American Dante Bibliography for 1977

Anthony L. Pellegrini

This bibliography is intended to include the Dante translations published in this country in 1977 and all Dante studies and reviews published in 1977 that are in any sense American. The latter criterion is construed to include foreign reviews of American publications pertaining to Dante.

 

Translations

The Divine Comedy. Translated by John Ciardi. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1977. xvii, 602 p. illus.

A new edition in one volume of Ciardi’s well-known version preserving the original tercet-division, with the first and third verses in rhyme or approximate rhyme. His Inferno originally appeared in 1954 (see 73rd Report, 53-54), his Purgatorio in 1961 (see 80th Report, 22), and his Paradiso in 1970 (see Dante Studies LXXXIX, 108). Each canto is preceded by a brief summary and followed by substantial notes. This edition bears a new general introduction by Mr. Ciardi, “The Method of The Divine Comedy” (pp. ix-xvii), which treats of Dante’s poetic achievement in the work and of what it demands of the reader, particularly the twentieth-century reader. A few accompanying diagrams illustrate some key topographical features in the poem. The translation has been extensively reviewed.

Literary Criticism of Dante Alighieri. Translated and edited by Robert S. Haller. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1977. xlix, 192 p. (Regents Critics Series.) 

Paperback edition of the hard cover original of 1973 (see Dante Studies, XCII, 182-183). Contains excerpts, in English translation, from Dante’s works (viz., the Vita Nuova, De vulgari eloquentia, Convivio, Divina Commedia, Letter to Can Grande, and Eclogues) bearing in any way upon matters of literary criticism.

The Portable Dante . . . Edited, and with an introduction, by Paolo Milano [Revised edition]. New York: Penguin Books, 1977. xlii, 662 p.

Reprint of the revised edition, with updated “Bibliographical Note” by Sergio Pacifici (New York: Viking Press, 1968).

 

Studies

Ahern, John Joseph. “The New Life of the Book: Oral and Written Communication in the Age of Dante.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXVII (1977), 5106A. 

Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University, 1976.

Al-Sabah, Rasha.Inferno XXVIII: The Figure of Muhammad.” In Yale Italian Studies, I (1977), 147-161. 

Reviews a number of medieval legends and other statement about Muhammad possibly available to Dante, which considered the Islamic prophet a schismatic and apostate, even prefigurement of the Antichrist, and emphasizing details of his violent death, with mutilation and dismemberment of his body. This close association of schismatic discord and bodily mutilation is appropriately reflected in Dante’s own presentation of Muhammad in Inferno XXVIII, which thus recaptures the essential condition of physical and spiritual disequilibrium peculiar to the schismatic. By his words and posture in the canto, Muhammad is allowed to reveal dramatically and figuratively his own instability and in a sense act out the nature of his sin. The author cites a possible direct source for Dante’s text in Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica (XXXII) which recapitulates traditional commentaries on Proverbs 6: 12-19 (regarding apostasy and its effects) and underscores the inherent spiritual and physical confusion of the apostate and sower of discord. Particularly significant is Aquinas’ assertion that apostasy as a loss of faith and alienation from God spells both spiritual and physical decay and confusion and engenders schism.

Baglivi, Giuseppe, and Garrett McCutchan. “Dante, Christ, and the Fallen Bridges.” In Italica, LIV (1977), 250-262. 

The authors contend that the terzina, Inferno XXI, 112-114, significantly pulls together the earlier political prophecies of Dante’s coming exile (X, 79-81, and XV, 64, 88-89, 94) and references to the infernal ruine (V, 34-36, and XII, 31-45) in order to show that Dante’s exile is providential, leading to his role of scriba Dei in the writing of the Commedia, and that his mission is by analogy to be equated with Christ’s mission of rebuilding the bridge between earthly justice and heaven itself.

Baldassaro, Lawrence. “Dante pellegrino: l’uomo come peccatore.” In Segni: selezione intellettuale, [no vol. no.], (1977), 19-26.

Italian version of the English original, “Dante the Pilgrim: Everyman as Sinner,” which appeared in Dante Studies, XCII, (1974), 63-76 (see Dante Studies, XCIII, 226). The essay is preceded by a critical foreword by Rocco Montano who stresses his own priority in time (1951) for making the important distinction between Dante-poet and Dante-protagonist in the Commedia-a distinction appropriated and exploited by many since-and many significant points of interpretation determined by that distinction for a proper and consistent global reading of Dante’s poem.

Birss, Robert Craig. “‘Imaginary Work’: The Function of Ekphrasis in Narrative Poetry.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXVIII (1977), 2101A.

Doctoral dissertation, University of Iowa, 1977. 208 p. (Chapter 3 examines two ekphrases in the Purgatorio—X, 28-99, and XII, 25-63—as artistic models which are fulfilled by the poem itself.)

Bohart, Eugene. “An Exploration in Novel Form of the Literary Theme of Spiritual Rebirth.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXVIII (1977), 770A.

Doctoral dissertation, New York University, 1976. 432 p. (Examines the theme of rebirth in such major works as Tolstoy’s Resurrection, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and Dante’s Divine Comedy.)

Bonadeo, Alfredo. “Punizione e sofferenza nell’ Inferno dantesco.” In Proceedings, Pacific Northwest Council on Foreign Languages, XXVIII, Part 1 (April 21-23, 1977), 74-77.

Briefly reviews the varying posture of the suffering sinners in Dante’s Inferno, noting that some do not appear tormented so much by the specific punishment assigned them as by some memory of their earthly existence, that indeed a few ‘‘noble sinners,” like Farinata, seem to rise above the penal system to which they are subject. The author contends that such cases, by implying a privileged condition beyond the reach of divine Providence, evince a certain heterodoxy on Dante’s part with respect to strict Christian dogma regarding sin and retribution.

Brown, Ashley. “A Note on Dante and Stevens.” In The Wallace Stevens Journal I (1977), 66-68.

Makes a brief historical comment on Dante’s presence in American poetry and cites a recently published fragment, “for an Old Woman in a Wig,” as evidence of Wallace Stevens’ interest in Dante as early as 1916, and the poem, “Esthetique du Mal,” written for the Kenyon Review (1944) with a similar Dantean echo in the third section, as a possible rejoinder to Eliot and Tate at that brilliant moment of American poetry.

Cairns, Christopher. Italian Literature: The Dominant Themes. Newton Abbot, London, Vancouver: David and Charles; New York: Barnes and Noble (Harper and Row), 1977. 189 p. (Comparative Literature Series.)

In the context of what are taken as the main themes of Italian literature—political conscience, social change, and religion—the author devotes two short general sections (pp. 15-28 and 132-134) to Dante’s works, which he characterizes by “political sensibility, religious conscience and a tremendous creative instinct for the language of art. . . . “

Cambon, Glauco. “Dante on Galway Kinnell’s ‘Last River.’” See Dante’s Influence on American Writers 1776-1976 (1977), pp. 31-39. 

Focuses on some general and specific Dantean parallels of concept and imagery in the post-World War II American poet Galway Kinnell’s “Last River” (from the collection, Body Rags, 1968), pointing out his special affinity for Dante’s severe eloquence and his Dantesque combination of autobiographical elements with a criticism of the contemporary American industrialized wasteland from the standpoint of ethical values.

Cassell, Anthony K. “Dante’s Farinata and the Image of the Arca.” In Yale Italian Studies, I (1977), 335-370. 

Resolves a number of questions about Inferno X by probing the essential nature of the Farinata episode and its relation to Dante’s penal system in general by exploring the theological, historical, and artistic bases underlying the poet’s conception of the state of souls after death. The city of Dis as a whole is seen as the Augustinian Earthly City divided against itself by pride and presumption exemplified by Farinata and Cavalcante in their self-centredness. Farinata, far from a positive figure, in his haughty posture, personifies stiff-necked pride (of Scripture and later exegesis), and this presumption, in turn, along with other traits of Farinata find their exact portrait in Saint Gregory the Great’s description of the heresiarchs. Even Farinata’s persuasive speech to the Wayfarer is seen as the words of a teacher and leader of heresy, reflecting “the unrepentant obstinacy of overheated, overweaning and obdurate unbelief.” While possibly inspired by Scripture and liturgy, artistic convention, and patristic doctrine, the fire to which Dante condemns the heretics also actually mirrors the customary burning alive of heretics observable by Dante in his own time. The sarcophagi as abodes for the heretics in the Inferno are a parodical counterpart of Christ’s open tomb (symbol of resurrection and eternal life) which, furthermore, had early become fused in imagery and function with the Church altar. The very appearance of Farinata and Cavalcante, with their bared torsos showing above the edge of the open sarcophagus is attested iconographically in many sculptures and paintings picturing the Imago pietatis, or Christ, as Man of Sorrows in a similar pose. This is confirmed further by depictions of Noah as a prefiguration of Christ, both dead and arisen, in his ark, stylized as an arca, or chest, which Augustine (De Catechezandis rudibus) took as both symbol of the Heavenly City and prefiguration of the Church. Hence Dante gives us another inversion, that of the Ark, but sunken here in Hell amid the flames. In the same work Augustine also cites the figure of Ham (Cham), his very name meaning “hot” (calidus), as progenitor of the Earthly City of the damned and forefather of the “hot breed of heretics.” Thus Farinata and Cavalcante in a fiery arca can be seen as the sons of Ham. Other symbols of deliverance and redemption parodically surround the sinners here, and further passages from Gregory the Great illuminate Dante’s placement of sinners in a common tomba, as the whole of the Inferno can be seen to constitute. In sum, “Content in life with the senses’ perception of the immediate present and scorning that of the soul, now after death the heresiarchs find themselves entombed amid flames, tortured by the soul’s ignorance, cut off from knowledge of the present, having only the anguish of dimly foreseeing an inevitable future and the pain of recalling an unchangeable past. Having rejected imitatio Christi in life as men, they ape the Dead Christ in their death.”

Cervigni, Dino S. “Demonic and Angelic Forces in Dante’s Second Dream.” In L’Alighieri, XVIII (1977), 29-40. 

Considers the Wayfarer’s second dream in the Purgatorio (Canto XIX) in the contextual pattern of other parallel instances (e.g., Inf. VIII-IX and Purg. VI) of demonic danger or opposition countered by divine, i.e., angelic, intervention, and identifies the donna santa as an angelic manifestation (rather than mere symbol of virtue, as usually proposed) sent to counter the demonic manifestation of the siren/witch in a further purification of the Wayfarer on his way up the mount. This provides for a fuller poetic correspondence between the symbolic significance of the siren and that of the donna santa, since the latter thereby anticipates the purificatory rites performed by the successive angels on the upper terraces. Furthermore, the interpretation of the holy woman as angel is consistent with iconographical evidence of the increasing feminization of angels as depicted in Trecento art. In better accord, logically and poetically, with the dramatic development of the episode, the author also proposes referring the speech of verses 28-29, not to the donna santa, but to Dante-Wayfarer himself viewed as having temporarily fallen and therefore become bestialized (cf. “fieramente”) under the demonic influence of the siren. In sum, the Wayfarer’s second dream in Purgatory re-enacts the eternal confrontation between good and evil, with God’s power ever at hand to rescue His creature.

Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish. Coomaraswamy . . . edited by Roger Lipsey. Bollingen Series, LXXXIX. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977. 3 v. illus.

Volume II, Selected Papers: Metaphysics, contains an essay, “Two Passages in Dante’s Paradiso” (pp. 241-255), in which the author cites a number of concepts and symbols common to the medieval Christian-Arabic-Hebrew West and to Vedic India in the East, illustrating the unity of human culture and spiritual idiom and the universality of essential philosophy and metaphysics, and discusses, without claiming any direct influence from Vedic sources, two passages in Dante’s Paradiso as instances of the common human tradition of ideas and symbols. Choosing these examples for the difficulty they pose to commentators, the author relates the “bella figlia” (Dawn). daughter of the Sun in Paradiso XXVII, 36-138, to the meaning of Humanity, the Church, the Bride of Christ, through Vedic parallels, and considers the “nidi” of Paradiso XVIII, 110-111, symbolically as the habitations of the Angels and other living beings among the branches of the Tree of Life. The essay was originally published in Speculum, XI (1936), 327-338.

Dante Commentaries: Eight Studies of the “Divine Comedy.” Edited by David Nolan.... Dublin: Irish Academic Press; Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1977. 184 p.

A brief introduction gives an account of the four seasons of lecturae Dantis at Dublin University, 1972-1976, which are selectively represented by these eight studies, and an index completes the volume. Contents: David Nolan, “Inferno XIX”; G. Singh, Inferno XXVI: A Personal Appreciation”; C. S. Lonergan, “The Context of Inferno XXXIII: Bocca, Ugolino, Fra Alberigo”; W. B. Stanford, “The ‘Maggior Fortuna’ and the Siren in Purgatorio XIX”, Piero Calì, “Purgatorio XXVII”; Peter Armour, “Purgatorio XXVIII”; J. H. Whitfield, “‘Paradiso VI”; J. A. Scott, Paradiso XXX.” Among these essays, which are primarily canto lectures of the lectura Dantis type, some emphasize a particular aspect; for example, Nolan stresses the comedy, along with Dante’s disgust at the state of the contemporary Church, expressed in Inferno XIX, Lonergan elaborates the political theme found in the pit of Dante’s Hell, Whitfield develops the theme of justice pervading Paradiso VI against the background of the Monarchia. Stanford’s piece, however, is a brief note in which he interprets the Maggior Fortuna of Purgatorio XIX, 4, as a symbol of the Pythagorean Y or Herculean bivium, anticipating the siren and donna santa, or choice between the paths of good and evil. The volume was “published for University College, Dublin, and the Italian Cultural Institute, Dublin.” (Also available in paperback.)

Dante’s Influence on American Writers 1776-1976. Edited with an introduction by Anne Paolucci. New York: Published for the Dante Society of America by Griffon House Publications, 1977. 40 p.

            Essays by J. Chesley Mathews, James J. Wilhelm, Glauco Cambon. With foreword by Dr. Alessandro Cortese De Bosis, Consul General of Italy; Congressman Lester Wolff, Congressman Mario Biaggi. The three essays are separately listed by author in this bibliography.

Donno, Daniel J. “Moral Hydrography: Dante’s Rivers.” In MLN, XCII (1977), 130-139. 

Seeks to clarify some well-known obscurities and lacunae in the system of rivers in the Commedia’s topography, which is obviously intended to be unified. Although not directly an instrument of punishment like all other such topographical features in Dante’s Hell, the “presente rio” of Inferno XIV, 76-90, by conferring immunity from the rain of fire, is seen to punish ironically as it reminds the sinners of their willfully despising God’s benison, while the fire itself raining down in the manner of snow or manna is an antithetical reminder of divine beneficence. The simile of the Bulicame of Inferno XIV, 79-81, with its suggested contamination by passing through the houses of sin in Viterbo, anticipates the like contamination which must be understood pertaining to the rivers of Hell in Virgil’s subsequent explanation of them, with all of them draining ultimately into Lucifer’s great cesspool and source of all moral pollution, Cocytus. Furthermore, the inclusion of Lethe in Dante’s question to Virgil regarding Flegetonte serves to prepare us for associating that river too with the unified drainage system when it is reached by the Pilgrim in Purgatorio XXVIII. The link here is no doubt provided by the “ruscelletto” of the “natural burella” (Inf. XXXIV, 98). Dante’s “hydraulic system” is thus further clarified, but certain linkages between rivers are left to be surmised from other allusions provided by the poet. Functionally, moreover, the unified system of Dante’s rivers fittingly carries the evil generated by the “vermo reo” (Inf. XXXIV, 108) back to him as its source and ultimate destination at the earth’s center—from both sides of the globe. The sixth and last of Dante’s rivers, the purgatorial Eunoe, also springs from the same divine source as Lethe, but it is only physically part of the hydraulic system, for it revivifies memory of good deeds and thus initiates a new, paradisal order of experience.

Dragonetti, Roger. “The Double Play of Arnaut Daniel’s Sestina and Dante’s Divina Commedia.” In Yale French Studies, No. 55/56 [“Literature and Psychoanalysis: The Question of Reading: Otherwise”] (1977), 227-252.

Offers a complex analysis and interpretation of the sestina, Lo ferm voler q’el cor m’intra, by the Provencal poet much admired by Dante, Arnaut Daniel, who represents a particular dimension of poetic language, and finds in this poem sources of numerological analogies, ambiguous verbal parallels and antitheses, metaphorical ambiguities, suggestive degrees of kinship and ambivalent amorous relationships, and linguistic dissimulation that have served Dante in the composition of the Commedia. The author adduces “double plays” on auctor, image of God-artist or he who holds power, and autor, image of artist-god or the poet; the double meaning of sesto as homonym of sixth (one of the perfect numbers according to medieval numerology) and sextant (for drawing the circle and suggesting the metaphor of creation); the double play of “desired” as object and, narcissistically, as the poet’s expression of his desiring; and the word-play on the paradise in the poem, resulting in the “parity of eloquence: para-dis.” From this analysis the author goes on to offer several reflections relating to Dante’s poem. In the Paradiso he sees the poet as Dante-Orpheus projecting “not the paradise of Christian theology, but that of courtly literature, for which Arnaut had furnished the prestigious model in his Sestina.” The artistic perfection of Dante’s poem so conceals its “fraud” that it is extremely difficult to separate theological language from its metaphorical substitutes. Statius is cited as the model of the “secret Christian” and of the “hidden pagan” and thus an example of the dissimulation implicit in the double play of writing. Dante’s admiration and imitation are imposed upon him by Statius because of his art of dissimulation and by Arnaut because of “that verbal dynamic which allows for the ‘fraud’ inherent in writing.”

Fengler, Christie K., and William A. Stephany. “The Visual Arts: A Basis for Dante’s Imagery in Purgatory and Paradise.” In Michigan Academician, X (1977), 127-141. 

Relate Dante’s realistic representations on the sculptured terraces of the Purgatorio and such images as Eagle, Cross, and River of Light in the Paradiso to various kinds of medieval art, the naturalistic representations in contemporary painting and sculpture in the case of the former and the earlier non-naturalistic mosaic technique in the case of the latter. Dante as poet is seen to exhibit an intimate sensitivity to the visual arts that seem to have inspired so much of his imagery. Worthy of special comment is Dante’s use of mosaic analogy in the Paradiso images composed of discrete lights of individual souls to form them, much as the tesserae used in composing mosaics. The article comes with five illustrations .

Fergusson Francis. Trope and Allegory: Themes Common to Dante and Shakespeare. Athens, Ga: University of Georgia Press, 1977.

Contends, without minimizing the differences between the two writers, that Shakespeare wrote out of the same Christian-classical context, and explores a number of themes in some of Shakespeare’s plays which are analogous to like elements in Dante’s Divine Comedy. Included are similarities of allegory and realism in both. The book represents a more detailed elaboration of Fergusson’s previous studies on the Shakespeare-Dante kinship: “Trope and Allegory: Some Themes Common to Dante and Shakespeare,” in Dante Studies, LXXXVI (1968), 113-126 (see Dante Studies, LXXXVII, 157-158); “Romantic Love in Dante and Shakespeare in Sewanee Review, LXXXIII (1975), 253-266 (see Dante Studies XCIV, 163-164); and contributions to the Gauss Seminars at Princeton University. Contents: I. The Common Heritage of Dante and Shakespeare; II. Romantic Love as Lost: Paolo and Francesca and Romeo and Juliet; III. “Killing the Bond of Love”: Ugolino and Macbeth; IV. Human Government: Purgatorio 16 and Measure for Measure; V. Redeeming the Time: The Monarch as “Figura”; VI. The Faith in Romantic Love: Dante’s Beatrice and Shakespeare’s Comedies and The Winter’s Tale; VII. Belief and Make-Believe: Poetry as Evidence of Things Not Seen; Notes; Index.

Fido, Franco. “Dante, personaggio mancato del Decameron.” In Boccaccio: secoli di vita, Atti del Congresso Internazionale: Boccaccio 1975 Università di California, Los Angeles, 17-19 ottobre, 1975, a cura di Marga Cottino-Jones e Edward F. Tuttle . . . (Ravenna: Longo Editore, 1977), pp. 177-189.

Addressing the question of Dante’s “presenza-assenza” in the Decameron, the author examines the various echoes of the Commedia in that work and concludes that Dante himself as a character could not be accommodated in a work of such different spirit (despite Boccaccio’s admiration for him), and indeed various aspects of Dante are already represented by other noble Florentine characters, particularly Tedaldo (III, 7) who is a kind of ideal composite, though there is more in him and in them that was not in Dante. Despite the ambivalences, according to Professor Fido, in the irreverent author of the Decameron may be recognized a keener and happier reader of the Commedia than the commentator on the latter in the Esposizioni.

Fido, Franco. Le metamorfosi del centauro: studi e letture da Boccaccio a Pirandello. Roma: Bulzoni Editore, 1977. 286 p. (L’analisi letteraria Proposte e letture critiche, 18.)

Contains an essay “Dante personaggio mancato del Decameron. pp. 77-90, reprinted from Boccaccio: secoli di vita . . . (see previous item).

Flory, Wendy Stallard. “Pound’s Blake and Blake’s Dante: ‘The Circle of the Lustful’ and Canto 20.” In Paideuma, VI, No. 2 (Fall 1977), 155-165.

Shows how Ezra Pound for Canto 20 of the Pisan Cantos drew inspiration from Inferno V through the intermediary of William Blake’s painting and engraving on the subject.

Foster, Kenelm, O.P. The Two Dantes and Other Studies. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1977. viii, 260 p.

Gathers together mostly previously published Dantean studies, the three-part essay on “The Two Dantes” being the major exception. Contents: Preface; 1. An Introduction to the Inferno; 2. Courtly Love and Christianity; 3. Dante and Eros; 4. St. Thomas and Dante; 5. Dante’s Vision of God; 6. The Canto of the Damned Popes: Inferno XIX; 7. The Human Spirit in Action: Purgatorio XVII; 8. The Celebration of Order: Paradiso XIX; 9. The Son’s Eagle: Paradiso XIX; 10. The Two Dantes (I): Limbo and Implicit Faith; II. The Two Dantes (II): The Goodness of Virgil; 12. The Two Dantes (III): The Pagans and Grace l: With the last two essays containing four sub-sections—(II): 1. The Immortality of the Soul, 2. The Human Good, 3. Virtue as a Human Product, and (III): 4. Religion as a Part of Virtue]; Index of Themes and Topics, and Index of Authors. The places of previous publication of all but essays 5 and 10-12 are duly given in the preface. Essay 5 was written “18 years ago”; essays 10-12 on the two Dantes (the pagan and the Christian and the relationship between his Aristotelianism and his faith) were written expressly for this volume. (For essays 6-9, with slightly varying titles, see Dante Studies, LXXXVII, 47-68, LXXXVIII, 17-29, XC, 109-124, and XCIV, 71-90, abstracted in LXXXVIII, 184, LXXXIX, 112, XCI, 168-169, and XCV, 163-164, respectively.) The final essay concludes that, guided by the insight of the natural virtues being themselves divinely “infused” when ordered under Charity, “St Thomas could take over the whole achievement of Aristotle, as a philosophical moralist, while giving it an entirely new setting and direction. In Dantean terms this means the difference between Limbo and the Purgatorio; in which we see repentant man recovering, under grace, the lost or diminished natural virtues, but only in preparation for something that is utterly beyond their own range, a love-union with the Infinite. In the Purgatorio Aristotelianism is integrated into Christianity; in the Dantean Limbo it is not.”

Franco, Charles. “La figura di Beatrice: un’interpretazione archetipa.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXVIII (1977), 778A.

Doctoral dissertation, Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey (New Brunswick, New Jersey), 1977.

Freccero, John. “Bestial Sign and Bread of Angels (Inferno 32-33).” In Yale Italian Studies, I (1977), 53-66.

Contends that the Ugolino episode contains a paradigm of death and salvation epitomizing the theme of the entire Commedia, that it is also a political paradigm narrowing down man’s relationship to his fellow man to the two alternatives of either communion or cannibalism, and that the significance of Ugolino’s story, especially his final words, is revealed by the interpreting critics struggle to penetrate the meaning. The episode as political tragedy is reflected in the poet’s projection of the Thebes image upon the city of Pisa, in the staging of the two protagonists, Archbishop Ruggieri and Count Ugolino, as opposing representatives of Church and Empire, in their exemplification of the law of hatred, vengeance, and violence then affecting society, and in many other overtones of imagery and allusion. Professor Freccero goes on to elaborate in depth upon the recent notice of Christological language and allusion in the episode, particularly associated with children. Crucial to the whole tragic story is Ugolino’s failure to interpret correctly the redemptive possibilities in his children’s words and suffering, recalling the typologically significant instance of Abrahamic sacrifice in connection with the pattern of salvation history. Thus, besides as a traitor, Ugolino is seen condemned by Dante for his unwillingness to surrender to God’s will, his inability therefore to comprehend the spiritual significance of his children’s words. He exemplifies the interpretive obtuseness of non-believers, and a potentially Abrahamic situation only leads to the unspeakable ending of Theban horror. Finally, the interpretive obtuseness of Ugolino is reflected in the critics before his horrendous closing words (XXXIII, 75). The key here, contends Freccero, is not the theme of death as such, but the how of Ugolino’s death (V. 19) with its contrapuntal theme of bestiality echoed throughout the episode. Critics are invited to consider Ugolino’s dream, seen to prefigure the form of his damnation, as serving also as Dante’s allegory for reading the text. In a context of eating, Ugolino’s failure to understand the children’s offer, which is sacramental and suggestive of the redemption on an analogy with the Eucharist, leads him further from humanity to strictly biological animality and ultimately towards utter reification. His crux of interpretation is exactly that of the obtuse critic standing before Ugolino’s horrible last words. The problem reduces itself to the opposition between significance and non-significance, between the human and the bestial, between language and biology, between the spirit and the letter, whose resolution can only be predicated upon the mystical presence of Christ, as in the Eucharist (Gospel of John).

Garbàty, Thomas J.Troilus V, 1786-92 and V, 1807-27; An Example of Poetic Process.” In Chaucer Review, XI (Spring 1977), 299-305.

Contends that the obscure lines of V, 1786-92 in Troilus and Criseyde are clarified by Chaucer’s addition of lines 1807-27, which were inspired directly by Dante (Par. XXII, 100-154) rather than Boccaccio. According to the author, the Troilus can be seen as both tragedy and comedy, and from a larger perspective and in keeping with Dante’s concept of comedy, Chaucer finally placed a comic stamp on the work by the added passage with Troilus’ cosmic laugh from heaven. This is consistent with Chaucer’s constant search for a deeper meaning and spiritual value.

Ginsburg, Michal Peled. “Literary Convention and Poetic Technique: The Poetry of Cavalcanti and Dante.” In Italica, LIV (1977), 485-501. 

Explores how Cavalcanti and Dante achieve originality and individuality within the thematic and lexical convention of the dolce stil novo. Through an analysis of selected, representative poems, it is found that Cavalcanti asserts his freedom of the convention by syntactic and metrical innovation on the level of complex syntax and versification, while Dante asserts his unconventional posture thematically and semantically even as he maintains regularity of syntax and versification. In the rime petrose, however, Dante breaks the high thematical and lexical predictability in a manner similar to Cavalcanti’s, i.e., metrically and syntactically, but in so doing Dante manages to force a limited vocabulary to yield constantly new meanings.

Hardie, Colin. “Two Commentators on Dante, Old and New.” In Medium Aevum, XLVI (1977), 263-268.

Review-article on Guido da Pisa’s commentary to Dante’s Inferno edited by V. Cioffari, and Dante’s Divine Comedy, translated, with a commentary, by C. S. Singleton. (See Dante Studies, XCIII, 223-224; and LXXXIX 107-108, XCII, 182, and XCIV, 155-156, respectively.)

Heilbronn, Denise. “The Prophetic Role of Statius in Dante’s Purgatory.” In Dante Studies, XCV (1977), 53-67. 

Submits that the suspenseful appearance of Statius in Purgatorio XXI prophetically anticipates the appearance of Beatrice in Canto XXX. The Christological overtones of Dante’s fictional figure of Statius here are enhanced by his greeting which echoes biblical and exegetical precedent and by Virgil’s responding gesture (“cenno,” v. 15) which the author interprets to be the Christian embrace or kiss symbolizing (1) the Christological union of the human and divine and (2) an infusion of grace, or illumination.

Hollander, Robert. “Dante’s Poetics.” In Sewanee Review, LXXXV (1977), 392-410. 

Relates Dante’s poetics to the theological controversy of the late thirteenth and the fourteenth centuries between the detractors of poetry led by Dominican theologians and the literary defenders of poetry standing firm on the nature of poetry, and more specifically its value as cognitive truth when compared with theology. Notable, for example, is Albertino Mussato’s influential epistolary debate with a Dominican friar in 1315. Professor Hollander reviews historically the concept of the poet-theologian from Aristotle’s distinction between poetry and philosophical truth, which was echoed by St. Augustine in Christian terms and brought to a head in Thomas Aquinas’ opposition to poetry because of its admittedly fictional nature. The defenders, while forced to acknowledge the cognitive truth insisted upon by the theologians, stressed the allegorical significance of poetry. Dante, meanwhile, in his theoretical discussion and the example of his own poetic work, drew the distinction between the allegory of theologians and the allegory of poets, and went on boldly to claim literal truth for his Divina Commedia on the same order of biblical truth (a case, according to Singleton, of the fiction of the poem being that it is not a fiction). Thus, Dante’s masterpiece (anticipated by the Vita Nuova) is cast in the allegory of theologians and its author, according to Hollander, is not simply a poeta-theologus, but a theologus-poeta. (For a more detailed and highly documented discussion, see Professor Hollander’s recent study, “Dante Theologus-Poeta,” in Dante Studies, XCIV [1976], 91-136 [see Dante Studies, XCV, 165-166].)

Hollander, Robert. “Typology and Secular Literature: Some Medieval Problems and Examples.” In Literary Uses of Typology from the Late Middle Ages to the Present, edited by Earl Miner (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977), pp. 3-19. 

Noting the recent increased “importation of biblical typology to the study of secular literature,” and mindful that this critical approach often lacks precision because of the very authors’ unclear use of typology, Professor Hollander offers a “tentative rnorphology of secular medieval literary adaptations of typology” by discussing several of its forms: natural typology, historical recurrence, decorative typology, Christian typology, and “improper” Christian typology. Included among the illustrative examples discussed are some drawn from Dante, particularly the figure of Cato at the beginning of the Purgatorio, where the typological approach is seen to enrich the significance of Cato in a way not possible earlier. Hollander concludes on the cautionary note that there are two rival traditions of medieval allegoresis, the allegory of poets and the allegory of theologians, distinguished by Bernardus Silvestris as integumentum and allegoria, respectively; and one must determine to what degree each is applicable to any given work.

Howard, Lloyd Henry. “Guido Cavalcanti: An Introductory Essay and a Commentary.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXVII (1977), 6472A.

Doctoral dissertation, The Johns Hopkins University, 1977. (The introductory essay includes discussion of Dante in relation to Cavalcanti as fellow stilnovisti.)

Iannucci, Amilcare A. “Brunetto Latini: ‘come l’uom s’etterna.’” In NEMLA Italian Studies, I (1977), 17-28.

Pointing out the Confusion often engendered by the massive critical literature on the interpretation of Dante’s Commedia, the author contends that it is best to return to focus on the text, since the poet is his own best commentator. This is more obviously so in the hybrid Vita Nuova and Convivio, in which the prose serves to gloss the poems and the poet stresses the primacy of the literal meaning. While the Commedia lacks a prose component, it too carries powerful elements of self-exegesis through the technique of “testimony” or “parallel passage” common in biblical exegesis, which goes beyond the typical literary process of context building and retrospective vision. Dante’s procedure is a highly developed technique of conscious criticism elaborated from the exegetical tradition in the form of “parallel episodes.” The instances are many, for example, Dante-Ulysses, Virgil-Statius, Francesca-Cunizza, Ciacco-Forese, Pier della Vigna-Romeo, Guido-Buonconte. But the author focuses upon the more problematical Brunetto episode, which, like the Farinata episode that shifts attention from his epicureanism to his political concerns, shifts attention from Brunetto’s sodomy to his misguided emphasis upon literary fame as a means to immortality. This is further reinforced in the parallel episode among the artists of Purgatorio XI, where Oderisi sets in perspective and destroys Brunetto’s notions on fame.

Jones, Ann Rosalind. “The Lyric Sequence: Poetic Performance as Plot (Dante’s Vita Nuova, Scève’s Délie, Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella, Drayton’s Idea, La Ceppede’s Théorèmes).” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXVII (1977), 6464A-6465A. 

Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University, 1976.

Kleinhenz, Christopher. “Food for Thought: Purgatorio XXII, 146-147.” In Dante Studies, XCV (1977), 69-79. 

Contends that relating the passage to the entire Scriptural episode in Daniel 1 and to the contrasting Ciacco episode in Inferno VI provides a fuller reading of Dante’s double exemplum of “Daniello [che] dispregiò cibo e acquistò savere” (Purg. XXII, 146-147) and richly interconnects it with the subsequent Cantos XXIII-XXIV, thus heightening the political as well as spiritual significance of the poem.

La Favia, Louis Marcello. Benvenuto Rambaldi da Imola: Dantista. Madrid: Ediciones José Porrúa Turanzas, 1977. xi, 133 p. illus. 1 pl. (Studia Humanitatis, [No. 1], The Catholic University of America.) 

In this comprehensive treatment of the early commentary, seen as marking a decisive milestone towards a critical appreciation of the Commedia, the author examines the manuscript tradition, accounts for the inspiration and elaboration of the commentary, analyzes the commentary itself, and evaluates its present significance in the history of Dante criticism to the present day. Contents: Introduzione; I. Il “Comentum” e la tradizione manoscritta—L’edizione del Lacaita, I codici . . .; II. Il commento nei suoi aspetti estrinseci—Idea di un commento alla Commedia, Data di composizione del commento, Tre redazioni del commento benvenutiano, Comparazione delle tre redazioni La lingua di Benvenuto da Imola, Benvenuto ed i commentatori precedenti, Indipendenza del commento di Benvenuto da quello del Boccaccio; III. Il commento nei suoi elementi interni— Divisione generale dell’opera, Originalità del commento di Benvenuto (Lettura della Commedia in chiave umanistica), Il carattere di Benvenuto; Originalità del commento dantesco di Benvenuto; Bibliografia; Indice analitico.

Lansing, Richard H. From Image to Idea: A Study of the Simile in Dante’s “Commedia.” Ravenna: Longo Editore, 1977. 173 p. (L’interprete, 8.) 

Believing Dante’s simile to be much more complex than even recent critics like Eliot and Auerbach imagined, the author here analyzes what he considers unusually complex similes in the Commedia, studying their most fascinating features, specifically “their capacity for suggesting multiple points of analogy between tenor and vehicle, their deployment as a means of integrating conceptual associations within the narrative, and their tendency to press the reader’s imagination beyond the visual into the realm of ideas.” It is evident that for Dante ideas are anchored in the sensory reality, but he insists that the visible keeps pointing to the invisible, that behind the image lies a significant symbolic reality, and therefore Dante’s similes are essentially and immediately related to the larger modes of similitude of allegory and symbolism. Contents: Introduction; I. The Morphology of the Simile; II. The Simile in Its Context; III. Patterns of Meaning: The Shipwrecked Swimmer and Elijah’s Ascent; IV. Patterns of Meaning: Similes in Series; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index of Similes Cited. A portion of chapter 2 was published as “Submerged Meanings in Dante’s Similes (Inf. XXVII),” in Dante Studies, XCIV (1976), 61-69 (see Dante Studies, XCV, 167-168).

Leyerle, John. “The Rose-Wheel Design and Dante’s Paradiso. In University of Toronto Quarterly, XLVI (1977), 280-308.

Examines the great round window of medieval cathedrals, particularly as exemplified by Brioloto’s fortune-wheel window in the Church of San Zeno, Verona. While the original term was wheel, or rota, for the design traced by the stone-work, the term rose, or rosa, gradually came to be used because of the floral pattern formed by the openings, especially when light shone through. The “rose-wheel” window thus symbolically expressed two important medieval ideas, (1) the fortune-dominated world of change representing a fallen version of God’s eternal realm, and (2) the florally figured idea of earthly love as a fallen copy of divine love, but at the same time as a possible means for reascending to God. With the thirteenth-century growth of scientific knowledge in light and optics, the windows came to be associated with eyes or lenses (oculi) and mirrors (specula), thus showing the metaphysical view of light and optics rife with spiritual symbolism. Similar interest in the rose-wheel design is reflected in the complex continuation by Jean de Meun of the Roman de la Rose, in which he superimposed a pattern of orbicular motion taken from fortune’s wheel upon the rose motif elaborated by Guillaume de Lorris in this poem on love. Finally, Dante organically synthesized the rose-wheel design in the Divine Comedy, as evidenced not only by his figure of Fortuna in Inferno VII and especially the great rose at the end of the Paradiso, but also by his mirror and light imagery throughout the poem. The poetic authority lent by Dante to the rose-wheel design stimulated its continuation as an informing pattern in works of later poets from Chaucer to T. S. Eliot. The article comes with six illustrations.

Lyczko, Judith Elizabeth. “Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Studies in the Dantesque and Arthurian Imagery of the Paintings and Drawings (Volumes I-III).” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXVII (1977), 6116A-6117A. 

Doctoral dissertation, Bryn Mawr College, 1976.

Mandelstam, Osip. Osip Mandelstam: Selected Essays. Translated by Sidney Monas. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1977. xxvi, 245 p. (The Dan Danciger Publication Series.) 

Contains his “Conversation about Dante” (Translated by Clarence Brown and Robert Hughes), pp. 3-44, reprinted here from its original appearance in this translation under the title, “Talking about Dante,” in Delos, No. 6 (1971), 65-106 (see Dante Studies, XCI, 189).

Marcarelli, Ralph Edmond.In principio erat verbum: Dante’s Language of Grace.” In Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXVIII (1977), 3475A.

Doctoral dissertation, Yale University, 1977. 259 p. (On Dante’s use of language in the Commedia in its sacramental application.)

Masciandaro, Franco. “Notes on the Image of the Point in the Divine Comedy.” In Italica, LIV (1977), 215-226. 

Initiating a series of notes discussing Dante’s use of the punto of time throughout the Commedia, the point “in which the human and divine, time and eternity flow together,” as epitomized in Paradiso XXXIII, 91-96, the author here discusses (1) Inferno I, 10-12, etc., where the wayfarer remains caught on this side of the beginning of the salvific climb; (2) I, 37-45, where the wayfarer becomes aware of time along with a nostalgic recall of Eden, and with that a sense of anguish in his inability to possess the point in which time and eternity intersect; (3) V, 127-138, where the confluence of the temporal point and the thematic point can be seen in the quando of Francesca’s speech; and (4) this same passage, where the verse “ma solo un punto fu quel che ci vinse” (V. 132) illustrates the failure by Paolo and Francesca to see the Christian drama of sin and expiation exemplified in their reading of Lancelot and Guinevere, contrasting with the “punto che mi vinse” of Paradiso XXX, 10-11.

Mathews, J. Chesley. “A Historical Overview of American Writers’ Interest in Dante (to about 1900).” In Dante’s Influence on American Writers 1776-1976 (1977), pp. 12-20. 

Reviews briefly the interest in and influence of Dante among American writers as they evolved with increasing intensity from the end of the eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth, particularly in such figures as G. Ticknor, W. H. Prescott Margaret Fuller, R. H. Wilde, T. W. Parsons, W. C. Bryant, R. W. Emerson, J. G. Whittier, E. A. Poe, H. Thoreau, H. Melville, W. Whitman, H. W. Longfellow, and J. R. Lowell.

Mazzaro, Jerome. “Dante’s The Vita Nuova and the ‘New’ Poet.” In La Fusta, II, No. I (Spring 1977), 17-40.

Presents a schematic reading of the Vita Nuova, relating Dante’s use of such elements as the book metaphor, memory, dreams, and concept of love to ideas in Scripture, Augustine, Aquinas, and others. He elaborates the moral amorous, and artistic development of the poet-lover recounted in the libello from the sensitive to the intellectual/spiritual level of love with multiple echoes of Christological patterns and musical analogues, and the redemption process from youth and discord to maturity in harmony with God’s universe.

Mazzaro, Jerome. “A Theory of Language: George Steiner and the Figure of Dante.” In Salmagundi, XXXVII (1977), 117-126.

A review-article on Steiner’s After Babel (q.v., this section) pointing out that while Steiner lacks the theological assumptions available to Dante, he nevertheless faces similar problems in fathoming the mystery of human language and its origins.

McCutchan, Garrett (Joint author). “Dante, Christ, and the Fallen Bridges.” See Baglivi, Giuseppe....

Miller, James L. “Three Mirrors of Dante’s Paradiso.” In University of Toronto Quarterly, XLVI (1977), 263-279.

Demonstrates that the Paradiso is based on a hierarchy of mirrors in the tradition of Bonaventure, Aquinas, and Alain de Lille, tracing a three-stage specular development from Beatrice’s experiment in scientific hypothesis in Canto II to the river of light in XXX, an insight of the imagination which prefigures the third and final Trinitarian mirror in XXXIII. Along the way of this progression from the speculum inferius, or mirror of creation reflecting the divine light down through the hierarchical scale of being in particulars, to the speculum superius, or the mirror of God with the universal form of the divine mind, the poet’s optical imagery punctuates and reinforces the spiritual implications so as to effect an aesthetic and theological synthesis. Dante’s endeavor to synthesize ancient learning and Christian theology here reflects the thriving contemporary interest and knowledge about light and optics (cf. Robert Grosseteste).

Milne, Fred L. “Shelley’s The Cenci: The Ice Motif and the Ninth Circle of Dante’s Hell.” In Tennessee Studies in Literature, XXII (1977), 117-132.

Points out that Shelley was reading Dante’s Comedy the year before and during his composition of The Cenci. Evincing a strong Dantean influence, the play establishes the motif of coldness and hardness found in the Ninth Circle (Inf. XXXII-XXXIV) with the character of Count Cenci in Act 1, and this creates the love-destroying ambience which affects all other characters throughout the play. A concomitant use of Dantean imagery re-inforces the informing motif of coldness-hardness.

Musa, Mark. “Virgil Reads the Pilgrim’s Mind.” In Dante Studies, XCV (1977), 149-152. 

Rejects the interpretation that Virgil has guessed the desire on the Pilgrim’s mind at the beginning of Inferno XXIX, contending that there is no express reference to Virgil’s “clairvoyance” here, as is the rule in such instances in the poem, and that in any case Virgil’s ability to “read the Pilgrim’s mind,” far from a matter of god-like clairvoyance, simply boils down to mere discernment and sagacity within the limits of human intelligence or reason, of which he is the accepted embodiment.

Mussetter, Sally. “Dante’s Three Beasts and the Imago Trinitatis.” In Dante Studies, XCV (1977), 39-52. 

Seeking a more precise interpretation of the three beasts s in Inferno I, the author adds to John Freccero’s psychological reading of the prologue scene in terms of regio dissimilitudinis St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s revision (Sermo 42, de quinque negotiis) of this Augustinian-Neoplatonic idea by viewing spiritual awakening or conversion as the starting-point for reform as well, and Richard of St. Victor’s revision (De Trinitate) of the Augustinian attributes of the Trinity and man, the imago Dei, in order to elaborate the trinitarian attributes in the human soul of potentia, sapientia and caritas, where the potentia and affectus in the lower Soul are harmonized by sapientia in the higher soul. This revision of Trinitarian attributes, with the sinner’s spiritual awakening now considered not only as an initial conversion but also as a starting-point for a process of reform, is reflected throughout Dante’s Commedia, beginning with the prologue scene where the pilgrim has fallen into the regio dissimilitudinis or region of unlikeness (to God) and the leone, lonza, and lupa are identified with the sinner’s bestial perversion of potentia, sapientia, and caritas in his fallen state de angelo ad iumentum. The distorted reflection in Dante’s pilgrim of God’s free will expressed in charity is figured by the lupa, long associated in the bestiaries with the will’s wrong choice of cupiditas over caritas and with will-lessness itself, gravezza, tristitia, accedia. Thus, even after conversion through spiritual awakening thanks to Divine inspiration, the pilgrim in Inferno recognizes his weakness of will, false loves, and earthly attachments and he is stymied by despair. He must straighten out his will on a journey of reform with the help of God’s grace and appropriate guidance. The design of Dante’s Hell is seen to conform with trinitarian psychology both in the prologue scene and in the long pilgrimage of the imago Dei from the regio dissimilitudinis to full likeness to his Creator in potentia, sapientia, and caritas.

Nolan, Barbara. The Gothic Visionary Perspective. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977. xviii, 268 p. illus., plates.

Contains a chapter on Dante’s Vita Nuova (pp. 84-123) and further reference to Dante, passim, in the context of the book’s general thesis of the remarkable parallelism between the new exegetical posture of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and religious art and literature, with particular emphasis on the latter. Without claiming causal relationships, the author suggests that the artifacts she describes “—the Gothic cathedral envisioned by Abbot Suger and realized at Chartres, the illustrated Apocalypses, the thirteenth-century French visionary quests, the Vita Nuova, Pearl, and Piers Plowman—can be more fully understood if considered within the context of attitudes toward history, prophecy and vision developed by monastic and clerical writers of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.... Through formal design, architect, sculptor and illuminator alike began to assert that divine revelation and human beatitude were to be examined and realized preeminently within the context of history—both mankind’s and one’s own. They demonstrated that vision belongs necessarily to the working out of God’s temporal plan for man. Hence linear narrative—telling the story of divine revelation and personal salvation from Adam until the Apocalypse—became as central to the artistic form as the representation of visionary experience.” Contents: Preface, 1. New Directions in Twelfth-Century Spirituality; 2. Anagogy; Aevum and Two Later Medieval Visionary Arts; 3. The Vita Nuova: Dante’s Book of Revelation; 4. The Later Medieval Spiritual Quest: Through Time to Aevum; 5. Pearl: A Fourteenth-Century Vision in August; 6. Will’s Dark Visions of Piers the Plowman; Index. The work comes with a frontispiece and 22 plates of illustration. Much of the chapter on the Vita Nuova is reprinted from two earlier essays, “The Vita Nuova: Dante’s Book of Revelation,” and “The Vita Nuova and Richard of St. Victor’s Phenomenology,” which appeared in Dante Studies, LXXXVIII (1970), 175-205, and XCII (1974), 35-52, respectively (see Dante Studies, LXXXIX, 116-117, and XCIII, 237-238).

Nolan, David, editor. See Dante Commentaries: Eight Studies of the Divine Comedy (1977).

Nohrnberg, J. C. “The Inferno.” In Homer to Brecht: The European Epic and Dramatic Tradition, edited by Michael A. Seichel and Edward Mendelson (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1977), pp. 76-104.

Offers a general introductory essay on the Inferno in the context of the whole poem but more especially in relation to the literature of quest, stressing Dante’s analogies with life on earth and drawing parallels also with the literary tradition, e.g., the Odyssey, Aeneid, and Bible. Comes with a bibliographical note.

O’Malley, Glenn. “Dante, Shelley, and T. S. Eliot.” In Romantic and Modern Revaluations of Literary Tradition, edited by George Bornstein (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977), pp. 165-176.

Singles out T. S. Eliot and Shelley as “the two English poets who have outstripped all others in enhancing Dante’s esteem,” and compares them as translators and adapters of the Italian poet.

Pane, Remigio. “Studi danteschi: A Bibliography of Doctoral Dissertations, 1896-1976. In La Fusta, II, No. I (Spring 1977), 104-126.

Lists the 120 dissertations of Dantean interest presented in United States and Canadian universities between 1896 and 1976, including bibliographical information and statistical tabulations. (For a supplementary list, see Cervigni above, main section, under Studies.)

Paolucci Anne. “Dante, Hegel, and the Marian Inspiration of the Commedia.” In Dante Studies, XCV (1977), 95-118. 

Reviews Hegel’s theoretical discussions on the limitations of classical and symbolic art and their transcendence by modern Christian (and romantic) art through its greater spirituality, and discusses the pervasive Marian inspiration and imagery in the Commedia, contending that for Dante, first poet of the West, and for Hegel’s definition of the romantic-Christian aesthetic consciousness an indispensable key was precisely this powerful inspiration of the Virgin Mary.

Paolucci, Anne, editor. Dante’s Influence on American Writers 1776-1976. New York: Griffon House, 1977. 

Pellegrini, Anthony L. “American Dante Bibliography for 1976.” In Dante Studies, XCV (1977), 157-190. 

With brief analyses.

Peters, Edward.Pars, Parte: Dante and an Urban Contribution to Political Thought.” In The Medieval City, edited by Harry A. Miskimin, David Herlihy, and A. L. Udovitch (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1977), pp. 113-140.

In tracing the development of the institution of party as a means of organized, constructive political conflict and its resolution and, within the context of the term’s first appearance to designate a political grouping in the adventurous polities of Northern Italy, the author addresses the position of Dante, who denounced the concept of party as leading to civil discord in violation of the ideal of unitas, concordia, and corpus. It was only later among the English thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the North American political theorists of the nineteenth that the institution of party acquired theoretical respectability in the modern system of political opposition.

Picone, Michelangelo. “Dante e il mito di Narciso: dal Roman de la Rose alla Commedia.” In Romanische Forschungen, LXXXIX (1977), 382-397.

Associating the adaptation of the Narcissus myth in medieval Christian culture with the central concept of the Fall, to which the literary adaptations are related in terms of an existential queste for the Edenic reunion of the human creature with his divine origin as exemplified by Christ, the author examines the different manifestations of the myth in the two authors of the Roman de la Rose and in Dante. In Professor Picone’s view, Narcissus reflects the mortal danger that man risks on his earthly pilgrimage to regain his former perfection in God. In the episode of the Lover at the Fountain (of Love) set in the Edenic garden, Guillaume de Lorris makes ambivalent use of the Narcissus myth, reflecting the courtly concept of love with the figure of the idealized Lady as elevated and unattainable; while Jean de Meung, in a similar episode at the Fountain (of Life), conceives of love in naturalistic terms and therefore attainable and realizable at the sensual level in an earthly paradise regained, reflecting the new ideology. For Guillaume’s aristocratic conception of a mysterious, “distant” love in the tradition of fin’amors, Jean substituted a bourgeois conception of love as a strictly biological phenomenon. For the latter, therefore, to reflect oneself in the mirror of the Other meant simply to conquer it, to possess it. In the case of Dante, apart from two direct allusions to the Narcissus myth in Inferno XXX, 128-129, and Paradiso III, 17-18. the thematic crux of self-recognition on the part of the lover and of valorization of the Other reappears at the top of Purgatory (Purg. XXVII-XXXIII), where Dante resolves the dilemma of Guillaume and Jean by retaining the creaturely Lady of courtly love tradition and going, beyond, as in her perfection she is made analogically to prepare the lover ritualistically for the ultimate journey to God.

Picone, Michelangelo. “Strutture poetiche e strutture prosastiche nella Vita Nuova.” In MLN, XCII (1977), 117-129. 

Focuses on the two conspicuous structural elements of the Vita Nuova, the poems and the prose, in their respective and mutually related descriptive, functional, and semantic/tropological aspects, with constant reference to the cultural-literary matrix out of which they evolved. From his analysis, the author concludes that, while Dante’s poems here are embedded firmly in the tradition, originality lies in the prose (without previous models) which Picone finds highly innovative and revolutionary. Functionally, it is precisely the prose of the libello that brings order and global meaning out of the raw matter, the “chaos,” of the poems. What issues from this combination and coordination of prose and poems in the Vita Nuova is therefore a moral and philosophic essay which, through the prose, leads the persona-protagonist to recognize the true meaning of the poems, a significance that coincides with ultimate Truth, God. With this approach to the Vita Nuova, contends Picone, such aspects as the polemical chapter XXV, the attack on Guittone and even on Cavalcanti become clearer, while the fundamental reconciliation of the identity of amor mundi and amor Dei as the ground of moral life is restored.

Picone, Michelangelo. “La Vita Nuova e la tradizione poetica.” In Dante Studies, XCV (1977), 135-147. 

Contends that to ascertain the historico-cultural and literary value of the Vita Nuova, the work must be considered in the context of the Romance poetic tradition. The libello is seen as a direct attack on Guittone d’Arezzo’s moralistic and illogical negative position vis-à-vis courtly love and as a corrective on Cavalcanti’s own negative view of love with his lack of eternal vision. Dante has, in short, demonstrated in the Vita Nuova, as in the Commedia later, the positive view of human love as a first stage on the way to divine love, thus resolving the impasse regarding love as staged by Cavalcanti’s canzone considered as a codification summa of courtly love. The Vita Nuova is consistent with the courtly tradition on the “itinerarium mentis ad veritatem,” and goes beyond courtly love culture of eros to agape. It thus achieves literary distinction both within its Italian framework and in the larger Romance context, thanks to Dante’s elaboration of the female figure into an abstract essence which in the intellectual vision of poets enables the contemplation of the divine.

Ransom, Daniel. J.Panis Angelorum: A Palinode in the Paradiso.” In Dante Studies, XCV (1977), 81-94. 

Re-examines Dante’s use of the biblical figure, pane de li angeli in the Convivio (I, i, 7) and in Paradiso II, 10-14, relating the discussion to Dante’s whole anti-Thomistic attempt to rationalize “the allegory of poets” by analogy with “the allegory of theologians,” and concludes that the two contexts are not identical, for in the Commedia the metaphor reacquires its spiritual or theological substance and thus constitutes a subtle pailnode of Dante’s earlier misappropriation of the biblical figure. “What was in the Convivio food for thought becomes once again food for the soul.”

Reeves, Marjorie. Joachim of Fiore and the Prophetic Future. New York [etc.]: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1977. [vii], 212 p. illus., pls. and diagrs. (Harper Torchbooks, TB1924.)

Contains a brief but pointed discussion of the possible influence of Joachim on Dante, especially on pp. 64-66. The seven half-tone plates of illustrations, reproduced primarily from Joachim’s Liber Figurarum, are of particular Dantean interest. Contents: 1. Joachim and the Meaning of History; 2. New Spiritual Men; 3. Last World Emperor and Angelic Pope; 4. Joachimist Expectation in the Renaissance Period; 5. Joachim and the Catholic Visionaries; 6. Joachim and Protestantism; Epilogue; Notes; Select Bibliography on Joachim and His Works; Index. This paperback edition is reprinted from the original British edition of 1976 (London: S.P.C.K. [Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge]).

Rigo, Paola. “Il Dante di Guido da Pisa.” In Lettere italiane, XXIX (1977), 196-207.

Review-article on Guido da Pisa’s Expositiones et Glose super Comediam Dantis, or Commentary on Dante’s Inferno, edited with notes and introduction by Vincenzo Cioffari (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1974). (See Dante Studies, XCIII, 223-224, XCV, 178, XCVI, 239 and 254, and see the review sections of the present bibliography.)

Roe, Albert S. Blake’s Illustrations to the Divine Comedy. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977. xiii, 219 p. [103] leaves of plates.

Reprint of the 1953 edition (Princeton University Press). (See 68th to 72nd Annual Report, 47.)

Rossi, Vinio. “Erato and Angele: The Beatrice Figure in the Early Works of Claudel and Gide.” In Claudel Studies, IV, No. 1 (1977), 38-47.

While recognizing the opposition between the two French contemporaries, the author relates to Dante’s Beatrice the female figure as Emmanuele/Angele, in Andre Gide’s Les Cahiers d’Andre Walter and Les Paludes, where she reflects his own ego, and as the muse Erato, in Paul Claudel’s Les Muses and other works, where she leads Claudel to “the trinity of Self, Other, and World” as he moves from Eros to Caritas.

Ryan, Lawrence V. “Ulysses, Guido, and the Betrayal of Community.’ In Italica, LIV (1977), 227-249. 

Without rejecting previous interpretations of the two highly polysemous figures in Inferno XXVI-XXVII, the author explores a neglected dimension of these two linked cantos in the context of the poem’s overall design. The two examples of self-centredness are found to symbolize fraud against politeia and ecclesia and thus run counter to the poet’s conception of ideal community of Church and State, as addressed with similar imagery in successive cantos of the Paradiso, for example, in II, IV, XI, XII, XIII, XVI and especially in the symmetrically corresponding canto XXVII, in which humanity is seen as sailing towards destruction until divine intervention straightens its course.

Schless, Howard H. “Dante: Comedy and Conversion. In Versions of Medieval Comedy, edited and with an introduction by Paul G. Ruggiers (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977), pp 135-149. 

The introduction and essays of Versions of Medieval Comedy were reprinted from Genre, IX (1976), 279-526; the present essay, from pp. 413-427.

Shapiro, Marianne. “Brunetto’s Race (Inf. XV).” In Dante Studies, XCV (1977), 153-155. 

Contends that, along with Convivio IV, xxii, 6, and I Corinthians 9: 24, even more relevant are certain verses of Galatians (which affirms the primacy of faith over law) for illuminating the Brunetto episode in Inferno XV, especially verses 50-54, to which is assimilated also the Cato episode of Purgatorio II, in confirmation of the point of both, that secular knowledge is inadequate for attaining a transcendental destiny.

Sheldon, Walter L. The Divine Comedy of Dante: Four Lectures Intended Especially for Those Who Have Never Read the Poem but Would Like to Know Something about It. Folcroft, Penn.: Folcroft Library Editions, 1977. 126 p. illus., diagrs.

Reprint of the 1905 edition (Philadelphia: S. B. Weston).

Singleton, Charles S. Dante’s “Commedia’’: Elements of Structure. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977. [xi], 98 p.

Reprint of the original paperback edition of 1954 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press), which bore the title, Dante Studies 1. “Commedia”: Elements of Structure (see 73rd Report, 60-61; extensively reviewed). An Italian version by Giulio Vallese (Napoli: Scalabrini) appeared in 1961 with the title, Studi su Dante, I: Introduzione alla Divina Commedia, with a new preface by the author for the Italian edition (see 80th Report, 32).

Singleton, Charles S. An Essay on the “Vita Nuova.” Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977. 168 p.

Paperback reprint of the original 1949 edition (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press), which was also reprinted in paperback by the Harvard Press in 1958 (see 78th Report, 43; original edition extensively reviewed). An Italian translation by Gaetano Prampolini (Bologna: Il Mulino) appeared in 1968 (see Dante Studies, LXXXVII, 171).

Singleton, Charles S. Journey to Beatrice. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977. [vii], 291 p.

Reprint of the original paperback edition of 1958 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; also, London: Oxford University Press, 1959), which bore the title, Dante Studies 2. Journey to Beatrice (see 77th Report, 52-53, and 78th Report, 35 and 40; extensively reviewed). An Italian translation by Gaetano Prampolini (Bologna: Il Mulino) appeared in 1968 (see Dante Studies, LXXXVlI, 171).

Stephany, William A. (Joint author). “The Visual Arts: A Basis for Dante’s Imagery in Purgatory and Paradise.” See Fengler, Christie K....

Tosello, Matthew, I.M.C. “Spenser’s Silence about Dante.” In Studies in English Literature, XVII (1977), 59-66. 

Contends that Spenser could not have been ignorant of Dante and his Commedia, basing himself on external evidence, for example, the prominence of Dante in Spenser’s Italianate milieu and internal evidence, for example, the 360 Dantean parallels in his works. The author goes on to explain Spenser’s silence about Dante in such a context on prudential grounds, citing in particular the contemporary Italian “Quarrel over Dante” which made the latter less fashionable and, more importantly, the Marprelate controversy involving the friction between radical Puritans who championed Dante, and the Established Church, which had placed his Monarchia and Commedia on the Index. In any case, while a piece-meal bibliography has grown on the subject, there is yet no comprehensive study of Spenser’s knowledge and imitation of Dante.

Triolo, Alfred A.Ira, Cupiditas, Libido: The Dynamics of Human Passion in the Inferno.” In Dante Studies, XCV (1977), 1-37. 

As s part and continuation of a previous study, “ ‘Matta Bestialità in Dante’s ‘Inferno’: Theory and Image” (Traditio, XXIV [1968] 247-292; see Dante Studies, LXXXVII, 173), the author here elaborates a unified, coherent theory of the fundamental human passions underlying the sins treated and exemplified and their structural distribution in the Inferno, in order to have a coherent basis of interpretation. Drawing upon Aristotle (N. Ethics, V and VII) and Cicero (Tusculan Disputations) and more particularly Lactantius (Divine Institutes), Professor Triolo analyzes the basic passions of ira, cupiditas, and libido (which assimilate others to themselves) and their combinations and permutations, as intermediaries between the Capital Sins and their particular manifestations in a manner conformable to the pagan as well as Christian system, thus permitting a more consistent understanding of Dante’s panoply of pagan (and mythological) and Christian exemplars and equally consistent interface between the infernal and purgatorial systems in the Commedia. He shows, furthermore, how the passions are conditioned according to the Aristotelian dispositions that determine the irruption of passion or the prevalence of weakness in incontinence or the hardening of the same passions in two further degrees of intemperance in the form of malice and mad brutishness, the latter form of malice being its last phase beyond the “normal” human potential for evil. One specific canto discussed is Inferno IX, where the three Furies, Megaera, Tisiphone, and Alecto, are seen to stand for ira, cupiditas, and libido, respectively, and Medusa herself for a dark eros, or avaritia-cupiditas, as the root sin-passion, and therefore pertaining fittingly to the whole City of Dis, or Lower Hell. Moreover, in the Filippo Argenti episode, seen in a “cosmopolitical” light, is discerned the emergence of the master theme of the retributional ira Dei accompanying God’s Providence in the governance of the world. Also treated in theory, figuration, and action, are tristitia, incontinent ira, superbia, timor, audacia, spes, and desperatio, and their negative distortions. This analysis is applied to Dante’s Lower Hell, in which Professor Triolo subdivides the general sins as Violence and Fraud I (Circles 7 and 8) and Fraud II, or mad brutishness (Circle 9). He offers interpretative comments on several further narrative details and exemplars of sin.

Vance, Thomas H. “New Verse, Ancient Rhyme: T. S. Eliot and Dante.” In Parnassus: Poetry in Review, V, No. 1 (Fall-Winter 1976, i.e., 1977), 127-146.

Examines Eliot’s relation and debt to Dante from a wider perspective than the usual, while also considering the equally intense response to Dante of Shelley and Pound, whose intermediary influence on Eliot is significant. The author stresses the culturally and historically refracted nature of the Dantean reflections in Eliot’s poetry and illuminates with some comparisons the shifts in imagery from the earlier to the modern poet, based on the change in language and the different grounds of basic presuppositions about the world.

Wheelock, James T. S. “A Function of the Amore Figure in the Vita Nuova.” In Romanic Review, LXVII (1977), 276-286. 

Submits that in the conflation of amour courtois tradition and Christian ethos effected by Dante in the Vita Nuova one function of the figure Amore is to assume the tyrannical attitude of lordly domination typical of the courtly midons, thus preserving, in accord with Christian equality, the horizontal relationship between the poet-lover and Beatrice. After the death of the latter and the disappearance of the figure Amore, the “donna de la finestra” assumes the role of dominance and gratuitous pietà in the functional verticality of courtly tradition. This method of describing the dramatic and poetic function of Amore in Dante’s libello is considered advantageous in revealing significant structural elements that might remain hidden.

Wilhelm, James J. “Two Visions of the Journey of Life: Dante as a Guide for Eliot and Pound.” In Dante’s Influence on American Writers 1776-1976 (1977), p. 220. 

Discusses Dante’s influence on T. S. Eliot, who besides imitating Dante rhetorically projected much of Dante’s vision (ese. of the Inferno) upon modern life, and on Ezra Pound, who patterned his own modern epic, the Cantos, on a de-Christianized version of Dante’s triadic masterpiece. Especially in late maturity, Eliot captures the flow of Dante’s vision in sustained poetry, while Pound rearranges Dantean images and ideas in striking new patterns.

Wimsatt, James I. “Beatrice as a Figure for Mary.” In Traditio, XXXIII (1977), 402-414.

Contends, in light of many analogues of Mary as well as Christ in medieval literature, that Scripture and the exegetical tradition poignantly echoed in Dante’s verse support an interpretation of Beatrice’s appearance in Purgatorio XXX as representing the figure of Mary in her meaning of the Incarnation, while the Griffin symbolizes Christ in the mystical procession. In a word, at this first appearance, Beatrice would be a surrogate of Mary with Christ. Further confirmation of this interpretation is found in Paradiso XXIII and XXXIII.

Woody, Kennerly M. “Dante and the Doctrine of the Great Conjunctions.” In Dante Studies, XCV (1977), 119-134. 

Recalls the tradition of millennial expectations associated with the “great conjunctions” of Saturn and Jupiter in order to shed some light on Dante’s vague prophecies of a coming reform in Christendom found in the Commedia. On the basis of such passages as Purgatorio XXXIII, 40-45 and XX, 13-15, and the relevant commentaries of Iacopo della Lana and Pietro di Dante who mention the great conjunctions, the author concludes that Dante was thinking in terms of conjunctional astrology and that in his prophecies, given the special importance the poet attached to his own birth sign, Gemini (cf. Par. XXII, 112-114), Dante had particularly in mind the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Gemini in 1325 for the great reformation of Christendom.

 

Reviews

The Divine Comedy. Translated, with a commentary, by Charles S. Singleton. . . Bollingen Series, LXXX. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1970-1975. 3 v. in 6. (See Dante Studies, LXXXIX, 107-108, XCII, 182, and XCIV, 155-156; extensively reviewed.) Reviewed by:

            Colin Hardie, in Medium Aevum, XLVI (1977), 263-268.

The Divine Comedy. [III.] Paradiso. Translated, with a commentary, by Charles S. Singleton.... Bollingen Series, LXXX. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1975. 2 v. (See Dante Studies, XCIV, 155-156; extensively reviewed.) Reviewed by:

            Morton W. Bloomfield, in Speculum, LII (1977), 644-645;

            Christopher Kleinhenz, in Romance Philology, XXXI (1977), 412-415.

Vita Nuova. A Translation and an Essay, by