Critical Companion to Dante: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work
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Sifting carefully through the voluminous literature, Ruud (English, U. of Central Arkansas) offers students and general readers an introduction to Italian poet Dante (1265-1321) and his works. A biography is followed by detailed commentary on The Divine Comedy and his lesser known writings. Among the appendices are a chronology and a list of Internet sources.
Purgatorio as compared with the Inferno is clearly a function of the former canticle’s more hopeful subject matter, but one cannot help suspecting that the tone is influenced, as well, by Dante’s own more pleasant circumstances. Undoubtedly before he left Verona, Dante had also begun and made some progress on the final canticle of the text, his Paradiso. Can Grande himself seems to have taken a sincere interest in Dante’s great project, and Dante wrote a famous “Letter to Can Grande,” probably
Ghibelline party was made up largely of the landed feudal nobility, while the Guelph party comprised the city’s artisan class as well as the lesser aristocracy, the group to which Dante’s family belonged. On the national level the Ghibellines were identified generally by their allegiance to the authority of the emperor in secular matters, while the Guelphs as a group generally supported the power of the pope as the chief political rival of the emperor. As time went on, however, these distinctions
176 191 222 239 249 281 283 297 309 311 349 362 Part III: Related Entries 371 Part IV: Appendices Chronology of Life and Works Internet Sources on Dante Bibliography of Dante’s Works Bibliography of Secondary Sources 533 535 538 540 542 Index 551 Acknowledgments S pecial thanks should go to Ali Welky, my graduate assistant, whose work (in particular in editing the Divine Comedy section of the book) was absolutely first-rate. I also want to thank my two other graduate assistants,
traditional negative associations attached to the left, or “sinister,” side. Certainly Dante’s placing of Manfred, the excommunicate enemy of three successive popes, in Purgatory was a bold move that must have surprised many of his first readers. Dante emphasizes the infinite mercy of God for the truly repentant sinner. The poet also introduces at the end of Canto 3 the theme of intercession that will be reiterated throughout this section of the Purgatorio. Dante follows orthodox doctrine by
Omberto Aldobrandesco, he bends his head low enough to be able to hear Omberto’s words (l. 73), thus adopting the posture of the humbled penitents. Omberto’s final words, revealing that he must stay on this level until God is satisfied, implies that Purgatory is structured in such a way that each soul spends only as much time on a given level as he needs to make satisfaction for the sins of his own life. Therefore some souls, theoretically, would not have to stop at all levels if they had made