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The Complete Danteworlds by Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy has, despite its enormous popularity and importance, often stymied readers with its multitudinous characters, references, and themes. But until the publication in 2007 of Guy Raffa's guide to the Inferno, students lacked a suitable resource to help them navigate Dante's underworld. With this new guide to the entire Divine Comedy, Raffa provides readers--experts in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Dante neophytes, and everyone in between--with a map of the entire poem, from the lowest circle of Hell to the highest sphere of Paradise. Based on Raffa's original research and his many years of teaching the poem to undergraduates, The CompleteDanteworlds charts a simultaneously geographical and textual journey, canto by canto, region by region, adhering closely to the path taken by Dante himself through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. This invaluable reference also features study questions, illustrations of the realms, and regional summaries. Interpreting Dante's poem and his sources, Raffa fashions detailed entries on each character encountered as well as on many significant historical, religious, and cultural allusions.
Publication Date: 2009
Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture by In this book, Teodolinda Barolini explores the sources of Italian literary culture in the figures of its lyric poets and its "three crowns": Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. Barolini views the origins of Italian literary culture through four prisms: the ideological/philosophical, the intertextual/multicultural, the structural/formal, and the social. The essays in the first section treat the ideology of love and desire from the early lyric tradition to the Inferno and its antecedents in philosophy and theology. In the second, Barolini focuses on Dante as heir to both the Christian visionary and the classical pagan traditions (with emphasis on Vergil and Ovid). The essays in the third part analyze the narrative character of Dante's Vita nuova, Petrarch's lyric sequence, and Boccaccio's Decameron. Barolini also looks at the cultural implications of the editorial history of Dante's rime and at what sparso versus organico spells in the Italian imaginary. In the section on gender, she argues that the didactic texts intended for women's use and instruction, as explored by Guittone, Dante, and Boccaccio--but not by Petrarch--were more progressive than the courtly style for which the Italian tradition is celebrated. Moving from the lyric origins of the Divine Comedy in "Dante and the Lyric Past" to Petrarch's regressive stance on gender in "Notes toward a Gendered History of Italian Literature"--and encompassing, among others, Giacomo da Lentini, Guido Cavalcanti, and Guittone d'Arezzo--these sixteen essays by one of our leading critics frame the literary culture of thirteenth-and fourteenth-century Italy in fresh, illuminating ways that will prove useful and instructive to students and scholars alike.
Publication Date: 2006
Dante and the Unorthodox by During his lifetime, Dante was condemned as corrupt and banned from Florence on pain of death. But in 1329, eight years after his death, he was again viciously condemned--this time as a heretic and false prophet--by Friar Guido Vernani. From Vernani's inquisitorial viewpoint, the author of the Commedia "seduced" his readers by offering them "a vessel of demonic poison" mixed with poetic fantasies designed to destroy the "healthful truth" of Catholicism. Thanks to such pious vituperations, a sulphurous fume of unorthodoxy has persistently clung to the mantle of Dante's poetic fame. The primary critical purpose of Dante & the Unorthodox is to examine the aesthetic impulses behind the theological and political reasons for Dante's allegory of mid-life divergence from the papally prescribed "way of salvation." Marking the septicentennial of his exile, the book's eighteen critical essays, three excerpts from an allegorical drama, and a portfolio of fourteen contemporary artworks address the issue of the poet's conflicted relation to orthodoxy. By bringing the unorthodox out of the realm of "secret things," by uncensoring them at every turn, Dante dared to oppose the censorious regime of Latin Christianity with a transgressive zeal more threatening to papal authority than the demonic hostility feared by Friar Vernani.
Publication Date: 2005
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