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Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture$
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Teodolinda Barolini

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227037

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823227037.001.0001

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Why did Dante Write the Commedia? Dante and the Visionary Tradition

Why did Dante Write the Commedia? Dante and the Visionary Tradition

(p.125) Chapter 5 Why did Dante Write the Commedia? Dante and the Visionary Tradition
Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture

Teodolinda Barolini

Fordham University Press

Exchanging the chariot with any of the other sights that the pilgrim encounters on his journey, any of the other cose nove he sees along the way, we get an answer to our query: on behalf of the world that lives evilly, keep your eyes on what is in front of you, and that which you see—once you return to earth—be sure to write down. Dante's own suggestions regarding what is clearly a mystical experience have been handled with an excessive timidity that has its roots in our susceptibility to Dante's narrative realism and our own desire to keep poets safely segregated from prophets, as though our tradition were not replete with the complex contamination of poets and prophets, language-users and visionaries, wordsmiths and truthtellers.

Keywords:   Dante, Commedia, visionary tradition, narrative realism, prophets, poets, visionaries

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