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Literary Criticism Medieval

The World of Dante

Six Studies in Language and Thought

edited by S. Bernard Chandler & Julius Molinaro

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 2018
Medieval, Medieval, Italian, Italy
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    Publish Date
    Dec 2018
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In celebration of the 700th anniversary of the birth of Dante in 1265 the Dante Society of Toronto invited six internationally known scholars to address its members. Believing that the greatest tribute to Dante lies in the constant acquisition of a deeper knowledge of his work, the Society prescribed no common theme, but asked only that each paper should present an original contribution to Dante scholarship, deriving from the speaker's individual thought and research. Together, these contributions indicate the range and direction of Dante studies in North America today.


The first paper, by Glauco Cambon, deals with Dante's developing attitude to language, which finds its highest and appropriate expression in the Divina Commedia—i.e., dramatic utterance and the becoming of the word. John Freccero shows by a study of the "River of Death" in Inferno II, 108, that the poem was written as a confession of faith for other men; John M. Mahoney, appealing to the Victorine-Augustinian tradition, considers the place of the Purgatorio in the time scheme of the Divina Commedia. Joseph Anthony Mazzeo, through a reading of the Divina Commedia in the light of the Paradiso, concludes that Dante has gradually reduced what are objects of thought—the discourse of philosophers and theologians—to objects of sight, and that the poem ends in silence and vision. Gian Roberto Sarolli, in what he describes as a neopositivist approach, seeks the precise meaning of some of Dante's most problematical terms in their historical and literary context. Finally, Erich von Richthofen studies some key concepts and images, both classical and Christian, referring to justice in the Divina Commedia and Monarchia, particularly in their relation to the preceding epic literature of the Middle Ages.


This volume, which makes a valuable and enduring contribution to Dante studies, will appeal to all students of mediaeval culture, and especially to students of Dante. 

About the authors

S. Bernard Chandler (1921-1999) was a professor of Italian and Hispanic Studies, University of Toronto and President of the Dante Society of Toronto 1964-65 during the special programme of lectures celebrating the 700th anniversary of Dante's birth.

S. Bernard Chandler's profile page

Julius A. Molinaro is a professor emeritus of Italian and Hispanic Studies, University of Toronto and the founder of the Dante Society of Toronto in 1957. He served as the Canadian representative on the 1965 Dante Centenary Committee of America.

Julius Molinaro's profile page

Other titles by Julius Molinaro