Dante and Cavalcanti (On Making Distinctions in Matters of Love): <i>Inferno</i> 5 in Its Lyric and Autobiographical Context

Teodolinda Barolini

in Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823227037
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241019 | DOI:
Dante and Cavalcanti (On Making Distinctions in Matters of Love): Inferno 5 in Its Lyric and Autobiographical Context

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The choice of a lyric context for the treatment of lust is in itself unusual and should not be taken for granted; it is important to note that a treatment of lust need have little or nothing to do with a discourse of desire. The souls of canto 5 are explicitly defined as peccator carnali, and yet Dante's treatment of them differs enormously from the treatment of carnal sinners in vision literature or in moral didactic poetry like that of Bonvesin da la Riva. The visions give us a richer sense of the cultural options available to Dante as he designed his underworld and thus provide a context that, though typically ignored by Commedia's commentators, both ancient and modern, is extremely useful for putting what Dante does in perspective.

Keywords: Dante; canto; peccator carnali; carnal sinners; didactic; Bonvesin da la Riva; Nichomachean ethics; Aquinas; Aristotle

Chapter.  13437 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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