Dante / Edition 1

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John Freccero enables us to see the Divine Comedy for the bold, poetic experiment that it is. Too many critics have domesticated
Dante by separating his theology from his poetics. Freccero argues that to fail to see the convergence of the letter and the spirit, the pilgrim and the poet, is to fail to understand
Dante's poetics of conversion. For Dante,
body and soul go together and there is no salvation that's purely intellectual, no poetry that is simply literary.

The essays that form this book were originally published between 1959 and 1984.
They are arranged to follow the order of the Comedy, and they form the perfect companion for a reader of the poem. With these essays assembled for the first time, we can now see Freccero's stature: he is the best contemporary critic of Dante. Freccero is that rare article, a critic of eclectic and not dogmatic persuasion. Throughout Freccero operates on the fundamental premise that there is al-
ways an intricate and crucial dialectic at work between Dante the poet and Dante the pilgrim, and that it is this dialectic that makes the work so profoundly dramatic, one of the great novels of the self.

Thanks to Freccero we readers have the
Comedy whole again. Freccero calls upon medieval philosophy, cosmology, science,
theology, and poetics to enable us to traverse
Dante's moral landscape without losing our way in the confusions of minute exegeses. In a secular age Freccero enables us to see this poem as what it is, something wholly other than what we might believe or write. In doing so he shows us the most that language can achieve in any age, secular or not.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Students and teachers worldwide will applaud this collection of Freccero's articles, destined to prove of lasting importance. In an arrangement based on the structure of the Commedia , the articles enable the contemporary reader to approach the astonishing poetic coherence of Dante's poems without sacrifice of the poem's rich historicity and detail. It is an indication of the inner unity of Freccero's arguments that the articles, though they span some 25 years, present a powerful cumulative effect even though reprinted nearly unchanged. Indispensable for academic libraries. Ronald L. Martinez, French & Italian Dept., Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674192263
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 12/12/1986
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction by Rachel Jacoff

1. The Prologue Scene

2. The Firm Foot on a Journey Without a Guide

3. The River of Death: Inferno II, 108

4. Pilgrim in a Gyre

5. Infernal Irony: The Gates of Hell

6. The Neutral Angels

7. Medusa: The Letter and the Spirit

8. Dante's Ulysses: From Epic to Novel

9. Bestial Sign and Bread of Angels: Inferno XXXII and XXXIII

10. The Sign of Satan

11. Infernal Inversion and Christian Conversion: Inferno

12. Casella's Song: Purgatorio II, 12

13. Manfred's Wounds and the Poetics of the Purgatorio

14. An Introduction to the Paradiso

15. The Dance of the Stars: Paradiso X

16. The Final Image: Paradiso XXXIII, 144

17. The Significance of Terza Rima




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