canto 18 where Dante gets a bird’s-eye view of Malebolge as he descends on Geryon’s back. The bridges over the pits are described as spokes on a wheel, thereby presenting the image of a circle divided up into equally sized quadrants; these divisions, the scholar argues, mimic the zodiacal divisions of the heavens. At the same time, Geryon’s flight is portrayed as a spiral, the same image which the sun is said to travel across the sky. In the first bolgia, the sinners run in opposite directions, mimicking the action of sun as it travels backwardly in relationship to the fixed stars. Nohrnberg notes the “ripple-like pattern” found in the overall structure of Malebolge: that the even-numbered sins represent specific types of lies, while the odd-numbered sins are sins against institutions. He thus asserts that in the first bolgia, the seducers are the inner-most circle of sinners (they are a type of liar) while the panders are the outer-most circle (they have sinned against the institution of the family). (FA)

Norton, Charles Eliot. “Remarks of Mr. Norton at the Annual Meeting of the Dante Society, May 16, 1882.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 1-5.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in the Annual Report of the Dante Society of America 1 (1882), 17-25. In his brief remarks, Norton pays tribute to the first president of the Dante Society of America, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who had passed away less than two months before. Norton reminisces about the delightful Wednesday evenings in 1863 he spent with James Russell Lowell and Longfellow proof-reading the latter’s translation of the Inferno: “We paused over every doubtful passage, discussed the various readings, considered the true meaning of obscure words and phrases, sought for the most exact equivalent of Dante’s expression, objected, criticised, praised, with a freedom that was made perfect by Mr. Longfellow’s absolute sweetness, simplicity, and modesty, and by the entire confidence that existed between us” (3-4). [DDP]

O’Rourke Boyle, Marjorie. “Closure in Paradise: Dante Outsings Aquinas.” In MLN, 115, No. 1 (January, 2000), 1-12.

Comparative analysis of Dante’s use of the figure of Aquinas in Paradiso to highlight the fact that he, unlike Aquinas, managed to complete his most ambitious work. In St. Thomas’s words in Paradiso 13, Dante plays upon agricultural and navigational metaphors to argue that poetry is a more appropriate vehicle than philosophy or theology to articulate “the ascent to divine contemplation.” (MP)

Pearl, Matthew. “From The Dante Club.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 57-83.

This excerpt from Pearl’s forthcoming historical novel (Random House) describes how the distinguished founders of the Dante Society of America become involved in a murder mystery set in nineteenth-century Boston and Cambridge. After realizing that a homicide victim has been tortured in the manner of Dante’s Simonists, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. rushes to inform his fellow Dante Club members (James Russell Lowell, James T. Fields, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow). Following Holmes’s connection between the Inferno and the method of murder, the group discovers that another recent murder parallels Dante’s punishment of the Neutrals. Pearl’s entertaining and compelling narrative traces the subsequent involvement of these pioneer American Dantists in an intricate intellectual thriller. [JLu]

Pertile, Lino.Qui in Inferno: Deittici e cultura popolare.” In Italian Quarterly, 37, Nos. 143-146 (Winter-Fall, 2000), 57-67.

Examines the debt of Dante’s poetic inventio to Christian popular culture. In three passages from Inferno (15:25-30; 20:25-30; 29:52-57), the analysis of the locative adverb qui, read as absolutely deictic, provides an alternative reading to the traditional interpretation and highlights the original position of Dante with respect to his sources. In the first case, Dante adheres to the popular condemnation of sodomy, but the adverb qui, instead of indicating the painful surprise for the sin of Brunetto, delivers the profound respect of the pilgrim in the affectionate gesture of identification. In the second case, the adverb demonstrates how Dante subscribes to the topos of the expected rejoicing of the just in face of God’s punishment of sinners. Yet, while this is traditionally the principle applied to any condemned soul, Dante appears to acknowledge the topos only in this passage of the Inferno. In the third case, the author arguing against Hollander’s interpretation of the same passage, contends that the adverb does not point to the book of the Commedia, but rather to the book of divine justice, as suggested by a tradition spanning from the Apocalypse of Saint Paul, to the Venerable Bede, to Albericus. [CF]

Picchio Simonelli, Maria. “L’inquisizione e Dante: alcune osservazioni.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 303-321.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in Dante Studies 97 (1979), 129-149.

La relazione fra l’interpretazione della Commedia come ‘allegoria dei teologi’ (chiave interpretativa sostenuta particolarmente da Singleton) e attività dell’Inquisizione al tempo di Dante, costituisce l’argomento affrontato dalla Simonelli. La studiosa esordisce evidenziando come in genere gli studiosi di letteratura riservino scarsa considerazione all’attività dell’Inquisizione nel tardo Medioevo. “L’abitudine e una lunga tradizione di studi ci porta a collegare l’Inquisizione con l’atmosfera della Controriforma […]. Il periodo a cui di solito non pensiamo è il tardo medioevo. Ed è un errore” (303). Dimostrando come l’attività dell’Inquisizione e l’accusa di eresia fossero non soltanto socialmente intense: “nel XIII e XIV secolo […] nessuna categoria della intera popolazione fu risparmiata” (308), ma anche teologicamente estese (la Simonelli cita San Tommaso, Erico di Susa, Bernard Gui), tanto da includere fra gli eretici anche coloro rivelavano visioni d’ispirazione divina, la studiosa documenta come l’ipotesi interpretativa della Commedia quale “allegoria al modo dei teologi” (309), cioè appunto al modo di una rivelazione di una visione celeste storicamente accaduta, comporta necessariamente l’assunzione della Commedia quale opera intenzionalmente eretica. Secondo la Simonelli però, non si può assolutamente reperire nel poema di Dante, alcuna intenzione eretica. “Dante, […] rientra piuttosto nel novero di coloro che combattevano per una purificazione dei costumi della Chiesa, all’interno di essa, accettandone i dogmi e l’intera struttura gerarchica” (311). Che quella di Dante non fosse un’intenzione eretica (cioè una presa di posizione contro la Chiesa come istituzione), ma un’invettiva ( cioè una presa di posizione diretta a singoli personaggi o categorie di ecclesiastici), è ben mostrato, secondo la Simonelli, in Paradiso 27:22-27 (314). L’allegoria propria della Commedia allora, non può essere quella ‘teologica’, ma quella ‘poetica.’ Ciò, è Dante stesso a sostenerlo. “Se la littera della Commedia fosse stata miracolosa visione, […] se cioè Dante avesse inteso usare l’allegoria dei teologi – le parole esplicative del suo poema, che leggiamo nella Epistola XIII, varrebbero come un’autoaccusa di eresia. Il fatto è, però, che Dante, subito dopo, spiega che il suo modo di trattare la materia è ‘poetico e fittivo’” (313). Inoltre già nel Convivio “nel secondo Trattato, innanzi tutto dichiara che l’uso che egli fa dell’allegoria è secondo ‘lo modo de li poeti’” (310). Anche le ricezioni che del poema dantesco fecero il figlio Pietro Alighieri e il poeta e medico Cecco d’Ascoli (che fu effettivamente condannato al rogo per quanto aveva scritto nella Sfera), per motivi diversi (il primo per difendere la memoria del padre, il secondo per polemizzare contro Dante) secondo la Simonelli, si richiamano entrambe all’ ‘allegoria poetica.’ In Pietro troviamo: “chi di intelletto sano potrebbe credere che il nostro autore abbia fatto quel tale viaggio e abbia visto tali cose, se non con la distinzione dei detti modi di parlare per figura?” (313); ne L’Acerba di Cecco, apertamente in critica col modo in cui Dante ha concepito la Commedia troviamo: “qui non si canta al modo del poeta / che finge, immaginando, cose vane; […] qui non si gira per la selva oscura” (317). (MPa)

Pinti, Daniel. “A Comedy of the Monk’s Tale: Chaucer’s Hugelyn and Early Commentary on Dante’s Ugolino.” In Comparative Literature Studies 37, No. 3 (2000), 277-297.

The author begins by remarking that the eight learned commentaries on the Commedia produced in roughly the first two decades after Dante’s death suggest that “Dante’s Italian audiences in the Trecento thought that the Comedy needed to be explained if it were to be fully understood” (277). The argument challenges a longstanding scholarly view that “Chaucer read Dante in an unmediated way” and proposes instead that Chaucer most likely encountered this commentary tradition in approaching Dante’s poetry. Pinti focuses on the relationship between Chaucer’s most celebrated appropriation of Dante, the Hugelyn narrative in the Monk’s Tale, in its relation to the early commentaries on the Ugolino episode of Inferno 33. Overall, the author aims to show that “we can better understand how Chaucer read Dante by looking at how other learned readers read Dante in the fourteenth century” (278). [Jlu]

Pollastrini, Yvette. “‘Dolcissima morte’: The Death of the Woman in the Birth of the Male Poet.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 61, No. 6 (December, 2000), 2291. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Utah, 2000, 152 p.

“This study investigates representations of women, death, and mourning in lyric poetry written by men of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance in an effort to explain why several of the most influential poets of this period portrayed the death of a beloved woman as a key to a new and better life for a man. My analyses define a chain of intertextuality that grew out of Dante’s words about the dead Beatrice. In tracing connections between the works of Dante, Petrarch, Alain Chartier, Charles d’Orléans, and Pierre de Ronsard, I discuss how the voices of Dante and Petrarch became authoritative voices of mourning and show how they and their French successors played on cultural associations of the living woman with death to create a consolatory tradition that associates the dead woman with renewed life. I use psychoanalytic and feminist theories to interpret the male anxieties toward women and death reflected in the mental images of these authors and to elucidate the content, context, and implications of their creations. My examination demonstrates that the selected writers take advantage of male fears of women and death—phenomena that leave the men here powerless—to empower their writing subjects, by turning the tragic loss of a lady into a great psychological and literary benefit. Ultimately, this study shows that, in many senses, the birth of the early modern male poet revolves around the death of the beautiful young woman.”

Psaki, F. Regina. “The Sexual Body in Dante’s Celestial Paradise.” In Imagining Heaven in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays, edited by Jan Swango Emerson and Hugh Feiss, O.S.B. (New York: Garland, 2000), pp. 47-61.

Argues that in the Paradiso “Dante tries, through very specific lexical and poetic choices, to adumbrate an eroticized relationship that is simply not congruent with earthly dichotomies of soul and body, caritas and eros, pure and impure. Dante’s heaven contains unquestionable erotic freight, and reconciles the contradictory yet coexistent verities of both Christian doctrine and his own historically specific love for and with Beatrice.” [FRP]

Rattazzi Papka, Claudia. “The Limits of Apocalypse: Eschatology, Epistemology, and Textuality in the Commedia and Piers Plowman.” In Last Things: Death and the Apocalypse in the Middle Ages, edited by Caroline Walker Bynum and Paul Freedman (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), pp. 233-256, 351-355.

While many studies have attempted to elucidate the apocalyptic imagery and symbolism in both the Commedia and Piers Plowman, this study explores the “formal and narrative consequences of the use of apocalypse in the two poems” (233). In the Commedia, Dante claims authority that draws on the biblical apocalyptic tradition but that ultimately surpasses it, as he is able to see and speak things hidden to Saints Paul and John. Dante’s apocalypse is informed by the controversies surrounding the Spiritual Franciscans, but the dangers associated with that controversy caused him to stop short of overt heresy. “While for Dante apocalyptic textuality is thus a means for transcending history, for Langland it is finally an acknowledgment of the historical impossibility of transcendence” (256). (VSB)

Risden, Edward L. “Dante’s Vita Nuova as Ante-Chapel to the Commedia.” In Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, 8, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), 85-93.

Considers the pedagogical advantages, especially for the non-specialist, of teaching the Vita nuova before exposing students to the Divine Comedy. Such a technique provides an accessible point of departure for subsequent, more detailed discussions of Dante’s themes, structural preferences and personality. Among the meaningful similarities that can be drawn between the two texts are a tripartite division, the use of Beatrice as a Christ figure, a symbolic descent into hell (chapter 23 in the Vita nuova), the transformation of misguided love, a non-heroic protagonist and the use of allusive names and numbers. (MP)

Rossini, Antonio. “Dante and Ovid: A Comparative Study of Narrative Techniques.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 61, No. 6 (December, 2000), 2292. Doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto, 2000, 193 p.

The thesis “focuses on the influence of Ovid (Metamorphoses) on Dante and is divided into two parts. The first part is concerned with the Ovidian influence on the microtextual level, that is, with the way in which Dante implements Ovidian themes in specific passages and for particular, local purposes. The second develops a wider, narratological approach, centering on the way in which Dante’s story-telling style, in the broadest way, is derived from Ovid and developed in imitation of him. The thesis aims at giving an assessment of what an exhaustive account of the influence of Ovid’s Metamorphoses on Dante would entail, something which has never been done before. In the first chapter there is presented a complete survey of the most recent scholarship on the microtextual exploitation of Ovid’s myths and legends on Dante’s part. Some new criteria to produce a complete taxonomy encompassing all the passages of the Comedy derived from Ovid’s Metamorphoses are also discussed. The second chapter, introducing the second part of the thesis, deals with semiotic concepts focusing on the general problem of literary repetition and self-exegesis in an epic poem. This, indeed, is the feature of Dante’s art which owes the most to Ovid’s narrative technique. The third chapter shows how Ovid himself used the device of repetition and variation on given themes, derived from his juridical training, for the purpose of granting thematic unity and consistency of tone to his unprecedented literary undertaking. The fourth chapter highlights how many passages of the Comedy are likewise connected to each other delineating sequentially significant patterns devoted to the goal of self-exegesis. This work makes use of the Dartmouth Dante Project Database, developed by Robert Hollander, which contains more than 40 commentaries on the Divine Comedy, from Dante’s own son Pietro to 1982. An appendix containing all the passages of the Comedy that all the above mentioned commentators have considered as derived from Ovid’s main work has been provide after the Conclusions and before the Bibliography. All the entries have been sorted out and arranged systematically according to the succession of the canticles and the chronological order of the commentators.”

Sayiner, Elisabetta Pellegrini. “From Brunetto Latini to Dante’s ser Brunetto.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 61, No. 3 (September, 2000), 1010. Doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 2000, 436 p.

“This study provides an innovative analysis of the relationship shared by Brunetto Latini and Dante Alighieri. Traditionally, readers have used Dante’s portrayal of Latini in Inferno XV among the sodomites to associate the two authors, focusing on Latini’s sin or on Latini as Dante’s teacher. Dante’s inclusion of Latini in Inferno XV has created a powerful legacy, even today influencing critical readings of Latini’s writings through a process in which many readers use Dante’s representation of Latini as a starting point for the study of Latini’s own work. This dissertation does not subscribe to the traditional reading of Latini backwards from Inferno XV, and instead provides a Latini-grounded alternative to our understanding of Latini’s works and of the relationship between Latini and Dante. Two of Latini’s works distinctly influenced Dante: the Tesoretto, his didactic allegorical journey, and the Rettorica, his translation with commentary of Cicero’s De inventione, both of which he wrote in the Italian vernacular between 1260 and 1266. This dissertation explores the Tesoretto and the Rettorica outlining the thematic and formal characteristics of Latini’s works and their theoretical contents. It also explores the manner in which the themes, formal characteristics and theoretical contents of Latini’s texts appear in Dante’s Convivio and Inferno I, II, and XV, thereby uncovering Dante’s intellectual indebtedness to Latini. By examining the relationship between the two writers chronologically, this study reveals the dynamic qualities of the relationship as it developed. Additionally, this dissertation emphasizes didacticism in the four works studied (the Tesoretto, the Rettorica, the Convivio, and the Divina Commedia) particularly the didactic stance of the authors as they consciously represent themselves as teachers. Within this context, it examines the function of the first person narrator, the construction of narrative authority, and authorial self-representation in general. The result of this analysis is a significant revision of both our understanding of the works of Brunetto Latini and of the relationship between Dante and Latini.”

Schnapp, Jeffrey T. “Lectura Dantis: Inferno 30.” In Sparks and Seeds ... Essays in Honor of John Freccero (q.v.), pp. 75-85.

In Inferno 30 Dante-pilgrim reaches the tenth bolgia, the innermost ring of the eighth circle, where the sin of fraudulence is punished. The sin is none other than a false replication of God’s creative act, the substitution of logos by mimos, Christ by Antichrist. While narrating his journey through Lower Hell in this part of the Comedy, Dante-poet stages the threat of his errant mimesis, of losing contact with his own truth claims. This threat is conveyed in a twofold manner: intertextually, in Inferno 25, by means of literary competition with Ovid and Lucan, Dante’s inspiring forebears, and by insisting on the reality of the admittedly unbelievable scenery. The sin punished in this bolgia concerns the falsification of one’s identity, which is a double overturning of the identity concept. These sinners falsified their own identity and that of those they imitated. The text of the Comedy, unlike the illegitimate texts created by the imitators and mimes of Canto 30, is not a seamless, sealed-off, self-referential construct; it is self-interrupting and self-disrupting. After successive performances enacting the spectacle of sin, the reader is led to a knowledge and wisdom sanctioned by the logos of Dante’s guide, Virgil. Master Adam and Sinon put on an unauthorized show, and it is Virgil’s role to unmask the seductions of staged fiction. In this mediation of theatrics, Dante draws on Augustine’s critique of stage-plays as an agent of contagion (Confessions 3.2). For Tertullian, the formula for the redemption of theatrical performance was the spectacle of the crucifixion; for Dante the locus of this redemption is found in the Garden of Eden, the place of the Golden Age, the place where Dante-pilgrim will appear as the new Adam. [AV]

Singleton, Charles S. “In Exitu Israel de Aegypto.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 167-187.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in the Annual Report of the Dante Society of America 78 (1960), 1-24. Singleton examines the structural parallels between the Commedia and the biblical book of Exodus. In the exegetical tradition, Exodus represented the palimpsest of conversion from sin to salvation. According to Singleton, the pilgrim’s frustrated attempt to climb the mountain in the prologue constitutes a failed conversion. Singleton examines the language of the first canto, noting the ways in which Dante recollects the exile of the ancient Hebrews. The first metaphor of the entire work, that of the swimmer who turns back to look upon the water from which he has escaped, is reminiscent of the Israelites’ crossing out of Egypt. Singleton interprets the episodes of the first canto of Purgatorio—the ritual cleansing and girding with a reed, the souls who sing “In exitu Israel de Aegypto”—as the continuation of the motif of exile in the model of the book of Exodus. The elements are indications that the dangerous passage has been completed and that the pilgrim is arriving at the promised land. (FA)

Steinberg, Glenn A. “Chaucer in the Field of Cultural Production: Humanism, Dante, and the House of Fame.” In Chaucer Review, 35, No. 2 (2000), 182-203.

Steinberg takes on a double thesis of the nature of “poetic tradition” among Chaucer and his contemporaries, and the role of the House of Fame in that construction, especially in its relationship to Dante as one of Chaucer’s principal precursors. Noting the important model of Dante’s return to Virgil’s style, which arises “out of the contemporary debates in Dante’s literary field and Dante’s attempt to ‘make his mark’ in that field” (185), Steinberg determines a paradigm of returning to the glorious past (of “pushing into the past”), in this case to reveal Dante’s “classicism” in combination with his stilnovismo and “anti-pagan theology,” to push aside contemporaries, such as Guinizzelli and Cavalcanti, and “combat the rising fortunes of humanist writers of the new Latin poetry who raised … serious doubts about his project” (187). Reviewing Dante’s poets in the Commedia, Steinberg notes that Dante uses his representation of the afterlife, putting poets in their place, to define the hierarchy of his notion of literary tradition. In the end, “Chaucer’s distrust of classical pretensions to artistic or moral superiority places him at odds with his Italian contemporaries” (196), who still serve—as he agrees with Paterson—as the mediators of Chaucer’s relationship to classical texts. Nevertheless, in his rejection of Petrarch and petrarchisti, Chaucer can still be viewed as somewhat independent of Italian models.

Stephens, Walter. “Tasso as Ulysses.” In Sparks and Seeds ... Essays in Honor of John Freccero (q.v.), pp. 209-239.

Takes Tasso’s sonnet to Giovanni Battista Manso (“Manso, non fur le mie venture afisse”) and its reference to Ulysses as the point of departure for an examination of Tasso’s earlier subtle allusions to Ulysses and various representations of Ulyssean themes and figures in the Gerusalemme liberata.

Terkla, Daniel P. “Impassioned Failure: Memory, Metaphor, and the Drive toward Intellection.” In Imagining Heaven in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays, edited by Jan Swango Emerson and Hugh Feiss, O.S.B. (New York: Garland, 2000), pp. 245-316.

The essay is concerned with Abbot Suger’s basilica of St.-Denis, Richard of Haldingham’s Hereford Mappa Mundi, and Dante’s Commedia, which are seen both as “metaphoric paradigms of medieval Christian art, monuments to the desire to re-create Creation and to image the Imageless” and as “paradigmatic failures.” Terkla suggests that “Richard’s, Suger’s, and Dante’s use of accommodative and anagogical metaphor to overcome the unavoidable reiterative failure that results when an artist attempts to depict the ineffable, regardless of medium: architecture, mapmaking, or poetry. At base, each man desired to move his virtual pilgrim from the material to the immaterial, to transfer him or her figuratively from this world to the next — or at least to provide an inkling of divine intellection, that ‘direct cognition of realities such as God, the angels, caritas, etc., which have neither corporeal substance nor corporeal shape.’ Put another way, Richard, Suger, and Dante created metaphorical structures — the map, the basilica, the poem — they hoped would act as vehicles that would affect this mystical translatio.” One section of this essay (“Dante’s Commedia: From Memory to Intellection,” 278-288) is devoted to Dante.

Usher, Jonathan. “Fra lessico e architettura: Ipotesi per i ‘cerchi’ danteschi.” In the Electronic Bulletin of the Dante Society of America: posted December 7, 2000, at > Publications > Electronic Journal (EBDSA).

Usher, Jonathan. “Petrarch Reads Inferno 4.” In the Electronic Bulletin of the Dante Society of America: posted December 5, 2000, at > Publications > Electronic Journal (EBDSA).

An account of the intricate ways in which Dante¹s poem serves as the organizing iconography for Petrarch’s account, in Senilis 4.5, of the hidden meaning of the Aeneid. There is “Dantification” of Virgil, but also “Virgilification” of Dante. In his “Letter to Virgil” Petrarch programmatically restores the original Virgilian images behind Dante’s description of the harrowing of Hell. Petrarch “was no mean Dantist, expertly able to re-mix the Comedy with its underlying Virgilian model.” [LW]

Verdicchio, Massimo. “Re-Reading Brunetto Latini and Inferno XV.” In Quaderni d’italianistica, 21, No. 1 (2000), 61-81.

Suggests that the enigma of Brunetto’s status in Inferno 15 can be resolved by understanding Brunetto’s autocitation in 15:118 as being to the Tesoretto, rather than, as Contini argues, to his Tresor. Thus Brunetto’s own confession of indeterminate, grave sins and his absolution in Montpellier (Tesoretto 2555-57) would allude to repentance for his sodomy, a repentance which, in line with Verdicchio’s claims for Dante’s dislike of Brunetto’s works, Dante does not believe (75-76). “Dante reveals Brunetto’s secret” (78) and seems to render sarcastically Brunetto’s lesson in “false glory” in the verse “m’insegnavate com l’uom s’etterna” (Inf. 15:85). Verdicchio adds “we should not overlook the fact that Dante also includes the clergy … in this list of ‘famous’ men, perhaps in order to include also the friar of Montpellier who absolved Brunetto” (78).

Wilkins, Ernest Hatch. “Reminiscence and Anticipation in the Divine Comedy.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 95-107.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in the Annual Report of the Dante Society of America 55-67 (1951), 1-13. The article examines the numerous instances of recollecting previously narrated episodes or of anticipating episodes yet to come in the Comedy. Wilkins counts over one hundred instances of Dante renarrating previously described events. In many of these instances, Dante provides supplementary information thereby filling out the picture of the event. For example, in Canto 16 of Inferno, the reader finds out that the pilgrim had attempted to catch the lonza with the cord around his waist; Dante had mentioned no such actions during Canto 1. Inferno 29 begins with Virgil relating that which the pilgrim had not noticed in the previous canto—Geri del Bello’s menacing glances and gestures. Wilkins also discusses Dante’s use of anticipation, such as Forese’s mention of his sister’s residence in Heaven. Wilkins concludes that, despite the long amount of time required to compose the Comedy, Dante had the whole poem in his mind as a single unity. (FA)

Williamson, Edward. “De Beatitudine Huius Vite.” In Dante Studies, 118 (2000), 109-127.

This essay was selected for the special commemorative issue of Dante Studies for the year 2000 by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Council of the Society. It originally appeared in the Annual Report of the Dante Society of America 76 (1958), 1-22. Examines the two “beatitudines” described in Monarchia III.16 (the bliss of this life and the bliss of eternal life) in an attempt to untangle the reasons behind Dante’s argument for a proper relation between church and state. Beginning with the identification of the third book of the Monarchia within the tradition of theological treatises, Williamson demonstrates the importance of the Unam sanctam bull of 1302 to discussions of papal influence based on notions of the properly hierarchical arrangement of temporal and spiritual powers. Unlike Aquinas’s subordination of all earthly bliss to the heavenly variety, Dante’s scheme allows for a comparable temporal power to exist in this life and to guide all men to a common good. If theology (revealed truth) is the key to eternal happiness, philosophy (rational truth) – despite the Scholastics’ insistence on hierarchy – must then serve to lead us to temporal happiness. Dante does not subordinate philosophy to scripture and is therefore free to argue, as in Convivio II.14, that there can be a genuine separation between the jurisdictions of the earthly and the spiritual. The article finishes with a brief consideration of the implications of this position on the passage of the Pilgrim from Vergil’s tutelage (earthly instruction) to Beatrice’s (heavenly instruction) and on the spirit that lay behind active and contemplative endeavors in Dante’s time. (MP)

Zaho, Margaret Ann.Imago triumphalis: The Function and Significance of Triumphal Imagery for Italian Renaissance Rulers.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 61, No. 6 (December, 2000), 2081. Doctoral dissertation, University of Washington, 2000, 247 p.

“This study examines the manner in which independent rulers in fifteenth-century Italy used the motif of the Roman triumph or pompa triumphalis for self-aggrandizement and personal expression. Rulers such as Alfonso of Aragon, Federico da Montefeltro, Sigismondo Malatesta, and Borso d’Este, each chose to incorporate triumphal iconography in the visual construction of their own personal mythology. Triumphal imagery, replete with connotations of victory and splendor, was recognized in the Renaissance as a reflection of the glory of classical antiquity. Its popularity relied on the fact that the image of the triumphal procession could at once suggest victory, antiquity, perpetuity, and power. The imagery’s malleability allowed it to both retain its classical associations and function as a highly personalized commentary. Triumphal imagery incorporated visual associations and decorative possibilities that were fundamentally regal and laudatory, qualities that were enticing for any ruler. The appeal of the motif and its power as a visual bearer of meaning is evident in its appearance as a decorative theme in Renaissance literature, art and architecture. Authors such as Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch used the model of the antique triumph as an allegorical tool to express the Triumph of Christian virtue. By the Quattrocento, the theme of the triumph had evolved into an artistic concetto that embodied not only the classical past but also the virtue of the Christian faith. The flexibility and inherent hieratic quality of triumphal imagery made it a significant and dominant feature in the visual propaganda of fifteenth-century rulership. This study addresses the purpose triumphal imagery served for rulers who chose the motif for major artistic commissions in which they themselves are represented. It suggests, ultimately, that there was perhaps no better single image to convey the wide array of political and humanistic concepts so important in the self promotion of the Italian Renaissance ruler.”



Alighieri, Dante. De vulgari eloquentia. Edited and translated by Steven Botterill. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. (See Dante Studies, 115 [1997], 274.) Reviewed by:

            Peter Armour, in Modern Language Review, 95, No. 2 (April, 2000), 527-528.

Alighieri, Dante. Purgatorio. Translated by W. S. Merwin. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. 359 p. (See above under Translations.) Reviewed by:

            Daniel Mendelsohn, in The New York Times Book Review (July 23, 2000), pp. 8-9.

Astell, Ann. Chaucer and the Universe of Learning. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996. (See Dante Studies, 115 [1997], 275-276.) . Reviewed by:

            John B. Friedman, in Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 99, No. 2 (April, 2000), 255-259;

            Karla Taylor, in Modern Philology, 97, No. 3 (February, 2000), 445-451.

Biow, Douglas. Mirabile Dictu: Representations of the Marvelous in Medieval and Renaissance Epic. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995. (See Dante Studies, 115 [1997], 278.) Reviewed by:

            Michael Murrin, in Modern Philology, 97, No. 4 (May, 2000), 566-569.

Boswell, Jackson Campbell. Dante’s Fame in England: References in Printed British Books, 1477-1640. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1999. (See Dante Studies, 118 [2000], 332-333.) Reviewed by:

            William J. Kennedy, in Renaissance Quarterly, 53, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), 242-244.

Cornish, Alison. Reading Dante’s Stars. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2000. (See above under Studies.) Reviewed by:

            Olivia Holmes, in Annali d’Italianistica, 18 (2000), 484-485.

Dante: Contemporary Perspectives. Edited by Amilcare A. Iannucci. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997). (See Dante Studies, 116 [1998], 220.) Reviewed by:

            Massimo Seriacopi, in Rassegna della letteratura italiana, 104, No. 1 (gennaio-giugno, 2000), 150-151.

Dante and Governance. Edited by John Woodhouse. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997. Reviewed by:

            Joan M. Ferrante, in Speculum, 75, No. 4 (October, 2000), 996-997.

Dante’s Modern Afterlife: Reception and Response from Blake to Heaney. Edited by Nick Havely. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. (See Dante Studies, 117 [1999], 251-252.) Reviewed by:

            William J. Kennedy, in Renaissance Quarterly, 53, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), 242-244.

Ferrucci, Franco. Le due mani di Dio. Il Cristianesimo e Dante. Roma: Fazi, 1999. (See below under Addenda: Studies.) Reviewed by:

            Giuseppe Tardiola, in Rassegna della letteratura italiana, 104, No. 1 (gennaio-giugno, 2000), 160-161.

Ginsberg, Warren. Dante’s Aesthetics of Being. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999. (See Dante Studies, 118 [2000], 343-344.) Reviewed by:

            William J. Kennedy, in Renaissance Quarterly, 53, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), 242-244.

Hawkins, Peter S., Dante’s Testaments. Essays in Scriptural Imagination. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1999. (See Dante Studies, 118 [2000], 344-345.) Reviewed by:

            Carolynn Lund-Mead, in Rivista di Studi Italiani, 18, No. 2 (dicembre, 2000), 304-306.

Holmes, Olivia. Assembling the Lyric Self: Authorship from Troubadour Song to Italian Poetry Book. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000. (See above under Studies.) Reviewed by:

            Lois Bragg, in Annali d’Italianistica, 18 (2000), 477-480.

Kelly, Henry Ansgar. Chaucerian Tragedy. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1997. (See Dante Studies, 118 [2000], 374.) Reviewed by:

            Piero Boitani, in Speculum, 75, No. 1 (January, 2000), 204-206.

Lectura Dantis: Inferno. A Canto-by-Canto Commentary. Edited by Allen Mandelbaum, Anthony Oldcorn, and Charles Ross. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. (See Dante Studies, 117 [1999], 258-259.) Reviewed by:

            Stefano Ugo Baldassarri, in Comparative Literature Studies, 37, No. 4 (2000), 436-439;

            Deborah Parker, in Renaissance Quarterly, 53, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), 239-242.

Masciandaro, Franco. La conoscenza viva: Letture fenomenologiche da Dante a Machiavelli. Ravenna: Longo, 1998. (See Dante Studies, 118 [2000], 375.) Reviewed by:

            Fabian Alfie, in Italica, 77, No. 2 (Summer, 2000), 252-253.

Pertile, Lino. La puttana e il gigante. Dal “Cantico dei Cantici” al Paradiso Terrestre di Dante. Ravenna: Longo, 1998. (See Dante Studies, 117 [1999], 265.) Reviewed by:

            Paola Nasti, in Forum Italicum, 34, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), 294-296;

            Francesco Saverio, in Rassegna della letteratura italiana, 104, No. 1 (gennaio-giugno, 2000), 166-168.

Scott, John A. Dante’s Political Purgatory. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996. (See Dante Studies, 115 [1997], 296.) Reviewed by:

            Federica Brunori, Romance Quarterly, 47, No. 2 (Spring, 2000), 126-127.

Shapiro, Marianne. Dante and the Knot of Body and Soul. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. (See Dante Studies, 117 [1999], 269-270.) Reviewed by:

            Deborah Parker, in Renaissance Quarterly, 53, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), 239-242.

Wallace, David. Chaucerian Polity: Absolutist Lineages and Associational Forms in England and Italy. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1997. (See Dante Studies, 116 [1998], 244.) Reviewed by:

            Louise Fradenberg, in Modern Philology, 98, No. 1 (August, 2000), 10-16.