[Blurb: replace as needed the following text: This bibliography is intended to cover Dante translations published in this country in 1953, and all Dante studies published in 1953 that are in any sense American. The bibliography is in the main the work of Dr. A. L. Pellegrini; but the analyses signed V.L. were prepared by Professor Vincent Luciani for the periodic “Bibliography of Italian Studies in America” which he publishes in Italica, and are here reprinted with his kind permission and with that of the Editor of ltalica, Professor J. G. Fucilla.]
Alighieri, Dante. Dante’s Monarchia. Translated with a commentary by Richard Kay. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1998. xliii, 449 p. (Studies and Texts, 131)
“Because the Monarchia is deeply rooted in medieval culture, its modern reader requires not only an accurate translation but also extensive explanations. The present work is the first to provide both for English readers. The translation of Dante’s Latin here maintains a balance between technical precision and readability; the commentary guides the nonspecialist through a maze of scholastic arguments and authorities, while for the specialist it confronts the critical cruxes of the work, such as its date and purpose, the author’s apparent Averroism, and what he thought the emperor owed to the pope.” Contents: Preface (ix-xii); List of Abbreviations (xiii-xiv); Introduction (xv-xliii); Dante’s Monarchia: Latin text, English translation, and commentary. Book 1 (1-89); Book 2 (90-195); Book 3 (196-325); Appendix: Dante’s Monarchia Paraphrased (327-368); Bibliography (369-410); General Index (411-432); Index of Citations (433-449).
Alighieri, Dante. Inferno. Translated into English Verse with Notes and an Introduction by Elio Zappulla. Illustrated by the Paintings of Gregory Gillespie. New York: Pantheon Books, 1998. xv, 314 p.
Contents: Preface (ix-xii); Acknowledgments (xiii-xv); Introduction (3-17); The Inferno of Dante Alighieri (19-308); Select Bibliography (309-312); List of Paintings (313-314).
Alighieri, Dante. “Translation of Inferno, Canto 2.” Translated by Seamus Heaney. In Dante’s Modern Afterlife: Reception and Response from Blake to Heaney (q. v.), pp. 261-264.
Alfie, Fabian. “For Want of a Nail: The Guerri-Lanza-Cursietti Argument regarding the Tenzone.” In Dante Studies, 116 (1998), 141-159.
Examines the theory which posits that Dante and Forese Donati did not author the tenzone, but rather, that a poet of the Quattrocento did. According to this thesis, at some point between 1390 and 1406, a comic poet, probably Stefano Finiguerri nicknamed “il Za,” decided to slander a homosexual couple by composing all six sonnets of the tenzone and publishing them. However intriguing this opinion might be, it faces one serious problem: one manuscript containing exemplars from the tenzone, Chigiano L.VIII.305, may have been produced not in the fifteenth century, but around the middle of the Trecento. Alfie examines the codex in an attempt to determine the plausibility of the “Za” hypothesis. He begins by noting that other scholars who have studied the Chigiano codex have independently arrived at similar dates for its completion, c. 1360. He then points out a number of traits which would correspond to the mid-fourteenth-century date of composition: its Gothic handwriting (the chancery minuscule was disdained by the Humanists of the late Trecento), the virtual absence in the manuscript of authors after the 1340s, and, finally, the fact that the manuscript closes with six sonnets attributed to “Franciescho Petracchi,” and not to “Petrarca,” the melodious pen-name the poet began using between 1338 and 1340. Alfie concludes that these characteristics indicate that the codex was completed far too early for the “Za” theory to work. [FA]
Alfie, Fabian. “Love and Poetry: Reading Boccaccio’s Filostrato as a Medieval Parody.” In Forum Italicum, 32, No. 2 (Fall, 1998), 347-374.
Proposes a reading of Boccaccio’s narrative poem, Il Filostrato, not as a tragedy, but as a traditional, medieval comedy. While much of the study examines that work by itself from this perspective, it does propose that the parodied intertext is none other than Dante’s Vita Nuova. Therefore, it performs a reading of Dante’s libello to better understand the satiric nature of Il Filostrato. For example, Boccaccio’s poem begins with a prose prologue which purports to address the question of whether seeing the beloved lady, speaking of her, or thinking about her, is the highest stage of love. According to Alfie, these three possibilities represent the intra nos, extra nos, and supra nos phases of love. In contrast to Dante, however, Boccaccio’s narrator asserts that he had believed that thinking about the woman was the greatest form of love until his beloved began vacationing away from her hometown. Now, bereft of her, he realizes his mistake, and knows that seeing her—the most physical of the three options—represents love’s apex. Thus, Boccaccio overturns Dante’s hierarchy of values, placing the lowest above the highest. Furthermore, the author of the article notes Boccaccio’s repeated parodic appropriation of Dante’s language in this passage. Finally, the article closes by asserting that, just as Dante’s poetry evolves as he passes through the various stages of love, so too does the Filostrato. As the protagonist progresses from happy to doleful passion, the author includes various lyrical interludes reminiscent of Cavalcantian and Guinizzellian poetry. Here too, however, Boccaccio deploys this language in an ironic manner, illustrating not his indebtedness to Dante, but his parodic distance from him. [FA]
Ahern, John. “Can the Epistle to Cangrande Be Read as a Forgery?” In Seminario Dantesco Internazionale... (q.v.), pp. 281-307.
Without entering the debate over the authenticity of the Epistle to Cangrande, Ahern identifies the various hypotheses that comprise the falsista position and then proves their incompatibility. According to Ahern’s account, falsisti have fallen into roughly three groups: those who believe in an anonymous author of the commentary portion of the letter; those who argue for an accessor who composed the accessus in good faith; and those who infer an editor who forged the exposition section of the letter as the continuation of the accessus. Ahern traces the critical lineage of these three theses, and then extends the inquiry: what would have motivated each of these putative authors? What were their intellectual backgrounds and who was their intended audience? Ahern concludes that the Anonymous Author would have been a learned contemporary of Dante’s writing before 1328. He would have been addressing the Latin litterati with the aim of announcing that the Commedia deserved the same attention as classical works. The Accessor, on the other hand, would have composed his accessus between 1340 and 1373, but, carrying on a covert polemic against the Thomists, he would have shared the views of an earlier generation. The Forger, finally, would have read the accessus sometime after 1374, added an expositio of Paradiso 1, and passed off the composite text as Dante’s in order to insure that the poem would be interpreted in the categories and vocabulary of the early Trecento. [JL]
Ardizzone, Maria Luisa. “Pound as Reader of Aristotle and His Medieval Commentators and Dante’s Commedia.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 205-228.
Considers Pound’s lifelong though ever-changing relationship with Dante in terms of the former’s criticism of metaphysics. In the discussion of Pound’s study of medieval philosophy, the author looks at the manifestations of this growing body of knowledge in the artistic development of The Cantos. Points out the importance of Paradiso 10 in this philosophical, aesthetic, and ideological maturation. Contains in appendix some of Pound’s notes from the 1940s on the structure of The Cantos and a letter to George Santayana dated November 16, 1940. [MP]
Armour, Peter. “‘A ciascun artista l’ultimo suo’: Dante and Michelangelo.” In Lectura Dantis, 22-23 (Spring-Fall, 1998), 141-180.
While it was a commonplace to compare Dante and Michelangelo in the Cinquecento, and to cite the influence of Dante’s poetry on Michelangelo’s sculpture, painting, and verse, Armour argues that the presence of Dante in Michelangelo’s work is actually slighter than traditionally thought. The explicit visual echoes are in fact few, and the extent of Michelangelo’s poetic debt to Dante is difficult to discern, since many of the similarities are reducible to conventions of vernacular poetry, the dolce stil novo, or Christian beliefs. Even if verisimilitude is of primary importance to the work of both Dante and Michelangelo, their conceptions of their individual mimetic capacities and their understanding of the hierarchy of God, nature, and art diverge substantially. Dante’s ideal artistic creations exist not in this life, but in the next, while Michelangelo sought to attain to a divine victory over nature in his human art. “For Dante, all human ‘arte’ strives as far as it can to follow nature ... and so, in a downward process, it is descended through nature from God,” but Michelangelo imagined a kind of art that might “conquer the transience of the natural world in the attempt to detect the Ideal Beauty dispersed throughout natural creation ... and to render it permanently visible on earth through art.” [JL]
Ascoli, Albert Russell. “Access to Authority: Dante in the Epistle to Cangrande.” In Seminario Dantesco Internazionale... (q.v.), pp. 309-352.
Ascoli reads the Epistle to Cangrande as a continuation of Dante’s engagement with auctoritas through auto-commentary. Just as Dante sought to establish his authority through self-exegesis in the Vita Nuova and the Convivio, so too the author of the Letter to Cangrande (whether Dante or a skillful forger), both grants Dante the timeless standing of an auctoritas through formal exegesis and manages to insert a personality into the document. That is, the Epistle, like Dante’s other works, treads a middle ground between impersonal authority and self-reflexive author. The letter endows Dante with canonical literary authority at the same time that it paves the way for the modern, self-reflexive author. That is, the Epistle to Cangrande helps effect a passage from the Latin tradition to the vernacular tradition. Ascoli looks for Dantean elements in the letter, while keeping in mind that inconsistency is itself a hallmark of Dante’s oeuvre, and locates two broad areas of influence: the author’s use of the traditaradl categories of Latin exegesis and the problematic placement of the author in the text.[JL]
Ball, Christina. “Moonscapes: The Art of Lunar Memory in the Italian Tradition.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, No. 4 (October, 1998), 1190. Doctoral dissertation, Yale University, 1998, 268 p.
Contains a section on the “memorable moons of Dante (Paradiso).”
Banerjee, Ron D. K. “The Darkening Heart and the Icon of Light: Cavalcanti.” In Studies for Dante. . . (q.v.), pp. 37-46.
In this general treatment and appreciation of Cavalcanti’s poetry, Banerjee devotes some attention to the poems Guido addressed to Dante and to the interpretation of the reference to Guido in Inferno 10.
Barolini, Teodolinda. “Dante and Cavalcanti (On Making Distinctions in Matters of Love): Inferno 5 in Its Lyric Context.” In Dante Studies, 116 (1998), 31-63.
In this essay Barolini explores the lyric context of Inferno 5, paying particular attention to how Italian poets like Giacomo da Lentini, Guido delle Colonne, Guittone d’Arezzo, Guido Cavalcanti, and Dante himself had framed the issue of desire insufficiently controlled by reason. Pointing to Cavalcanti’s “che la ‘ntenzione per ragione vale” as the intertext of Dante’s “che la ragion sommettono al talento” (Inf. 5:39), Barolini reads Inferno 5 as a response to Cavalcanti: “Inferno 5 constitutes Dante’s most synthetic and compelling meditation on love as a death force, on love as a power that does not defy death but courts it, on love as a dark compulsion that—far from leading us toward salvation—keeps us, as Cavalcanti puts it, ‘for di salute’.” By looking at the views of love evidenced in Dante’s own lyrics, the essay also charts the distance Dante had to traverse before reaching the position of the Commedia.
Barolini, Teodolinda. “Guittone’s Ora parrà, Dante’s Doglia mi reca, and the Commedia’s Anatomy of Desire.” In Seminario Dantesco Internazionale... (q.v.), pp. 3-23.
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]
Barolsky, Paul. “Matilda’s Hermeneutics.” In Lectura Dantis, 22-23 (Spring-Fall, 1998), 199-202.
The figure of Matilda in Botticelli’s illustration of Purgatorio 28 visually recalls his earlier depiction of Mercury or Hermes in his painting, Primavera: Matilda and Mercury each extend a hand to the sky in an identical gesture. Barolsky argues that the gesture of Primavera’s Mercury, however, itself recalls a section of Purgatorio 28 in which Matilda twice refers to dispelling a cloud from Dante’s understanding. In his Primavera, Botticelli makes this figure of speech visible: when Mercury extends his arm skywards, he appears to disperse the clouds above his head so that the sun shines through and is reflected in his eyes. Botticelli thus transforms the figure of speech into an image by representing the very act of “unclouding,” and the resultant moment of spiritual illumination. Turning to Matilda herself in his illustration of the canto, Botticelli preserves Mers ec’s posture but does not need to render the clouds Mercury dislodges. According to Barolsky, the viewer, familiar with Matilda’s allusion to the unclouding of the intellect, does not need a visual cue to be reminded of Matilda’s discourse. “The conceit of unclouding the intellect, having originally passed from Matilda to Mercury in the Primavera, has now returned from the god to the ‘enlightened lady’ who assumes Mercury’s or Hermes’s hermeneutical identity as the explicator of divine truth.” [JL]
Botterill, Steven. “The Figure of St. Bernard in Dante’s Commedia.” In Seminario Dantesco Internazionale... (q.v.), pp. 149-170.
In Paradiso 31, Bernard of Clairvaux abruptly replaces Beatrice as Dante’s guide. Why does Dante choose Bernard for the job? To answer the question, Botterill analyzes Dante’s presentation of Bernard’s various functions in Paradiso—mentor, proxy, spokesman and mouthpiece—and his particular qualifications for them. Botterill recognizes three main qualifications for Bernard’s participation in Dante’s journey: Bernard’s devotion to the Virgin Mary, his identity as a contemplative, and his well-known eloquence. Botterill argues that initially Bernard’s function in the Empyrean is to aid Dante’s vision of Beatrice; through Bernard’s intervention, Dante learns that Beatrice’s personal meaning for the pilgrim must now give way to her universal significance, which in turn gives way to the higher principles embodied by the Virgin. Bernard’s function as mentor is then amplified in Paradiso 32 and 33 by his role as Dante’s spokesman. It is here that his eloquence comes into play, which Dante underscores by naming him “orator” (Par. 33.41). Botterill concludes that at the heart of the Bernard episode is the idea of a “truly sacred eloquence … that functions not only as a defining characteristic of certain individuals within the Commedia, but as an exemplary principle for both poet and reader in the life of the world.” [JL]
Brunori Deigan, Federica, and Elisa Liberatori Prati. “‘L’emme del vocabol quinto’: Allegory of Language, History, and Literature in Dante’s Paradiso 18.” In Quaderni d’italianistica, 19, No. 1 (primavera, 1998), 7-26.
This article constitutes a reading of the second half of Paradiso 18 (vv. 70-117). The authors utilize contemporary linguistic theory to help explicate the complex allegory of that passage. Dante, the authors note, adapts Saint Augustine’s theories of language (Confessiones 4.10) to celebrate human language and the literary tradition. Augustine notes that audible linguistic signs are temporal in that they follow one after another chronologically. Written signs, conversely, appear simultaneously. However, Dante subverts the immediacy of written signs by having the letters of “diligite justitiam” arise and then fall away before the next appears. Moreover, the “M” which transforms into the polysemous symbol of the eagle continues Dante’s play with the temporal and atemporal nature of language. It accommodates both the notion of divine justice (eternal) and historical justice (temporal). [FA]
Bryan, Richard Alan. “Unity and the ‘Way’: Dante’s Griffin and Chariot.” In Masters Abstracts International, 36, No. 2 (April, 1998), 344. Master’s thesis, California State University, Fresno, 1997, 154 p.
Butler, George F. “Giants and Fallen Angels in Dante and Milton: The Commedia and the Gigantomachy in Paradise Lost.” In Modern Philology, 95, No. 3 (February, 1998), 352-363.
Milton uses the battle between the giants and the pagan gods, recounted in numerous works of classical antiquity, in order to portray Satan and the other fallen angels in Paradise Lost. While critics have noted the numerous classical sources to which Milton’s use of the gigantomachy is indebted, they have ignored Dante’s Commedia, which proves to have exerted a crucial influence over Milton. The classical accounts of the battle between giants and gods is certainly important, but in Dante—whom Milton knew well—the English poet found the story of the giants subjected to Christian recasting; Dante thus compares the giants to the fallen angels and associates them with Satan’s fall. In addition, Milton, again like Dante, eliminates the traditional physical deformities of the giants and makes them anthropomorphic, emphasizing their great size. Finally, each poet uses the giants in order to comment on the political tyrannies of his time. [VSB]
Campbell, Mary Baine. “‘Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita’: The Palpability of Purgatorio.” In Text and Territory: Geographical Imagination in the European Middle Ages, edited by Sylvia Tomasch and Sealy Gilles (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998), pp. 15-28.
The Divine Comedy, especially the Purgatorio, is the only medieval account of travel that fully understands its genre and fully exploits the correspondences between travel, love, and narrative itself. Campbell reads the poem as responding to our need for and identification with medias res, the material and open-ended space and time of “life as we know it” and as generically presented in journey literature. She compares the Commedia to the Other World narratives, Holy Land itineraria, and secular travel narratives. Dante is distinctive in his continual emphasis on the body and landscape. Sleep is the ultimately distinctive feature of a material being in this realm, confirming the continuity of Purgatory with our diurnal world. When climbing to the middle cornice of the mountain, Dante falls asleep and dreams of the Siren, a dream that is both nel mezzo of the journey of the poem about the medium of that middle. The Siren functions as the threat of narrative entropy: she is a phantom of erotic, geographical, and narrative satisfactions—precisely what Dante is desperately fleeing. But it was only a dream—death cannot happen nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita. [LW]
Cachey, Theodore J., Jr. “Between Hermeneutics and Poetics: BinBin’s Dante Revisited.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 167-187.
Examines the mostly unpublished correspondence between Pound and Binyon, especially that of the period 1938-1939 in which Binyon was working on his translation of Purgatorio. Of Pound’s approximately three hundred comments and suggestions regarding formal and hermeneutic aspects of Dante’s poem, Binyon accepted less than twenty percent, most of which had more to do with poetry than interpretation. An analysis of Pound’s interpretive positions reveals his heavy reliance on his knowledge of Cavalcanti. Contains in appendix a letter to Binyon dated July 1939. [MP]
Cachey, Theodore J., Jr. “Dante.” In Critical Survey of Literary Theory, edited by Frank N. Magill (Pasadena, California: Salem Press, 1987), vol. 1, pp. 339-347.
Concise overview of Dante’s life and works.
Cestaro, Gary P. “Dante, Boncompagno da Signa, Eberhard the German, and the Rhetoric of the Maternal Body.” In The Rhetoric Canon, edited by Brenda Deen Schildgen (Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 1997), pp. 175-197.
Cestaro’s essay analyzes attitudes towards grammar and rhetoric—and their relation—as evident in three thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century rhetorical treatises: Boncompagno da Signa’s Rhetorica novissima (1235), Eberhard the German’s Laborintus (after 1218, before 1280), and Dante’s De vulgari eloquentia (ca. 1304). Cestaro argues that all three of these texts communicate a scorn for grammar as infantile and puerile that buttresses their concomitant glorification of rhetoric as adult reason, civic virtue, and poetic invention. He attempts to locate in these texts a generalized cultural phobia of grammar—commonly allegorized in this period as a nursing mother—because of the first art’s proximity to unformed primal chaos, metaphorically construed as the humor-ridden female body. Thus Boncompagno belittles his brief grammatical education at the breasts of Lady Grammar in Florence and emphasizes the necessity of quickly taking from grammar the fundamentals and moving on to the serious business of rhetoric. Eberhard bemoans his sad plight as a grammar master forever awash in milky misery; he eyes the more advanced verbal discipline in desperate envy. Cestaro’s reading of De vulgari schematically recapitulates in this comparative context arguments he presented at greater length in Dante Studies 109 (1991). In his defense of the vernacular, Dante aims to bestow rhetorical privilege on Italian by imagining an idealized version of the mother tongue paradoxically detached from female nursing, akin somehow to the Edenic language of Adam, “man without mother or milk” (vir sine matre, vir sine lacte). Dante’s rhetorical strategies thus suppress the corporeal bases of language in nursing as recalled by grammar. In conclusion, Cestaro believes it is significant that Dante excludes grammar from his definition of poetry in De vulgari II.iv.2, in contrast to his position in Convivio II.xi.9. [GPC]
Cherchi, Paolo. “Pound and The Spirit of Romance.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 47-61.
Examines Pound’s The Spirit of Romance as a reaction to his studies in Romance Philology (specifically Renarts’ seminar on medieval literature) at the University of Pennsylvania. Pound’s chapter on the “alba bilingue” is typical of his approach to literature, not as a philologist but as a poet. His sensitive studies of Ovid, Apuleius, Arnaut Daniel, Bertran de Born and others similarly rely on reading poetry as something spontaneous and fresh rather than as a “classic,” or a product of schooling. His chapters on Italian poets of the thirteenth century, however, more properly reflect his reaction to the ideas of the English pre-Raphaelites. His teaching on Dante reflects an appreciation and understanding of poetic mastery and the artful use of language. Pound’s work is “an essay of ‘poetic archaeology’” in that it investigates and explains language as “a transparent expression of an authentic passion.” [MP]
Chiamenti, Massimiliano. “Attorno alla canzone trilingue Aï faux ris finalmente recuperata a Dante.” In Dante Studies, 116 (1998), 189-208.
Investigates the reasons for the reluctance of many scholars to accept Dante’s authorship of the plurilingual poem Aï faux ris. Although the manuscript tradition and the early printed editions speak largely (if not exclusively) in favor of Dante’s authorship, some nineteenth-century editors began to express doubts about it, hiding their cultural xenophobia behind pseudo-philological arguments, which were not based on facts. As a consequence, the “canzone trilingue” was marginalized in and often removed from modern editions of Dante’s Rime. A close analysis of the poem discloses significant Dantean characteristics that have not yet been sufficiently evaluated (with the exception of studies by Furio Brugnolo and Domenico De Robertis). In addition, Chiamenti focuses on Dante’s sojourn with the Malaspina family in Lunigiana, where he would have had occasion to come into contact with transalpine lyrical production, and thus proposes a date of 1306-1308 for the composition of this masterly canzone. [MC]
Christian, Daniel E. “Celestial Cross-Pollination at Work: High School Students Respond to Dante.” In Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, 6, No. 1 (Spring, 1998), 17-31.
In this essay, the memorable phrase, “celestial cross-pollination” (Par. 31:7-9), is clarified and shown to be a provocative springboard for high-school students who are reading the Divine Comedy for the first time. In honor of Dante’s love for the number nine, there are nine diverse examples of student work presented and discussed. [DEC]
Colish, Marcia. “Dante.” In Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 400-1400 (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1997), pp. 214-217.
Short, synthetic overview of Dante’s works in the vernacular.
Cook, Eleanor. Against Coercion: Games Poets Play. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1998. xiv, 318 p.
Two chapters deal in part with Dante. In chapter 8 “The Senses of Eliot’s Salvages” (120-127) Cook discusses Dantean presences and allusions in Eliot’s “East Coker” and “Dry Salvages,” and particularly the play on selva-selvaggia-salute in the latter. In chapter 15 “The Flying Griphos: In Pursuit of Enigma from Aristophanes to Tournesol, with Stops in Carroll, Ariosto, and Dante” (213-219) she suggests that the association between and possible pun on griphus (“riddle”) and gryphus (“griffin”) would have been available to Dante (in Aulus Gellius) and may stand behind the appearance of the enigmatic figure of the griffin (a “personified riddle figure”) in the final cantos of Purgatorio.
Costa, Gustavo. “Il canto XXII dell’Inferno.” In L’Alighieri, 39, n.s. no. 11 (gennaio-giugno, 1998), 47-89.
Provides an in-depth reading of Canto 22 of Inferno, and reacts against those critics who interpret the episode of the Malebranche as purely comic. Rather, Costa argues that the canto is not comic for comedy’s sake, but that it fits in with the overall message of the Commedia. The author examines the symbolism of the various animal metaphors (frogs, dolphins, otters, cats) as well as that of the dominant images of the canto (pitch, Venice). In each of these cases, he demonstrates the appropriateness of Dante’s choices. They all contribute to the sense of corruption and decay which mimics that caused by political bribery. [FA]
Curran, Stuart. “Figuration in Shelley and Dante.” In Dante’s Modern Afterlife: Reception and Response from Blake to Heaney (q. v.), pp. 49-59.
Examines the influence of Dante on Shelley and proposes that “Shelley ... was the best, because the deepest, reader of Dante among major English poets.” Examples drawn from Shelley’s Defence of Poetry and Prometheus Unbound.
Dante e Pound. Edited by Maria Luisa Ardizzone. Ravenna: Longo, 1998. 245 p. (Interventi Classensi, 17)
The volume contains the presentations delivered at the international symposium on the topic of Dante and Pound that was held in Ravenna in September, 1995. The conference was organized by the Opera di Dante and the Biblioteca Classense in conjunction with the Department of Italian at New York University. Fourteen of these essays are by American-based scholars (in alphabetical order)—Maria Luisa Ardizzone, Theodore J. Cachey, Jr., Paolo Cherchi, Reed Way Dasenbrock, Mary de Rachewiltz, Hugh Kenner, A. Walton Litz, Peter J. Makin, Louis L. Martz, Giuseppe Mazzotta, Tim Redman, Stephen Sicari, Leon Surette, and Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos—and these are listed separately in this bibliography under the individual author’s name. Contents: Pier Paolo D’Attorre, Saluto del Sindaco di Ravenna (7-9); Maria Luisa Ardizzone, Introduzione (11-15); Mario Luzi, Prolusione (17-21); Mary de Rachewiltz, “‘Radiando lui cagiona’” (23-34); Hugh Kenner, “Pound and the American Dante” (35-38); A. Walton Litz, “Dante, Pound, Eliot: The Visionary Company” (39-45); Paolo Cherchi, “Pound and The Spirit of Romance” (47-61); Reed Way Dasenbrock, “Saladin, Confucius, and the Status of the Other in Dante and Pound” (63-76); Vanni Scheiwiller, “Il «Dante» di Ezra Pound” (77-85); Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos, “Pound Reading Dante ‘Reading’ Homer: The Survival of the Palingenetic Tradition in Ezra Pound’s The Cantos” (87-100); Louis L. Martz, “Prophetic Voice in Dante and Pound” (101-116); Peter J. Makin, “The Shape of Pound’s Dante” (117-136); Giuseppe Mazzotta, “Pound’s Canto 74 and Dante’s Pisan Canto” (137-145); Stephen Sicari, “In Dante’s Memory: Pound’s Modernist Allegory” (147-157); Tim Redman, “Pound’s Debt to Dante” (159-166); Theodore J. Cachey Jr., “Between Hermeneutics and Poetics: Binbin’s Dante Revisited” (167-187); Leon Surette, “Pound and Eccentric Dante Scholars” (189-204); Maria Luisa Ardizzone, “Pound as Reader of Aristotle and His Medieval Commentators and Dante’s Commedia” (205-228); Documents (229-231); Sommario italiano dei contributi in inglese (233-245).
Dante’s Modern Afterlife: Reception and Response from Blake to Heaney. Edited by Nick Havely. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. xiv, 270 p.
The essays in this volume are all concerned with the various ways in which authors have been influenced by and have responded to Dante’s poem in the period from the eighteenth century to the present. Two of the essays are by American-based scholars—Stuart Curran and William Keach, and these are listed separately in this bibliography under the individual author’s name. Contents: List of Plates (ix); Acknowledgments (x-xi); Notes on the Contributors (xii-xiv); Nick Havely, “Introduction: Dante’s Afterlife: 1321-1997” (1-14); Part I: Pre-Romantic Prologue. 1. John Roe, “Foreseeing and Foreknowing: Dante’s ‘Ugolino’ and the Eton College Ode of Thomas Gray” (17-30); Part II: Romantic Readings. 2. Jeremy Tambling, “Dante and Blake: Allegorizing the Event” (33-48); 3. Stuart Curran, “Figuration in Shelley and Dante” (49-59); 4. William Keach, “The Shelleys and Dante’s Matilda” (60-70); Part III: Victorian Evaluations. 5. Alison Milbank, “Moral Luck in the Second Circle: Dante and the Victorian Fate of Tragedy” (73-89); 6. Ralph Pite, “‘The Perilous Depth of Doubt’: Dante, Plumptre and Victorian Faith” (90-110); Part IV: Modern Revisions. 7. Matthew Reynolds, “Ezra Pound: Quotation and Community” (113-127); 8. Steve Ellis, “Dante and Louis MacNeice: A Sequel to the Commedia” (128-139); 9. Hugh Haughton, “Purgatory Regained? GQQGe and Late Beckett” (140-164); Part V: Echoes in Post-war Italy. 10. Judith Woolf, “Micòl and Beatrice: Echoes of the Vita Nuova in Giorgio Bassani’s Garden of the Finzi-Contini” (167-184); 11. Peter Robinson, “‘Una Fitta di Rimorso’: Dante in Sereni” (185-208); Part VI: Contemporary Directions. 12. Nick Havely, “‘Prosperous People’ and ‘The Real Hell’ in Gloria Naylor’s Linden Hills” (211-222); 13. Mark Balfour, “The Place of the Poet: Dante in Walcott’s Narrative Poetry” (223-241); 14. Bernard O’Donoghue, “Dante’s Versatility and Seamus Heaney’s Modernism” (242-257); Part VII: ‘The deep and savage path’. 15. Seamus Heaney, “Translation of Inferno, Canto 2” (261-264); Index (267-270).
Dasenbrock, Reed Way. “Saladin, Confucius, and the Status of the Other in Dante and Pound.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 63-76.
Considers the writings of Dante and Pound in the light of “the new thematics,” roughly comparable to the culturally oriented exegetic ideologies that have blossomed after formalism. Because Dante and Pound widely employ allusions to what could be termed the accepted canon, they are very difficult authors to teach to the students of today who often see them as opposed to non-Western cultures and values. Concludes by sketching “a case for Dante and Pound studies in the present critical climate.” [MP]
de Rachewiltz, Mary. “‘Radiando lui cagiona’.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 23-34.
Considers Pound’s radio broadcasts, of which more than three hundred are extant, as acts of free speech that reflect the values of the American Constitution. Analyzes Pound’s use of Dante as springboards towards ethical discourses ranging from the equitable distribution of goods to the condemnation of violence and usury. Like Dante in the Vita Nuova, she explains, Pound holds fast to the youthful promise not to speak of lofty things until his language is perfected. And like the author of the Comedy, Pound freely engaged in invective when offended by what he considered to be social wrongs. Contains in appendix the transcription of Pound’s 1943 /spasmission entitled “Civilization.” [MP]
D’Andrea, Antonio, and Pamela D. Stewart. “Ritratto e autoritratto di un critico: Dante Della Terza.” In Studies for Dante. . . (q.v.), pp. 1-17.
In the general discussion of Della Terza’s critical writings many references are made to his work on Dante and the Divine Comedy.
Dumol, Paul Arvisu. The Metaphysics of Reading Underlying Dante’s “Commedia”: The “Ingegno.” New York: Peter Lang, 1998. xvi, 239 p. (Studies in the Humanities: Literature-Pol-Fals-Society, 35)
Studies the use of the term ingegno in the Commedia, beginning with the passage in Paradiso 4 (vv. 40-42) and its implications for the poem as a whole. The exploration of Dante’s concept of ingegno includes an analysis of all the occurrences of this word and its correlative verbal form ingegnare in the poem. Ingegno is held to be a mental faculty, and this concept is examined in relation to the imagination, memory, and intellect. Dumol also investigates Dante’s sources for the concept of ingegno in Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, and Siger of Brabant. Contents: Preface (ix-xv); List of Abbreviations (xvi); 1. Introduction: Paradiso 4.40-42 (1-13); 2. The Uses of “Ingegno” and “Ingegnare” (15-44); 3. The Ingegno as Mental Faculty (45-73); 4. The Ingegno and Other Mental Faculties (75-94); 5. The Sources of the Concept (95-12rica6. Dante’s Adoption of the Concept (125-169); 7. Dante’s Choice of the Term “Ingegno” (171-175); 8. Paradiso 4.40-42 Revisited (177-195); Notes (197-227); Sources Consulted (229-234); Index (235-239).
Esposito, Vittoriano. “Rilettura delle canzoni patriottiche: All’Italia e Sopra il monumento di Dante.” In Rivista di studi italiani, 16, No. 2 (dicembre, 1998), 234-242.
Argues for a re-evaluation of Leopardi’s civil-patriotic canzoni, including “Sopra un monumento di Dante che si preparava in Firenze,” by taking into account the historical moment and the young poet’s political state of mind. Together with “All’Italia,” “Sopra un monumento di Dante” bears witness to Leopardi’s anguish for the oppressed political condition of Italy in 1818. The twelve stanzas of the poem, according to the author, reverberate “with the same civil passion expressed by Dante in the political cantos of his Commedia” (239). [GPR]
Fraser, Jennifer Margaret. “Writes of Passage: Dante, Joyce and the Dynamics of Literary Initiation.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, No. 6 (December, 1998), 2008. Doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto, 1997, 219 p.
“Purgatory XXV is the pivot around which this comparative study of Dante and Joyce revolves. With the exception of doctrinal studies, this canto has mostly been ignored; yet, it is central to the Divine Comedy. Statius tells Virgil and the pilgrim about the development of the embryo up until the moment when a joyful Creator breathes in a self-reflecting soul and, in that moment, the embryo transforms into a fante, a speaker. In the preceding canto, the Dantean pilgrim recounts that when he senses the spira of Amor, he takes note and records it as poetry. Juxtaposed in the narrative, the divine spira of the embryo canto, and the divine spira inspiring poetics, together establish the essential contribution Purgatorio XXV makes to the poetics of the Commedia. Through close textual analysis, the ... study demonstrates that Dante’s definition of his poetic practice focuses attention on the embryo canto. Dante has constructed his poem so that the final canto—when he encounters God—is superimposed upon the embryo canto where he first encountered God. Thus, the Divine Comedy is a write of passage: the symbolic death at the poem’s conclusion corresponds with the return to the womb of Purgatorio XXV.”
Freccero, John. Dante’s Cosmos. Binghamton: Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and State University of New York at Binghamton, 1998. 18 p. (Bernardo Lecture Series, 6)
”In this intricate but highly readable account of Dante’s cosmology, Freccero notes that the Paradiso may be considered a medieval version of science fiction. However, whereas modern writers of science fiction tend to select a theme that will best illustrate a particular scientific theory, Freccero argues that ‘Dante chooses his science to fit his theme.’ While Dante incorporates many elements from ancient and medieval cosmology, his theological beliefs and narrative goals ultimately determine his structuring of the universe. Freccero elucidates these particular beliefs and goals as he demonstrates their relevance to the geometry of Dante’s cosmos. In addition, Freccero explores the notion that Dante’s conception of a finite but boundless universe anticipates modern theories of the cosmos.”
Freccero, John. “Moon Shadows: Paradiso III.” In Studies for Dante. . . (q.v.), pp. 89-101.
Examines the simile in Paradiso 3 (“Quali per vetri trasparenti...,” vv. 10-15) that presents “the optical phenomena of transparency and reflection” and that, in turn, “seems to hint at the implications of these phenomena for poetic theory.” The problem Dante “faces in Paradiso is...to represent the impossibility of representation, to give some hint of his subject matter by exposing the inadequacy of his medium.” Freccero also investigates the recurrence of this simile in later poets—Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, William Wordsworth, and John Donne.
Gaston, Robert W. “The Renaissance Artist as Dantista: A Reassessment.” In Lectura Dantis, 22-23 (Spring-Fall, 1998), 5-44.
Treats the relationship of artists to Dante to probe the competitive interaction between art and text in the Cinquecento. Argues that literary scholars made disingenuous use of the “sister arts” trope to assert hegemony over visual production, although the writings of artists themselves occasionally challenge this hierarchy. Michelangelo, however, is uniquely permitted to transcend the customary boundaries of scholarly disciplines and, as an acknowledged polymath, is celebrated in Dantean terms. The decorations at his funeral, for example, recall Dante’s Commedia; in one picture, Michelangelo stands in the Elysian Fields surrounded by the bella scola of great classical and Italian artists. A Florentine, a groundbreaking artist, and an admirer of Dante’s poetry, Michelangelo is seen as the culmination of the Florentine renaissance-of-the-arts story begun by Dante. Gaston suggests that “in perfecting this Trecento teleology, however, the Cinquecento scholars clearly extended the sister arts trope beyond its traditional, and perhaps reasonable, limits, through their appropriation and adulation of Michelangelo’s poetry.” [JL]
Grant, Michael R. “Re-writing the Self in the French Middle Ages: Dreams, Memories, and Other Visions.” Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, No. 2 (August, 1998), 506. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1997, 256 p.
Contains a section that discusses the Divine Comedy and the Roman de la Rose “as models of re-visioning the self in the framework of thirteenth-century vernacular allegory.”
Hemment, Michael J. “Dante.com: A Critical Guide to Dante Resources on the Internet.” In Dante Studies, 116 (1998), 127-140.
Provides an overview of and brief commentary on several web sites dedicated to the study of Dante.
Hollander, Robert. “Dante as Uzzah? (Purg. X 57, and Ep. XI 9-12).” In Sotto il segno di Dante. Scritti in onore di Francesco Mazzoni (q.v.), pp. 143-151.
Analyzes portions of three Dantean texts—Paradiso 5, Purgatorio 10, and Epistle XI—in terms of the poet’s “complex art of allusion, which allows him a proper moral role as scriba Dei even as it allows us to consider the evident fact that he has no business in arrogating unto himself so great a role—and then to conclude that he has only justly done so” (151). In Paradiso 5 Dante performs the role of scriba Beatricis, as it is Beatrice’s long opening speech that lends credence to the poet’s salvific claims. From Purgatorio 10 emerges an identification between Dante and King David—whose humility is exalted—and, less directly, between Dante and Uzzah, whose presumption is punished. Based on Epistle XI, Hollander concludes from this latter identification—now more overt—that “Dante may not be an Uzzah who tries to steady the Ark, but he is an Uzzah who tries to set right the oxen, the Cardinals of Italy” (150). [GPR]
Iannucci, Amilcare A. “Dante’s Intertextual and Intratextual Strategies in the Commedia: The Limbo of the Children.” In Studies for Dante. . . (q.v.), pp. 61-87. Examines the various sources —Augustine, Bonaventure, Aquinas—that influenced Dante’s unorthodox conception and shaping of Limbo and, in particular, his views on the fate of unbaptized children. Dante effects a “tranference of Bonaventure’s treatment of the fate of the children in Limbo to the virtuous pagans” (i.e., “eternal loss of the beatific vision and a corresponding knowledge of that loss”), and Iannucci highlights this and other pertinent inter- and intratextual links in support of his argument.
Iannucci, Amilcare A. “From Dante’s Inferno to Dante’s Peak: The Influence of Dante on Film.” In Forum Italicum, 32, No. 1 (Spring, 1998), 5-35.
Viewing the Commedia as a “producerly text” because of its concomitant broad accessibility and challenging generation of meaning, Iannucci charts the influence of the poem on films from the silent era to the present. In the silent period, filmmakers used Dante’s reputation—famous episodes (e.g., Francesca and Paolo, Ugolino), an entire canticle, or the poet’s own life—to legitimize the new medium. In the second cinematic period, from the mid-1920s to World War II and its aftermath, Dante’s poem was more often used in sound movies as a frame for scripts set in the modern era with an overt moral message (e.g., the evils of unbridled capitalism in Harry Lachman’s Dante’s Inferno of 1935). The author focuses attention in the third period, post-World War II to the present, on the “holistic” cinematic engagements of major filmmakers with Dante’s poetry. He analyzes Dante’s presence in, inter alia, Rossellini’s Stromboli; Fellini’s La dolce vita and Otto e mezzo; Pasolini’s Accattone, Mamma Roma, and Salò; Peter Greenaway’s and Raul Ruiz’s contributions to A TV Dante; and David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. [GPR]
Iannucci, Amilcare A. “Il limbo dei bambini.” In Sotto il segno di Dante. Scritti in onore di Francesco Mazzoni (q.v.), pp. 153-164.
Views Dante’s conception and representation of Limbo as illustrative of three fundamental aspects of the poet’s work: an intrinsic connection between theology and poetry; the selective use of a multiplicity of theological authorities to achieve poetic goals (dictated in turn by spiritual convictions); and strategies of “trasferimento intertestuale” and “differimento intratestuale.” In the case of Limbo, the primary concern of Inferno 4 whose complete representation is “deferred” until Paradiso 32, Dante chooses and fuses several theological sources—together with details from Virgil’s Aeneid—to create a version of the concept suited to his poetic purposes. This version, Iannucci argues, is original in three ways: as a single place—rather than two separate Limbos—to accommodate souls of both infants and adults; in terms of its topography and collocation—as the first circle—in relation to the rest of the underworld; and, most radically, in its application of theological doctrine—intended to explain the state of unbaptized infants—to the spiritual state of virtuous pagan adults. [GPR]
Jewell, Alice Karnes. “From Homer to Milton: A Study of Invocations in Epic Poetry.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, No. 6 (December, 1998), 2009. Doctoral dissertation, University of Arkansas, 1998, 207 p.
“The invocation to the Muse was a standard feature of many epic poems of the ancient world, and it was used both by Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey and by Virgil in the Aeneid. Because of the powerful authority of these two poets in later ages, the invocation to the Muse was carried over into the Christian Age by many poets who wanted to share in the classical epic tradition. The controversy raised by this practice raged throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance among the poets and critics. In the Middle Ages, the poet of The Song of Roland chose not to use the invocation at all and castigates Apollo throughout his poem. But Dante, who uses more invocations than any other poet in this study, chooses the pagan Virgil as the guide for his pilgrim in The Divine Comedy and proudly invokes the Muses and Apollo as well as numerous Christian figures.”
Jewiss, Virginia. “Monstrous Movements and Metaphors in Dante’s Divine Comedy.” In Forum Italicum, 32, No. 2 (Fall, 1998), 332-346.
This study raises the question of the existence and nature of monsters in medieval literature. Jewiss determines that Hell represents the locus par excellence in which to find monsters. Indeed, she argues, Hell is frequently anthropomorphized into a type of monster which devours the sinners consigned there. However, the author focuses on four particular beings within the Inferno in order to examine the various ways in which Dante describes the monstrous. Each of these, she notes, is described as if in motion, as if the viewer observes the process of change, thereby denying a stable, fixed existence to any of them. The first of these is the centaur, Nessus, whom Dante portrays by stressing his dual nature, half horse and half man. The second is the symbol of fraud, Geryon, who is composed of three different beings. Dante describes this creature through several different metaphors which compare him to a swimmer, a boat, an eel, a falcon, an arrow and a beaver. The cumulative effect of these comparisons negate Geryon’s fixed identity, as if he were in a constant state of metamorphosis. The third monster is the giant Antaeus, the product of angels copulating with human beings. The last is Lucifer himself whom, like the other giants, Dante seemingly confuses with architectural structures. In conclusion, the author notes that all the monsters in hell are useful to the Pilgrim, and stresses that while humans might find them frightful, they all serve a purpose in God’s order. [FA]
Keach, William. “The Shelleys and Dante’s Matilda.” In Dante’s Modern Afterlife: Reception and Response from Blake to Heaney (q. v.), pp. 60-70.
Examines “the extraordinary intertextual moment that has, as its principal points of reference, Dante’s episode of Matilda (Matelda) gathering flowers in Canto 28 of the Purgatorio, Percy Shelley’s unfinished translation of Dante’s episode, and Mary Shelley’s unpublished novella Mathilda.”
Kay, Richard. Councils and Clerical Culture in the Medieval West. Aldershot, Great Britain, and Brookfield, Vermont: Variorum, 1997. (Collected Studies, 571)
Of the nineteen essays reprinted in this volume three are concerned with Dante’s Monarchia: “The Mentalité of Dante’s Monarchia” (in Res Publica Litterarum 9 ; see Dante Studies, 105 , 151-152); “The Intended Readers of Dante’s Monarchia” (in Dante Studies, 110 ; see Dante Studies, 111 , 281); “Roman Law in Dante’s Monarchia” (in Law in Mediaeval Life and Thought, edited by Edward B. King and Susan J. Ridyard; Sewanee, Tennessee: The Press of the University of the South, 1990; Sewanee Mediaeval Studies, 5).
Kelly, Henry Ansgar. Chaucerian Tragedy. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1997.xi, 297 p. (Chaucer Studies, XXIV)
Contains a number of scattered references to Dante.
Kenner, Hugh. “Pound and the American Dante.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 35-38.
Pound was influenced like many in the English-speaking world by an early exposure to the Comedy flanked by a crib translation. The inspiration of Dante’s works became in Pound a desire to write a “long poem.” This he accomplished in The Cantos, whose very title reflects his indebtedness to Dante. Though not a real epic, Pound’s work was designed “to register what has mattered to human experience since Dante’s time.” In it, many traces of the model may be found including precisely hewn similes, a knowledge-seeking Ulysses and an insistence on the use of spoken, rather than erudite, language. [MP]
Kensak, Michael Alan. “Dante, Alain De Lille, and the Ending of the Canterbury Tales.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, No. 3 (September, 1998), 817. Doctoral dissertation, Vanderbilt University, 1998, 202 p.
“In the Manciple’s Prologue and Tale, Chaucer parodies the spiritual approach to God which concludes a proper pilgrimage. As they enter heaven, Phronesis and Dante endure mystical experiences born of reverent contemplation and mortal incapacity. From Alain’s and Dante’s pilgrimages Chaucer gathers the topoi of his Tales’ penultimate fragment: the ... lethargy of human limitation, the inadequacy of language, the impotence of Apollo, and man’s awestruck silence before an ineffable Deity.”
Kirkham, Victoria. “Dante’s Phantom, Petrarch’s Specter: Bronzino’s Portrait of the Poet Laura Battiferra.” In Lectura Dantis, 22-23 (Spring-Fall, 1998), 63-139.
In 1560 the poeriedura Battiferra, the wife of the sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati, published her first book of poetry, a collection that included her poetic correspondence with Italian luminaries such as Bronzino. Around the same time, according to Kirkham’s dating, Bronzino executed a portrait of his friend Battiferra, in striking profile, holding a manuscript copy of a book opened to two of Petrarch’s sonnets. Kirkham decodes the key elements of the portrait with the help of extensive literary, visual, and archival evidence. According to Kirkham, Petrarch’s poems speak to Battiferra’s personal similarities to Petrarch’s own idealized Laura, proclaim her poetic petrarchismo, and contribute to the ongoing debates over ideal literary models by asserting Petrarch’s primacy. Bronzino’s choice to paint Battiferra in profile, a pose reserved for royalty and the dead in the mid-Cinquecento, and the sitter’s conspicuous aquiline nose, allow the painter to identify Battiferra with Dante as well, as his notable profile was already iconic in the visual arts. Bronzino thus situates Battiferra in the most illustrious tradition of Italian literature, among Petrarch and Dante. Finally, the anachronistic manuscript copy of Petrarch’s poem was likely Battiferra’s own commonplace book—Kirkham demonstrates the similarity between the handwriting in the portrait and Battiferra’s own handwriting as preserved in autograph letters. [JL]
Kleinhenz, Christopher. “American Dante Bibliography for 1997.” In Dante Studies, 116 (1998), 209-262.
With brief analyses.
Kleinhenz, Christopher. “Michele Barbi (1867-1941).” In Medieval Scholarship: Biographical Studies on the Formation of a Discipline, vol. 2: Literature and Philology, edited by Helen Damico (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), pp. 325-338.
Overview of the life and scholarly achievements of Michele Barbi, with special emphasis on his contributions to Dante criticism and philology.
Kleinhenz, Christopher. “The Visual Tradition of Inferno 7: The Relationship of Plutus and Fortune.” In Lectura Dantis, 22-23 (Spring-Fall, 1998), 247-278.
Examines the tradition of artistic representation of Canto 7 of the Inferno, particularly with regard to the depiction of the contrapasso, Plutus, the Archangel Michael, and the Goddess Fortune. Suggests thematic and iconographic links among the presentations of Plutus and Fortune in this canto, which are detailed in the late-sixteenth-century series of drawings by Jean Cousin le jeune, Le Livre de Fortune.
Land, Norman E. “Dante, Vasari and Michelangelo’s Pietà in Rome.” In Lectura Dantis, 22-23 (Spring-Fall, 1998), 181-198.
Draws attention to the sophistication and subtlety of Vasari’s criticism, focusing particularly on Vasari’s masterful account of the complex qualities of Michelangelo’s early Pietà in St. Peter’s. For example, by relating anecdotes that link Michelangelo to Apelles as he appears in Pliny, Vasari suggests that Michelangelo’s talent rivals that of the ancients. By pointing to the difference between Mary’s youthful appearance and her son’s limp lifeless body, Vasari demonstrates an acute awareness of the spiritual significance of the physical forms. And by evoking Dante’s assessment of the sculptures on the terrace of pride—“morti li morti e i vivi parean vivi”—, Vasari reveals his understanding that “naturalism” serves as a means to a spirscril end. Land concludes that Vasari’s criticism represents, in fact, spiritual writing, in much the same way that Dante’s poetry represents poetic theology. [JL]
La Porta, Cristina. “History and the Poetic Vocation in Sopra un monumento di Dante.” In Rivista di studi italiani, 16, No. 2 (dicembre, 1998), 359-375.
A textual and literary-historical interpretation of Leopardi’s poem written in response to the 1818 proposal to erect a monument to Dante in Florence. The author discusses “Sopra un monumento di Dante” in relation to a tradition of patriotic Italian writing extending from Dante and Petrarch to Alfieri and Foscolo. Viewing Leopardi’s patriotic spirit as “more literary than political” (361), La Porta identifies “cultural memory” as Leopardi’s way of exhorting Italy to a better future based on an illustrious past embodied by the Dantean virtues of “literary excellence, political courage, and the championship of the Italian language” (360). In “Sopra un monumento” Leopardi adopts the Petrarchan family metaphor of Italy as mother (widow), fellow Italians as sons, and Dante as “the poet’s literary father, the creator of the national language” (366). The poem fulfills its epitaphic function by memorializing the Italian soldiers sacrificed by Napoleon in his Russian military campaign. [GPR]
Lectura Dantis: Inferno. A Canto-by-Canto Commentary. Edited by Allen Mandelbaum, Anthony Oldcorn, and Charles Ross. Berkeley-Los Angeles-London: University of California Press, 1998. xii, 461 p.
The California Lectura Dantis series was conceived as the critical complement to Mandelbaum’s three-volume verse translation of the Comedy (see Dante Studies, 101, p. 193-194; 103, p. 140). This much anticipated first volume provides detailed readings of and commentary on the Inferno. Contents: Allen Mandelbaum, “Introduction: Dante in His Age” (1-8); Letterio Cassata, “Canto I: The Hard Begin” (9-24); Robert Hollander, “Canto II: Dante’s Authority” (25-35); Eugenio N. Frongia, “Canto III: The Gate of Hell” (36-49); Manlio Pastore Stocchi, “Canto IV: A Melancholy Elysium” (50-62); Paolo Valesio, “Canto V: The Fierce Dove” (63-83); Maria Picchio Simonelli, “Canto VI: Florence, Ciacco, and the Gluttons” (84-100); Philip R. Berk, “Canto VII: The Weal of Fortune” (101-110); Caron Ann Cioffi, “Canto VIII: Fifth Circle: Wrathful and Sullen” (111-122); Amilcare A. Iannucci, “Canto IX: The Harrowing of Dante from Upper Hell” (123-135); Robert M. Durling, “Canto X: Farinata and Cavalcante” (136-149); Alfred A. Triolo, “Canto XI: Malice and Mad Bestiality” (150-164); Vittorio Russo, “Canto XII: The Violent against Their Neighbors” (165-177); Giorgio Petrocchi, “Canto XIII: The Violent against Themselves” (178-184); John A. Scott, “Canto XIV: Capaneus and the Old Man of Crete” (185-196); Dante Della Terza, “Canto XV: The Canto of Brunetto Latini” (197-212); Susan Noakes, “Canto XVI: From Other Sodomites to Fraud” (213-224); Paolo Cherchi, “Canto XVII: Geryon’s Downward Flight; the Usurers” (225-237); James Nohrnberg, “Canto XVIII: Introduction to Malebolge” (238-261); Charles T. Davis, “Canto XIX: Simoniacs” (262-274); Teodolinda Barolini, “Canto XX: True and False See-ers” (275-286); Steve Ellis, “Canto XXI: Controversial Comedy” (287-296); Giuliana Carugati, “Canto XXII: Poets as Scoundrels” (297-305); Tibor Wlassics, “Canto XXIII: The Painted People” (306-315); Joan M. Ferrante, “Canto XXIV: Thieves and Metamorphoses” (316-327); Anthony Oldcorn, “Canto XXV: The Perverse Image” (328-347); Giuseppe Mazzotta, “Canto XXVI: Ulysses: Persuasion versus Prophecy” (348-356); Jennifer Petrie, “Canto XXVII: False Counselors: Guido da Montefeltro” (357-367); Thomas Peterson, “Canto XXVIII: Scandal and Schism” (368-377); Lino Pertile, “Canto XXIX: Such Outlandish Wounds” (378-391); Robert M. Durling, :Canto XXX: Dante among the Falsifiers” (392-405); Massimo Mandolini Pesaresi, “Canto XXXI: The Giants: Majesty and Terror” (406-412); John Ahern, “Canto XXXII: Amphion and the Poetics of Retaliation” (413-423); Edoardo Sanguineti, “Canto XXXIII: Count Ugolini and Others” (424-431); Remo Ceserani, “Canto XXXIV: Lucifer” (432-439); Bibliographical Note and Suggestions for Further Reading (441-448); Contributors (449-452); Index (453-461).
Levenstein, Jessica Diana. “Reading Dante Reading Ovid: The Poetics of Identity and the Metamorphoses of the Commedia.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, No. 1 (July, 1998), 162. Doctoral Dissertation, Princeton University, 1998, 235 p.
“Throughout his manifestly Christian poem, the Commedia, Danteelliotiates the influence of his pagan predecessor, Ovid. The focus of the dissertation is Dante’s allusions to mythological material drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The thesis attempts to reorient critical discussion by pointing toward moments in which Ovid, functioning as more than a mere foil for the Christian truth of Dante’s poem, offers Dante a compelling model that informs much of the artistic self-consciousness of the Commedia. [The author] contend[s] that references to Ovid’s poem provide Dante with an arena for grappling with the role of the artist and investigating both the damning and redemptive possibilities of art. The presence of Ovidian figures in Dante’s Commedia allows the poet to consider issues of identity and personal and artistic transformation.” Individual figures considered include Daedalus and Icarus, Procne and Philomela, Io, and the Pierides and Marsyas.
Liberatori Prati, Elisa (Joint author). See Brunori Deigan, Federica, “‘L’emme del vocabol quinto’...”
Lieberman, Hilary. “Art and Power(lessness): Ekphrasis in Campanella’s The City of the Sun, Virgil’s Aeneid, and Dante’s Purgatory X.” In RLA: Romance Languages Annual 1997, 9 (1998), 224-231.
Tommaso Campanella’s The City of the Sun ostensibly describes a utopian society; a close examination, however, of its use of ekphrasis—in comparison with ekphrastic texts of Virgil and Dante—reveal that the work “is perhaps instead an authoritarian and oppressive dystopia” (224). In The Aeneid, the descriptions of visual art contained in books one and eight are described through the eyes of Aeneas, as reporting his individual perceptions. Aeneas’ reactions to the works on Dido’s temple in book one and on his shield in book eight are progressive, charting the changes he undergoes in the course of becoming a hero worthy of Rome. Likewise, in Purgatorio 10, the sculptures Dante describes are seen through the eyes of the protagonist, and at a key moment Dante breaks away from Virgil to approach one of the sculptures, thus showing how, as he progresses up the mountain, he moves beyond Virgil’s guidance. In the City of the Sun, however, the ekphrasis is presented in the passive voice, not allowing the artwork to be perceived by any individual within the city, creating the image of a city where individual interpretation and freedom is forbidden. [VSB]
Litz, A. Walton. “Dante, Pound, Eliot: The Visionary Company.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 39-45.
Explores the influence of Dante on Pound and Eliot as conditioned by their “quite different educational surroundings.” Eliot belonged to the Harvard school, shaped by Norton, Grandgent and Santayana. He adhered early on to the ironic style of Jules Laforgue and later passed into a more introspective stage distinguished by repeated allusions to characters of the Comedy such as Arnaut Daniel and Guido da Montefeltro, a technique that culminates in his Dantesque passage in Little Gidding. Pound’s initial exposure to Dante was less structured and his reaction more impersonal. He used Dante to measure his own poetic progress as well as that of his contemporaries. Pound was greatly concerned with Dantean notions of “vision” (as was Eliot) which he enthusiastically discussed with Binyon as the latter was translating the Inferno. [MP]
Luzzi, Joseph. “Literary History and Individuality in the De vulgari eloquentia.” In Dante Studies, 116 (1998), 161-188.
This essay considers the relationship between literary-historical reflection and autobiographical representation in Dante’s work, particularly the De vulgari eloquentia. The argument first contends that Dante uses literary history in De vulgari eloquentia as a means for understanding his own individuality and the historical and cultural dimensions of his vocation as poet. The author then explores how this abiding tension between literary history and autobiography in De vulgari eloquentia—and to a lesser extent the Vita Nuova—informs Dante’s discussions of his own early poetry in Purgatorio 24 and the encounter between the Pilgrim and Beatrice in Purgatorio 30-31. In highlighting the great extent to which Dante’s interpretation of the history of vernacular literary culture influences his spiritual ascent and self-representation in the Commedia, this study emphasizes the De vulgari eloquentia’s contribution to our understanding of how awareness of the literary past can condition knowledge of the self. [JL]
Luzzi, Joseph. “The Task of the Translator Revisited: An Interview with Robert Pinsky.” In Yale Italian Poetry, 2, No. 2 (Fall, 1998), 95-105.
In addition to his interview with the poet laureate, Luzzi’s essay includes an examination of the Dantean influence on Pinsky’s poem, “The Ice Storm” (in The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 [New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996]).
Makin, Peter J. “The Shape of Pound’s Dante.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 117-136.
Pound’s ideas on poetic form are investigated as reflections of his familiarity with and affinity for certain fundamental structural patterns in literature. The author takes as a point of departure Pound’s summary of the Paradiso in The Spirit of Romance and considers it as a series of “image-pictures” to be analyzed as “ideograms.” The meaning implicit in the juxtaposition of specific recounted episodes or poetic elements in the third canticle is “unraveled” through the “ideogrammic” theories that Pound advanced in his studies of Chinese characters. [MP]
Marchesi, Simone. “The ‘Knot of Language’: Sermocinatio and Contrapasso for the Rhetoricians in Dante’s Inferno.” In RLA: Romance Languages Annual 1997, 9 (1998), 254-259.
Studies the episode of Pier de la Vigna (Inferno 13) to explore Dante’s complex attitude towards rhetoric. Saint Augustine notes that there are two goals to rhetoric: perfection in eloquence and persuasion toward virtue. In Canto 13, the author uses highly ornate language which not only mimics Pier de la Vigna’s poetic style; it also conveys a moral judgment of rhetoric which is devoid of Augustine’s second attribute. Marchesi also examines several passages in this episode to illustrate that the condemned poet, the rhetorician who deceived himself with tortuous reasoning, constitutes both the source of the knotty imagery of the wood of the suicides and the convoluted syntax of the poetry of the Divine Comedy. [FA]
Martinez, Ronald. “Mourning Beatrice: The Rhetoric of Threnody in the Vita Nuova.” In Modern Language Notes, 113, No. 1 (January, 1998), 1-29.
Studies the intertextualities between the Vita Nuova and the book of Lamentations. The book of Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchednezzar in 586 B.C.E. While the laments are primarily public, grieving the loss of the Holy City, they also express the private mourning for’s ng Josiah, killed several years earlier in a war against the Egyptians. Medieval commentators related the book of Lamentations to the Song of Solomon. The former details the weeping that occurs in this life, while the latter expresses the rejoicing which will take place in the next. The relationship of the sacred text to the Vita Nuova is complex. There are numerous references to that work in the Vita Nuova as well as, of course, a direct citation to mark Beatrice’s death. Like Jerusalem, Florence is “widowed” by the death of Beatrice, and in this way, Dante emulates the prophet by linking his private sorrow with a public lamentation. Furthermore, like Jeremiah, Dante positions his text in relationship to the Song of Solomon; he describes writing a sirventese of the sixty most beautiful women of Florence, which recalls the Hebrew king’s assertion that one woman represents the favorite of his sixty wives. Most importantly, Dante positions Beatrice as the sponsa whose death leaves Florence as a vidua; she will reappear in Purgatorio 30:11, as a sponsa, in line with the medieval interpretation of the Song of Songs as portraying the rejoicing in the next world. [FA]
Martz, Louis L. “Prophetic Voice in Dante and Pound.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 101-116.
Highlights Pound’s interest in the prophets of the Old Testament then follows a technique of “oscillating prophecy” (stylistic alternation between prophetic and epic language) from Dante (cf. Nardi) to Pound, who in The Cantos intends to “redeem America from its provincial and materialistic condition.” Among these comparable techniques are harsh tones, repetition and the enthusiasm of one who is on a personal mission. Several passages of The Cantos are examined in the light of stylistically analogous episodes and invectives in the Comedy. [MP]
Masciandaro, Franco. La conoscenza viva: Letture fenomenologiche da Dante a Machiavelli. Ravenna: Longo, 1998. 129 p. (Memoria del tempo, 12)
Four chapters in the book are concerned with Dante: “Annotazioni sull’immagine del punto nella Divina Commedia” (27-43) (see Dante Studies, 96 , 228); “La corda di Gerione e la cintura-serpente della dialettica” (45-54) (see Dante Studies, 99 , 204); “Purgatorio XXIII: la nostalgia dell’Eden e il potere della parola” (55-65) (see Dante Studies, 112 , 310); and “Paradiso XXIII, il canto della bellezza: note sulla drammaturgia dantesca” (67-87) (see Dante Studies, 114 , 321).
Mazzotta, Giuseppe. “Pound’s Canto 74 and Dante’s Pisan Canto.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 137-145.
Opens with a consideration of Pound’s Pisan Cantos (74-84 of The Cantos) in the light of Inferno 33. In these cantos, structured around the motif of betrayal, Pound attacks America’s desire to modernize, which is distinguished by an excessive preoccupation with freedom and usury. This attack can be characterized by increased emphasis on classical, rather than modern, notions. Examples brought into the discussion range from Dante and Cavalcanti to Scotus Erigena and Richard of St Victor. [MP]
Meegan, William John. The Conquest of Genesis: A Study in Universal Creation Mathematics. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1998. xvii, 174 p.
Argues that “Dante obtained his basic pattern from the first eleven chapters of Genesis.” Contents: Preface; General Introduction; Introduction; 1. A Mathematical Philosophy Used to Organize Works of Art and Literature; 2. Dante Alighieri’s Application of Universal Creation Mathematics to Organize La Divina Commedia; 3. The Judeao-Christian Scriptures and Dante Alighieri’s La Divina Commedia Challenge “The Documentary Hypothesis”; 4. Conclusion; Appendix; Addendum; Bibliography; Index.
Morrison, Molly. “Dante and Dionysius: The Articulation of the Heavenly Vision of Canto 28 of the Paradiso.” In Cincinnati Romance Review, 17 (1998), 86-92.
Examines the reasons behind Dante’s preference for Dionysius’s ordering of the angels, as opposed to that of Gregory the Great, in Paradiso 28, and suggests that “Dante expands the whole concept of proper ordering and ‘hierarchy’ in the canto not only by discussing the angelic hierarchies, but also by constructing a ‘hierarchy’ of theologians.”
Mozzillo-Howell, Elizabeth Marilyn. “Dante’s Art of Reason: A Study of Medieval Logic and Semantics in the Monarchy.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, No. 5 (November, 1998), 1566. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, 1998, 269 p.
“[E]xamines Dante’s use of logic in his political treatise, the Monarchy. The thesis presents the formal elements of medieval logic and semantics, as well as historical and theoretical background, as it pertains to Dante’s usage. ... Chapter 1 discusses Book I, observing that Dante’s text stems from a dialectical tradition. ... Chapter 2 treats Book II, placing it within the context of the theories on consequential inference (1300-1325). To do so, propositional logic is introduced and Augustine’s use of conditional propositions is given as an example.... Chapter 3 examines Book III and Dante’s familiarity with Aristotelian fallacies as presented in the Tractatus and medieval textbooks.”
Musgrove, Margaret Worsham. “Cyclopean Latin: Intertextual Readings in Dante’s Eclogues and Góngora’s Polifemo y Galatea.” In Classical and Modern Literature, 18, No. 2 (Winter, 1998), 125-136.
Places Dante’s and Góngora’s use of classical Latin versions of the Polyphemus story in the tradition of debates over genre, levels of poetic diction, and language. Musgrove proposes that the Cyclops of Dante’s second Eclogue—based primarily on the Achaemenides episode recounted in Aeneid 3 and Metamorphoses 14—“stands for traditionally violent heroic epic” (131), the epic of war and kingly deeds that the Italian poet eschews for his vernacular epic. Conversely, the Polyphemus of the baroque Spanish poem “carries the ambiguous Ovidian baggage” of Metamorphoses 13 (136), thus combining the Homeric (epic) and Theocritean (pastoral) versions of the Cyclops. Both poets “find ways to continue the classical dialogue over the value of various genres, while making a modern statement about their own langatius” (136). [GPR]
Nelson, Lowry. “Erich Auerbach (1892-1957).” In Medieval Scholarship: Biographical Studies on the Formation of a Discipline, vol. 2: Literature and Philology, edited by Helen Damico (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), pp. 395-403.
Overview of the life and scholarly achievements of Erich Auerbach, with special emphasis on his Dante criticism.
Nohrnberg, James. “Allegory Deveiled: A New Theory for Construing Allegory’s Two Bodies.” In Modern Philology, 96, No. 2 (November, 1998), 188-207.
This study is a “review article” of Gordon Teskey’s book, Allegory and Violence (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1996). The book argues that allegory constitutes a violent imposition of orderly meaning on a fundamentally chaotic reality, and Nohrnberg charts the varied details, some of which come from Dante, that Teskey employs in order to make his case. Teskey’s treatment of Dante concentrates on Inferno 5, where he objects to Dante’s turning of Francesca da Rimini into an allegorical emblem of vice rather than treating her as a living, individual woman, resistant to totalizing interpretations of her life. “In the Inferno,” however, “the characters are not so much punished for their sins as by them. Francesca lived a life of allegory as much by choice as by chance” (192). [VSB]
Parker, Deborah. “Il libro come forma espressiva: La stampa della Commedia nel Rinascimento.” In Studies for Dante. . . (q.v.), pp. 135-143.
Examines “how the way in which the Comedy was published during the Renaissance influenced its interpretation and diffusion” and limits her “discussion to those editions printed between 1472 and 1502.”
Parker, Deborah. “Vasari’s Portrait of Six Tuscan Poets: A Visible Literary History.” In Lectura Dantis, 22-23 (Spring-Fall, 1998), 45-62.
Interprets the visual clues in Vasari’s Portrait of Six Tuscan Poets, commissioned by Luca Martini in 1543, to uncover the literary and cultural issues at play in the painting. “In the choice of sitters and their arrangement, Vasari and his patron collaborated upon an invenzione which offers a remarkably sophisticated and self-conscious account of literary preeminence and genealogy.” Dante is notably placed in the foreground of the painting and is the only seated figure. His placement, his gestures, the objects before him, and his physical relationship to the other figures in the painting—Petrarch, Boccaccio, Guido Cavalcanti, Cino da Pistoia and Guittone d’Arezzo—all testify to Dante’s importance to Martini and his circle. Moreover, his evident preeminence over Petrarch refutes Bembo’s contemporary assessment of Dante’s inferiority to the later poet and thus constitutes an intervention in the Cinquecento debate over literary standing. Finally, the inclusion of Cino da Pistoia and Guittone d’Arezzo, and the prominent laurel wreath worn by Guido Cavalcanti, emphasize the contributions of these earlier poets to the Tuscan literary patrimony. Vasari and Martini demonstrate an understanding of the ways that literary reputations are constructed. [JL]
Passaro, Maria Pastore. “From Theory to History and Poetry: Dante’s Hunt in the Forest of Dialects.” In Rivista di studi italiani, 16, No. 1 (giugno, 1998), 104-115.
Provides a succinct overview of Dante’s linguistic theories as expounded in his minor works, beginning with the Vita Nuova and Convivio, but focusing on De vulgari eloquentia. The author notes that Dante proposes a new project at the end of the Vita Nuova, one in which he will write about Beatrice in a manner which has never been done for any other woman. But, Passaro asks rhetorically, what would the language of this work be like? In the Convivio, Dante provides a rudimentary definition of the “volgare illustre,” a language which would not evolve like the vernacular, but instead would remain fixed and permanent. However, Dante explains this “volgare illustre” more fully in De vulgari eloquentia, wherein he sets out first to demonstrate that it resides not in any one dialect, but in the best of all of them; then he demonstrates how it might be used by various poets once developed. [FA]
Paxson, James J. “The Semiotics of Character, Trope, and Troilus: The Figural Construction of the Self and the Discourse of Desire in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde.” In Desiring Discourse: The Literature of Love, Ovid through Chaucer, edited by James J. Paxson and Cynthia A. Gravlee (Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania: Susquehanna University Press, 1998), pp. 206-226.
Contains references to Dante’s tree imagery in Inferno 3 and 13 as possible sources for certain images and gno odes in Chaucer’s Troilus.
Pertile, Lino. “La Comedìa tra il dire e il fare.” In Sotto il segno di Dante. Scritti in onore di Francesco Mazzoni (q.v.), pp. 233-247.
Traces the philological tradition—in ancient and medieval works in both religious and secular contexts—of the topos, lucidly expressed by Sallust, that “words must be equal to the facts” to establish Dante as the first outstanding contributor to this tradition in Italian literature. This topos is implicated in three important narrative concerns in the Commedia: the narrator’s struggle to describe adequately the events he claims to have witnessed; his fear that some of these events, because of their extraordinary nature, be attributed to fantasy; and worry that his denunciations be dismissed as the outbursts of an exile, envious because of his exclusion from direct action. Pertile analyzes four instances in Dante’s oeuvre of this self-conscious relation between words and actions: Inferno 4:145-147; Inferno 32:10-12; Fiore CIII 11; and the sonnet (to Cino), “Io mi credea del tutto esser partito” (CXIV). He concludes that whereas the two examples from the Inferno place emphasis on dire (words having to conform to actions) the second two privilege fare (actions having to be consistent with words). The two perspectives are joined in the central episode of Paradiso, where Dante’s words—his poem—are themselves defined as his action “in pro del mondo che mal vive.” [GPR]
Pertile, Lino. “La puttana e il gigante (Purgatorio XXXII, 148-60).” In Seminario Dantesco Internazionale... (q.v.), pp. 243-272.
This study offers a rereading of the episode of the whore and the giant in Purgatory 32:148-160 in light of the Song of Songs, which was a widespread and frequently commented on text in the Middle Ages. The author demonstrates that in the medieval tradition the “good giant” was an image for Christ and therefore the “bad giant” in Purgatory 32 allegorically signifies the anti-Christ. The kiss between the whore and the giant is an antith lan of the kiss between the bride and groom, which allegorically refers to the union of Christ and his Church. The giant replaces the griffin leading the chariot and the whore substitutes for Beatrice. The giant beating the whore is part of the same parodic rendering of the allegorical relation between the griffin and Beatrice earlier in the same canto. The two episodes are constructed in symmetrical opposition, and both take the first three lines of the Song of Songs as their dramatic model. [JL]
Pertile, Lino. La puttana e il gigante. Dal “Cantico dei Cantici” al Paradiso Terrestre di Dante. Ravenna: Longo Editore, 1998. 278 p. (Memoria del Tempo, 10)
“Il principio della proprietà intellettuale è sconosciuto al Medioevo, e i testi, essendo tutti in latino, vengono agevolmente saccheggiati, espropriati, interpolati, ricomposti con assoluta disinvoltura e totale sprezzo della cronologia. Di questa altissima e selvaggia intertestualità, in buona parte ancora da studiare, la tradizione del Cantico dei Cantici offre forse l’esempio più vivace e pervasivo. È un fenomeno spettacolare, tanto circoscritto e umile alle sue origini, quanto dilagante e sublime nei suoi esiti ultimi. Un nodo di desiderio infinito alle radici stesse della letteratura erotica romanza, che occorrerebbe inventare se non esistessGQQGà. La puttana e il gigante esplora gli aspetti centrali di questa tradizione, illuminando i modi diversi, spesso del tutto inattesi e sorprendenti, in cui alimenta la fantasia e il linguaggio di Dante dove il poema si fa più marcatamente autobiografico e ostentatamente ‘ideologico’: i canti dell’incontro con Beatrice, nei quali, coniugando storia universale e esperienza individuale, passione politica e mito di un amore, il poeta scopre e fonda la possibilità stess in ersonale e artistica, della sua Comedìa. Ne risulta un Dante largamente inedito, pensatore e artista meno laico, meno sistematico, meno ‘letterato’ di quanto non siamo abituati a considerarlo, e invece più religioso, paradossale, irriducibilmente altro da noi....” Contents: Premessa (7-10); Sigle e abbreviazioni (11-12); Prologo politico (13-21); I. Amore e la storia (23-42); II. Un candelabro di nome Jesse? (43-50); III. Aspettando Beatrice (51-86); IV. La ferita d’amore (87-133); V. “Un carro in su due ruote, trïunfale” (135-141); VI. Il grifone (143-162); VII. La pianta (163-196); VIII. Aquilone e Austro (197-202); IX. La puttana e il gigante (203-225); X. Cantica (227-245); Bibliografia (247-261); Indice dei luoghi danteschi citati (265-268); Indice dei luoghi biblici citati (269-271); Indice dei nomi (272-276); Indice generale (277-278).
Picone, Michelangelo. “Theories of Love and the Lyric Tradition from Dante’s Vita Nuova to Petrarch’s Canzoniere.” In Romance Notes, 39, No. 1 (Fall, 1998), 83-93.
Argues that the Vita Nuova is, among other things, a complete discussion on the culturally dominant modes of discourse about love. Indeed, according to the author, the fundamental question of the work is how to resolve the problematic nature of love? The article analyzes two episodes from the libello to demonstrate that this question underlies the work. It begins by discussing the first vision, related in the sonnet, “A ciascun’alma presa.” In this passage, Picone notes that Beatrice’s action of eating Dante’s heart symbolizes fol’amor, thereby illustrating the destructive powers of passion. However, in contrast to that, the last sonnet, “Oltre la spera,” represents fin’amor which sublimates the senses in a spiritual passion. Thus, the protagonist of the Vita Nuova moves from eros to caritas throughout the narrative therein. Picone closes the article by contrasting the opera giovanile to Petrarch’s Canzoniere. Like Dante’s work, Petrarch’s collection represents a culmination of the Romance tradition. However, Petrarch does not allow for the sublimation of passion to ultimately communicate a spiritual truth. For Petrarch, there is no moral or religious significance to love. [FA]
Podgurski, Robert. “Where Optics and Visionary Metaphysics Converge in Dante’s ‘Novella Vista’.” In Italian Quarterly, 35, Nos. 135-136 (Winter-Spring, 1998), 29-38.
Examines Dante’s understanding and synthesis of the different medieval schools of thought regarding vision. The first of these, that of extromission, posited that the eye sends out rays which return with an image. The second, that of intromission, proposed that objects emit rays which the eyes perceive. The third, proposed by Aristotle, blends the previous two theories, stating that colored objects can be seen when illuminated. Dante seemingly adheres to the different optical ideas, depending on which of the writings one examines. However, in the Commedia, he appears to synthesize intromission and extromission, allowing for intromission—a more passive model—when distant from God, while engaging in extromission, where the eye is more active, in proximity to the divine. [FA]
Puca, Antonella. “The Apocalypse and the Dance of the Stars in Dante’s Paradiso.” In Italian Culture, 16, No. 1 (1998), 1-10.
Dante’s use of the Apocalypse in the Paradiso, particularly in the heaven of the sun, reveals his interest in the last book of the Bible as an interpretive key to the rest of the Scriptures. The imagery that he employs in the heaven of the sun derives from both the Apocalypse and from the mosaics in the Florence baptistry that portray the Last Judgment. Dante portrays former theological opponents as existing harmoniously side by side in the circles of the sun; the dance of those circles anticipates the final wedding between Christ and the Church, a wedding described by the Apocalypse as ushering in the end of time. [VSB]
Pucci, Joseph. The Full-Knowing Reader: Allusion and the Power of the Reader in the Western Literary Tradition. New Haven, Connecticut, and London: Yale University Press, 1998. xxii, 263 p.
In chapter eight—”Scala a Dio: Dante and Ovid” (199-222)—Pucci suggests that “Dante alludes to Ovid’s Metamorphoses in order to subscribe in the Commedia to Ovid’s particular brand of humanitas, that is, to Ovid’s own celebrations of those qualities of heart and mind that confirm a common human identity.” In this way we may “see in Dante’s version of Ovid a poet of humanitas and ... assess many of the key moments of Dante’s Commedia as meditations on the powers and limits of human action in face of divine retribution.” Among the passages considered are Cantos 3, 4 and 25 of Inferno and Cantos 2 and 4 of Purgatorio.
Pustilnik, Phyllis L. “Dante Alighieri and Lord Peter Wimsey: Dorothy L. Sayer’s Two Mysteries.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, No. 3 (September, 1998), 833. Doctoral dissertation, The Union Institute, 1998, 116 p.
“Pustilnik sees Sayers as using her twelve mystery novels and three collections of stories to rewrite biblical sections as allegory, by which Sayers takes her protagonist Peter to his Harriet through the same kind of Virgilian progression found in Dante’s Commedia, in which work Virgil brought Dante to Beatrice.”
Quinones, Ricardo J. Dante Alighieri. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1998). xvi, 202 p. (Twayne’s World Authors Series, 563)
This revised edition (see Dante Studies, 98, pp. 172-173) contains supplementary text and notes in several chapters, particularly those devoted to the three canticles of the Comedy, as well as an additional chapter, “Epilogue: Dante in Our Time” (173-184), which provides a wide-ranging assessment of recent trends in Dante criticism in North America.
Quinones, Ricardo J. “Dante’s Inferno in Our Time.” In Studies for Dante. . . (q.v.), pp. 47-59.
Discusses the differing interpretations of the Comedy over time and the special attraction that particular canticles have—the Inferno for the Romantics, the Purgatorio for the Modernists. Drawing on the work of Lawrence Langer (Admitting the Holocaust [New York: Oxford University Press, 1995]), Quinones argues that the increased popularity of the Inferno in recent years may be attributed, at least in part, to the affinities between that canticle and the Holocaust: “the Inferno is an accurate, imaginative version of what we mean by the Holocaust.”
Reale, Nancy M. “Reading the Language of Love: Boccaccio’s Filostrato as Intermediary between the Commedia and Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde.” In Desiring Discourse: The Literature of Love, Ovid through Chaucer, edited by James J. Paxson and Cynthia A. Gravlee (Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania: Susquehanna University Press, 1998), pp. 165-176.
Argues that “Chaucer used Boccaccio’s Il Filostrato as an intermediary between Troilus and Criseyde and the Commedia; through the filter of the Boccaccian poem, Chaucer found a form with which he could engage the claims Dante makes for love and poetry while recognizing the extent to which both are operative only in the sublunary world of mortal men. Chaucer’s response to Dante was made possible by his reading of the Filostrato because he found in his Italian model not only his matière but also a way of thinking about love in a post-Dantean world.”
Redman, Tim. “Pound’s Debt to Dante.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 159-166.
Analyzes Pound’s debt to Dante in The Cantos, a work described as “isomorphic” (different ancestry but similar in form and design). The analysis is articulated in three parts: Pound’s comments on Dante from unpublished sources; his first encounter with Dante’s works at Hamilton College; his evolving understanding of Dante as manifested in his work on The Cantos. [MP]
“Remembering Charles T. Davis.” In Dante Studies, 116 (1998), 1-15.
Contains short remembrances by (in alphabetical order) Teodolinda Barolini, Marvin B. Becker, William Bowsky, Robert Brentano, Anna Chiavacci Leonardi, Joan Ferrante, Robert Hollander, Rachel Jacoff, Richard Kay, Christopher Kleinhenz, Richard Lansing, Angelo Mazzocco, Edward Peters, Marjorie Reeves, and John Scott.
“Remembering Joseph Anthony Mazzeo.” In Dante Studies, 116 (1998), 17-23.
Contains short remembrances by (in alphabetical order) Teodolinda Barolini, Rachel Jacoff, James V. Mirollo, and Carole Slade.
“Remembering Tibor Wlassics.” In Dante Studies, 116 (1998), 25-30.
Contains a remembrance by H. Wayne Storey and two unpublished pieces by Tibor Wlassics, Irósdi and Il disdegno di Guido.
Roberts, Renee Magriel. “The Clock and the Rose: Time and Self-Transformation in the Romance of the Rose and the Divine Comedy.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, No. 1 (July, 1998), 164. Doctoral dissertation, The Union Institute, 1998, 350 p.
“Chapter 4 explores Dante’s Divine Comedy, the medieval summa of time and self-transformation. It includes an in-depth analysis of the first terzina utilizing an original constructivist literary analysis technique that examines the importance of the internal translation process. This chapter also focuses on the border areas, particularly Inferno’s dark forest and the final cantos of Paradiso. It compares Inferno to the Rose journeys. The chapter culminates with the squaring of the circle and the themes of the mechanical clock and the celestial rose at the moment of creation.”
Russell, Anthony Presti. “Dante’s ‘Forte imaginazione’ and Beatrice’s ‘Occulta virtù’: Lovesickness and the Supernatural in the Vita Nuova.” In Mediaevalia, 22, No. 1 (Spring, 1998), 1-33.
Drawing on Neoplatonic and Hermetic sources, Russell discusses Beatrice’s relationship to the supernatural in the Vita Nuova within the context of the inconsistencies and ambiguities in the text. He draws in particular on the tradition of amor hereos, or “lovesickness,” to delineate the tension in the Vita Nuova between “normative and counter-normative conceptions of love and imagination” (11), and ultimately between scholastic and Neoplatonic / Hermetic epistemologies. Insofar as the poet could never fully commit to the visionary realm of daemons and phantasms, the author views the ambiguities of the text as evidence of “Dante’s own uncertainties about the nature of the experiences he describes” (25). In the Commedia, where Beatrice becomes one “among a host of other figures that aid the pilgrim in the long and arduous process of turning one’s will towards God” (27), this tension is resolved in favor of the normative Christian ethos. [GPR]
San Juan, Rose Marie. “The Illustrious Poets in Signorelli’s Frescoes for the Cappella Nuova of Orvieto Cathedral.” In Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 52 (1989), 71-84.
San Juan offers a fresh interpretation of the figures of the poets in Luca Signorelli’s 1499 frescoes for the Cappella Nuova in the Orvieto Cathedral. In Signorelli’s scheme, eight portraits of famous poets emerge from the windows on a simulated gallery below religious scenes in lunettes on the north and south sides of the chapel. Such a decorative ordering reflects the common Renaissance conception of certain pagan texts as prefigurations of the Christian narrative of salvation. Some of the poets are surrounded by representations of what seem to be scenes from their works, though identification of the more generic scenes and thus at least a few of the poets is uncertain. The identifications proposed in the mid-nineteenth century by Ludovico Luzi have generally gone unquestioned. On the north side, Luzi saw Lucan (with scenes from the Pharsalia), an indistinguishable poet, Empedocles, and Homer (with scenes from the Iliad). On the south side—which most interests readers of Dante—Luzi saw Dante and Virgil to the left of the altar (with scenes from the first eleven cantos of Purgatory) and Ovid and Horace to the right of the altar (with mostly Ovidian scenes from the classical underworld). San Juan’s revisions deal mainly with the south wall, where she opts for Ovid and Virgil to the right of the altar (instead of Ovid and Horace), and Dante and St. John to the left of the altar (instead of Dante and Virgil). She believes Virgil is the figure with Ovid because of his likeness to the Virgil in the Purgatory scenes (a resemblance lacking in the figure Luzi identified as Virgil). Appropriately, these figures are surrounded by images of underworld journeys alluded to in Aeneid 6 as well as the popular Ovidio vulgarizzato (1497). On the other side of the altar San Juan recognizes the most significant “seers of Christian revelation,” Dante and St. John, surrounded by scenes from Dante’s Purgatory and surmounted by the Christian vision of the blessed in paradise. Thus, as we move from the right to the left of the altar on the south wall, we progress from the classical and Christian hell, through purgatory up into heaven. [GPC]
Scaglione, Aldo. Essays on the Arts of Discourse: Linguistics, Rhetoric, Poetics. Edited by Paolo Cherchi, Stephen Murphy, Allen Mandelbaum, and Giuseppe Velli. New York: Peter Lang, 1998. xxii, 392 p.(American University Studies, Series II: Romance Languages and Literature, 226)
“This collection of previously published e this assembles the most relevant studies on theory of language development and theory of ave;e in specific geographic areas and in general terms. The essays find a common thread and matrix in their reference to the traditional theory of the Arts of Discourse, or Trivium Arts, the core of the Liberal Arts system. The languages most directly involved range from Latin and Greek to Italian, French, and German. The connecting link is the perception that literature grows in a symbiosis of convergent disciplines that affects authors and readers alike.” The following essays on Dante are included in this volume: “Periodic Syntax and Flexible Meter in the Divina Commedia ” (59-82) [see Dante Studies, 86, p. 149]; “Dante and the Rhetorical Theory of Sentence Structure ” (179-192) [see Dante Studies, 98, pp. 186-197]; “Dante and the ars grammatica ” (315-326) [see Dante Studies, 107, p. 155]; and “(Christian) Theologians vs. (Pagan)di’slosophers: Another Look at Dante’s Allegory ” (335-344) [see Dante Studies, 108, p. 147].
Schildgen, Brenda Deen. “Dante and the Crusades.” In Dante Studies, 116 (1998), 95-125.
Arguing against the idea that Dante supported Holy Land crusades, this essay proposes that the Comedy takes Europe as the focus of its crusade polemic. Much of the crusade and pilgrimage literature, informed by a literal exegesis of the Bible, undertook a religious-political mission that sought to pacify the biblical lands and fostered hatred of the people who lived there. Dante has assumed the language of the crusades, but taking on the role of prophet, he transforms their goals into a poetic ethical-political mission aimed against Latin structural and individual corruption. As in Roland and Aliscans, he points to the law as the solution to the crisis created by Latin squabbling and treachery and to the West as the site for future conversion. As in Bonaventure’s Itinerarium Mentis in Deum, his iter, that is, pilgrimage and crusade, has given him the chance to see the things of the world for which he takes responsibility as visionary prophet and reformer. Dante registers little interest in Holy Land crusades, but rather focuses on the corruptions rife in his own Latin lands. [BDS]
Schnapp, Jeffrey T. “Lucanian Estimations.” In Seminario Dantesco Internazionale... (q.v.), pp. 111-134.
Of the bella scola of classical poets who appear in Inferno 4, Lucan has attracted the least attention from Dante scholars. Schnapp attempts to redress this neglect through an analysis of the Latin poet’s personal and poetic appearances in the Commedia. Schnapp argues that the phrase with which Lucan is introduced in Limbo, “e l’ultimo Lucano,” speaks both to chronology and judgement, thus hinting at the substantial connections between Lucan and Dante himself. Not only is Dante born comparatively “late” like Lucan, but his hybrid epic, like the Pharsalia, stands at a great generic remove from Homer’s “altissimo canto.” Schnapp points out, however, that, although Lucan’s and Dante’s epics are similarly unconventional, their treatment of the standard-bearer of epic tradition, Virgil, differs substantially. Dante’s effort to manage Lucan’s agon with Virgil then forms a crucial part of the Commedia’s interaction with the Pharsalia: how does Dante contain Lucan’s critique of Virgil’s vision of Roman history? Focusing on Inferno 9:22-30, Schnapp dwells on an essentially triangular allusion; Dante allusion to Lucan’s Erichtho necessarily engages too with Virgil’s Sibyl, compelling us to expand our understanding of Dante’s engagement with earlier texts. In light of Dante’s treatment of the Erichtho episode, Schnapp concludes that Dante preserves the conflict inherent in Lucan’s revision of Virgil’s underworld, but strategically recontextualizes the material to alter and redirect its meaning. [JL]
Scoggins, Dene Dee. “Searching the Stars for Signs of God: Divine Semiotics in Dante, Rabelais, Shakespeare, and Milton. In Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, No. 2 (August, 1998), 482. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, 1997, 208 p.
Examines “the importance of astrology to medieval and early modern culture” and attempts to “show that these authors contributed to the debate surrounding astrology, accommodating some aspects of astral influence, rejecting others. Dante, for example, establishes astrology as a divine semiotics that opens up the secrets of God; however, he also warns his readers about the dangers of looking too far into the future.”
Seminario Dantesco Internazionale. International Dante seminar 1: Atti del primo convegno tenutosi al Chauncey Conference Center, Princeton, 21-23 ottobre 1994. Edited by Zygmunt G. Barański. Firenze: Le Lettere, 1997. vi, 391 p. (Quaderni. Società Dantesca Italiana, Centro di Studi e Documentazione Dantesca e Medievale, 7)
This volume represents the proceedings of the first International Dante Seminar, held at the Chauncey Conference Center at Princeton. The four major themes of the seminar were the following: “Dante e la letteratura medievale: la tradizione volgare italiana”; “Dante e il mondo classico: il De Bello Civili di Lucano”; “Dante e la tradizione mistica: San Bernardo di Clairvaux”; “Dante e la tradizione esegetica: l’Epistola a Cangrande.” Six of the essays are by American-based scholars—Teodolinda Barolini, Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Steven Botterill, Lino Pertile, John Ahern, and Albert Russell Ascoli— , and these are listed separately in this bibliography under the individual author’s name. Contents: Il Seminario Dantesco Internazionale/International Dante Seminar (I-ii); Abbreviazioni (iii-iv); Lettera del Presidente della Princeton University (v-vi); Teodolinda Barolini, “Guittone’s Ora parrà, Dante’s Doglia mi reca, and the Commedia’s Anatomy of Desire” (3-23); Guglielmo Gorni, “Manetto tra Guido e Dante” (25-39); Michelangelo Picone, “Dante rimatore” (41-57); Dante e la letteratura medievale: discussione (59-64); Violetta De Angelis, “Il testo di Lucano, Dante e Petrarca” (67-109); Jeffrey T. Schnapp, “Lucanian Estimations” (111-134); Dante e il mondo classico: discussione (135-145); Steven Botterill, “The Figure of St. Bernard in Dante’s Commedia” (149-170); Francesco Mazzoni, “San Bernardo e la visione poetica della Divina Commedia” (171-241); Lino Pertile, “La puttana e il gigante (Purgatorio XXXII, 148-60)” (243-272); Dante e la tradizione mistica: discussione (273-278); John Ahern, “Can the Epixtua to Cangrande Be Read as a Forgery?” (281-307); Albert Russell Ascoli, “Access to Authority: Dante in the Epistle to Cangrande” (309-352); Giorgio Brugnoli, “Il punto sull’Epistola a Cangrande” (353-365); Dante e la tradizione esegetica: discussione (367-371); Tavola dei partecipanti (373); Indici (375-391).
Senior, Diane. “The Authority and Autonomy of the Fiore.” In Forum Italicum, 32, No. 2 (Fall, 1998), 305-331.
Argues that the author of the Fiore establishes a subjective self in history as the arbiter of transcendent truth, against the abstract intellectualizations the Roman de la Rose hands down from external authority and tradition. “Tradigione” in the Fiore signifies both tradition and treachery, a betrayal of truth through fixity in the past, through failing to be open to hope and the future. The Italian Poet-Lover’s fidelity to the Dio d’Amore represents a faith in the ineffable beyond word and abstraction, reached through entering oneself and through trust in one’s own reason; it is a rejection of the “passive receptivity and deceptive manipulation of knowledge at the heart of the Rose,” a rejection of abstract or universal Reason as ultimately irrational. [CM]
Shapiro, Marianne. Dante and the Knot of Body and Soul. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. xiv, 226 p.
“Seeks to evaluate in just measure the material, bodily, erotic, and aesthetic aspects of the intellectual foundations of the Commedia and explore the idea of embodied spirit and its poetic consequences in Dante’s worldmaking poem. Bodies, be they ghostly, demonic, fleshly, or angelic, are tied up in both literal and figurative knots because of their unstable ontology, an ontology that they share with human language. In each chapter, Shapiro addresses the interconnections between poetic speech and embodied spirit as they develop over the course of the Commedia’s three canticles. Instead of regarding Dante as an Olympian poet, her approach emphasizes process, for even a masterpiece may conceal adjustments and shifts in strategy as part of its structure. While much current scholarship has set out to recover the specifically literary dimensions of Dante’s enterprise by prising them away from the overriding theological concerns, this work is intended to bring the two together in an integrated vision.” Contents: Introduction (vii-xiv); 1. The Knot of Body and Soul (1-44); 2. Infernal Eros and Civil Strife (45-62); 3. Shades and Statues (63-86); 4. Virgilio (87-109); 5. Beatrice, True Praise of God (111-135); 6. The Speeches of Inferno (137-159); 7. The Twofold Representation of the Soul (161-197); Notes (199-220); Index (221-226).
Sicari, Stephen. “In Dante’s Memory: Pound’s Modernist Allegory.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 147-157.
Discusses Pound’s use of “modernist allegory” as he continues his work on The Cantos while detained without his books as a prisoner in Pisa during the war. Taking as a point of departure Dante’s comments on the power of memory in the Vita Nuova, the author suggests the application of medieval hermeneutics to explain the imaginative capacities of Pound in The Cantos as well as of Joyce in Ulysses and of Eliot in Four Quartets. [MP]
Smarr, Janet. “The Parlement of Foules and Inferno 5.” In Chaucer Review, 33, No. 2 (1998), 113-122.
Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules is an intertextual work that draws on a number of different texts, including Dante’s Commedia; the relevance, however, of Dante’s poem for Chaucer’s—which is also a dream vision—has not been sufficiently appreciated. In particular, the fifth canto of the Inferno seems relevant for a reading of Chaucer’s poem. Dante’s canto of condemned lovers serves both as a source for Chaucer and as a guide to interpreting the later poem. Chaucer does not condemn all forms of love, but distinguishes between the carnal passion symbolized by Paolo and Francesca that is inspired by the reading of romances, and a natural love that leads to marriage and offspring. Even the end of the Parlement of Foules, where the narrator awakens from his dream vision and returns to his books, recalls Inferno 5; in Dante’s poem, Paolo and Francesca are led into adultery by reading the romance of Lancelot tohowier, but they break off their reading too soon. “Where Francesca ‘read no farther,’ [Chaucer’s narrator] reads on, seeking a better wisdom” (119). [VSB]
Sotto il segno di Dante. Scritti in onore di Francesco Mazzoni. Edited by Leonella Coglievina and Domenico De Robertis. Indici edited by Giuseppe Marrani. Firenze: Casa Editrice Le Lettere, 1998. xlviii, 367 p.
In this Festschrift presented to Francesco Mazzoni three essays are by North American scholars—Robert Hollander, Amilcare A. Iannucci, and Lino Pertile—, and abstracts of these essays may be found under the individual author’s name.
Sowell, Madison U. “Dante’s Poetics of Sexuality.” In Exemplaria, 5, No. 2 (Fall 1993), 435-469.
Sowell first presents the case for the connection of texts to bodies in Inferno 28 (Mohammed and Alì), Purgatorio 29 (the pageant of the Bible), and Paradiso 18 (souls of just rulers). Next, he surveys the notion of the Commedia as a reflection of the human body: Inferno is a womb of lack; Purgatory is phallic; Heaven is a womb of fullness. Then he considers the conceptual relationship of textuality to sexuality, as in the Vita Nuova’s treatment of Beatrice, Inferno 5, and Inferno 25. For Dante, the possible sources for connecting corporal and sexual metaphors to poetry, books, and book production are legion (e.g., Alan of Lille). But the wordplay of the Purgatorio is more urbane than Alan’s: Dante orchestrates Cantos 23-26 to present poetry and sexuality in bono, and himself as an inspired scribe. In Paradiso, the poet employs amatory language to establish a voice like the prophets of old (e.g., Isaiah, Aeneid 6). What gives new life is the realization of Dante’s decision to incorporate and ameliorate amorous language is the new context he provides for the traditional language of love and his insistence that the body/text nexus is ultimately rooted in the greatest act known to mankind: the incarnation of the Word of God. [LW]
Sowell, Madison U. “‘The Jingling Sound of Like Endings’: Genesis and Evolution of the Grembo-Nembo-Lembo Rhyme.” In Studies for Dante. . . (q.v.), pp. 487-500.
In his analysis of Petrarch’s sources for the grembo-nembo-lembo rhyme in “Chiare fresche et dolci acque” (Canzoniere 126), and their subsequent evolution in the Italian lyric tradition, Sowell cites their use by Dante in Purgatorio 7:67-72: grembo-sghembo-lembo.
Sowell, Madison U.. “Survival Poetics: Primo Levi’s Remembering of Dante’s Ulysses.” In Literature and Belief, 18, No. 2 (1998), 1-19.
At a key moment in his memoir of his brutal existence in Auschwitz, Se questo è un uomo, Primo Levi recounts an encounter with a fellow French prisoner, whom Levi attempts to teach Italian. During this exchange, Levi recites as much as he can remember of the Ulysses episode from Inferno 26, but he is unable to recall key portions of the canto, which he ascribes to “un buco nella memoria.” These gaps in Levi’s memory underscore the underlying purpose of the memoir, a searching attempt to raise the unanswerable question of why and how Aushwitz could have existed. In Dante’s poem, Ulysses is the voyager in malo opposed to the Dante the pilgrim, the voyager in bono who makes a similar voyage at God’s command. Levi’s adaptation of the Ulysses episode reveals a man who exists in a “‘no man’s land’ somewhere between the extremes of in malo and in bono readings of the figure of Ulysses.” [VSB]
Stewart, Pamela D. (Joint author). See D’Andrea, Antonio.
Studies for Dante. Essays in Honor of Dante Della Terza. Edited by Franco Fido, Rena A. Syska-Lamparska, and Pamela D. Stewart. Fiesole: Edizioni Cadmo, 1998. xxv, 512 p.
In this volume of thirty-eight essays honoring Dante Della Terza, seven treat Dante and are the work of American-based scholars—Ron D. K. Banerjee, Antonio D’Andrea, John Freccero, Amilcare A. Iannucci, Deborah Parker, Ricardo J. Quinones, Madison U. Sowell, and Pamela D. Stewart. These are listed separately in this bibliography under the individual author’s name.
Surette, Leon. “Pound and Eccentric Dante Scholars.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 189-204.
Discusses the development of Pound’s interest in Dante, especially against the backdrop of the latter’s reception in protestant America and pre-Raphaelite, symbolist Europe. Pound’s own “eccentric” concept of Dante’s mysticism is discussed in relation to Swedenborg and Joseph Peladan, French symbolist. Addresses Pound’s polemic take on the strands of Neoplatonism in Dante proposed by Luigi Valli and considers his correspondence with members of the Rossetti family. [MP]
Tambling, Jeremy. “Illustrating Accusation: Blake on Dante’s Commedia.” In Studies in Romanticism, 37, No. 3 (Fall, 1998), 395-420.
An attempt to read Blake’s Dante illustrations as cultural productions of the 1820s. The author first considers them in relation to changes of approach to state-control and punishment that were then taking place. The engraved version of number 58, “The Pit of Disease: The Falsifiers,” illustrating Inf. 29:50-51, depicts Virgil and Dante as petit-bourgeois property-owners, a background that encourages us to look at the punishments and the crimes in a non-eschatological way, by reflecting that forgery, which is paid for here, was, in the 1820s, a capital offense. Next, Tambling draws attention to the coincidence that Byron died in 1824, the same year Blake began the illustrations; this finds a response in shifts between aristocratic and middle-class sentiment and approaches to punishment. Byron’s death acts as a metaphor for the ascendancy of middle-class approaches to morality and for the rule of the bourgeois conscience. The third part of the essay suggests that the illustrations may be seen as strung between the differences evoked by what Byron represents and what Dickens represents. Blake’s Dante illustrations, especially that of Paolo and Francesca, are like Dickens’s David Copperfield in being aware of the unease the bourgeois has with the sexual. Tambling closes by considering what is modern about these works, what in them implies new awarenesses of subjectivity that were also current in the 1820s, for instance. [LW]
Thompson, Andrew. George Eliot and Italy: Literary, Cultural, and Political Influences from Dante to the “Risorgimento.” New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. x, 243 p.
In addition to assaying the importance of George Eliot’s extensive engagement with Italy in her works, Thompson studies British attitudes toward Italy in the period leading to unification and the presence of Dante in Italy and England in the first half of the nineteenth century. In particular, he investigates the ways in which Eliot incorporates Dante and the Commedia as well as historical elements and mythical aspects of Italian unification into her later fictional works—Romola, Felix Holt, the Radical, Middlemarch, and Daniel Deronda. Contents: List of Abbreviations (viii); Acknowledgments (ix); Introduction (1-5); 1. Dante, the Risorgimento and the British: The Italian Background (6-29); 2. George Eliot’s Contact with Italian Life and Culture 1840-61 (30-49); Eliot’s Italian Exile in ‘Mr Gilfil’s Love Story’ (Scenes of Clerical Life) (50-67); 4. Italian Mythmaking in Romola (68-83); 5. Dante in Romola (84-97); 6. Dante and Moral Choice in Felix Holt, the Radical (98-119); 7. Italian Culture and Influences in Middlemarch (120-144); 8. Gwendolen’s ‘Other Road’: Dante in Daniel Deronda (145-160); 9. Italian Poetry and Music in Daniel Deronda (161-172); 10. Daniel Deronda, Italian Prophecy, Dante and George Eliot (173-195); Notes (196-226); Bibliography (227-233); Index (235-243).
Tomasch, Sylvia. “Judecca, Dante’s Satan, and the Dis-placed Jew.” In Text and Territory: Geographical Imagination in the European Middle Ages, edited by Sylvia Tomasch and Sealy Gilles (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998), pp. 247-267.
Explores the “absence” located in the name of the geographical site, the “Judecca” (giudecca, Inf. 34:117), the medieval Italian name for the Jewish ghetto. This re-etymologization entails a relentless repression of Jewish referentiality that nonetheless returns in distorted form. Throughout the Inferno, by means of strategies of metonymy, Jews are variously represented: in the Judecca, in the mosques (Canto 8), and in the figure of Satan himself, whose “dephallicized body evokes the circumcised penis, a synechdochal symbol of the Jews.” Yet, “in trying to recapitulate only Christian wholeness, it [the Commedia] repeatedly manifests what it seeks to avoid.” For Jewish presence shows forth at the central location of the cosmos, and Jewish narrative provides the allegorical foundations of the text itself. Lucifer’s cannibalism not only inverts the Eucharist, but also evokes the Passover. Dante scholars have ignored this point, and are guilty of a “christianist blindness.” Tomasch ends by invoking Barolini’s call for a “new formalism” in medieval studies, urging the development of “a stance that will allow us to attend to Dante’s narrative strategies as well as to ponder the repercussions of our blinkered praise.” [LW]
Trone, George Andrew. “Dante’s Poetics of Sacrifice: Violence and the Limits of Prophecy.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, No. 6 (December, 1998), 2015. Doctoral dissertation, Yale University, 1998, 213 p.
“[P]robes Dante’s understanding of the potentially explosive clash between theology and history by focusing on the violent act of sacrifice. The introduction surveys the appearance of the word ‘sacrifice’ in all of Dante’s works. The rare term is found to refer most frequently to the physical act of pagan worship, although in the Divine Comedy it also designates the spiritual act of Christian sacrifice. The first chapter of the dissertation, ‘Sacrifice and Theology,’ provides the medieval theological context for Dante’s understanding of sacrifice. The sacrificial theories of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas reveal both the historic and symbolic nature of Christian sacrifice, an ambiguous duality which Dante exploits in his poetry.” Other chapters are concerned with Inferno 20 and 32-33, Purgatorio 23, and Paradiso 7.
Warner, Lawrence. “Dante’s Ulysses and the Erotics of Crusading.” Dante Studies, 116 (199ice 65-93.
Dante figures Ulysses as anti-crusader and sodomitical penetrator. Ulysses’s rejection of familial bonds for the sake of a journey away from Jerusalem perverts preachers’ exhortations that crusaders toward the “fatherland” should not be hindered by love of children, parents and wives. His “trapasso del segno” is akin to what Christians saw as the “sodomitical” Muslim penetration of Jerusalem. Inferno 26’s focus upon the motifs of seed, shipwreck, illicit transgression, and living like brutes further suggests an affinity with anti-sodomitical treatises. Dante strengthens these resonances by aligning Inferno 26 with both Inferno 15’s portrayal of Brunetto Latini and Purgatorio 26’s of the sodomites and “hermaphrodites.” Cacciaguida’s status as crusader (Paradiso 15-18) is crucial to his widely-acknowledged palinodic relationship with Brunetto, Guinizzelli, and especially U, thes; the teleological rectitude of his attempt to liberate Jerusalem puts into sharp relief these sinners’ errancy. Dante, by modeling his own journey after the Exodus in conjunction with Ulysses (Purgatorio 1:130-133), confirms the centrality of crusading ideology to the structure of the Commedia: crusading leaders believed that Moses and Joshua’s military mission prefigured contemporary campaigns to re-claim Jerusalem. For Dante, the acts of journeying and recording the word of God are inherently violent, calling upon obliteration of the errant. [LW]
Watts, Barbara J. “The Word Imaged: Dante’s Commedia and Sandro Botticelli’s San Barnaba Altarpiece.” In Lectura Dantis, 22-23 (Spring-Fall, 1998), 203-245.
Focusing on two notable elements of Botticelli’s San Barnaba altarpiece—the inscription on the steps to Mary’s throne and the fictive gilded reliefs in the roundels above Mary’s head—Watts asserts that Botticelli accomplishes two goals: he uses Dante’s Paradiso to recast a conventional religious subject and he participates in the ongoing debate on the relative values of painting and poetry. The inscription on Mary’s throne cites Dante directly; it reads “VERGINE MADRE, FIGLIA DEL TUO FIGLIO,” the first verse of St. Bernard’s prayer to the Virgin in Paradiso 33. The reliefs above the Virgin’s throne refer to Dante obliquely; they depict the Annunciation in much the same way that the sculpted terrace was said to in Purgatorio 10, and they thus resemble the Annunciation relief in Botticelli’s illustration of the canto. Botticelli’s representation of Mary in the altarpiece is then elucidated by Dante’s own representation of her on the terrace of pride and in the Empyrean. As a result, her humility is underscored and the causal relationship between her humble stance at the Annunciation and her exalted position as the Queen of Heaven is made manifest. Dante’s text finally stands as an exegesis of Botticelli’s altarpiece, revealing the allegorical significance of Mary in her various aspects. Watts concludes by asserting that Botticelli’s use of Dante allows him to present word and image as “analogous modes of figural allusion”; the image can be as polysemous as the text. Botticelli thus challenges Dante’s subordination of image to word in the Commedia through Dante’s words themselves. [JL]
Weinfield, Henry. “The Noble Epicureans: Variations on a Buried Theme (Dante and Wordsworth).” In Religion & Literature, 30, No. 1 (Spring, 1998), 13-34.
The first part of this essay offers the standard “romantic” reading of the episodes of Farinata and Cavalcante, Brunetto Latini, and Ulysses: in all these cases what resonates is an incipient humanism that cuts against the theological grain and, in Auerbach’s term, detaches the figure from its ground. Weinfield finds parallels between Dante’s portrayal of these figures and those of Achilles and Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey; the Italian poet’s attempt to repress Epicureanism on the ideological level merely intensifies on the poetic or affective level the power of the claim it would seem to have on us. The essay then turns to Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey,” arguing that the Epicurean dimension latent in that poem—as manifested, for instance, in the poet’s association of pleasure and goodness—is one aspect of a complex response to a religious crisis that assails Wordsworth both in general intellectual terms and, more specifically, through the mediation of poetic tradition. [LW]
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Simon Gilson, Rivista di studi italiani, 16, No. 2 (dicembre, 1998), 546-549;
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Wayne A. Rebhorn, Speculum, 73, 2 (April, 1998), 514-516;
Sherry Roush, Quaderni d’italianistica, 17, No. 1 (primavera, 1996), 141-142;
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Manfred Lentzen, Deutsches Dante Jahrbuch, 73 (1998), 214-215;
Elizabeth Mazzocco, Rivista di studi italiani, 16, No. 2 (dicembre, 1998), 554-555.
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James T. Chiampi, Rivista di studi italiani, 16, No. 2 (dicembre, 1998), 550-553;
Rinaldina Russell, Forum Italicum, 32, No. 2 (Fall, 1998), 575-577;
S. Sarteschi, Italianistica, 27, No. 2 (maggio-agosto, 1998), 312-313;
Mary Alexandra Watt, Quaderni d’italianistica, 19, No. 2 (1998), 163-164.
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Tryphonopoulos, Demetres P. “Pound Reading Dante ‘Reading’ Homer: The Survival of the Palingenetic Tradition in Ezra Pound’s The Cantos.” In Dante e Pound (q.v.), pp. 87-100.
Traces the Homeric and Dantean paradigms important to the structure of The Cantos and addresses the question: “Does Pound read Homer and Dante the way Dante may have ‘read’ Homer?” Dante saw himself as a participant in that literary tradition which stretches back to Homer and has as its focal point the “recapturing of gnosis or wisdom.” Pound compares this tradition to the Eleusinian initiation that he himself describes as the “main scheme” of The Cantos insofar as the recuperative journey must begin with a descent or katabasis, as is the case in the works of his two masters (i.e. Odyssey, Book 11, and the Comedy). [MP]
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