Literary Medieval Criticism

Ancient Flame, The: Dante and the Poets (The William and by Winthrop Wetherbee

By Winthrop Wetherbee

whereas the constitution and subject matters of the Divine Comedy are outlined by way of the narrative of a non secular pilgrimage guided through Christian fact, Winthrop Wetherbee’s striking new learn finds that Dante’s engagement with the good Latin poets Vergil, Ovid, Lucan, and Statius constitutes a moment, complementary narrative based on mental and creative self-discovery. This clean, illuminating strategy departs from the standard therapy of classical poets in Dante feedback, which assigns them a only allegorical functionality. Their actual significance to Dante’s venture is way larger. As Wetherbee meticulously indicates, Dante’s use of the poets is grounded in an astute figuring out in their historic state of affairs and a deeply sympathetic studying in their poetry. Dante can have been inspired to right pagan suggestion and imagery, yet extra pervasive used to be his wish to recreate classical type and to revive classical auctoritas to his personal occasions. Dante’s trip within the Commedia, starting with the pilgrim’s assumption of a sad view of the human , progresses with the nice poetry of the classical earlier as an intrinsic part of—not only a foil to—the religious adventure. Dante finally acknowledges classical poetry as an important ability to his discovery of fact. a gorgeous contribution by means of one of many nation’s major medievalists, Wetherbee’s research of the poem’s classicism makes attainable a moral and religious yet non-Christian interpreting of Dante, person who will spur new study and turn into an imperative software for educating the Commedia.

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