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By George Corbett, Heather Webb

Vertical Readings in Dante's Comedy is a reappraisal of the poem by way of a global staff of thirty-four students. each one vertical interpreting analyses 3 same-numbered cantos from the 3 canticles: Inferno i, Purgatorio i and Paradiso i; Inferno ii, Purgatorio ii and Paradiso ii; and so on. even though students have prompt earlier than that there are correspondences among same-numbered cantos that beg to be explored, this can be the 1st time that the strategy has been pursued in a scientific type around the poem. This assortment - to be issued in 3 volumes - deals an extraordinary repertoire of vertical readings for the complete poem. because the first quantity exemplifies, vertical interpreting not just articulates unexamined connections among the 3 canticles but in addition unlocks enticing new how you can input into center issues of the poem. the 3 volumes thereby supply an vital source for students, scholars and fans of Dante.

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I. , i. , i. 111: ‘[il] principio loro’ [their [the different natures’] principle] Why this emphasis on classical definitions of God at the beginning of Paradiso? 18 It gives a lengthy exposition of three philosophical arguments for God summed up by these definitions. 19 In Beatrice’s speech in Paradiso i (ll. 103-41), Dante translates these scholastic and technical arguments into the language of love. Change – the movement from potency to act – is understood as a form of love: everything which is subject to change, from inanimate rocks to animate plants and animals (including humans as rational animals), is in potency to some goal which, because of that being’s particular essence, it desires.

Why a pagan? Well, first of all, the choice of a pagan guide enables Dante to represent, if only at an allegorical level, human reason. Dante was convinced that man could pursue the natural good, and be directed away from evil, through the correct use of his reason. 4 By choosing a pagan as his guide through Hell, Dante makes a polemical point about reason: that reason is sufficient (without Christian revelation) to provide a theoretical basis – natural law – for the ordering of good and evil in the temporal sphere.

This aside makes little sense at this point in the text, given that we do not yet know how Dante has re-imagined the notion of Limbo to include the ‘virtuous pagans’. While the question of Virgil’s status in the afterlife will be resolved, at least partly, in Inferno iv, the confusion is itself part of the point here, and the bewildering nature of this moment in the text Reading Time, Text and the World 39 depends upon it being read as a point in a linear progression. Similarly, the pilgrim’s and Virgil’s arrival on Mount Purgatory provokes surprise and questions concerning the nature of Purgatory itself.

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