Moving from Goethe’s reflections on Dante’s Divine Comedy (1826), the essay analyses Goethe’s translations of selected verses from Inferno XI and XII, in order to address the notion of form and the debate on the poetics of Goethe’s late literary works, a topic which has gathered a lot of attention lately. In this regard, the morphogeologic structure of the «aggregate», as it emerges from Goethe’s translations as well as from his notes on Dante, while opposing the idea of structure, provides an excellent means for the representation of variety, and multiplicity. In this the terza rima plays an important role.
Keywords: Goethe, Dante, Morphology, Third rhyme
This essay explores the hypothesis that in Leopardi there is a lingering resistance to Petrarch as a dominant model, and that Dante’s influence on Leopardi’s writing resulted in an injection of greater dynamism (in other words it enriched Petrarch’s model), in the direction of a poetry that is both more concrete and more philosophical.
Keywords: Dante, Leopardi, Petrarca
Critics have often discussed the relationship between Dante and Balzac, assuming that there can be some identification of the author of the Comédie humaine’s with his illustrious predecessor, whose cosmological model is been used in the description of modernity offered by the Comédie. The article proposes to rethink the relationship and to offer some further interpretation, starting from the choice of the title, in which the reference to Dante’s Comedy is obvious, but is never made explicit by Balzac. The study of the short story Les Proscrits, where Balzac represent the Florentine poet as the protagonist of the story, also offers some new insight, as the text can be read as a parable of the condition of the modern author, struggling with the materialism of a contemporary society which also affects his creative work, and makes it impossible to write a «nouvelle Divine Comédie».
Keywords: Dante, Balzac, Les Proscrits
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a superb linguist, a curious traveler, a professor of Modern Language and Literatures at the University of Harvard and, above all, an exemplary reader of Dante who gave to the American reader «the first full American translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy». The aim of this paper is to show the deep connection Longfellow had to Dante Alighieri, seen in the wider perspective of Dante studies in the United States between the 18th and the 19th centuries.
Keywords: Longfellow, Dante studies in the US, Translation
«Plonger au fond du gouffre, Enfer ou Ciel, qu’importe?»
Baudelaire read Dante in one of the editions in French available at his time, and is well alive in his poetic memory. Les Fleurs du mal – according to Eliot «the Comedy in fragments» of the modernity, don’t represent an infernal descent followed by a path of purification and a paradisiac ascent. They rather testify to sinking into the Unknown and there is no way out. Down there the cerveau, the new protagonist of the poetry, dreams of finding the Nouveau, the Unity lost in multiplicity. Between Heaven and Hell, for Baudelaire, there is no difference any more; the book concludes: «Plonger au fond du gouffre, Enfer ou Ciel, qu’importe? / Au fond de l’Inconnu pour trouver du nouveau!». According to Walter Benjamin, Baudelaire’s abyss is first of all Paris, capital of modernity, populated by those passages of capitalism «through which one descends into the underworld».
Keywords: Enfer, Ciel, Gouffre
In Pascoli’s poetry, the image of the paternal death and that of the “surviving son” are intertwined: the murdered father and the orphan are almost indistinguishable. On the level of poetic creation, we can explain this “unconscious interference” by a deep action of Dante’s memory: the article argues that it is the figure of Ugolino (Inferno XXXIII) that allows this overlap.
Keywords: Ugolino, Pascoli, Poetic memory, Psychoanalysis
In his early poetic career Rilke was particularly fascinated by Dante and namely by the Vita nuova. He recommends the book to his friend Wilhelm von Scholz in 1898 and later, in his lecture on Modern Lyric, he claims that modern lyric poetry began with the Vita nuova. In Paris, when he met Rodin and saw him working at The Gates of Hell, Rilke immediately identified the link with the Commedia as his book on the French artist reveals. The “memories of Dante” in the Gates of Hell have left traces in Rilke’s poetry. The poetic itinerary described in the Duino Elegies resembles the pilgrim’s journey in the Divine Comedy in that it is a progress from the desperate lament of the first elegy to the jubilation in the tenth elegy.
Keywords: Dante’s Vita nuova, Duino elegies, Intertextuality
Il miglior fabbro: Dante, Pound ed Eliot
T. S. Eliot dedicated the final version of The Waste Land to Ezra Pound, calling him «il miglior fabbro» after Guinizzelli’s definition of Arnaut Daniel in Purgatorio XXVI. The contribution of both to Dante criticism in the twentieth century is immense. Pound indicated a new direction way with The Spirit of Romance in 1910, Eliot followed suit with his three essays on Dante (1920, 1929, 1965). In this essay, I outline the continuities and the differences between the two writers in their Dante criticism, but I also turn to their poetry to show how Eliot far surpassed Pound in his adaptations from the Comedy from his very early compositions throughout The Waste Land and the Four Quartets.
Keywords: Dante, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot
Fernando Pessoa was not a Dantist; nevertheless, the Comedy and Dante appear several times in his work. Pessoa’s texts do not contain direct allusions to Dante’s work but Dante serves the purpose to exemplify ideas and even help define critical categories. Dante is quoted in a single poetic text in which Pessoa wishes to underline the pre-eminence of literature over life.
Keywords: Dante and Pessoa, Poetry, Christian Paganism
The essay investigates a rarely studied aspect of Dante’s fortune in Russia: the connection between Mayakovsky and Dante. A recurring presence in the Russian culture of the time, Dante is explicitly mentioned in Mayakovsky’s poetry. Dizzying views from up high suddenly open up in the pages of Mayakovsky’s work, in a universe that, like Dante’s Comedy, is embroidered with stars; unusual scenarios, placed beyond the limits of the visible world, arouse the same attraction in such distant poets. At times the dialogue between Dante and Mayakovsky becomes distance, so the mezzo del cammin «the middle of the journey of our life» is contrasted by the brazen impudence of youth. In a circular move, which allows art to travel in time and space, the essay comes to its end by reconstructing elements of the universe depicted by Mayakovsky in the linguistic transit of Dante’s Hell, translated into contemporary English.
Keywords: Mayakovsky and Dante, Intertextuality, Dante’s appreciation in Russia
This article analyses Montale’s complex relationship with Dante – a case of intertextuality that is quite unique in the twentieth century. In a period of deep historical crisis, culminating in the tragedy of World War II, Dante offered Montale an example of total poetry. A close intertextual dialogue with Dante’s Comedy guides the construction of Ossi di seppia, Occasioni and Bufera. Montale goes so far as to transform private events into facts of universal value, as Dante does, thus identifying his own poetic and human experience with his own. In the modern era, such a form of radical intertextuality is doomed to failure, but the resulting writing serves as a last philosophical defense against the collapse of an entire civilization. This becomes even more obvious in Montale’s later works, where Dante’s quotations serve as the only structure of thought in texts that centre on the collapse of meaning.
Keywords: Montale, Dante, Intertextuality
This study retraces Borges’ encounter with Dante’s Divine Comedy. In particular, it focuses on the Nueve ensayos dantescos, a text notably suited to discuss the peculiar way in which Borges crosses the classics and the literary tradition, as well as exemplary of his reading of Dante’s poem, based on identification and reinvention.
Keywords: Jorge Luis Borges, Dante, Nueve ensayos dantescos, Intertextuality
Reminiscenze dantesche nella poesia di Ghiorgos Seferis
The article aims to analyze Dante’s presence in the poems of Ghiorgos Seferis. The Greek poet moves, similarly to Dante, from the darkness of death to the light of resurrection, from the “dark forest” to the “rosa centifolia”. Such an itinerary happens, as in the Comedy, thanks to love. Seferis, like Dante, needs to engage in a dialogue with the dead in order to receive the spiritual strength that will help him move forward.
Keywords: Seferis, Dante, Modern Greek poetry
Lacan, Beatrice e l’Altro
Among the many literary references that Lacan uses in order to illustrate his psychoanalytic arguments, Dante’s Beatrice has a prominent role. This article intends to retrace the functions of Dante’s most important character in Lacan’s thought.
Keywords: Lacan, Beatrice, Dante
«Là è casa mia»: intorno al dantismo di Czesław Miłosz
In the context of 20th-century poetic Dantism, Czesław Miłosz’s oeuvre (1911-2004) functions as an “intersectional space” among different lines of intertextual and intercultural relations, involving Polish, French, Russian, Anglo-American, and Anglo-Irish literary traditions. This study discusses the “accumulation” (a term first used by Eliot) of a threefold presence of Dante – explicit, invisible and unconscious – in Miłosz’s literary production. The study of the sites in which such connections are best revealed can be illuminating, together with the investigation of the influence on Miłoszian Dantism of translingual, expatriates, exiles or stateless writers who acted as bridges between different cultures, such as Conrad, Eliot, Pound, Brzozowski, Brodskij, Heaney, and in particular Oscar Milosz, Czesław’s distant Franco-Lithuanian relative and his first guide into the riches of the Divine Comedy.
Keywords: Dante studies, Dantism, Czesław Miłosz, Polish poetry
The numerous annotations Celan left on his editions of Dante’s works and on his personal papers testify to the intensity with which he read Dante throughout his life, and show how reading Dante generated a creative momentum in his own writing. The essay discusses the reasons behind Celan’s decision not to publish poems of unequivocal Dantesque inspiration and argues this may be due to his desire to avoid the recurrent perusal of the idea of “Hell” associated with the extermination camps. Celan, on the contrary, in the wake of Mandel’štam, is interested in Dante’s entrance in a space that is both geographical and poetic, in his polyphonic ear, and in longing for light and life and love – to constrast darkness and silence and death. Celan believes this can only be experienced through cracks and ruptures, not as light born through harmony; yet his notes also bear witness to his continuous quest for it.
Keywords: Celan, Geological Poetics, Poetry after World-War II
Pasolini e Dante
Pasolini, after his encounter with Contini, moves from his Friulian poetry, which did not engage particularly with Dante’s poetics, to acknowledging in Dante’s plurilingualism and in the literary uses of dialects an element of realism which he will later use remarkably in his novels and films. Pasolini, following the ‘crisis’ expressed in the Ceneri di Gramsci poems, and further to his reading of Auerbach, concentrated on the dialectics of humble and sublime in his interest for the Commedia, as it also features in his films, for which it became a style signature. The rewriting of the Comedy under such a perspective and his progressive self-identification with Dante’s life and poetics will characterize the final stage of his activity, from La Divina mimesis to Salò, le 120 giornate di Sodoma and finally Petrolio, for their representation of the crisis through similar narrative devices (the author as a poet-prophet, the split self, etc.).
Keywords: Dante, Pasolini, Plurilinguism, Sermo humilis
The article explores Heaney’s assimilation of Dante’s model in the context of the Troubles, especially the hunger strikes and the dirty protests at Long Kesh, with specific reference to his translation and rewriting of the «Ugolino» episode and of the underworld journey. The basic assumption is that it is precisely by following in the footsteps of Dante, that Heaney has found a unique way of combining ethics and aesthetics into what he calls a new po-ethics.
Keywords: Seamus Heaney, Hunger strikers, Dante
The article illustrates echoes of Dante in the writings of the renowned contemporary Romanian author, Mircea Cărtărescu. His writings are surprisingly multifaceted and brimming with intertextual connections in their texture. The article focuses on Dante as an honorary member of Cărtărescu’s personal Parnassus, on his representation of the spiriti eletti and in general of the Inferno.
Keywords: Intertextuality, Spiriti eletti, Inferno