front cover of Boccaccio's Dante and the Shaping Force of Satire
Boccaccio's Dante and the Shaping Force of Satire
Robert Hollander
University of Michigan Press, 1997
Before the publications of Robert Hollander and Attilio Bettinzoli in the early 1980s, there was little recognition of the surprisingly large debt owed by Boccaccio to Dante hidden in the pages of the Decameron. Boccaccio's knowledge and use of the works of Dante constitute a challenging topic, one that is beginning to receive the attention it deserves.
Among commentators, it had been an unexamined commonplace that the "young" Boccaccio either did not know well or did not understand sufficiently the texts of Dante (even though the "young" Boccaccio is construed as including the thirty-eight-year-old author of the Decameron.) In Boccaccio's Dante and the Shaping Force of Satire, Robert Hollander offers a valuable synthesis of new material and some previously published essays, addressing the question of Dante's influence on Boccaccio, particularly concerning the Commedia and the Decameron.
Hollander reveals that Boccaccio's writings are heavy with reminiscences of the Dante text, which he believed to be the greatest "modern" work. It was Boccaccio's belief that Dante was the only writer who had achieved a status similar to that reserved for the greatest writers of antiquity. Most of these essays try to show how carefully Boccaccio reflects the texts of Dante in the Decameron. Some essays also turn to the question of Boccaccio's allied reading of Ovid, especially the amatory work, as part of his strategy to base his work primarily on these two great authorities as he develops his own vernacular and satiric vision of human foolishness.
Boccaccio's Dante and the Shaping Force of Satire is a welcome addition to the field of Dante studies and to medieval studies in general.
Robert Hollander is Professor in European Literature and Chair, Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University. He has received the city of Florence's gold medal for work advancing our understanding of Dante.
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Commentary and Ideology
Dante in the Renaissance
Deborah Parker
Duke University Press, 1993
Dante's Divine Comedy played a dual role in its relation to Italian Renaissance culture, actively shaping the fabric of that culture and, at the same time, being shaped by it. This productive relationship is examined in Commentary and Ideology, Deborah Parker's thorough compendium on the reception of Dante's chief work. By studying the social and historical circumstances under which commentaries on Dante were produced, the author clarifies the critical tradition of commentary and explains the ways in which this important body of material can be used in interpreting Dante's poem.
Parker begins by tracing the criticism of Dante commentaries from the nineteenth century to the present and then examines the tradition of commentary from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. She shows how the civic, institutional, and social commitments of commentators shaped their response to the Comedy, and how commentators tried to use the poem as an authoritative source for various kinds of social legitimation. Parker discusses how different commentators dealt with a deeply political section of the poem: the damnation of Brutus and Cassius.
The scope and importance of Commentary and Ideology will command the attention of a broad group of scholars, including Italian specialists on Dante, late medievalists, students and professionals in early modern European literature, bibliographers, critical theorists, historians of literary criticism and theory, and cultural and intellectual historians.
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The Complete Danteworlds
A Reader's Guide to the Divine Comedy
Guy P. Raffa
University of Chicago Press, 2009

Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy has, despite its enormous popularity and importance, often stymied readers with its multitudinous characters, references, and themes. But until the publication in 2007 of Guy Raffa’s guide to the Inferno, students lacked a suitable resource to help them navigate Dante’s underworld. With this new guide to the entire Divine Comedy, Raffa provides readers—experts in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Dante neophytes, and everyone in between—with a map of the entire poem, from the lowest circle of Hell to the highest sphere of Paradise.

Based on Raffa’s original research and his many years of teaching the poem to undergraduates, The CompleteDanteworlds charts a simultaneously geographical and textual journey, canto by canto, region by region, adhering closely to the path taken by Dante himself through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. This invaluable reference also features study questions, illustrations of the realms, and regional summaries. Interpreting Dante’s poem and his sources, Raffa fashions detailed entries on each character encountered as well as on many significant historical, religious, and cultural allusions.

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Dante in Deutschland
An Itinerary of Romantic Myth
Daniel DiMassa
Bucknell University Press, 2022
Around the turn of the nineteenth century, no task seemed more urgent to German Romantics than the creation of a new mythology. It would unite modern poets and grant them common ground, and bring philosophers and the Volk closer together. But what would a new mythology look like? Only one model sufficed, according to Friedrich Schlegel: Dante’s Divine Comedy. Through reading and juxtaposing canonical and obscure texts, Dante in Deutschland shows how Dante’s work shaped the development of German Romanticism; it argues, all the while, that the weight of Dante’s influence induced a Romantic preoccupation with authority: Who was authorized to create a mythology? This question—traced across texts by Schelling, Novalis, and Goethe—begets a Neo-Romantic fixation with Dantean authority in the mythic ventures of Gerhart Hauptmann, Rudolf Borchardt, and Stefan George. Only in Thomas Mann’s novels, DiMassa asserts, is the Romantics’ Dantean project ultimately demythologized.
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Dante's Interpretive Journey
William Franke
University of Chicago Press, 1996
Critically engaging the thought of Heidegger, Gadamer, and others, William Franke contributes both to the criticism of Dante's Divine Comedy and to the theory of interpretation.

Reading the poem through the lens of hermeneutical theory, Franke focuses particularly on Dante's address to the reader as the site of a disclosure of truth. The event of the poem for its reader becomes potentially an experience of truth both human and divine. While contemporary criticism has concentrated on the historical character of Dante's poem, often insisting on it as undermining the poem's claims to transcendence, Franke argues that precisely the poem's historicity forms the ground for its mediation of a religious revelation. Dante's dramatization, on an epic scale, of the act of interpretation itself participates in the self-manifestation of the Word in poetic form.

Dante's Interpretive Journey is an indispensable addition to the field of Dante studies and offers rich insights for philosophy and theology as well.
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The Rose and Geryon
Gabriella I. Baika
Catholic University of America Press, 2014
The Rose and Geryon examines patterns of verbal behavior in works by Jean de Meun and Dante (with a focus on the Romance of the Rose and the Divine Comedy) in relationship with the most influential systems of verbal sins in the Middle Ages, systems elaborated by William Peraldus, Thomas Aquinas, Domenico Cavalca, and Laurent of Orléans. The book begins with a presentation of these four systems, and from there proceeds to analyze Jean de Meun's Testament as a possible source of influence for the Divine Comedy and take a closer look at Dante's prose works in search for a comprehensive theory of sinful speech. Furthermore Baika discusses verbal transgressions such as flattery, evil counsel, double talk, sowing of discord, and falsifying of words, under the heading Lingua dolosa "The Guileful Tongue," and the relationship between violence and the poetic discourse. The myriad ways in which the two iconic poets of medieval France and Italy absorb the tradition of peccata linguae in their works prove that abusive speech was not the exclusive sphere of interest of the ecclesiastical writers; secular poetry in the vernacular enriched in original ways the medieval debate on verbal vices. The Rose and Geryon addresses scholars and students of French and Italian literatures, as well as readers interested in ethics and women's studies.
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Understanding the Medieval Meditative Ascent
Augustine, Anselm, Boethius and Dante
Robert McMahon
Catholic University of America Press, 2006
Understanding the Medieval Meditative Ascent uses literary analysis to discover new philosophical meanings in these works. Clearly written in nontechnical language, its account of their literary structures and of the hidden meanings they generate will inform nonspecialist and specialist alike.
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The Unexpected Dante
Perspectives on the Divine Comedy
Lucia Alma Wolf
Bucknell University Press, 2021
Dante Alighieri’s long poem The Divine Comedy has been one of the foundational texts of European literature for over 700 years. Yet many mysteries still remain about the symbolism of this richly layered literary work, which has been interpreted in many different ways over the centuries.
 
The Unexpected Dante brings together five leading scholars who offer fresh perspectives on the meanings and reception of The Divine Comedy. Some investigate Dante’s intentions by exploring the poem’s esoteric allusions to topics ranging from musical instruments to Roman law. Others examine the poem’s long afterlife and reception in the United States, with chapters showcasing new discoveries about Nicolaus de Laurentii’s 1481 edition of Commedia and the creative contemporary adaptations that have relocated Dante’s visions of heaven and hell to urban American settings. 
 
This study also includes a guide that showcases selected treasures from the extensive Dante collections at the Library of Congress, illustrating the depth and variety of The Divine Comedy’s global influence. The Unexpected Dante is thus a boon to both Dante scholars and aficionados of this literary masterpiece.

Published by Bucknell University Press in association with the Library of Congress. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
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