Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Memoria Classica E Memoria Biblica in Dante

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Memoria Classica E Memoria Biblica in Dante

Article excerpt

Paola Rigo, Memoria classica e memoria biblica in Dante, Saggi di `Lettere Italiane' 48 (Florence: Olschki,1994. 184 pp ISBN 88-zzz-4z67-x. L. 33,ooo.

Like rather too many modern scholarly works, this learned, meticulous, and never less than thought-provoking book consists of a set of articles, the majority of which have already been published elsewhere and are reprinted here with, in the author's words, `rare e lievi modifiche e qualche integrazione bibliografica' (p. 5). As such, it has both the strengths and the weaknesses of its genre: on the one hand, wide-ranging diversity of subject-matter, penetrating and comprehensive analysis of individual texts, and tight interpretative focus on clearly delineated issues; on the other, intermittent success in the attempt to provide sufficiently strong connections between disparate acts of interpretation, and, in the end, at least the risk of failure to supply a genuine thematic coherence guaranteed by anything much more substantial than the single author's name on the title-page.

Each of Paola Rigo's five chapters begins from a different point of the Dantean compass - respectively, the Vita nuova (`La discesa agli Inferi nella Vita nuova', pp. I I-3z), Epistola v (`Tempo liturgico nell'epistola ai principi e ai popoli d'Italia', pp. 33-44), Inferno v (`Tra "maligno" e "sanguigno"', pp. 45-Io7), Paradiso I (`Consorte degli dei', pp. Iog-33), and Paradiso xxv ("'Prendero il cappello"', pp. I35-63). In each case Rigo reads her chosen passages with unfailing subtlety and attention to detail, highlighting and exploring verbal echoes and reminiscences between Dante's work and a vast range of biblical and classical predecessors, while eschewing, at least in intention, any attempt at 'individuazione di "fonti"' (p. …

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