Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Dante Prima Della Commedia

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Dante Prima Della Commedia

Article excerpt

Guglielmo Gorni, Dante prima della Commedia (Florence: Cadmo, 2001). 290 pp. ISBN 88-7923-232-0. Eur. 21.00.

As the title of this volume indicates, its thirteen essays deal with Dante's activity before the Commedia: the range of topics that Guglielmo Gorni is able to consider under this remit provides a telling reminder of the diversity and inventiveness of even Dante's 'minor' works. The essays cover both prose and verse vernacular works, and are divided into three main sections: 'Di qua dal dolce stile', 'Vita nova', and 'Prima della Commedia'. The majority of the essays have previously appeared elsewhere (barring minor reworkings); encountering them anew, in a single volume provided with indexes that permit cross-reference between themes and examples, we are reminded of the coherence, as well as often the quiet but confident audacity, of Gorni's approach to Dante. The essays are all based on scrupulous philological investigation, and the convincing detail of their primary analysis allows the author to reopen debate in a number of areas regarding questions such as attribution, textual tradition, and critical interpretation.

The first section deals with Dante's place in the early Tuscan tradition, and his relationships (personal and writerly) with its lyricists. The two opening essays investigate the problematic presences and absences of Guittone in Dante; the second additionally overlaps with the third in investigating the so-called stilnovo tradition, questioning which authors to include under the 'Dolce stile' rubric, and investigating how and when Dante formulates and revises opinions on his contemporaries. These are issues very germane also to the volume's second section on the ' Vita nova'. …

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