Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Il Giusto Enea E Il Pio Rifeo

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Il Giusto Enea E Il Pio Rifeo

Article excerpt

Edoardo Fumagalli, Il giusto Enea e il pio Rifeo, Pagine dantesche, Biblioteca dell''Archivium Romanicum', series I, vol. 391 (Florence: Olschki Edito re, 2012). vii + 263 pp. ISBN 978-88-222-61199. euro28.00.

In this stimulating and wide-ranging volume, Fumagalli presents a selection of eleven essays written over the last fifteen years, each of which is a close reading of a particular canto or event in the Commedia. These essays reflect a range of research interests and, while there is not a single overarching theme, there is a sustained interest in the theme of justice in the Commedia, with a specific focus on a number of issues which arise from the justice cantos of the Paradiso and the nature of Dante's intellectual and emotional relationship to classical history and culture. Moreover, there is an abiding interest in relating poetic technique to meaning and interpretation. Since the volume covers such a wide range of questions and themes, I have paid specific attention to the chapters that best illuminate the contribution of the volume to scholarship.

The opening essay considers the advent of Virgil in Inferno 1, and the way in which Virgil's appearance brings the intrusion of a concrete historical figure into this allegorical and historically abstracted canto; Fumagalli also discusses what the choice of Virgil as guide might mean for Dante's own ambitions for the Commedia. The second part of this essay moves on to consider the Roman poet in the light of the justice cantos of the Paradiso: it is only when the reader becomes aware of the salvation of Ripheus that Virgil's tragedy is fully revealed. Dante's surprising choice of Ripheus as representative of the possibility that a pagan soul might be saved is discussed with reference to the damnation of Aeneas and the biblical paradigm of Job. A problematic passage of the justice cantos (Paradiso, xvill. 88-114) is addressed in the third essay through an overview of previous critical interpretations of the significance of the transformation of the 'M' into the eagle and particularly the intermediate phase where a lily is formed by the souls of the just rulers. …

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