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Literary Criticism Medieval

Dante's Journey to Polyphony

by (author) Francesco Ciabattoni

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2014
Medieval, Poetry, Italian
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2010
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2014
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2015
    List Price

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In Dante's Journey to Polyphony, Francesco Ciabattoni's erudite analysis sheds light on Dante's use of music in the Divine Comedy. Following the work's musical evolution, Ciabattoni moves from the cacophony of Inferno through the monophony of Purgatory, to the polyphony of Paradise and argues that Dante's use of sacred songs constitutes a thoroughly planned system. Particular types of music accompany the pilgrim's itinerary and reflect medieval theories regarding sound and the sacred.

Combining musicological and philological scholarship, this book analyzes Dante's use of music in conjunction with the form and content of his verse, resulting in a cross-discipline analysis also touching on Italian Studies, Medieval Studies, and Cultural History. After moving from infernal din to heavenly harmony, Ciabattoni's final section addresses the music of the spheres, a theory that enjoyed great diffusion among the early middle ages, inspiring poets and philosophers for centuries.

About the author

Francesco Ciabattoni is an associate professor of Italian at Georgetown University.

Francesco Ciabattoni's profile page

Editorial Reviews

'Ciabattoni's detailed and elegant description of the use of music within the Divine Comedy provides us with a meticulous analysis of Dante's diverse musical references and their sources... His book will surely be fascinating and useful to anyone with a strong interest in the interactions between music and literature.'

Early Music America: Summer 2011

‘Ciabattoni makes a brilliant contribution to the field of music. He has provided scholars with a vivid picture of the practice of singing improvisational polyphony in the Commedia.’

Eleonora M. Beck,<em> Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association: March2011</em>

'Dante's Journey to Polyphony is a brilliant example of the precious contribution musicology can offer when applied to the study of literature. It is beautifully written and thoroughly researched work that addresses the still underrepresented topic of Dante and music... After reading this book it will be hard to deny the fundamental unity of all musical references in the Comedy.'

Annali d'Italianistica - vol 28:2010

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