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Reviews: Pietro G. Beltrami, Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, serie III, 7.4 (1977), p.1758-60; Guido Di Pino, Italianistica 7 (1978), p.146-148; Nicholas J. Perella, Forum Italicum 13 (1979), p. 527-535; Peter Armour, Italian Studies 34 (1979), p.140-141; Gabriele Muresu, Rassegna della letteratura italiana 84 (1980), p.287-289; Aldo Scaglione, Romance Philology 34 (1981), p.32-46
Review: Ronald Herzman, The Medieval Review, 7 November 1996
Cf. DSt 115 (1997): This book "was conceived as a whole in two parts: a political biography of Dante Alighieri followed by a detailed analysis of the political thread that runs throughout his Purgatorio. The first part offers . . . a sketch of the poet's experience of politics from his birth in a Guelf commune to his death after twenty years of exile and the way this experience is inextricable bound up with his writings. . . . The second, major section leads to the inescapable conclusion that the Purgatorio was inspired in large measure by the lesson drawn by the poet from Henry VII's attempts (1310-1313) to restore imperial power and authority in Italy. The lesson of those four years does not imply merely a denunciation of the causes for the failure of Henry's enterprise: it includes the immense hopes aroused in the poet's breast by that same enterprise, which appeared to him as proof that his political ideal was no utopian vision but a para-edenic state that could be realized on earth. ... Our understanding of the second cantica of Dante's masterpiece is partial and fragmentary without this historical-political approach." Contents: Preface (ix-xi); Part One: Dante's Politics. 1. Dante's Political Experience (1265-1302) (1-20); 2. Dante's Political Experience: Exile and Conversion (1302-1305) (21-35); 3. Exul Immeritus (1305-1321) (36-59); Part Two: Dante's Purgatorio. Introduction to Part Two (61-67); 4. Cato: A Pagan Suicide in Purgatory (69-84); 5. Manfred and Bonconte (85-95); 6. The Sordello Episode (Purgatorio VI-VIII) (96-127); 7. The Dream and the Entrance to Purgatory (Purgatorio IX-X) (128-143); 8. The Poem's Center (Purgatorio XII-XVIII) (144-157); 9. The She-Wolf and the Shepherds (Purgatorio XIX-XX( (158-178); 10. The Apocalypse (Purgatorio XXIX-XXXIII) (179-211); Conclusion (212-213); Notes (215-267); Bibliography (269-283); Index (285-295).
Cf. DSt 79 (1961): A review-article of C. S. Singleton, Dante Studies 2: Journey to Beatrice [...] containing a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book, followed by critical comments which especially take to task (1) what are considered excursions too far outside the poem itself, (2) the belaboring of certain points with excessive erudition, and (3) the blanket ignoring of all previous interpreters of Dante. [...]
Cf. DSt 81 (1963): Examines the history of the term, magnanimo, in its varying favorable and unfavorable meanings and, against the over-simplified traditional view of Farinata, brings to bear these findings upon Dante's presentation of the character in the light, furthermore, of the contextual preparation for the episode (Inf. VI and IX), linking pride and heresy. The word magnanimo, as used by the poet in Inf. X, 73, is seen as a microcosm reflecting Dante's complex attitude towards Farinata: admiration for the savior of Florence and condemnation of Farinata's ambition and pride, his clannish and partisan spirit. The episode underscores the vanity of Epicurean concepts evinced in both Farinata's and Cavalcante's obsession with the clan or material actions, the only means of immortality conceivable to these Epicurean heretics.
Cf. DSt 82 (1964): Takes profound issue with Donald Heiney's study, "Intelletto and the Theory of Love in the Dolce Stil Nuovo" [...], and demonstrates that, far from being a non-rational "passive sensibility of love possessed by superior souls" (Heiney), the intelletto referred to in Dante's Donne ch'avete intelletto d'amore is indeed an intellectual faculty by which the select few have real understanding of the nature of nobility and therefore of true love. (cf., e.g., Conv. IV, xx, 9)
Cf. DSt 84 (1966): To clear up historical misconceptions, the author asserts that the dolce stil nuovo is not to be identified with a school of poets, but with Dante's own discovery of a purely disinterested love with praise of Beatrice: she inspires the love and is its terminus.
Review-article on Dante's Lyric Poetry, edited, translated, and annotated by Kenelm Foster and Patrick BoydeOxford: Oxford UP, 1967
Cf. DSt 89 (1971): Cites several details neglected by previous critics and shows their significance both for the structure and theme of the canto and for the entire poem. In particular, the author examines the suggestive relation of the rock of Hell and the rock of Saint Peter (Matt. 16:18); the parallels of Adrian V (Purg. XIX, 103-105) and Marco Lombardo's indictment of papal corruption (Purg. XVI, 127-129) with Nicholas III and the similar message of Inf. XIX; the centrality of avarice in Dante's broad understanding of it, which eventually becomes a Leitmotiv in the Paradiso. An interpretation is also offered of the autobiographical passage of verses 16-21 which is seen to provide realistic effect and to contain in nuce the message of the whole canto. Against the traditional reading of the episode, the author concludes: "Even as he [Dante] had been obliged to break church property in order to save the life of a man imprisoned in the stone or pietra of a baptismal font, so now, to save the world from total ruin, the Church and its spiritual head must be liberated from the pietra of greed in which they are buried and suffocating to death." Inf. XIX, with its invective against simoniac popes is, to recall the words of Parodi, like the religious-political program of the whole Inferno--and not only of the Inferno.
Cf. DSt 92 (1974): Review-article on: Roger Dragonetti, Dante pèlerin de la sainte face (Romanica Gandensia, XI; Gent, Gand: Romanica Gandensia, 1968), and Robert Hollander, Allegory in Dante's "Commedia" (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1969). [...] In addition to the two works under consideration, the author reviews several other approaches to Dante's allegory and offers a rich selection of bibliographical references.
Reviews: Beatrice Corrigan, Italica 54 (1977), p.110-113; Christopher Kleinhenz, Romance Philology 35,4 (1982), p.677-681
Cf. DSt 104 (1986): Treats the unavoidable contradiction in the poet's division of fraud into simple and complex, and argues that examples of the latter are not confined only to the last section of Hell, but are an undercurrent also in episodes of simple fraud. Scott first emphasizes the essential negativity of this area of Hell: the ice is a symbol of sterility; the giants are aberrations of nature, treacherous and pridefully rebellious. Nimrod's rebellion wreaked havoc with the unity of language; his treachery is linked with that of Ganelon at Roncesvalles and the threat to the social unity of the Empire. The treacherous acts punished here are against both God and man, with disastrous consequences for humanity. Scott then examines two points peculiar to Dante's ordering of the sins of Fraud and Violence. In making Fraud the more hateful sin, Dante seems to agree with Cicero, but this puts him in opposition to Aquinas. Dante then differs from Cicero in maintaining that Fraud is peculiar to man. It is a misuse of his intellect, that divine attribute which is supposed to distinguish man from beast. This personal hatred of treachery, Scott argues, is manifest throughout the poem, but especially in the treatment Dante gives Boniface VIII and the other corrupt popes. The contradiction is that, as evil shepherds who betrayed the trust of their flock, the popes are "officially" guilty of simony, not treachery. The ambiguity is due to "Dante's sense of drama and his offended conscience," as well as his need to denounce the moral corruption of the Papacy.
Cf. DSt 109 (1991): The view that the Divine Comedy represents Dante's rejection of his earlier "flirtation" with philosophy seems to be shared by many American Dante scholars. Yet, it is difficult to accept such a claim, especially given such evidence as Cato's cautioning Dante that music distracts our souls, and Dante the Poet's cautioning us, in Purgatorio, that it is music--and not true philosophy--which can be an obstacle.
Cf. DSt 110 (1992): Scott suggests "that the generally accepted supposition that 'quella scuola' [Purg. XXXIII, 85] refers to Philosophy does not fit in with what Dante has witnessed and failed to understand--a pageant setting forth the vicissitudes and present corruption of the Church, which has its origins in the notorious Donation of Constantine--, since it is difficult to imagine how the phylosophica documenta ("teachings of philosophy") of Monarchia III, xv, 8 could prove to be any kind of barrier to grasping such a truth of universal import." Instead, Scott argues that "what the poet is denouncing in Beatrice's reference to "quella scuola / c'hai seguitata..." is the refusal of the "scuola guelfa" to accept the establishment of the Empire de iure and the concomitant necessity for humanity to be guided by the Emperor to the terrestrial paradise...where the pilgrim now finds himself. Dante in 1300, a citizen and soon to be elected Prior of a defiantly Guelph commune, had followed a path remote from that traced out by God for the well-being of humanity."
Cf. DSt 114 (1996): While recognizing the "immense gap" separating the two works, this study concentrates on aspects of the Convivio that prepare the way for Dante's poetic masterpiece. Book I: the passionate defense of his native tongue is highlighted as a milestone pointing towards the use of the vernacular in the Comedy, even as it offers a key to Sordello's role in Purgatorio. Book II: the question of what Dante meant by the "allegory of the theologians," and his idiosyncratic angelology are re-examined. Books III-IV illustrate: a shift towards a more qualified faith in human reason; the discovery of Virgil's true message and the providential role of Rome and her Empire; the introduction of imagery anticipating its superabundance in the poem. Despite the utterly different focus and self-corrections, the two works are in certain ways complementary: both aim to lead humanity "a scienza e vertù," while Dante never abandoned his faith in philosophy as capable of bolstering the love of God in rational human beings. [JAS]
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