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Dantean Dialogues

Dantean Dialogues: Engaging with the Legacy of Amilcare Iannucci

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 352
  • Book Info
    Dantean Dialogues
    Book Description:

    Together, the essays show how Iannucci's reading of central cruxes in Dante's texts continues to inspire Dante studies - a testament to his continuing influence and profound intellectual legacy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6321-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Bibliography of Works by Amilcare Iannucci
    (pp. xv-xxi)
  6. Note on Editions and Translations
    (pp. xxii-xxii)
  7. 1 “Lascio cotale trattato ad altro chiosatore”: Form, Literature, and Exegesis in Dante’s Vita nova
    (pp. 1-40)

    It is now axiomatic to consider Dante as a writer in whose oeuvre “la riflessione tecnica” coexists intimately with “la poesia.” The words I cite are Gianfranco Contini’s, and are taken from his groundbreaking 1938 introduction to the poet’sRime–an essay which, it is safe to say, inaugurated the “modern” interpretation of Dante.¹ To this day, many of its revelatory insights continue fundamentally to inform our study of Western culture’s most ambitious and successful literary innovator. The poet’s unrelenting concern with the structures, history, and exegesis of literature is, of course, directly connected to his artistic experimentation. “Technical reflection”...

  8. 2 A Cavalcantian Vita nuova: Dante’s Canzoni Lo doloroso amor che mi conduce and E’ m’incresce di me sì duramente
    (pp. 41-65)

    I remember with pleasure and sadness the many wonderful occasions to talk of Dante with Amilcare Iannucci. This essay, adapted from my commentary on Dante’s lyrics,Rime giovanili e della “Vita Nuova”(Milan: Rizzoli, 2009), with the addition of original translations of the canzoni by Richard Lansing, is offered as a small tribute to how much we learned from Amilcare during the years that we were privileged to share with him.

    As clearly indicated by its first words, the canzoneLo doloroso amoris about “painful love”: “doloroso amor.” Barbi placesLo doloroso amorimmediately after the other great early...

  9. 3 Dante’s Cato Again
    (pp. 66-124)

    Why return to this old problem, unresolved after nearly seven centuries of debate? Even more than a century ago, Dantists were apparently exhausted by the endless quarrels about this looming and perplexing figure in theCommedia. Witness Charles Grandgent, who joins the fray by quoting Orazio Bacci: “E speriamo che anche del Catone non si ritorni a parlare troppo presto” (And let us hope that we will be spared too prompt a return to the discussion of Cato).¹ One reason for disregarding Bacci’s hope is that among the few things about which most students of the problem are likely to...

  10. 4 “Che libito fe’ licito in sua legge”: Lust and Law, Reason and Passion in Dante
    (pp. 125-154)

    Amilcare Iannucci’s essay “Forbidden Love: Metaphor and History” is one of the most significant contributions to the endless and tormented exegesis ofInferno5 because it helps to historicise the canto in a very original way, identifying within the episode of Francesca a marked historical metaphor.¹ Iannucci locates Dante’s episode within a literary trend that records the “joining of two irrational and destructive forces, love and war” (94). This model originates in the myth of Ares and Aphrodite as recounted in the eighth book of theOdyssey(8.266–369). The beautiful deities of love and war carry on an illicit...

  11. 5 The Vulgata in the Commedia: Self-Interpreting Texts
    (pp. 155-173)

    In “Autoesegesi dantesca,” Amilcare Iannucci suggested that Dante’s use of prose commentary in theVita nuovaandConviviocontinues in theCommediaby means of what Iannucci called the “parallel passage,” through which Dante forges intratextual links between not only words and phrases but also whole episodes.¹ The second of the two texts furnishes the interpretative key to the first. As an example, Iannucci discussed the relation between Dante’s encounters with the writer Brunetto Latini inInferno15 and with the miniaturist Oderisi da Gubbio inPurgatorio11–12. For Iannucci, Oderisi’s critique silences commentators who would believe that Dante...

  12. 6 Dante’s Ovidian Doubling
    (pp. 174-214)

    Like Dante listening in on Virgil and Statius, I hope to learn something about the nature of poetry, particularly Dante’s poetry, by eavesdropping on some conversations among an expanding circle of writers: Dante and Ovid, and later Dante, Ovid, Virgil, and, briefly, Statius. In walking this route, I follow with gratitude in the footsteps of Amilcare Iannucci, who generously cleared the path for so many of us interested in Dante’s self-reflection and his relations with his sources. My primary focus will be on how Dante uses the master of metamorphosis, Ovid, not only to chart the conversion experience of the...

  13. 7 Esoteric Interpretations of the Divine Comedy
    (pp. 215-230)

    The literary appropriation of Dante over the last century has been enormous. His influence has been front and centre in all major modern literary traditions – from T.S. Eliot to William Butler Yeats, from Albert Camus to Jean-Paul Sartre, from Jorge Luis Borges to Derek Walcott, from Stefan George to Peter Weiss, from Giorgio Bassani to Giuseppe Ungaretti – and would seem to justify, at least within the Western literary world, T.S. Eliot’s assertion that “Dante and Shakespeare divide the modern world between them; there is no third.”¹ Harold bloom agrees when he confers onto Dante the status of “the second center,...

  14. 8 Ersed Irredent: The Irish Dante
    (pp. 231-264)

    Like Amilcare Iannucci, I am interested in Dante’s continuing importance for writers throughout the world. “Dante and Ireland,” or “Dante and Irish Writers,” is an extremely vast topic to cover, for which a book rather than an essay would be necessary. If the relationship between the poet and Ireland does not begin in the fourteenth century – when Dante himself may have had some knowledge of and been inspired by theVision of Adamnán, theVision of Tungdal, and theTractatus de purgatorio sancti Patricii–the story certainly starts in the early nineteenth century when the irish man of letters Henry...