Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Dante E Il Suo Futuro

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Dante E Il Suo Futuro

Article excerpt

Piero Boitani, Dante e il suo futuro, Collana Storia e Letteratura 278 (Rome: Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 2013). xiv + 402 pp. ISBN 978-88-63-72487-5. euro58.00.

Amongst the 'obsessions' that have, up to now, informed Piero Boitani's thinking about the literary arts are Dante and the influence that the poet had on the West. Boitani has published to date more than a hundred studies on the subject, eighteen of which he has now selected and organized in Dante e il suo futuro. The order of the essays, as the author points out in the preface, follows a rough trajectory from general aspects to specific instances, to the Nachleben of Dante. Dominant themes include Dante's conception of poetry and creation (essays 1,4, 5,7, 8, 9), his treatment of biblical and classical sources (essays 2, 3), of historical and contemporary figures (essay 13), and the invention of Ulysses (essays 6, 12, 15). One overarching issue, as the title of the book indicates, is Dante's legacy, the ways in which the poet attempts to anticipate and direct the reception of his works, and what, in spite these attempts, readers have effectively made of his poetry (see in particular essays 16-18). Each essay provides ample food for thought and stands on its own for depth of coverage and intellectual vibrancy. Boitani is at ease with questions that 'bring a tremor to every pulsing vein' for their complexity and vastness. By regularly drawing on several literary traditions, the essays also provide the reader with new directions for research, and material to expand on. There is, however, a less obvious reason why this book is especially welcome. Seven essays are in Italian (1,4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 17), seven in English (3, 6, 7, 13, 14, 17, 18), three in French (2, 9, 15), and one in German (16). …

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