This bibliography is intended to include the Dante translations published in this country in 1979 and all Dante studies and reviews published in 1979 that are in any sense American. The latter criterion is construed to include foreign reviews of American publications pertaining to Dante.
“Dante’s Purgatory, Canto II.” Translated by Mark Musa. In New Letters, XLVI, No. 2 (Winter 1979-80): 87-92.
Translated in iambic pentameter, observing the original tercet division and prefaced by a summary of the canto.
Dante’s “Rime.” Translated by Patrick S. Diehl. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979. 267 p. (The Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation.)
Includes all of Dante’s scattered rime except those that were welded into the Vita Nuova, with Italian text and English translation in the original rhyme-scheme on facing pages and in the order they occupy in the Foster Boyde edition, Dante’s Lyric Poetry, with translation and commentary (Oxford University Press, 1967), which is the same as that established by Michele Barbi. In his introduction Professor Diehl defines and characterizes the collection of lyrics, offers general information about medieval versification and the metric forms used by Dante, discusses the translating of Dante and his own approach to the task, and comments upon the text of the poems and the notes. Contents: Introduction; The Rime; Notes; Selected Bibliography; and Index to First Lines in Italian. For a review, see below, under Reviews.
“Inferno XXXII, 124-139, XXXIII, 1-90.” Translated by Seamus Heaney. In his Field Work (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1979), pp. 61-64.
“Ugolino,” the last poem in the volume, is a free rendering of the Ugolino episode.
Monarchy and Three Political Letters. With an Introduction by Donald Nicholl and a Note on the Chronology of Dante’s Political Works by Colin Hardie. Westport, Conn.: Hyperion Press, 1979.
Reprint of the 1954 edition (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson; New York: The Noonday Press). (See 73rd Report, 54-55; also, for another reprint edition in 1972, see Dante Studies, XCI, 164.)
Arthos, John. Dante, Michelangelo and Milton. Wesport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979.
Reprint of the 1963 edition (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul); another reprint appeared in 1968 (New York: Hillary House). Contains a section on Dante in the light of Longinus’ view of the sublime. (See 82nd Report, 47-48, and Dante Studies, LXXXVII, 178.)
Avery, William T. “Purgatorio IX, 1-3: Aurora’s balco d’orïente.” In Dante Studies, XCVII (1979): 151-155.
Suggests that the image, “balco d’orïente” (not expressly found in Aeneid IV, 584-585, usually cited by commentators, nor even in the prior Homeric rendering), may have been inspired to a nodding Dante by the “e speculis” (high walls of a city, or look-out, watch-tower) in the following lines 586-591 of Virgil’s text, with the result of a blending of the two passages by Dante here in Purgatorio IX.
Baranski, Zygmunt G. “A Note on Montale’s Presumed Dantism in ‘Meriggiare pallido e assorto.’” in Italica, LVI (1979): 394-402.
Rejects the interpretation by G. Almansi and B. Mercy of Eugenio Montale’s poem, “Meriggiare,” in its relationship with Dante as a misunderstanding of both poets and, instead, connects the poem with Dante by its use of rhyme and phonic techniques, particularly for harsh and negative effects, very likely inspired by the Inferno and the rime petrose. It is also found significant that the possible Dantean borrowings all come from one episode, that of the suicides in Inferno XIII, with its negativism and evasion of life’s problems. For Montale, Dante serves as a poetic catalyst in a much more complex manner than implied by the Almansi-Merry interpretation.
Barney, Stephen A. Allegories of History, Allegories of Love. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1979. 323 p.
Contains references to Dante, passim, and a short concluding chapter heavily focused on Dante’s poem as “purest allegory.” Contents: Introduction [on kings and various aspects of allegory and allegoresis, recognizing Dante’s Comedy as perfectly embodying the fourfold method of literal, typological, tropological, and anagogical]; Part One—Marking Time: Allegories of History [with a proem and chapters -5 devoted to individual exemplary works—Prudentius’ Psychomachia, Langland’s Piers Plowman, Spenser’s Faerie Queene (Bk. I), and Melville’s The Confidence Man]; Part Two—The Reflexes of the Heart: Allegories of Love [with a proem and chapters 6-9 devoted to exemplary works—The Romance of the Rose, The Faerie Queene (Bks. III-IV), Hawthorne’s “Rappacini’s Daughter,” and Kafka’s The Castle]; Conclusion; and Index. Each section comes with an ample Bibliographical Note.
Barolini, Teodolinda. “Bertran de Born and Sordello: The Poetry of Politics in Dante’s Comedy.” In PMLA, XCIV (1979): 395-405.
Noting the rather inflated importance of Dante’s Sordello in Purgatorio VI, as compared with his mediocre historical achievement, the author examines this figure together with that of Bertran de Born (in Inferno XXVIII) as the two lyrical poets in the Commedia who were known especially for the political thrust of their poetry. She finds that Dante uses these political poets as emblematic of the good and bad uses to which the works of poets can be put to serve the state, and thus, so employed by Dante, Sordello and Bertran transcend their historical identities.
Barolini, Teodolinda. “Dante’s Poets: A Study in Poetic Revisionism.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXIX (1979), 4930A.
Doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 1978. 456 p.
Bartolozzi, Vanni. “Pensiero e struttura nelle rime di Dante.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXIX (1979), 4968A-4969A.
Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 1978. 417 p.
Beall, Chandler B. “Dante and His Reader.” In Forum Italicum, XIII (1979): 299-343.
Finds that Dante’s “addresses to the reader” go well beyond the usual rhetorical category in form and are therefore much more numerous than hitherto surmised, and elaborates upon the distinction and mutual relationship between Dante-protagonist and Dante-author and between the latter and the reader in the course of the Commedia. The analysis, illustrated through a close examination of numerous forms of direct and indirect “addresses to the reader” in the poem, distinguishes five “loose categories which seem to be useful or natural groupings”: (I) A Virgilian Topos of “emotion renewed”; (2) The Poet at Work, marking the author’s progress in composing his narration; (3) Admonitions to the Reader aimed at his instruction, betterment, and salvation; (4) Dante’s Self-confidence whereby the poet marks for the reader the various changes in his poetic technique; and (5) The Ineffable punctuating the difficulty of expressing in human speech the experiences of the otherworld.
Berk, Philip R. “Shadows on the Mount of Purgatory.” In Dante Studies, XCVII (1979): 47-63.
Examines the pilgrim’s cast shadows as a motif in the Purgatorio, finding that there are five such instances which correspond in number to Christs wounds. Dante’s cast shadow is a reminder that a living man is compounded by both flesh and spirit, his shadow being seen also to stand for both the sanction and the limit of the Church’s authority. More important still, it offers an analogue to the Incarnation as the central mystery of the Christian faith, which is reinforced by the persistent tendency of each shadow episode to be associated with the wounds received by Christ on the Cross, thus establishing an equivalence of shadow and wound, further supporting the imitatio Dei principle embodied in the purgatorial ascent. In fact, the five instances of cast shadows appear with diminishing progression in keeping with the purgatorial process of spiritual regeneration as preparation for the ascent to Paradise.
Bidney, Martin. “Dante Retailored for the Nineteenth Century: His Place in Ruskin’s Thought.” In Studies in Medievalism, I, No. 1 (1979): 33-44.
Notes various ways in which Dante was read by English Victorians and how this helped shape Ruskin’s critical ideas in such works as Modern Painters and Stones of Venice. The poet of the Divine Comedy, seen as the exemplar of “penetrative imagination,” became the spiritual center of Ruskin’s mythopoeic and philosophic energies, enhancing his deepened aesthetic thinking of Dante’s masterly use of the grotesque in art and providing an antidote to the pathetic fallacy, with the result that Ruskin’s faculties, on the Dantean example, came into balance in his threefold poetic ideal—“imaginative, moral, and intellectual.” Dante is also crucial in Ruskin’s handling of the poetic interpretation of Nature. And finally, Ruskin envisaged the medieval Dante as the prophet of the new social gospel against what he perceived as the evils of capitalism for solving the nineteenth-century economic dilemmas.
Bolognese, Giuseppe. “Dante and Guittone Revisited.” In Romanic Review, LXX (1979): 172-184.
Briefly reviews past critical opinion on Guittone d’Arezzo and examines Dante’s view of his Aretine predecessor as expressed indirectly in the episodes of Bonagiunta and Guinizelli (Purgatorio XXIV and XXVI), in Inferno XXXII, and in De vulgari eloquentia I, xiii, 1. These various references are construed by the author as rejections of the Guittonian style and tradition but draped in an air of objectivity by attributing the attacks to others in order to enhance Dante’s own image. This, despite the evidence that Dante could and did learn from Guittone in the areas of rhetorical and metrical devices, use of etymological figures, and political poetry.
Bommarito, Domenico. “Boezio e Dante nella tradizione protrettica.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XL (1979), 3336A.
Doctoral dissertation, Northwestern University, 1979. 265 p. (On elements of the tradition stemming from Aristotle’s lost Portrepticus [as reconstructed by Ingemar Düring] reflected in Boethius and Dante, specifically in their ideas on music-poetry, their use of allegory, and their conception of God.)
Bornstein, George. “Yeats’s Romantic Dante.” In Colby Library Quarterly, XV (1979): 93-113.
Examines various aspects of the interest W. B. Yeats had in Dante, whom he saw as the first romantic, while considering himself as the last—the stages (the 1890’s and the years 1915-1925) of this literary relation, his reading of Dante in various nineteenth-century translations, his primary fascination with the role of Dante as the visionary poet in exile, his critical portrait of Dante as the self-image he wished to become. Although Yeats expressed his interest in Dante chiefly in his critical prose, he also adapted Dante’s work in several of his creative works, of which the author singles out for special comment two poems (“The Second Coming” and “Byzantium”) to show Yeats’s difference from Dante and one (“Cuchulain Comforted”) as a sustained effort at a modern Dantesque composition. All Yeats’s poems show his distance from Dante; where Christianity is a unified system of truth for Dante, it is a source of metaphors for Yeats.
Carne-Ross, D. S. Instaurations: Essays in and out of Literature, Pindar to Pound. Berkeley-Los Angeles-London: University of California Press, 1979.
Contains a piece, “Dante Antagonistes” (pp. 116-131), in which he expresses his discomfort as a man of his own historical moment, with the approach by C. S. Singleton and others of seeking to experience the Commedia on its own terms of a recognized absolute truth and thus playing down “the tension between the poem’s horizon and our own.” On the possibility that the poem may even be “trying to say something that could not be said then but was soon to be said and that we, from our perspective, can help it to say,” in other words, to help it point forwards to the future rather than back to established Christian doctrine, the author suggests we direct “hard” questions to Dante’s poem from our contemporary humanitarian, godless point of view, in order to see if it can give answers relevant to us.
Cassell, Anthony, K., “The Tomb, the Tower and the Pit: Dante’s Satan.” In Italica, LVI (1979): 331-351.
Marshalls new insights along with previous exegetical findings in support of his interpretation of Dante’s image of Dis and the Pit of Hell, marking Satan’s own Jerusalem and tomb as a parody of the image of Christ’s Sepulchre as it is figured in multifarious ways—in biblical accounts, pilgrim descriptions, patristic exegesis, iconographical illustration, in liturgical dramas patterned on the decensus ad inferos and visitatio sepulcri. All elements cogently co-ordinate with and reinforce each other to enhance the parallels and antitheses. The author suggestively concludes: “Satan thus not only parodies Christ iconographically, historically, and theologically but, entombed within his tower-gates and immersed in his pozzo, he is an inversion of the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit in the major sacraments of Christianity, the Eucharist and Baptism.”
Cherchi, Paolo. Andrea Cappellano, i trovatori e altri temi romanzi, Roma: Bulzoni Editore, 1979. xi, 224 p. (Biblioteca di cultura, 128.)
Contains a chapter, “Tre note dantesche” (pp. 194-209)—I. Il disdegno di Guido: una proposta; II. Due echi delle Quaestiones naturales nel Paradiso; and III. Pentangulo—Nodo di Salomone—Pentaculo; reprinted respectively, from L’Alighieri, XI (1970), 73-78; idem, XV (1974), 54-55; and Lingua nostra, XXXVIII (1977) 65-67. The first note attributes “cui” in Inferno X, 63, to Beatrice (Dante’s destination) as subject of “ebbe,” with “Guido as object, yielding the sense: to one/her who held your Guido in disdain,” and finds the harshness of Dante’s words here reflecting, contextually the harsh exchange with Farinata. The second suggests two passages in Seneca’s Quaestiones naturales—Praef., 16, and I, 9-10—as more likely sources for Paradiso I, 127-129, and XV, 13-18. The third cites the English “pentangel” along with Solomon’s knot in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (vv. 619-639) in attestation of “pentangulo” in Dante’s Convivio IV, viii, 14, and of the “nodo Salomone” in the tenzone with Forese but finds only one attestation of the combination “pentagonus Salomonis” in further evidence of a hypothesized medieval tradition—in the De Legibus of William of Auvergne. While common in later centuries since the expression may escape earlier attestation because of the clandestine nature of magic terms, in this case that of the pentagonate five-pointed star which can be traced/retraced endlessly by starting at any point on the continuous line forming it.
Cioffari, Vincenzo. “Problems Concerning the Earliest Dante Commentaries.” In Forum Italicum, XIII (1979): 496-505.
Reviews several general and some specific problems of chronology and provenance or derivation pertaining to such commentaries as that of Jacopo di Dante, Graziolo de’ Bambaglioli, Guido da Pisa, the Anonimo, Jacopo della Lana, the Ottimo, and especially (I) No. 5-4-34 in the Capitular y Colombina of Seville, a manuscript of indeterminate authorship (though attributed to a Fr. Guidonem dal Carmino da Firence), dated “Ann. 1393 et 1394,” which is made up largely of passages taken from other commentators like Graziolo de’ Bambaglioli and the Ottimo for example; and (2) the Pluteo 40.2 of the Laurenziana in Florence, completed by Andrea Giusti da Volterra in 1370 and containing many passages from Guido da Pisa. Professor Cioffari is working on an edition of the Inferno of the Seville Ms. 5-4-34 as a reference point for further study. From all this, it is obvious that much work of determination, clarification, and more accurate editing remains to be done on the earliest commentaries.
Cook, William R., and Ronald B. Herzman. “Inferno XXXIII: The Past and the Present in Dante’s Imagery of Betrayal.” In Italica, LVI (1979): 377-383.
Show how in treating the various acts of betrayal by Ruggieri and Ugolino, along with the latter’s cannibalism in eating his own sons in Inferno XXXIII, Dante allusively drew upon many sources, biblical Jeremiah 19:8-9), classical (Ovid, Seneca, Horace), and contemporary-historical (e.g., reports of cannibalism in the famine of 1315-1317), for powerfully synthesizing in this episode the depiction of absolute evil, which in turn poignantly anticipates the archetypal figure of evil at the lowest point of Hell, Satan, in his cannibal attitude of gnawing upon three notorious examples of betrayal, Brutus, Cassius, and Judas.
Dawson, Carl. Victorian Noon: English Literature in 1850. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press, 1979. xv, 268 p. illus.
Contains a chapter on “In Memoriam: The Uses of Dante and Wordsworth” (pp. 36-51), in which links are drawn between Tennyson and Dante through his dear friend Arthur Hallam, a Dante enthusiast, to honor whose death Tennyson wrote In Memoriam. In this poem are noted further links with Dante as well as Wordsworth through such elements associated with all three poets as (I) the journey metaphor, a reflection in their works of “an epos of the soul,” and (2) a “unified poetry,” integrating the self and the times.
Della Terza, Dante. Forma e memoria: saggi e ricerche sulla tradizione letteraria da Dante a Vico. Roma: Bulzoni, 1979. 331 p. (L’analisi letteraria. Proposte e letture critiche, 20.)
Contains four essays of Dantean interest: “Il canto di Brunetto Latini,” pp. 13-39; “I canti del disordinato amore. Osservazioni sulla struttura e lo stile del Purgatorio,” pp. 40-70; “Istanze tradizionali e prospettive di aggiornamento nella critica dantesca,” pp. 71-92; and Tasso e Dante,” pp.148-176. The first essay (see below, under Addenda) is reprinted from Orbis mediaevalis: mélanges de langue et de littérature médiévales offerts à Reto Raduolf Bezzola à l’occasion de son quatre-vingtième anniversaire, edited by Georges Güntert, Marc-Rene Jung, and Kurt Ringger (Berne: Francke Verlag, 1978), pp. 69-88; the second, from Belfagor, XXI (1966), 156-179 (see Dante Studies, LXXXV, 100-101; the third, from Lettere italiane, XXVII (1975), 245-262 (see Dante Studies, XCV, 182); and the fourth, from Belfagor, XXV (1970), 395-418, but originally published in English as “Tasso’s Reading of Dante,” in Dante Studies, LXXXVII (1969) 103-125 (see Dante Studies, LXXXVIII, 182, and XC, 193). The original places of publication are duly indicated in the author’s “Avvertenza.”
Dunlap, Barbara J. “Through a Dark Wood of Criticism: The Rationale and Reception of Dorothy S. Sayers’s Translation of Dante.” In As Her Whimsey Took Her: Critical Essays on the Work of Dorothy L. Sayers, edited by Margaret P. Hannay (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1979), pp. 133-149.
Recounts Sayers’ approach to the translation of Dante’s Commedia and discusses the kinds of reviews, positive and negative, that followed its successive appearance. Despite major criticisms leveled at her, Sayers insisted in attributing to Dante a humorous cast of mind and in employing terza rima for her version. The author takes the “strength and variety of critical response evoked” by Sayers’ translation as testimony to its great power.
Ellis, Stephen Paul. “Dante in Pound’s Early Career.” In Paideuma, VIII, (1979): 549-561.
In a first section, “The importance (expressed chiefly in The Spirit of Romance) of the De vulgari eloquentia,” the author discusses Pound’s critical and technical interest in Dante’s works, but more especially in the De vulgari eloquentia, which he considered as much more important than have the critics, in laying the Provencal and early Tuscan groundwork for the masterpiece, with emphasis on the role of predecessors (but ignoring Virgil!), to the point of blurring his understanding of the Comedy. A second section on “The ‘Image’ in Dante,” follows a Romantic stress on Dante’s ability to present figures and situations that are easily visualized, though Pound, like Foscolo, perceives Dante’s art as more than painterly, indeed sculptural in effect. Pound once even considered Dante’s technique as a process of “seeing” and then “reproducing exactly” his formulation of Imagism—a position that he later transcended as he went on to seek in Dante more than the “Image” as such.
Emerick, Betsy. “Auerbach and Gramsci on Dante: Criticism and Ideology.” In Carte italiane, I (1979-80): 9-22.
Compares the two critics’ readings of Inferno X and argues that while each was conditioned by the political circumstances of personal exile—Auerbach in Istanbul during the war, Gramsci in prison under the Fascist dictatorship—each promoted contrasting views of the role of the literary critic. Auerbach’s methodology is found to be more “evangelistic,” Gramsci’s less motivated by ideological considerations.
Fowlie, Wallace. “Epiphanies in Proust and Dante.” In The Art of the Proustian Novel Reconsidered (Winthrop Studies on Major Modern Writers [from the first Symposium . . . Winthrop College, 1978]), edited by Lawrence D. Joiner (Rock Hill, S.C.: Winthrop College, 1979), pp. 1-9.
Reads in an epiphanic vein two representative sets of parallel episodes on the themes of love and ambition-in-art in Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu (at the end of Le Côté de Guermantes and at the beginning of Sodome et Gomorrhe) and in the cantos of Francesca-Paolo (Inf. V) and Ulysses (Inf. XXVI).
Freccero, John. “Dante’s Medusa: Allegory and Autobiography.” In By Things Seen: Reference and Recognition in Medieval Thought, edited by David L. Jeffrey (Ottowa: University of Ottowa Press, 1979), pp. 33-46.
This essay represents an earlier [!] version of his “Medusa: The Letter and the Spirit,” published in Yearbook of Italian Studies, II (1972), 1-18 (see Dante Studies, XCIII, 249-250).
Giustiniani, Vito R. “Dante e la linguistica medievale e moderna.” In Romanische Forschungen, XCI, Heft 4 (1979), 399-410.
Assembles the various remarks on language scattered in Dante’s works, viz., the Convivio and De vulgari eloquentia, to determine Dante’s linguistic thinking, pointing out where Dante anticipates and departs from modern linguistic thinking. Fundamental is Dante’s distinction between Latin and the vernacular as artificial language (fixed, grammar, literary) and natural (mutable, spontaneous, colloquial), respectively. He intuited that Romance vernaculars derived from a generalized tertium ydioma, or preromanzo, distinct from classical Latin. But it is unjustified to conclude also that at a certain point the spoken vernacular was fixed in a grammar, i.e., in a literary form, and then the grammar remained stable while the vernacular continued to evolve. The author further comments variously on Dante’s linguistic ideas. On why Dante did not dwell on the inventors of grammar, he cites the general practice of authorial anonymity peculiar to the Middle Ages. On the question of how Dante, while his linguistic formulations were acutely and surprisingly modern, nevertheless could not grasp the historical relationship between his tertium ydioma and grammar, the author contends the poet’s understanding of the evolution of spoken language did not carry over into his vision of history as an essentially static process determined by inscrutable Providence. For Dante, grammar was an artificial construct as opposed to natural language, both of which obtained from time immemorial.
Giustiniani, Vito R. “Noterelle grammatiche e volgari.” In Italica, LVI (1979): 369-376.
Examines several of Dante’s notions about language, some of which are remarkably modern (e.g., his understanding of linguistic change over time and space), except that, in keeping with the lack of historical relativism typical of his age, Dante was led to project the bi-lingualism (vernacular and Latin) of his own day backwards to the beginnings of literary culture. This theory envisioned an artificial idiom (i.e., invented by art), Latin, alongside a natural pre-existent vernacular, pre-Romance, and implied a severing of the evolutionary bond between Latin and the derivative Romance languages.
Gombrowicz, Witold. “About Dante.” (Translated [from the Polish] by David Brodsky.) In Literary Review, XXII (1979): 285-300.
An apparently hostile, but very likely only parodic, essay (from a larger diary-like work) by the late Polish writer (1904-1969), attacking Dante for his having poorly [sic] written the Divina Commedia, with suggestions for “improving” the Inferno, for example. (According to the translator’s preface, the poet G. Ungaretti, mistaking its tone, called the piece “pure idiocy.”) Evidently, there is much parody here of the literary scene and other phenomena of contemporary life. Gombrowicz seeks to clear away the accumulated ritualization that stands between him and Dante as a living person, whom he finds only in the all-obtrusive presence of pain.
Guzzardo, John. “The Noble Castle and the Eighth Gate.” In MLN, XCIV (1979): 137-145
Without challenging the standard interpretation of the Noble Castle of Limbo (Inf. IV), the author suggests that the number seven built into its structure points to the very condition of the virtuous pagans denied salvation, that is, a lacking or insufficiency. For with baptism was associated the number eight and the figure of a gate (porta) to salvation. The number built into the Noble Castle’s seven walls with seven gates falls short of eight (baptism) and its seven gates are insufficient to the real gate to the faith. Even the surrounding fiumicello whose waters might also have symbolized baptism reflects a lack—it is, in the poet’s words, like terra dura.
Herzman, Ronald B. (Joint author). “Inferno XXXIII: The Past and the Present in Dante’s Imagery of Betrayal.” See Cook, William R....
Iannucci, Amilcare A. “Beatrice in Limbo: A Metaphoric Harrowing of Hell.” In Dante Studies, XCVII (1979): 23-45.
Contends that the significance of Beatrice goes beyond her transformation in the Vita Nuova from the womanly image of courtly tradition to an analogue of Christ in her appearances in the Divine Comedy, particularly her descent into Hell to commission Virgil as guide for the Wayfarer which Christologically reflects the descensus ad inferos of Scriptural reference (Gospel of Nicodemus) and of common medieval imagery for the Redemption. However, in an original departure from the traditional version of the descent, the poet downplays the parallel with the harrowing of hell with its Christian meaning of relief and release and fulfillment, to emphasize the Limban image of the nobile castello with its suggestion of confinement and melancholy as the lot of the virtuous pagans. With this episode in Limbo Dante nevertheless syncretically maintains the inner meaning of the harrowing motif and similarly celebrates the victory of good over the forces of evil. While there are other echoes of the descent in the poem, Beatrice’s descent into hell is seen to complete the analogy with Christ in His first coming, established in the Vita Nuova, while her appearance to the Wayfarer in Purgatorio XXX-XXXI corresponds to His second coming. “Beatrice’s descent into Limbo reenacts the redemption—Dante’s and thus mankind’s.”
Jenaro-MacLennan, L. “‘Remissus est modus et humilis’ (Epistle to Cangrande, par. 10).” In Lettere Italiane, XXXI (1979): 406-418.
Answers certain criticisms of his earlier position (The Trecento Commentators on the “Divina Commedia” and the Epistle to Cangrande [Oxford 1974]—see Dante Studies, XCIII, 232) on paragraph 10 of the Letter to Cangrande and adduces sources of the passage to clarify the assertion that the language/style in the Commedia is remissus et humilis. Noting that much misunderstanding has come from confusing social status of the characters as well as language-style-tone with the distinction of genres (tragedy, comedy), the author quotes from Horace to stress the unique nature of the “present work” (the Commedia). Vehicles of transmission of Horatian notions about these matters were not only the Excerpta but also scholia of late antiquity on the classics. A reading of Ars poetica 93-96 out of context led to the error of generally reserving the humilis style to comedy. However, in point of fact, a mixture of “styles” (high, low, relaxed, calm, sharp, etc.) was admitted in whatever literary genre even in antiquity, not to mention the medieval (12th century) commentary on the Rhetorica ad Herennium; the determining factor being not the genre, but the characters concerned, their level of social status, even their momentary mood or state of mind. Thus a figure in a tragic work might on occasion speak in a low style, or a character in a comic work in a high style.
Kay, Richard. “Dante’s Razor and Gratian’s D.XV.” In Dante Studies, XCVII (1979): 65-95
Offers a solution to Dante’s riddle of the cinquecento diece e cinque in Purgatorio XXXIII by construing the numbers in their conventional Roman form and as a standard reference in Dante’s time to a distinctio in the first part of Gratian’s canonistic collection, Decretum, viz., Distinctio quindecim, or D.XV. This then would be the “razor” or instrument for drawing distinctions, as for example, in the Monarchia where Dante derives the emperors authority directly from God, not indirectly through the pope, by excluding cutting off, from the arena the intellectually blind Decreta lists in favor of the true auctoritates, Holy Scripture, the councils, and the fathers of the Church. Gratian’s D.XV gave Dante the basis for arguing against the extreme claims for papal authority made by the Decretalists and the popes themselves. Professor Kay goes on to show how Dante’s “razor” (the hierarchy of divinely inspired scriptures referred to by Gratians D.XV) can slay the thievish and dissolute whore and the giant who abuses her in Purgatorio, XXXIII, 37-51. Through the Glossa ordinaria the whore is identified as the harlot Heresy and through Scriptural references the giant as an image of the Antichrist yet also an analogue of God in his capacity as flagellator who chastens his people, but acting as the “vicar of Christ” and “vicar of God.” He is therefore to be identified with the pope but exceeding his jurisdiction to the point of hobnobbing with Heresy, in this case, a papacy that operated, according to Dante, on the claim of a heretical plenitudo potestatis. By using his razor to exclude the authority of the decretals, Dante saw that Gratian’s D.XV could slay such a giant in love with such a whore.
Kelly, Craig. “Law, Justice and Providence in Paradiso VI.” In Carte italiane, I (1979-80): 1-8.
Argues that the interpretation of the concepts of divine and terrestrial justice, hinted at in the closing lines of the Monarchia, is fully developed in Paradiso VI.
Lowell, Robert. “Epics (The Conclusion of ‘New England and Further’).” In Robert Lowell: A Tribute (Profili e studi di letteratura inglese e americana, 1), edited by Rolando Anzilotti (Pisa: Nistri-Lischi Editori, 1979), pp. 11-19.
Contains some interesting remarks by the recent contemporary poet on Dante’s Commedia in the context of a brief discussion of several leading epics of Western literature.
Marcus, Millicent Joy. An Allegory of Form: Literary Self-Consciousness in the “Decameron.” [Saratoga, Calif.:] ANMA Libri, 1979, vi, 136 p. (Stanford French and Italian Studies, 18.)
Includes ample reference to Dante as a foil against which to measure Boccaccio’s radical departure from the traditional moral, didactic orientation of literature. Whereas Dante kept constantly in mind the divine truth and allowed the possible transcendent meaning of the human word, Boccaccio, despite his respect and admiration for Dante, seriously questions man’s pretensions to divine truth, warns against “the dangers of absolute faith in human utterance,” and liberates narrative fiction as a legitimate form in itself, not subordinated to a rigid didacticism, but containing its own implicit moral edification/justification.
Masciandaro, Franco. “Appunti sulla corda di Gerione e la cintura-serpente della dialettica.” In Revue des études italiennes, XXV (1979): 259-271.
Reviews the episode of the cord and Geryon in Inferno XVI, along with that of the lonza in Inferno I, noting in particular the serpentine imagery associated with the cord as well as with the figure of Geryon and citing medieval iconography of the Liberal Arts in which Rhetoric appears as a goddess carrying a serpent or wearing it as a belt; and concludes that the cord figures the deceptive involutions of philosophical disputations with which human reason gets snarled when it is narcissistically complacent about its own powers and so is in essence a corda-serpente, a false image of the “cord of humility” with which Virgil later girds the Pilgrim on the shore of Purgatory.
Mastrobuono, Antonio C. Essays on Dante’s Philosophy of History. Firenze: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1979. 195 p. (Biblioteca dell’ “Archivum Romanicum. Serie I. Storia-Letteratura-Paleografia, Vol. 136.)
Traces “some essential aspects of Dante’s development of ideas on history from the minor works, Convivio and Monarchy, to the major work of the Comedy.” In the latter, considered according to the allegory of theologians, the author focuses on the Prologue Scene and the Ante-Purgatory as providing essential keys to understanding Dante’s “Theology of History” and interprets these two segments of the poem in the light of the drama of redemption as a unifying principle. The basis of the study is analogy as both the principle of medieval philosophy and the canon of medieval ar followed by a Christian poet like Dante. Contents: I. From a Digression to a Treatise; II. Analogical Contemporaneity in the Prologue Scene; III. From Vespers to Dawn; also a Preface and an Index.
Mazzotta, Giuseppe. Dante, Poet of the Desert: History and Allegory in the Divine Comedy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979. xv, 343 p.
Probing Dante’s complex sense of universal history and the way it in heres at the heart of the Divine Comedy, the author focuses on three interrelated matters: the structure and language of history, the relationship between history and literary language, and the question of allegory and the ambiguities or better the historicity, of interpretation. He finds that the story of Exodus informs the poems structure, that Dante’s sense of history inspired in him a poetics of exile, and that the poet was thus led to apply the metaphor of the desert in his concept of history and in the composition of his poem. Contents: 1. Opus Restaurationis; 2. Rhetoric and History; 3. Communitas and Its Typological Structure; 4. Vergil and Augustine; 5. Literary History; 6. Allegory: Poetics of the Desert: 7. The Language of Faith: Messengers and Idols. The work comes equipped with a Preface, Acknowledgements, Notes on Dante’s Texts, Abbreviations, and Introduction: also, an Appendix and Index. Acknowledgement is duly given of previously printed versions of chapters 2 and 5 respectively, as “Poetics of History: Inferno XXVI,” published in Diacritics, V, no. 2 (Summer 1975) 37-44 (see Dante Studies, XCVI, 248), and “Dante’s Literary Typology,” published in Modern Language Notes, LXXXVII (1972), 1-19 (see Dante Studies, XCI, 173-174).
Montgomery, Robert L. The Reader’s Eye: Studies in Didactic Literary Theory from Dante to Tasso. Berkeley-Los Angeles-London: University of California Press, 1979. vii, 235 p.
Contains a long chapter on “Dante’s Esthetic of Grace and the Reader’s Imagination” (pp. 50-92) and further reference to Dante passim. In the context of the book’s general thesis dealing with “a kind of didactic theory which seeks to explain or defend the value of fiction primarily in terms of the ends it gains in the mind of the reader and ultimately in his moral behavior, the author examines the work of Dante, Fracastoro, Daniele Barbaro, Sidney, and Tasso, emphasizing that historically the ends of didactic criticism “are seldom made explicit or demonstrated with the thoroughness shown by Dante and his successors.” The author focuses on texts involving a developed psychology of audience response and highlights the influence of fiction and fictive images on the passions, imagination, intellect and will. In the chapter on Dante, passages in the Vita Nuova and Purgatorio are examined as best testifying to the poet’s experience of the affective and reformative powers of art. Dante’s poetic, being dependent on doctrines of grace and inspiration, is seen to vary therefore from the more secular thinking of later critics.
O’Brien, William J. “‘The Bread of Angels’ in Paradiso II: A Liturgical Note.” In Dante Studies, XCVII (1979): 97-106.
Contends that the reference to the “pan de li angeli” in the opening of what C. S. Singleton has called the poem’s most remarkable address to the reader was prompted by the Easter communion. The liturgical origin of the expression is confirmed by the pericope in Purgatorio XXXI, 76-81 and 118-129, where the penitent pilgrim stands before Beatrice undergoing a traumatic but life-transforming experience through the forgiving love imaged in her eyes. Few are those of the intellectual elite or the simple faithful who come through the Easter liturgy of communion prepared “to eat of the bread of the angels.” This liturgical reading of the address to the reader suggested as complementing the Singleton interpretation, preserves the unity of poet and pilgrim, the integrity of sapientia and charity, and the intimate relation of art and life.
Paasonen, Aino Anna-Maria. “Dante’s ‘Firm Foot’ and Guittone d’Arezzo.” In Romance Philology, XXXIII (1979): 312-317.
Building on John Freccero’s study, “Dante’s Firm Foot and the Journey without a Guide” (Harvard Theological Review, LII , 245-281; see 78th Report, 29-30), the author offers a letter by Guittone as a likely source for the foot imagery in Inferno I, 28-30, and for the spiritual orientation of the pilgrim’s journey initiated in the opening scene of the poem. The same Guittonian source seems to obtain in Inferno XXXIV, 82-84 and 100-102, and in Purgatorio XXX, 130-132.
Paolucci, Anne, and Henry Paolucci. “Dante and the ‘Quest for Eloquence’ in India’s Vernacular Languages.” In Review of National Literatures, X (1979): 70-144.
Present an account of India’s version of the questione della lingua as considered historically and theoretically by various key figures and their reasoning with respect to choice of a literary or national language vis-a-vis Sanskrit and find several parallels with the similar situation in Italy as treated by Dante in the De vulgari eloquentia. The study is cast in four subdivisions: 1. The Sanskrit Revival: From Comparative Linguistics to Classical Nostalgia; 2. Bengali’s Development on the Latin-Italian Model; 3. Ghandi and the Linguistic Surveys of Dante, Grierson, and S. K. Chatterji; and 4. Conclusion: Literary India Today.
Paolucci, Henry (Joint author). “Dante and the ‘Quest for Eloquence’ in India’s Vernacular Languages.” See Paolucci, Anne....
Paustian, P. Robert. “Dante’s Conception of the Genetic Relationship of European Languages.” In Neophilologus, LXIII (1979): 173-178.
Contends that, while not all Dante’s claims of originality in the De vulgari eloquentia (esp. chaps. VI-X) are valid, his account of the genetic relationship of many European languages and his ideas about the inevitability of linguistic change through temporal and geographic separation are new and quite modern indeed, in fact elaborated and improved upon only much later.
Pellegrini, Anthony L. “American Dante Bibliography for 1978.” In Dante Studies, XCVII (1979): 167-192.
With brief analyses.
Perella, Nicolas J. Midday in Italian Literature: Variations on an Archetypal Theme. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979. x, 336 p.
The opening chapter, “From Dante to Pindemonte,” contains a brief discussion of Dante’s use of the midday topos in its medieval Christological significance, before it became desacralized in its later literary treatment. There is further Dantean reference, passim, in the course of the book. Indexed.
Pertile, Lino. “Dante e l’ingegno di Ulisse.” In Stanford Italian Review, I, No. 1 (Spring 1979): 35-65.
Presents a reading of many aspects of the Ulysses episode (Inf. XXVI), offering fresh interpretations and resolutions of cruxes and relating the episode to the larger context of the Commedia. Some of the points addressed are the parallel between the “prologue” to the episode (vv. 19-24) and Ovid’s Metamorphoses XIII, 135-139; the notion of furto (v. 41) of Ulysses’ flame also associated with an Ovidian passage (Met. XIII, 14-15 and 31-32, 103-106, and 110-111) and the idea that Ulysses’ sin is not so much fraud as an abuse of naturally endowed talent; the motif of silence in the episode imposed by enclosure in flames, to be broken only with increase of pain when prompted to speak (which explains vv. 23-24 of Inf. XXVII); the contrast between Ulysses’ eloquence in abuse of talent (ingegno) in life and the painfully imposed muteness now in Hell, which in turn parallel the painful contrast between his unlimited search/quest for knowledge on earth and the eternal awareness of ignorance, with all kinds of harassing unanswered questions, now in Hell; the parallel between Dante-wayfarer in the poem (and humanity) and Ulysses in his last voyage, the latter exceeding prudent limits without grace and the former questing successfully with grace (though only in poetic imagination!); other allusive instances of ingegno used by Dante in the Commedia and their relation to the Ulysses episode such as to constitute a motif in the poem. The various complexities of the Ulysses canto addressed here, including the poet’s evident identification of the Wayfarer (and humanity) with the Ulysses figure, explain the fascination of the much debated episode.
Peterson, Mark A. “Dante and the 3-Sphere.” In American Journal of Physics, XLVII, No. 12 (Dec. 1979), 1031-1035.
Finds in Dante a “stunning” explanation of his universe in Paradiso XXVIII, which perfectly describes the “three-sphere” concept of modem cosmology based on Einstein’s closed universe. The author provides a mathematical explanation (with diagrams) of the “three-sphere,” and remarks how the poet gropes “for a language to express an idea conceived intuitively and nonverbally, and in doing so actually gives in essence all three of our mathematical constructions.” Although his tour de force went unnoticed, or not understood, and so had no effect on cosmological thinking, Dante had expressed something entirely new, even to supplying the factor of the fourth dimension speed of revolution, in order to solve the problem of the relationship between the two semi-universes, the physical spheres and the angelic. Even Dante’s use of the term, “depende” (Par. XXVIII, 42) was a stroke of genius for rendering the perfect metaphor to fit his conception.
Petronella, Vincent F. “Regal Duality and Everyman: Dante to Shakespeare.” In The Humanities Association Review. . ., XXX, No. 3 (Summer 1979): 131-146.
Surveys the literary/iconographic treatment of the concept of the king’s two bodies by Dante in the De Monarchia and Purgatorio, English morality plays such as Pride of Life and Wisdom, the Wilton Diptych (England’s Richard III), and Shakespeare’s depiction of the latter king. The concept embraced Christ, King. and man as Personal Human Body (body and soul) together with Mystical Body, Body-Politic, and Everyman, respectively, with the duality idea making all three kin. Dante’s exploration of the problem in the De Monarchia leads to the conclusion that the Monarch-of-All-Nations must be an everyman figure, while his treatment at the top of Purgatory stresses the possibility for every “clean soul” to be coronated as a “king” over himself.
Picchio Simonelli, Maria. “L’Inquisizione e Dante: alcune osservazioni.” In Dante Studies, XCVII (1979): 129-149.
Recalls that the worst period of the Inquisition (established in 1184 under Pope Lucius III) overlaps Dante’s lifetime, yet literary scholars have largely passed over it in silence, ignoring its possible negative effects on writers they study. The author reviews the terror of the Inquisitorial processes, the political implications (e.g., any Ghibelline could be indicted for heresy), and the risks faced by even faithful Christian poets like Dante who addressed matters of religion or the Church or used allegory. In the hypersensitive contemporary ambience Dante himself had to exercise extreme care to escape the indictment of heresy. Although poetry was held in low esteem, particularly poetry in the vernacular, Dante himself, for example, dared not claim literally to represent the afterlife, with the intention to employ the allegory of theologians, and so we find him explaining in Epistola XIII that his poem is “poetic and fictive.” We then find Piero di Dante in the prologue of his commentary to the Commedia defending his father in similar vein, in order to spare him the wrath of the Inquisition post mortem. Cecco d’Ascoli was less fortunate when in open polemic against Dante he launched at the end of Book IV of L’Acerba into a passage declaring “qui non si canta al modo del poeta / che finge, immaginando, cose vane.” The author concludes that Cecco was perhaps technically right about Dante’s using the allegory of poets. The evidence, in short, seems to Support the view that Dante used the allegory of poets in the Commedia.
Picone, Michelangelo. “I trovatori di Dante: Bertran de Born.” In Studi e problemi di critica testuale, XIX (Oct. 1979): 71-94.
Seeks to explain the change from Dante’s favorable opinion of Bertran de Born in the De vulgari eloquentia as model poet of salus or armorum probitas and in the Convivio as exponent of liberality, to his later condemnation of him as sower of discord in the Commedia (Inf. XXVIII). Analysis of Bertran’s poetry evidently led Dante at first to associate with it the highest level attainable by the vegetative soul in man. With a deepening of his philosophical and spiritual thought, Dante saw the limitations for human fulfillment and ultimate happiness in this life and radically revised his system of former models, and with this came the revaluation of Bertran. The author reinforces the final condemnation of Bertran by marshalling evidence of Dantean parody of his exaltation of the panoply and excitement of battle, and by pointing out how Dante has echoed much of the hacking and gore sung by Bertran in Canto XXVIII before presenting the figure of Bertran himself at the end. Bertran was a master of words, which should be used to foster communication and unity among men, but which he treacherously bent to the opposite purpose.
Picone, Michelangelo. “Vita Nuova” e tradizione romanza. Padova: Liviana Editrice, 1979. vii, 203 p. (“Ydioma Tripharium,” Collana di studi e saggi di filologia romanza diretta da Alberto Limentani, No. 5.)
Examines the medieval search for the ultimate Meaning (God) of love as the central theme of Christian culture, love as the necessary way by which the mind can reach the realm of eternal truth and satisfy its thirst for the infinite The author treats of Dante’s relationship to the various manifestations of this whole universe of love in the Romance tradition from the Troubadours to the Roman de la Rose, Guinizelli, and Cavalcanti and shows how Dante synthesizes all the prior elements in the Vita Nuova qualifying himself as a poeta and achieving the “privilege” of undertaking the ultimate itinerarium of the Divina Commedia. Contents: I. Lingua e poesia; II. La tradizione romanza; III. Dalla Pastorella alle donne dello schermo; IV. Per l’interpretazione del “gabbo”; V. Peregrinus amoris: la metafora finale; Bibliografia dei testi siglati; Indici analitici. (Parts of Chapter II represent adaptations from three previously published articles, as is duly indicated on page 27 n.)
Pollock, John J. “Dante and Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods.’” In Notes on Contemporary Literature, IX, No. 2 (1979): 5.
Suggests there is a Dantean echo integral to Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods . . . ,” in the parallel with the dark wood and the frozen lake of the Inferno, with a further moral implication common to both works.
Prampolini, Gaetano. “Robert Lowell’s Dante.” In Robert Lowell: A Profile (Profili e studi di letterature inglese e americana, 1), edited by Rolando Anzilotti (Pisa: Nistri-Lischi Editori, 1979), pp. 90-134.
Examines Lowell’s poetry and Dantean translations to determine the nature of Dante’s presence in his work and to assess the role Dante played in Lowell’s poetic and intellectual development. From this analysis it emerges that (1) where Dante is concerned Lowell, like T. S. Eliot, had clear in his mind the distinction between the spiritual content or religious feeling and the artistic form or requirements of poetry; and that (2) beyond the determinable elements of direct influence, of echoes, borrowings, and imitations, there can be a more important debt, as Eliot warned. For Lowell Dante was the exemplary figure of the poet, for whom both life and poetics contributed to a moral and cognitive ascent; like Dante, Lowell sought on Dante’s model to make of his own work a unitary, structured organism.
Quinones, Ricardo J. Dante Alighieri. Boston: Twayne Publishers, A Division of G. K. Hall and Co., 1979. 212 p. illus., front. (Twayne’s World Authors Series, “A Survey of the World’s Literature,” TWAS 563.)
Presents a comprehensive introduction to the life and works of Dante, focusing on the Divina Commedia in the context of the poet’s “changeful public career and as the product of his evolving thought and poetic practice.” Contents: 1. Early Life and the Vita Nuova; 2. La Donna Gentile: Dante’s Philosophical Growth and the Canzoni; 3. Peregrino, quasi mendicando: Exile, the Convivio, and De Vulgari Eloquentia; 4. The Five-Year Drama of Henry VII: Dante’s De Monarchia and the Political Epistles; 5. Commedia Inferno; 6. Commedia: Purgatorio; 7. Commedia: Paradiso; 8. Conclusion. The work comes with a Preface, Acknowledgments, chronology Notes and References, Selected Bibliography, and Index.
Quilligan, Maureen. The Language of Allegory: Defining the Genre. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1979. 305 p.
Within her thesis the author discusses at some length Dante’s narrative allegory in the Commedia as based on the biblical and Virgilian contexts, characterizing its structure as typologically historical, and compares and contrasts Dante’s allegory particularly with Spenser’s in the Faerie Queene, which lacks historicity and is based on personification. There are further references to Dante, passim. Contents: Foreword: Defining the Genre; 1. The Text; 2. Pretext; 3 The Context; 4. The Reader; Afterword: Origins and Ends; Bibliography; Index.
Quinones, Ricardo J. “The Two Dantes.” In Dante Studies, XCVII (1979): 157-165.
Review-article on Kenelm Foster, The Two Dantes and Other Studies (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1977). (See Dante Studies, XCVI, 221-222, and XCVII, 179.)
Reynolds, Barbara. “Dorothy L. Sayers, Interpreter of Dante.” In As Her Whimsey Took Her: Critical Essays on the Work of Dorothy L. Sayers, edited by Margaret P. Hannay (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1979), pp. 13-132.
Recounts, from several essays of Sayers and private correspondence, the circumstances of her coming to Dante when she had recently published The Mind of the Maker (1941) on the Trinity of creation, had just read Charles Williams’ The Figure of Beatrice (1943), and found herself in the crisis of a war-time situation. It was a moment when, having reached a peak of intellectual maturity, her thinking ran to concepts belonging to the same universe as Dante’s. Of further note, the author points out that, departing from established Dante criticism, Sayers considered the Earthly Paradise not a point of arrival but of new departure; she found the perfection of the active life figured in Dante’s Celestial Paradise.
Russo, Vittorio. “Pg. XXIII: Forese, o la maschera del discorso.” In MLN, XCIV (1979): 113-136.
Cites moves in recent criticism to approach the Commedia in novelistic terms, stressing the narrative character of the poem and proving the inadequacy of the label “comedy.” This opens possibilities for analyzing Dante’s work as a theological-political novel (pace Croce). The Forese episode specifically (in Purg. XXIII) is examined for its multiple meanings through an analysis of narrative, lexical, and stylistic elements together with echoes of the former relationship between Dante and Forese, with the effect of preparing in the immediate context for the Bonagiunta episode to follow. The analysis suggests structural and thematic parallels with the Brunetto Latini episode (Inf. XV) and stylistic parallels with the comic-realistic mode of the harsh rimes of Inferno XXXII as well as the tenzone with Forese. The resultant linguistic and stylistic texture of the canto is thus seen as enhancing the substantive significance of the episode with respect to the narrative function of Forese as a “novelistic” character, and at the same time, though recall of the tenzone, reflecting Dante’s repudiation and transcendence of the excessive moment of the tenzone and marking his ethical development as protagonist in the Commedia.
Samek-Ludovici, Sergio. Dante’s Divine Comedy: 15th-Century Manuscript. Commentarios on the Miniatures . . . Narration by Nino Ravenna. Translated by Peter J. Tallon. [New York:] Crescent Books, Distributed by Crown Publications, Inc., 1979. 123 p. many illus. in color. (At the head of the title: “Illuminated Manuscripts.”)
“Publication of miniatures contained in the most beautiful manuscript of the Divine Comedy, kept at the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana of Venice” The manuscript is Cod. It. IX, 276 (=6902), from which miniatures are here reproduced with commentaries and connective narrative. The book bears the legend: “First English edition published by Productions Liber S.A. and Editions Minerva S.A., Fribourg-Genève.”
Seung, T. K. “The Epic Character of the Divina Commedia and the function of Dante’s Three Guides.” In Italica, LVI (1979): 352-368.
Against the common tendency to consider Dante’s poem as man-centered (out of the man-centered vision of the Renaissance), with Dante-wayfarer as the (non-epic) hero of his own epic, and to consider the poem as a human comedy and its central theme as Dante’s epic journey to spiritual salvation, the author contends that the poem is strictly God-centered, with the Holy Trinity as its epic hero, Dante’s journey being merely a means of allegorically portraying the majestic actions of that divine hero. To interpret the Letter to Can Grande as supporting, a man-centered reading of the Commedia is, according to Professor Seung, to impute to Dante the very serious Pelagian heresy, which claims for man complete freedom to do good and evil and determine his own eventual reward and punishment after death. He stresses that Dante-wayfarer represents, not the figure of a self-reliant Renaissance individual, but rather quite a helpless figure dependent upon grace through the three guides provided him along the poetic journey. It is instructive to compare Dante-wayfarer with Odysseus and Aeneas in their respective heroic tales, in which they are allowed freedom of action with only rare interference by their divine guardians, Athena and Venus. In the case of the helpless Dante-wayfarer, there is a mixture of the Odysseus-Athena and the Aeneas-Venus relations, but his three guides are present to him throughout the journey in a “dual relation of immediate presence and separate identity,” thus reflecting “the nature of grace, which is administered through the three guides.” This does not allow Dante to attain classic epic stature, nor to have mastery of person and autonomy of action, but only to play the humble role of a powerless and helpless agent, a role, however, associated with the primary virtue, humility, of the good Christian.
Shapiro, Marianne. “Figurality in the Vita Nuova: Dante’s New Rhetoric.” In Dante Studies, XCVII (1979): 107-127.
Taking a semiotic approach to Dante’s libello, the author seeks to clarify its rhetoric by analyzing the precise transformation of the poet’s style as he successfully moves from imaginative apparitions to a mirabile visione, thanks to his internalization of Love and overcoming the disappearance of Beatrice’s physical presence as referent. It is Dante’s shift from the common rhetorical figure of metonymy to that of metaphor that plays a intimate part in the whole process through which he achieves the figurality associated with his allegory of theologians, widely recognized as inhering in the Divina Commedia and even perceived in the Vita Nuova as well. This analysis details the theoretical and material stages of the rhetorical innovation Dante achieved in the latter, which consummates the divine analogue of Love and the analogue of Beatrice as Christ, the key being the figural meaning made possible by the poet-lover’s new rhetoric after his self-liberation from the dominance of concrete referentiality. Better focus on the trope development marked by the Vita Nuova can lead to better understanding of Dante’s unique new poetics.
Singleton, Charles S. Saggio sulla “Vita Nuova.” Bologna: Il Mulino, 1979. 65 p. (“Saggi,” 79.)
A further printing of the original Italian edition (1968) to accompany the publication of his La poesia della Divina Commedia (1978) as its “ideal preface.” (See Dante Studies, XCVII, 175-176.)
Sowell, Madison U. “Carlo D’Aquino: First Compiler of the Commedia’s Similes.” In Italica, LVI (1979): 384-393.
Describes Carlo D’Aquino’s little-known work, Le similitudini della Commedia di Dante Alighieri trasportate verso per verso in Lingua Latina (1707), remarking its firstness and its evidence of a renewed cult of Dante already in the eighteenth century. Notable are the reasons D’Aquino gives in his introduction for the beauty and importance of the similes in Dante’s poem: their singular variety, suggesting the “book of the universe,” their painterly force of representation, and their sheer number (c. 500), unique among great poems. Creature of the Baroque, moreover, the compiler interestingly includes only the minor term, the comparandum, of each simile, patently for its ornamental value.
Took, John. “Towards an Interpretation of the Fiore.” In Speculum, LIV (1979): 500-527.
Against the censorious interpretation of the Roman de la Rose launched by Christine de Pisan and others at the turn of the fourteenth century, the author cites the corrective of recent American critics, who “have construed the poem not as a piece of bourgeois irreverence, but as the critique of a specific conception of love . . . [i.e., Ovidian, as proclaimed by Amors in the first part of the poem] conducted (a) in the light of an orthodox Augustinian-Boethian conscience, and (b), decisive for the general intonation of the work, in an ironic and parodistic mood.” The Roman is therefore seen as an analysis of the ambiguity implicit in the term “amor” and the experience represented by it, and thus as the allegory, in Dante’s words, of the “picketer carnal,/ che la ragion sommettono al talento,” which on principle presupposes the medieval conception of human rationality and the subordination of the sensitive appetite to it. The key figure of Fauxsemblant, identified with the Antichrist’s disciples, supports the antithesis, at the core of both the Roman and the Fiore, between “caritas” and “cupiditas.” Professor Took seeks to demonstrate the relevance of the new interpretation of the Roman for the Fiore, which he goes on to read in close relation to the Roman. The latter, interestingly, was cited as early as the turn of the fourteenth century as critical to the genesis of the Divina Commedia. In the anticipated echoes in the Inferno and the parodic-ironic conception of love expounded by Ragione in the Fiore, involving the systematic subordination of the discriminatory faculty to the sensitive, is seen a negative “premise both for the Vita Nuova, with its radical redefinition of love as a new affective and cognitive experience, and for the more distant Inferno, with its more complex analysis of spiritual confusion.”
Vanasco, Rocco. “L’architettura dell sestina dantesca.” In Studi e problemi di critica testuale, No. 18 (1979): 109-119.
Presents a descriptive analysis of the metric structure of Dante’s sestina, Al poco giorno, noting how it differs from the archetype by Arnaut Daniel and represents the perfection of the genre.
Werge, Thomas. “The Race to Death and the Race for Salvation in Dante’s Commedia.” In Dante Studies, XCVII (1979): 1-21.
Demonstrates the many ways in which Dante’s Commedia reflects the movement of life as a correre or race, which is a common biblical image that recurs in medieval hermeneutics, particularly in the works of St. Augustine. Without divine grace, life’s running is but in malo as typified by the Inferno, where the act of running is but a parody of the holy race of Pauline vision; with God’s word and Christs’s example, it is in bono, leading to the salvific end as dramatized through images of running and haste in the Purgatorio and Paradiso. The distinction is of course related to the larger image of life’s journey by homo viator informing Dante’s poem.
Whitehead, Oliver Henry. “Teleology and the Function of Discourse in the Epics of Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Others.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXIX (1979), 4229A.
Doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto, 1978.
Dante’s “Rime.” Translated by Patrick Sidney Diehl. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979. (See above, under Translations.) Reviewed by:
Marilyn Schneider, in Library Journal, CIV (Sept. 1, 1979) 1703.
Cairns, Christopher. Italian Literature: The Dominant Themes. London-Vancouver: David and Charles; New York: Barnes and Noble, 1977. (See Dante Studies, XCVI, 216.) Reviewed by:
Richard H. Lansing, in Italica, LVI (1979), 301-303;
I.A. Richards, in Italian Studies, XXXIV (1979), 133-135.
Cardini, Roberto. La critica del Landino. Firenze: Sansoni Editore, 1973. (On the fiftheenth-century Humanist who was also a commentator on Dante’s Poem.) Reviewed by:
Danilo Aguzzi-Barbagli, in Italica, LVI (1979), 60-64.
Contini, Gianfranco. Un’idea di Dante. Torino: Einaudi, 1976. (Collection of the author’s well-known Dantean essays of the past forty years.) Reviewed by:
Rinaldina Russell, in Forum Italicum, XIII (1979), 116-121.
Cope, Jackson I. The Theater and the Dream: From Metaphor to Form in Renaissance Drama. Baltimore and London: Theater of the Dream: Dante’s Commedia, Jonson’s Satirist, and Shakespeare’s Sage.” (See Dante Studies, XCII, 183, XCIII, 245-246, XCIV, 183, and XCV, 177.) Reviewed by:
William Dean, in Renaissance and Reformation, N.S., III (1979), 95-98.
Dante Commentaries: Eight Studies of the Divine Comedy. Edited by David Nolan. Dublin: Irish Academic Press; Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1977. (See Dante Studies, XCVI, 219.) Reviewed by:
Lawrence V. Ryan, in Italica, LVI (1979), 405-407.
Di Girolamo, Constanzo. Teoria e prassi della versificazione italiana. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1976. (Based largely on illustrations from Dante’s poetry.) Reviewed by:
Anna Laura Lepschy, in MLN, XCIV (1979), 166-171.
Fallani, Giovanni. Dante autobiografico. Napoli: Società Editrice Napoletana, 1975. (Studi e testi di letteratura italiana, III.) Reviewed by:
Rinaldina Russell, in Forum Italicum, XIII (1979), 125-128.
Fergusson, Francis. Trope and Allegory: Themes Common to Dante and Shakespeare. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1977. (See Dante Studies, XCVI, 221 and XCVII 179 and 191.) Reviewed by:
Michael Murrin, in English Language Notes, XVI (1979), 324-325.
Ferrante, Joan M. Woman as Image in Medieval Literature, from Twelfth Century to Dante. New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1975. (See Dante Studies, XCIV, 164, XCVI, 239, and XCVII, 191.) Reviewed by:
William Calin, in Comparative Literature, XXXI (1979), 319-320.
Fido, Franco. Le metamorfosi del Centauro: studi e letture da Boccaccio a Pirandello. Roma: Bulzoni Editore, 1977. Contains an essay, “Dante, personaggio mancato del Decameron. (See Dante Studies, XCVIII, 182). Reviewed by:
Janet Levarie Smarr, in Forum Italicum, XIII (1979), 180-181.
Foster, Kenelm. The Two Dantes and Other Studies. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1977. (Same as the American edition-Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1977. See Dante Studies, XCVI 221-222, and XCVII, 157-165, 179, and 185.) Reviewed by:
Colin Hardie, in Medium Aevum, XLVIII (1979), 302-306;
Philip McNair, in Italian Studies, XXXIV (1979), 138-140.
Frankel, Margherita. Le Code dantesque dans l’oeuvre de Rimbaud. Paris: Editions A.-G. Nizet, 1975. (See Dante Studies, XCVI, 245.) Reviewed by:
Claudette Asselin, in Italica, LVI (1979), 410-413.
Kirkpatrick, Robin. Dante’s “Paradiso” and the Limitations of Modern Criticism: A Study of Style and Poetic Theory. Cambridge, England; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978. (See below, under Addenda.) Reviewed by:
[Anon.], in Choice XVI (April, 1979), 229.
Lansing, Richard H. From Image to Idea. A Study of the Simile in Dante’s “Commedia.” Ravenna: Longo Editore, 1977. (See Dante Studies, XCVI, 227.) Reviewed by:
Madison U. Sowell, in Speculum, LIV (1979), 164-166.
Masciandaro, Franco. La problematica del tempo nella “Commedia.” Ravenna: Longo Editore, 1976. (See Dante Studies, XCV, 168-169.) Reviewed by:
Susan Noakes, in Italica, LVI (1979), 407-409.
Mazzotta, Giuseppe. Dante, Poet of the Desert: History and Allegory in the Divine Comedy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979. (See Dante Studies, XCVIII, 168-169.) Reviewed by:
[Anon.], in Library Journal, CIV (August 1979), 1567.
Perella, Nicolas J. Midday in Italian Literature: Variations on an Archetypal Theme. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979. (See above, under Studies.) Reviewed by:
Glauco Cambon, in Forum Italicum, XIII (1979), 524-527.
Ramat, Raffaello. Il mito di Firenze e altri saggi danteschi. Firenze-Messina: G. D’Anna, 1976. (Contains seven essays—three on the Cacciaguida episode in Par. XVI, and four, respectively, on Inferno XX and XXXIII, Purgatorio XI, and Paradiso XXI.) Reviewed by:
Lawrence Baldassaro, in Forum Italicum, XIII (1979), 524-527.
Scorrano, Luigi. Modi e esempi di dantismo novecentesco. Lecce: Adriatica Editrice Salentina, 1976. Reviewed by:
Arshi Pipa, in Italica, LVI (1979), 413-418.
Scott, John A. Dante magnanimo: studi sulla Commedia. Firenze: Leo S. Olschki, 1977. Reviewed by:
Nicholas J. Perella, in Forum Italicum, XIII (1979), 527-535.
Seung, T. K. Cultural Thematics: The Formation of the Faustian Ethos. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1976. (See Dante Studies. XCV, 173- 174, and XCVII, 181.) Reviewed by:
Gustavo Costa, in Romance Philology, XXXII (February, 1979), 381-383;
Frank J. Warnke, in Renaissance Quarterly, XXXII (1979), 412-416.
Singleton, Charles S. La poesia della “Divina Commedia.” Bologna: Società Editrice Il Mulino, 1978. (See Dante Studies, XCVII, 175-176.) Reviewed by:
Vittore Branca, in Corriere della sera (Milano), 8 luglio 1979, p. 3;
Franco Brioschi, in L’unità (Roma), 30 aprile 1979;
Francesco Bruni, in Il mattino (Napoli), 18 aprile 1979;
Flavio Cattenazzi, in Corriere del Ticino. Cultura (Lugano), XI, No. 2 (1979), 219;
Domenico De Robertis, in Il tempo, XXXV, No. 49 (20 febbraio 1979);
Stefano Gensini, in Paesc sera (Roma), 14 aprile 1979;
Giorgio Petrocchi, in Avvenire (Milano), 13 maggio 1979.
Steiner, George. On Difficulty and Other Essays. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Contains his review-article, “Dante Now: The Gossip of Eternity” (see Dante Studies, XCVIII, 187, and XCVI, 251.) Reviewed by:
Patrick Colm Hogan, in Comparative Literature Studies, XVI (1979), 272-274;
David H. Stewart, in Western Humanities Review, XXXIII (Autumn 1979), 356-359.
Versions of Medieval Comedy. Edited and with an introduction by Paul G. Ruggiers. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977. (Contains Howard H. Schless, “Dante: Comedy and Conversion,” pp. 135-149.) Reviewed by:
Joan M. Ferrante, in Western Humanities Review, XXXIII (1979), 87-89.
Weatherby, Harold L. The Keen Delight: The Christian Poet in the Modern World. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1975. (Contains a chapter on Dante, “The Scale of the Comedy,” pp. 6-26, and further references to Dante, passim.) Reviewed by:
John D. Margolis, in Modern Philology, LXXVI (1979), 438-441.