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Farinata and Cavalcante Author(s): Erich Auerbach and W. R. Trask Source: The Kenyon Review, Vol. 14, No.

2, The Dante Number (Spring, 1952), pp. 207-242 Published by: Kenyon College Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4333322 . Accessed: 03/06/2013 11:54
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Erich Auerbach

FARINATA AND CAVALCANTE'


(TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY W.

R. TRASK)

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"O Tosco che per la citta del foco vivo ten vai cosi parlandoonesto, piacciatidi restarein questo loco. La tua loquela ti fa manifesto di quella nobil patrianatio a la qual forse fui troppomolesto." Subitamentequesto suono uscio d'una de I'arche;pero m'accostai, temendo,un poco piiual duca mio. Ed el mi disse: "Volgiti: che fai? Vedi la Farinatache s'e dritto: da la cintola in su tutto '1 vedrai." I' avea gia iAmio viso nel suo fitto; ed el s'ergeacol petto e con la fronte com'avesse l'infernoin gran dispitto. E l'animoseman del duca e pronte mi pinsertra le sepulturea lui, dicendo:"Le paroletue sien conte." Com'io al pie de la sua tombafui, guardommiun poco, e poi, quasi sdegnoso, mi dimando: "Chi fur Ii maggiortui?"

1. This paper is a chapter from Mimesis, published at Berne in 1946. It has now been Englished by W. R. Trask, and will be published in this country.

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Toch'erad'ubidirdisideroso, non gliel celai, ma tutto gliel'apersi; ond' ei levo le ciglia un poco in soso. Poi disse: "Fieramente furo avversi a me e a mici primi e a mia parte, si che per due fiate li dispersi." "S'ei fur cacciati,ei tornard'oginiparte" rispuosilui "l'unae l'altrafiata; ma i vostri non appreser ben quell'arte." Allor sursea la vista scoperchiata un' ombralungo questa infino al mento: credo che s'erain ginacchielevanta. Dintorno mi guardo,come talento avesse di veder s'altriera meco; e poi che il sospecciar fu tutto spento piangendodisse: "Se per questo cieco carcerevai per altezza d'ingegno, mio figlio ov'e? perchenon e ei teco?" E io a lui: "Da me stessonon vegno: colui ch'attendelIa,per qui mi mena, Forse cui Guido vestroebbe a disdegno." Le sue parolee '1modo de la pena m'aveandi costui gi'aletto il nome; pero fu la rispostacosi piena. Di subito drizzato grido: "Come dicesti? elli ebbe? non viv'elli ancora? non fiere ii occhi suoi il dolce lome?" Quando s'accorsed'alcunadimora ch'io facea dinanzi a la risposta supin ricadde,e piiunon parvefora. Ma quell'altromagnanimoa cui posta restatom'era,non muto aspetto, ne mosse collo, ne% piego sua costa; E, "Se",continuandoal primo detto, "egli han quell'arte", disse, "mal appresa, cio mi tormentapiu che questo letto.

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("O Tuscan! who througlh the city of fire goest alive, speaking thus decorously,may it please thee to stop in this place. Thy speechclearlyshews thee a nativeof that noble country,which perhapsI vexedtoo much."Suddenlythis soundissuedfrom one of the chests:whereatin fear I drew a little closerto my Guide. And he said to me: "Turntlheeround; wlhatart thou doing? lo there Farinata!wlho hiasraised himself erect; from the girdle upwardtlhoushalt see lim all."AlreadyI had fixed my look on as if he his; and he rose upright witlh breastand countenance, entertained great scorn of Hell; andlthe bold and ready hands
of my Guide pushed me amongst the sepultures to him, saying:

WlhenI was at the foot of his "Let thy words be numbered." at he looked a and me little; tomb, then, almostcontemptuously, he asked me: "Who were thy ancestors?" I, being desirousto it not; but openedthe whole to him: whereupon obey,concealed adversewere he raisedhis browsa little; then he said: "Fiercely and to my party;so that twice they to me, and to my progenitors, them.""If they were drivenforth,they returned I scattered from botlhtimes,"I answered everyquarter, him; "butyourshave not rightly learntthat art."Then, besidehim, there rose a shadow, visibleto the chin; it had raiseditself, I think, upon its knees. It looked aroundme, as if it had a wish to see whethersome one was quenched,it said, were with me; but when all its expectation weeping: "If throughthis blind prisonthou goest by height of genius,where is my son and why is he not with thee?" And I to him: "Of myself I come not: he, that waits yonder,leads me throughthis place; whom perhapsthy Guido held in disdain." Alreadyhis words and the mannerof his punishmenthad read his name to me: hence my answerwas so full. Rising instantly erect, he cried: "How saidstthou: he held? lives he not still? that does not the sweetlight strikehis eyes?"When he perceived I madesomedelayin answering, supinehe fell again,and shewed at whose desire himself no more. But that other,magnanimous, not his nor moved I had stopped,changed his neck, nor aspect,

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bent his side. "And if," continuinghis former words, he said, "theyhave learntthat art badly,it more tormentsme than this bed... ." Englishversionby Dr. 1. A. Carlyle; "TempleClassics" edition.) This episodefrom the Tenth Canto of the Inferno begins with Virgil and Dante walking along a narrowpathwayamong flaming chests whose lids stand open. Virgil explainsthat they are the tombs of hereticsand atheists,and promisesDante fulwith one of the spirits fillmentof his hintedwish to communicate confinedthere.Dante is aboutto reply when he is taken aback by the soundof a voicewhich risesfrom one of the chests,beginning with the darko-soundsof 0 Tosco.One of the condemned them as they has raisedhimself erect in his chest and addresses pass. Virgil tells Dante his name; it is Farinatadegli Uberti,a a Ghibelline who diedshortly Florentine, partyleaderandcaptain, before Dante'sbirth. Dante stationshimself at the foot of the a few lines tomb; a conversation begins,only to be interrupted as conversation as the between later (1.52) abruptly Dante and Virgil had been.This time again it is one of thosecondemned to and Danterecognizes the chestswho interrupts, him immediately, de' Cavalacanti, by his situationand his words:he is Cavalcante the fatherof Dante'searlyfriend,the poet GuidoCavalcanti. The scene which now takes place between Cavalcante and Dante is brief (only 21 lines). As soon as it comesto an end with Cavalcante'ssinking back into his chest, Farinataresumesthe interruptedconversation. Within the brief spaceof about seventylines we thus have a tripleshift in the courseof events;we have four scenescrowded together,each full of power and content.None is purelyexpository-not even the first, a comparatively calm conversation betweenDanteand Virgil,which I havenot includedin the passage given above.Here,it is true,the reader, and Dante too, arebeing with the new settingwhich is openingbeforethem, acquainted

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i.e., the Sixth Circleof Hell; but the scenealso containsits own independenttheme, the psychological processin which the two most sharplywith the theospeakersare involved.Contrasting reticalcalm and psychological delicacyof this prelude,there follows an exceedinglydramaticsecondscene,initiatedby the sudvoice and the abruptappearance of his den sound of Farinata's body raising itself in its tomb, by Dante's alarm and Virgil's encouragingwords and gestures.Here-erect and abruptas his body-Farinata'smoral statureis developed,larger than life as it were, and unaffected by death and the painsof hell. He is still the sameman he was in his lifetime.It is the Tuscanaccents from Dante'slips which have made him rise and addressthe passing figurewith proudlycourteous dignity.When Dante turnstoward
him, Farinata first inquires into his ancestry, in order to learn

with whom he is dealing,whetherwith a man of noble descent, whether with friend or foe. And when he hears that Dante belongs to a Guelph family, he says with stern satisfaction that he twicedrovethathatedpartyfrom the city.The fateof Florence
and the Ghibellines is still uppermost in his mind. Dante replies

that the expulsionof the Guelphsdid not profit the Ghibellines in the long run,that in the end it was the latterwho remained in of Cavalcante exile; but he is interrupted who by the emergence has heardDante'swords and recognizedhim. His peeringhead comes into sight; it is attachedto a much slighter body than He hopesto see his son with Dante,but when he looks Farinata's. in vain, he breaksinto anxiousquestions which show that he too to havethe samecharacter continues andthe samepassions thathe had in his lifetime,thoughtheyareverydifferent fromFarinata's: love of life on earth,faith in the autonomousgrcatnessof the humanmind,andaboveall love and admiration for his son Guido. As he askshis urgentquestions, he is excited,almostbeseeching, himself sharply from Farinata'simposing thus differentiating and self-discipline; and when he infers(wrongly) from greatness Dante'swordsthathis son is no longeralive,he collapses; wherc-

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to the intervening unmovedand withoutreference uponFarinata, to him, episode,repliesto the last remarkDante had addressed him completely:If, as you say, and what he says characterizes in returningto the have not succeeded the banishedGhibellines city, that is a greatertormentto me than the bedon whichI lie. More is packedtogetherin this passagethan in any of the in this book; but thereis not only otherswe haveso far discussed more, the materialis not only weightier and more dramatic much morevaried. within so shorta space;it is also intrinsically Here we have the relationnot merelyof one event but of three different events, the second of which-the Farinatascene-is and cut in two by the third.There is, then, no unity interrupted with what sense.Nor is this comparable of actionin the ordinary in our firstchapter, we found in the scenefrom Homerdiscussed a lengthy,cirscar occasioned where the referenceto Odysseus' cumstantial,episodic narrativewlich carriedus far from the originalsubject.In Dante'scase the subjectis changedabruptly Farinata's words interruptVirgil'sand and in quick succession. the al/or surseof line 52 cuts subitamente; Dante'sconversation without transitionthrough the Farinatascene, which is just as resumedby ma quell'altromagnanimo.The unity precipitately of the passageis dependentupon the setting, the physicaland and the quick moralclimateof the circleof hereticsand atheists; episodesor mutuallyunrelatedscenes succession of independent of the Comedyas a whole. It of the structure is a concomitant presentsthe journeyof an indivilual and his guide through a remainin whateverplaceis assignedto world whose inhabitants of scenes,thereis no question them. Despitethis quicksuccession in Dante'sstyle. Within every individualscene of any parataxis and when-as in connectives; of syntactic thereis an abundance in sharpcontours the presentinstance-the scenesare juxtaposed is managedby means of without transition,the confrontation which are rather"comvarieddevicesof expression artistically The scenesare not set stifflyside by than parataxes. mnutators"

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side and in the same key-we are thinking of the Latin legend of Alexisand even of the Chanson de Roland-they risefrom the depthsas particular formsof the momentarily prevailing tonality and standin contrapuntal relationto one another. To makethisclearer we shallmorecloselyexaminethe points at which the scene changes.Farinatainterrupts the conversing pair with the words: 0 Tosco,che per la citt2a del foco tnvoten vai. . . . This is an address, a vocativeintroduced by 0, with a succeedingrelativeclause which, in comparison with the vocative, is decidedlyweighty and substantial; and only then comes which is againweiglhte(d the request, down with reserved courtesy. We hear,not, "Tuscan,stop!"but "O Tuscan!who . . ., may it please thee to linger in this place."The construction, "O thou who" is extremelysolemn and comes from the elevatedstyle of the antiqueepic. Dante'sear remembers its cadenceas it remembersso many otherthings in Virgil, Lucan,and Statius.I do not
think the constructionoccurs before this in any medieval vernacu-

lar. But Dante uses it in his own way: with a strongadjuratory


element-which is present in antiquity at most in prayers-and with so condensed a content in the relative clause as only he can

manage.Farinata's feeling and attitudetowardthe passingpair are so dynamically epitomizedin the threequalifiers, per lacitta del foco ten vai, vivo, coszparlandoonesto,that had the master Virgil really heard the words, he might well have been more dismayedthan Dante in the poem; his own relativeclausesafter a vocativeare perfectly beautifuland hiarmonious, to be sure,but never so conciseand arresting.(See for exampleAeneid I, 436: 0 fortunati quibusiam moeniasurgunt!or, still more interesting becauseof its full rhetorical swell, II, 638: vos o quibusinteger
aevi / sanguis, ait, solidaeque suo stant robore vires, / vos agitate

fugam.) Note also how the antithesis"throughthe city of fire" and "alive"is expressedentirely,and thereforethe more effectively,throughthe positionof the word "vivo." After these three lines of addresscomes the tercetin which

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Farinataidentifieshimself as Dante's fellow countryman, and only then, after he has finished speaking,the statement:"Suddenly this sound issued,"etc., a statementwhich one would normallyexpectto find introducing a surprising event,but which here-where it follows the event-producesa comparatively quiet of what is occurring. effect as a mere explanation So that, in a of the entirepassage, recitation theselines would have to be read more softly. There is no question,then, of any straightforward paratactic attachingof the Farinatascene to the conversation of the two travelers. On the one hand we must not forget the fact that Virgil vaguelyannounced it beforehand in the courseof the conversation (lines i6 to i8); on the otherhand, it is so strong, so violent,so overpowering an irruption of a differentrealm-in the local,ethical,psychological, and Tstheticsenses-that its connectionwith what precedes is no merejuxtaposition but the vital of counterpoint, of the suddenbreakingin of somerelationship thing dimly foreboded. The eventsare not-as we put it in conde Rolandand the Legendof Alexisnectionwith the Chanson dividedinto little parcels;they live together, despitetheircontrast and actuallybecauseof it. The secondchangeof scene is managedthroughthe words "Allor surse,"in line 52. It seems simplerand less remarkable than the first.What, after all, is more normalthan to introduce with the words,"Then it befel . . .? a suddennew occurrence
But if we ask ourselveswhere in pre-Danteanmedieval vernacular literaturewe might find a comparablelinguistic maneuver, interrupting the action in course by a dramaticallyincisive "then,"we should, I think, have a long search before us. I for one know of none. Allora at the beginning of a sentence is naturally quite frequent in Italian literature before Dante. It occurs for instance in the stories of the Novellino but with much less force of meaning. Such sharp breaks are in keeping with neither the style nor the time-sense of pre-Dantean narrative, not even with those of the French epics, where ez vos or atant ez vos occurs in a similar

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though much weaker sense (for example, Roland 413). That even extremely dramatic turnings of the tide of action may be observed were handled with stiff circumstantiality when he relatesthe intervention for example in Villehardouin When of the Doge of Venice at the stormingof Constantinople. his men hesitateto land, the aged and blind Doge ordersthem upon pain of deathto set him ashorefirst,with the flag of Saint with the words: or porrez introduces Mark.This the chronicler oir estrangeproece.Which is just as though Dante, insteadof allora,had said, "And then somethingquite extraordinary hapthe as ez serve to point way we The Old French vos may pened." try to find the correctLatin term for this abruptlyintervening "then."For it is not tum or tunc; in many casesit is rathersed which gives the full force,is ecce, or iam. But the realequivalent, or still betteret ecce.This is found less frequentlyin the elevated style than in Plautus,in Cicero'sletters,in Apuleius,etc., and in the Vulgate.When Abrahamtakesthe knife to sacespecially rifice his son Isaac,we read: et ecce Angelus Domini de caelo clamavit, dicens: Abraham,Abraham. I think this linguistic
maneuver, which effects so sharp an interruption, is too harsh to

Latin;but it corresponds stem from the elevatedstyle of classical perfectlywith the elevatedstyle of the Bible. And furthermore, on another et ecceverbatim where occasion Danteusesthe Biblical so a not of affairs is state though quite sudden, a by interrupted (Purg. XXI, 7: ed ecco, si come ne scrive dramatic,occurrence Luca . . . ci apparve. . . after Luke xxiv, I3: et ecce duo ex to state as a certainty that Dante illis . . .). I am not prepared the linguisticmaneuverof this abruptlyinterrupting introduced "then"into the elevatedstyle and that it was a Biblicalecho with him. But this much would seem to be certain:at the time Dante arresting"then"was by no means as wrote, the dramatically as it is today;and he used it more available obviousand generally radicallythan any other medievalwriterbeforehim. But we must also considerthe meaningand the soundof the

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word surse, which Dante uses in at least one otherpassagewith telling effect to describea suddenemergence(Purg. VI, 72-73: verlui . . .). The allorsurse e l'ombra tutta in se romita / surse of line 52, then,has hardlylessweightthan the wordsof Farinata this allor is one of those which bring in the first interruption; between paratactic forms which establisha dynamicrelationship with Farinatais the membersthey connect. The conversation cannotwait interrupted-oncehe has heardpartof it, Cavalcante for it to end, he simply loses his self-control. And the part he plays-his peering expression, his whining words, and his prewith cipitatedespairwhen he sinksback-forms a sharpcontrast Farinata'sweighty calm when he resumesspeaking after the third shift (11. 73 ff.).
The third shift, ma quell'altro magnanimo, etc., is much less

dramaticthan the first two. It is calm, proud, and weighty. Farinataalone dominatesthe scene.But the contrastwith what precedesis thus only the more striking. Dante calls Farinata magnanimo,employing an Aristotelianterm which may have throughits use by ThomasAquinas cometo life in his vocabulary or, more probably, by BrunettoLatini and which is appliedin a conscious contrast an earlierpassageto Virgil.This is doubtless constructed cola three identically to Cavalcante (costui); and the which expressFarinata's aloofness(non muto aspetto,ne mosse designednot only to collo, ne piego sua costa) are undoubtedly describeFarinatahimself but also to contrasthis attitudewith This is aurally apparentfrom the regularlyconCavalcante's. structedclauseswhich come to the listenerwhile he is still conand plaintively of the throngingquestions sciousof the irregular 11.58 to 6o and 67 to 69, other. (The wordingof thesequestions, appearance, Dante may well have modeledafter Andromache's Aeneid III, 3IO, that is, aftera woman'slamentations.) Abruptly,then, as these events succeedone another,this is
no paratacticconstruction.The most vital continuity of movement

Dante has at his disposalan vibrates throughthe entirepassage.

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abundanceof stylistic devices which no Europeanvernacular before him could equal. And he does not use them singly; he connects them in an uninterruptedrelationship.Virgil's encouraging words (11.3I-33) consist exclusively of principal clauses without any formal connection by conjunctions. There is a short imperative, a short question, then another imperative with an object and an explanatory relative, and a future clause of adhortative import with an adverbial qualifier. But the quick succession, the concise formulation of the individual parts, and their mutual balance exhibit to perfection the natural vitality of spoken discourse: "Turn around! What are you doing? etc." Withal there are semantic connections of the most subtle kind. There is the ordinary causal relation (pero), but in addition to it we have the connective onde hovering between temporal and causal value, and the hypothetically causal forse che, which some early commentators consider to be courteously softening. There are the most varied temporal, comparative, and graduated hypothetical connections, supportedby the greatest possible elasticity of verbal inflections and verbal order. Note for instance the ease with which Dante keeps syntactic control of the scene of Cavalcante'sappearance so that it runs smoothly on through three tercets to the end of his first speech (L.6o). The unity of the construction here rests upon three verbal pillars, surse, guardo, disse. The first supports the subject, the adverbial qualifiers, and in addition, the explanatory parenthesis credo che; the second, guardo, carries the first lines of the second tercet with the as-if clause; while the third line of this same tercet points toward the disse and Cavalcante's direct discourse,which marks the climax of the whole movement from an initial forte through a decrescendo to a renewed crescendo beginning with line 57. Should this analysis find any readers but little versed in medieval vernacular literature, they may well be surprised that I here emphasize and praise the extraordinarycharacter of syntactic constructions which are today used by every half-way

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talented literaryman and indeed by many who, though they write nothing but letters,have a modicumof literarytraining. But if we startfrom his predecessors, Dante'slanguageis a wellnigh incomprehensible miracle.There were great poets among them. But, comparedwith theirs,his style is so immeasurably richerin directness, vigor,and subtlety,he knows and uses such an immeasurably greaterstock of forms, he expresses the most variedphenomena and subjects with such immeasurably superior assurance and firmness, that we come to the conclusion that this man used his languageto discoverthe world anew. Very often it is possibleto demonstrate or to conjecture where he acquired this or that deviceof expression; but his sources are so numerous, his earhearsthem,his intellectusesthem,so accurately, so simply, and yet so originally,that demonstrations and conjectures of this sort can only serve to increaseour admiration for the power of his linguisticgenius.A text such as the one we are considering may be approached at any point, and every point will yield a surprise, somethingunimaginable in the vernacular literatures at an earlierdate.Let us take somethingas insignificant-looking as the clause,da me stessonon vegno.Is it conceivable that so short and yet completea formulation of such a thoughtin particular, in general,and a da used that so incisivea semanticorganization in this sense,should occur in the work of an earliervernacular author? Dante uses da in this sense in severalother passages (Purg. I, 52: da me non venni; alsoPurg.XIX, 143: buonada se; andPar.II, 58: ma dimmiquel che tu da te ne pensi). The meaning "of one's own motion,""of one's own free will," "by oneself," would seem to have been a further developmentof the writes in the canmeaning"(coming) from."Guido Cavalcanti zone Donna mi prega:[Amore] non a vertutema da quellavene. It is of coursenot possibleto claim that Dante createdthis new semanticturn,for even if no single passageof the sort could be found in earliertexts, that still might mean no more than that no suchpassage happensto be extant;and even if nothingof the

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sort was everwrittenbeforehis time, it still may have been curstrikesme rent in spokenlanguage.Indeed,the latterpossibility would more naturally as likely, becausea scholarlybackground have suggested per. What is certain,however,is that in adopting Dante gave it a vigor and depth or creatingthis shortexpression, being further previously inconceivable-theeffect,in our passage,
enhanced by a twofold opposition: on the one hand to per altezza

la',both rhetorical d'ingegnoand on the otherto colui ch'attende circumlocutions avoidingthe realname,haughtilyin one instance and respectfully in the other. The da me stessoperhapsstemsfrom the spokenlanguage; and elsewheretoo it may be observedthat Dante by no means from VirThe Volgiti!che fai?, especially scornscolloquialisms. after and solemnly Farinata's coming immediately gil's mouth has the ring of spontaneous and unstylized composed apostrophe, The among ordinaryspeakers. speech,of everydayconversation case is not very differentwith the harshquestionchi fur li magas it is with any of the gracesof circumlogior tui? unadorned Comedicesti?elli ebbe?etc. Readcution,and with Cavalcante's ing furtherthroughthis canto,we come, towardthe end, upon the passagewhereVirgil asks,perchesei tu si smarrito?(1.I25). detachedfrom their context,could well be All these quotations, on the familiarlevel of imaginedin any ordinaryconversation of the highestsublimity, style.Besidethem we find formulations "sublime" in the antiquesense.There which are also stylistically is no doubt that the stylisticintent in generalis to achievethe
sublime. If this were not clear from Dante's explicit statements,

we could sense it directlyfrom every line of his work, however colloquialit may be. The weightiness,gravitas,of Dante'stone that there can neverbe any doubt is maintainedso consistently we find to what level of ourselves as upon. Nor is it possible style
to doubt that it was the poets of antiquity who gave Dante the

model of the elevatedstyle-which he was the first to adopt.He himselfacknowledges in many passages, both in the Comedyand

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in the De vulgarieloquentia, how much he owes them in regard to the elevatedstyleof the vernacular. It may well be thathe does so in the very passagewe are discussing, for the much-disputed line about Virgil "whom perhaps. . . Guido held in disdain" permitsthis interpretation among many others; almost all the earlycommentators took it in an aestheticsense.Yet there is no denyingthat Dante'sconception of the sublimediffersessentially from that of lhismodels,in respectto subjectmatterno less than to stylisticform. The themeswhich the Comedyintroduces representa mixtureof sublimityand trivialitywhich, measured by the standards of antiquity, is monstrous. Of the characters which appearin it, some belong to the recentpast and even to the contemporary present (despitePar. XVII,136-138), and not all of them arefamousor carefully chosen.Quiteoften they arefrankly in all the humblerealismof theirspheres represented of life. And in general,as every readeris aware,Dante knows no limits in care and directness with meticulous describing things which are or repulsive. Themeswhiich humdrum, grotesque, cannotpossibly be consideredsublimein the antiquesense turn out to be just thatby virtueof his way of moldingand orderingthem.His mixtureof stylisticlevelshas already been noted.One needbut think of the line, "and let them scratchwhereverthey itch," which occursin one of the most solemnpassages of the Paradiso(XVII, 129), in orderto appreciate all the immensedifference between Dante and let us say Virgil. Many importantcritics-and indeed whole epochsof classicistic taste-have felt ill at ease with Dante's closenessto the actualin the realm of the sublime-that is, as Goetheput it in his Annals for the year I821, with his "repulsive and often disThis is not surprising. gusting greatness." For nowhere could one find so clearan instanceof the antagonism of the two traditions-that of antiquity,with the principleof the separation of styles,and that of the Christian era,with its minglingof styleswhich is conscious as in Dante'spowerfultemperament, of both

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becauseits aspiration towardthe traditionof antiquitydoes not implyfor it the possibility of abandoning the other;nowheredoes
mingling of styles come so close to violation of all style. During

the latter phasesof antiquitythe educatedsaw in the Bible a violationof style. And the later Humanistscould not but have precisely the samereactionto the work of theirgreatest predecessor,the man who was the firstto readthe poetsof antiquity again for the sakeof theirart and to assimilate theirtone,the man who was the first to conceivethe idea of the volgareillustre,the idea of great poetryin the vernacular, and to carryit out; no other reactionwas possiblefor them, precisely becauseDante had done all that. The mixtureof stylesin the literary worksof the earlier Middle Ages, as for instancein the Christiandrama, seemed becauseof their naivete; those works could not lay pardonable claim to high poeticdignity; their popularpurposeand popular character justifiedor at any rate excusedtheir being what they were; they did not reallyenter the realmof things that need be taken into accountand judged seriously. With Dante, however, it was impossibleto speakof naiveteand the absenceof higher claims. His numerousexplicit statements,all his referencesto Virgil as his model,his invocations of the Muses,of Apollo, and to his own work-so of God, his tensely dramaticrelationship from many passages-and finally and aboveall, clearlyapparent the very tone of everyline of the poem itself, bearwitnessto the fact that the claimshe makesare of the highest order.It is not that the tremendous which the Comedy surprising phenomenon shouldhavemadelaterHumanists represents and men of humanistic trainingill at ease. Dante himself betraysa certain In his theoretical utterances indecisionin regardto the questionof the stylisticcategoryin which the Comedymight fall. In his De vulgarieloquentia-a treatiseon the canzone, which would still seem to be wholly uninfluenced by the Comedy-the demandswhich Dante makes upon the elevatedand tragic style are very differentfrom those

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with which, in the Comedy,he later complies-they are much narrower in respectto choiceof subjectmatter,and much more puristic and concernedwith separation of styles in respectto choiceof forms and words.He was then under the influenceof Proven~al poetryand of the poetryof the Italianstil nuovo-both excessively artificial and intendedfor an initiatedelite; and with thesehe connected the antiquedoctrineof the separation of styles which the medievaltheorists of the art of rhetoricrefusedto let die. Danteneverfreedhimselfcompletely from theseviews;otherwise he couldnot havecalledhis greatwork a comedyin clearest oppositionto the term al/a tragediawhich he appliedto Virgil's Aeneid (Inf. XX, 1II). He seems,then, not to claim the dignity of the elevatedtragicstylefor his greatpoem.And here we must also considerthe justification he adducesfor his choice of the of his letterto Candesignation comedyin the tenth paragraph grande.There he says: Tragedy and comedy are distinguished firstlyby the courseof theiraction,which, in tragedy,progresses and, from a noble and quiet beginningto a terribleconclusion, in comedy,inversely from a bitterbeginningto a happyconcluto us) by their sion; and secondly(a point of greaterimportance style, their modus loquendi:elati et sublimetragedia;comedia vero remisseet humiliter; and so, he says, his poem must be calleda comedy,on the one hand becauseof its unhappybeginand on the otherhand becauseof its ning and happyconclusion, modusloquendi:remissus est moduset humilis,quia locutiovulcommunicant. At first one is inclined garis in qua et muliercule to assumethatthis is a reference to his use of the Italianlanguage. the Comedyis In that casethe stylewould be low simplybecause writtenin Italianand not in Latin. But it is difficult to attribute to Dante, who defendedthe noble dignity of such an assertion in his De vulgarieloquentia, who was himselfthe the vernacular founderof the elevatedstyle in the vernacular throughhis canzoni and who had finished the Comedyat the time when he For these reasonsseveralmodern wrote his letter to Cangrande.

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studentshave taken locutio to mean not languagebut style. In that case Dante merelywished to say that the style of his work it was not that of an elevatedItalianor-as he himselfdescribed aulicumet (De vulg. el. I, 17)-of the vulgareillustre,cardinale, languageof the people. curiale,but of the commoneveryday In any event, here too he does not claim for his work the dignity of an elevatedtragic style, it is at best an intermediate style; and even this he does not expressvery clearlybut merely quotes the passage from Horace'sArs poetica (93 ff.) where makesuse of tragicstrains Horacesaysthatcomedytoo sometimes and vice versa.On the whole he classifieshis work as being of its multithe low style-although, shortlybefore,he had discussed plicity of meanings(which does not agreewith the idea of the that porlow style); and althoughhe more than once describes letter, with his dedicatory tion of it which he sendsto Cangrande as canticasublimis,and qualifiesits materia that is, the Paradiso, in the Comedyitself,but persists This uncertainty as admirabilis. and form may claim the that both subject here the consciousness Within the poem itself he highest poetic dignity predominates. continuesto call it a comedy,but we have alreadyhad occasion the variouspointswhich indicatethat he was fully to enumerate consciousof its stylistic characterand rank. Yet although he choosesVirgil as his guide, althoughhe invokesApollo and the Muses,he avoids ever referringto his poem as sublime in the he coins kind of sublimity, its particular antiquesense.To express a specialphrase:il poemasacro,al quale ha posto mano e cielo e terra (Par. XXV, 2-3). It is not easy to see how Dante, after having found this formula and after having completed the Comedy,could still have expressedhimself upon its character in the passage from the letterto Canexhibited with the pedantry grande just referredto. However, so great was the prestigeof obscured as it still was by pedanticschemthe classicaltradition, classfor fixedtheoretical so strongwas the predilection atization, ificationsof a kind which we can but considerabsurd,that such

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a possibilitycannot be gainsaidafter all. The contemporary or ratherimmediatelysucceedingcommentators likewise took up the questionof style in a purelypedanticvein. Therewere,to be sure, a few exceptions:Boccacciofor example,whose analysis, however,cannot satisfy us, since it avoids facing the question and especially squarely; the extremely vivid Benvenuto da Imola, who, having explainedthe threefolddivision of classicalstyles (the elevatedtragic, the intermediate the low polemico-satiric, comic), continuesas follows:
Modo est hic attento notandum quod sicut in isto libro est omnis pars philosophix ("every division of philosophy"), ut dictum est, ita est omnis pars poetrix. Unde si quis velit subtiliter investigare, hic est tragoedia, satyra et comoedia. Tragoedia quidem, quia describit gesta pontificum, principum, regum, baronum, et aliorum magnatum et nobilium, sicut patet in toto libro. Satya, id est reprehensoria; reprehendit enim mirabiliter et audacter omnia genera viciorum, nec parcit dignitati, potestati vel nobilitati alicuius. Ideo convenientius posset intitulari satyra quam tragoedia vel comoedia. Potest etiam dici quod sit comoedia, nam secundum Isidorum comoedia incipit a tristibus et terminatur ad laeta. Et ita liber iste incipit a tristi materia, scilicet ab Inferno, et terminatur ad laetam, scilicet ad Paradisum, sive ad divinam essentiam. Sed dices forsan, lector: cur vis mihi baptizare librum de novo, cum autor nominavertit ipsum Comoediam? Dico quod autor voluit vocare librum Comoediam a styli infimo et vulgari, quia de rei veritate est humilis respectu litteralis (sic), quamvis in genere suo sit
sublimis et excellens. Tomus
. .

. (Benvenuti (I887,

de Rambaldis de Imola ComenLacaita.

tum super D. A. Comoediam Primus, Florentiae

. . . curante Jacobo Philippo p. 19).

"Now hereit mustbe carefully notedthatjustas in thisbook thereis everydivisionof philosophy, as we said,so thereis every divisionof poetry.So that, if one look narrowly, here is tragedy, satire,and comedy.Tragedyfirst, becauseit describes the deeds of pontiffs,princes,kings, barons,and other magnatesand great

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lords,as appears throughout the whole book.Satire,that is repreall kinds of vice, hension;for it admirably and boldlyreprehends without sparing anyone'sdignity, power, or nobility. Hence it could be more properlyentitled satirethan tragedyor comedy. But it can also be said to be a comedy,for accordingto Isidore comedybeginswith sad things and ends with joyousones. And thus this book begins with a sad subject,that is with Hell, and or the Divine Being. endswith a joyousone, thatis with Paradise, But perhaps, reader, you will say: Why do you want to rebaptize calledit a comedy?I say that the book for me, when the autlhor the author wished to call it a comedy becauseof its low and vernacular style,and in fact, speakingliterally,it is low in style, in but its kind it is sublimeand exalted. .." cuts right throughthe thicket of Benvenuto's temperament didactictheory:this book,he says,containseverykind of writing just as it does everykind of knowledge;and if its authorcalled it a comedybecauseits style is low and popular,he was right in a literalsense,but in its way it is a sublimeand greatstyle. of subjects treatedin the Comedysuffices in The abundance itself to pose the problemof the elevatedstyle in a wholly new and the poets of the "new style,"there way. For the Provensals was but one great theme: courtlylove. It is true that in his Dc Dante enumerates three themes (salus,venus, vulgarieloquentia virtus,i.e., deedsof valor,love, and virtue), yet in almostall the to the theme of great canzoni the two othersare subordinated love or are clothedin an allegoryof love. Even in the Comedy this patternis preserved throughthe figure of Beatriceand the role assignedto her, yet here the patternhas a tremendous scope. The Comedy,amongotherthings,is a didacticpoem of encycloin which the physico-cosmological, pedic dimensions, the ethical, orderof the universeis collectively and the historico-political presented; it is, further,a literarywork which imitatesrealityand of realityappear: in which all imaginable spheres pastandpresent, sublimegrandeurand vile vulgarity,history and legend, tragic

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and comicoccurrences, man and nature;finally,it is the storyof Dante's-i.e., one single individual's-life and salvation, and thus a figureof the storyof mankind's salvation in general. Itsdramatis persona' includefiguresfrom antiquemythology,often (but not always) in the guise of fantasticdemons;allegorical personifications and symbolicanimalsstemmingfrom Late Antiquityand the Middle Ages; bearersof specificsignifications chosen from of among the angels,the saints,and the blessedin the hierarchy Christianity;Apollo, Lucifer, and Christ, Fortuna and Lady Poverty,Medusaas an emblemof the deepercirclesof hell, and Catoof Utica as the guardianof Purgatory. Yet, in respectto an attemptat the elevatedstyle,all these things are not so new and as are Dante'sundisguised incursions problematic into the realm of a reallife neitherselectednor preordained aesthetic criteria. by And indeed,it is this contactwith real life which is responsible for all the verbalforms whose directness and rigor-almost untaste.Furtherknown in the elevatedstyle-offended classicistic within a siigle action,but more,all this realismis not displayed instead an abundanceof actions in the most diversetonalities follow one anotherin quick succession. And yet the unity of the poem is convincing.It is due to its all-inclusive subject,which is the statusanimarum post mortem. God'sdefinitivejudgment,this statusmust needs repReflecting both as a theresent a perfectlyharmonious whole, considered oreticalsystem and as a practicalreality and hence also as an aestheticentity;indeed it must needs expressthe unity of God's universalorderin a purerand more immediateform than this earthly sphere or anything that takes place within it, for the until JudgmentDaybeyond-even though it fail of perfection is not, at leastnot to the sameextentas the earthlysphere,evolubut God's design in active and provisionality, tion, potentiality, it fulfillment.The unifiedorderof the beyond,as Dantepresents as a moralsystem in its disto us, canbe mostimmediately grasped tributionof souls among the threerealmsand their subdivisions.

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On the whole the systemfollows Aristotelian-Thomist ethics.It groupsthe sinnersin Hell first accordingto the degreeof their ill will, and within those categoriesaccordingto the gravityof their misdeeds;the penitentsin Purgatory accordingto the evil impulsesof which they must purifythemselves;and the blessed of their participation in the in Paradise to the measure according vision of God. This ethical systemis, however,interwovenwith or historico. other hierarchical systemsof a physico-cosmological politicalorder.The locationof the Inferno,of the Mountof Pura physicalas well constitutes gatory,and of the circlesof Paradise as an ethicalpictureof the universe. The doctrineof soulswhich underliesthe ethical orderis at once a physiological and a psychologicalanthropology; and therearemanyotherwaysin which connected. the ethicaland physicalordersare basically The same holds truefor the historico-political order.The communityof the is at the sametime also blessedin the white roseof the Empyrean the goal of the historicalprocessof salvation, which is both the theories and the guiding principle for all historico-political standardof judgmentby which all historico-political events are In the courseof the poem this is constantly measured. expressed, at times most circumstantially (as for instancein the symbolic the EarthlyParadise); on the summitof Purgatory, occurrences so that the three systemsof order-the ethical,the physical,and the historico-political-always presentand always demonstrable, appearas one single entity. In orderto show how the unity of the transcendental order as a unity of the elevatedstyle,we returnto our quoted operates and Cavalcante's liveson earthare over; the vicistext. Farinata's of their destinies have situdes ceased;their stateis definitiveand immutableexcept that it will be affectedby one single change, theirultimaterecovery of theirphysical bodiesat the Resurrection on the LastDay. As we fin(d themhere,then,theyaresoulsparted from theirbodies.Dantedoes,however,give them a sortof phantom body, so that they can be seen and can communicate and

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suffer (cf., in this connection, Purg. III, 3I Lf.). Their only link to life on earth is memory. In addition they have-as Dante explains in the very canto with which we are concerned-a measure of knowledge of past and future which goes beyond the earthly norm. Their vision is hyperoptic: they clearly see earthly events of the somewhat distant past or future, and hence can foretell the future, but they are blind to the earthly present. (This explains Dante's hesitation when Cavalcante asks him whether his son is still alive; Cavalcante's ignorance surprises him, the more so becauseother souls had prophesiedfuture events to him.) Their own earthly lives, then, they still possess completely, through their memories, although those lives are ended. And although they are in a situationwhich differs from any imaginable situation on earth not only in practical terms (they lie in flaming tombs) but also in principle by virtue of their temporal and spatial immutability, the impression they produce is not that they are dead-though that is what they are-but alive. Here we face the astounding paradoxof what is called Dante's realism. Imitation of reality is imitation of the sensory experience of life on earth-among the most essential characteristics of which would seem to be its possessinga history, its changing and developing. Whatever degree of freedom the imitating artist may be granted in his work, he cannot be allowed to deprive reality of this characteristic, which is its very essence.But Dante's inhabitants of the three realms lead a "changelessexistence." (Hegel uses the expressionin his lectureson aestheticsin one of the most beautiful passagesever written on Dante.) Yet into this changelessexistence Dante "plunges the living world of human action and endurance and more especially of individual deeds and destinies."Considering our text again, we ask how this may come about. The existence of the two tomb-dwellers and the scene of it are certainly final and eternal, but they are not devoid of history. This Hell has been visited by Aeneas and Paul and even by Christ; now Dante and Virgil are traveling through it; it has

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landscapes,and its landscapesare peopled by infernal spirits; occurrences, events, and even transformations go on before our very eyes. In their phantombodies the souls of the damned,in their eternal abodes,have plhenomenal freedom to appearance, speakand gestureandeven to moveaboutwithin limits,and thus, within their changelessness, a limited freedom of change. We have left the earthlyspherebehind; we are in an eternalplace, and yet we encounterappearance and concreteoccurrence there. This differs fromwhatappears andoccurs on earth,yet is evidently connectedwith it in a necessary and strictlydetermined relation. The reality of the appearances Farinataand Cavalcante is perceivedin the situationin which they are placedand in their In their position as inhabitantsof flaming tombs is utterances. expressed God'sjudgmentupon the entirecategoryof sinnersto which they belong,upon hereticsand infidels.But in theirutterances,their individualcharacter is manifestin all its force.This is especiallystrikingwith Farinataand Cavalcante becausethey are sinnersof the samecategory and hence find themselves in the same situation.Yet as individualsof differentpersonalities, of differentlots in their formerlives, and of differentinclinations, they are most sharplycontrasted. Their eternal and changeless fate is the same; but only in the sense that they have to suffer the samepunishment, only in an objectivesense.For they accept their fate in very differentways. Farinatawholly disregards his situation;Cavalcante, in his blind prison,mournsfor the beauty of light; and each, in gestureand word, completelyrevealsthe natureproperto each,which can be and is none other than that in his life upon earth.And still more:from which eachpossessed the fact that earthlylife has ceasedso that it cannot change or grow, whereasthe passionsand inclinationswhich animatedit still persistwithoutever being releasedin action,there resultsas it were a tremendousconcentration. We behold an intensified image of the essence of their being, fixed for all eternity in beholdit in a purityand distinctness giganticdimensions, which

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couldneverfor one momenthavebeenpossibleduringtheirlives upon earth. There can be no doubtthat this too is partof the judgment which God has pronouncedupon them; God has not only them accordingly and distributed groupedthe soulsin categories of the threerealms;He has alsogiven divisions amongthe various each soul a specific eternal situation, in that He has never destroyedan individualform but on the contraryhas fixed it in his eternaljudgment-nay more,not until He has pronounced that judgmenthas He fully perfectedit and wholly revealedit
to sight. Here in Hell Farinata is greater, stronger, and nobler than ever, for never in his life on earth had he had such an opportunity to prove his stout heart; and if his thoughts and desires center unchanged upon Florence and the Ghibellines, upon the successes and failures of his former endeavors, there can be no doubt that this persistence of his earthly being in all its grandeur and hopeless futility is part of the judgment God has pronounced upon him. The same hopeless futility in the continuance of his earthly being is displayed by Cavalcante; it is not likely that in the course of his earthly existence he ever felt his faith in the spirit of man, his love for the sweetness of light and for his son so profoundly, or expressed it so arrestingly, as now, when it is all in vain. We must also consider that, for the souls of the dead, Dante's journey represents their only chance in all eternity to speak to one from among the living. This is an aspect of the situation which impels many to express themselves with the utmost intensity and which brings into the changelessnessof their eternal fate a moment of dramatic historicity. Anid finally, one more distinguishing characteristicof the situation in which the dwellers in Hell find themselves is their strangely restricted and expanded range of knowledge. They have forfeited the vision of God participated in to various degrees by all beings on earth, in Purgatory,and in Paradise;and with it they have lost all hope; they know the past and the future in the passing of time on earth

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and hence the hopelessfutility of their personalexistence,wlhich of its finallyflowinginto the prospect they haveretainedwitlhout interested in the the divinecommunity; and they arepassionately present state of things on earth, which is hidden from them. and severalothers, (A strikingcase in point is, with Cavalcante in the figure of Guido da Montefeltro Canto XXVII. Speaking with difficulty throughthe flameswhich shoot from his head,he imploresVirgil to stop and speak to him, in a long adjuration, with memoriesand grief, which reachesits climax in permeated han paceo guerra!) the wordsof line 28: dimmi se i Romagnuoli into his beyond;his Dante,then, took overearthlyhistoricity but dead are cut off from the earthlypresentand its vicissitudes, memory and the most intense interestin it stirs them so proof the beyond is chargedwith it. foundly that the atmosphere on the Mountof Purgatory This is less pronounced and in Paradise, becausetherethe soulsdo not look backupon life on earth, as they do in Hell, but forwardand up; as a result,the farther we ascendthe moreclearlyis earthlyexistenceseentogetherwith its divine goal. But earthly existenceremains always manifest, for it is always the basis of God's judgment and hence of the eternalconditionof the soul; and this conditionis everywhere not only a matterof being assignedto a specificsubdivision of the penitentor blessedbut is a consciouspresentment of the soul's life on earthand of the specificplaceit duly occupiesin previous the design of God'sorder.For it is precisely the absoluterealization of a particularearthly personalityin the place definitely to it, which constitutes assigned the Divine Judgment. And everywhere the souls of the dead have sufficient freedomto manifest
their individual and particular nature-at times, it is true, only

with considerable for often their punislhment difficulty, or their penitenceor even the clearlight of their bliss makesit hard for them to appearand to expressthemselves; but then, overcoming the obstacle,self-expression breaksout only the more effectively. These ideasare found 'inthe passagefrom Hegel referred to

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above.Overtwenty yearsago I used them as the basisof a study of Dante'srealism(Dante als Dichterder irdischenWelt, 1929). with the questionof what conSincethen I havebeen concerned in of events, otherwordswhatconception ceptionof the structure of history, is the foundationfor Dante's realism,this realism projectedinto changelesseternity.It has been my hope that in furtherand moreexactabout I might learnsomcthing the process the basisof Dante'selevatedstyle, for his elevatedstyle consists individualand preciselyin integratingwhat is clharacteristically the dignityof with vulgar and grotesque, ugly, horrible, at times
God's judgment-a dignity which transcends the ultimate limits

Dante'sconof the sublime.Obviously of our earthlyconception with that not identical of is history, ception of what happens, commonlyacceptedin our modernworld. Indeed he does not a patternof earthlyevents, process, view it merelyas an eartlhly but in constantconnectionwith God'splan, towardthe goal of not tend. This is to be understood which all earthlyhappenings the societyas a whole approaching only in the sense of hiuman end of the world and the adventof the millenniumin a constant into horizontally, then,directed forwardmotion (with all history, the future); but also in the sense that every earthlyevent and is at all times-independentlyof all every earthlyplhenomenon forwardmotion-directly connectedwitlhGod's plan; so that a multiplicityof verticallinks establishan immediaterelationbeand tlheplan of salvationcontween everyearthlyphenomenon is a constantreduplicaFor all of creation Providence. ceivedby tion and emanationof the active love of God (non e se non amandoil nostroSire,Par. di quellaidea che partorisce splen(dor XIII, 53-4),and this activelove is timelessanclaffectsall phenomthe white of salvationi, The goal of the process ena at all seasons. in God'sno of the elect the community rose in the Empyrean, longer veiled presence,is not only a certainhope for the future for men, but is from all eternityperfectin God and prefigured as is Christin Adam. It is timelesslyor at all times that Christ's

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coronation takeplacein Paradise; at all times triumphandMary's the soul whose love has not been drawntowarda false goal goes
unto Christ, its beloved, who wcddecl it with his blood. In the Comedy there are numerous earthly phenomena whose theoretical relation to the divine plan of salvation is set forth in detail. From the point of view of modern readers the most astounding instance, and in political anid historical terms at the same time the most important one, is the universal Roman monarchy. It is in Dante's vicw the concrete, earthly anticipation of the Kingdom of God. Aeneas' journey to the underworld is granted as a special grace in view of Rome's eartlhlyand spiritual victory (If. II, 13 ff.); from the beginning, Rome is destined to rule the world. Christ appears when the time is fulfilled, that is, when the inhabited world rests in peace in Augustus' hands. Brutus and Cassius, the mur(lerers of Cxsar, suffer beside Judas in the jaws of Lucifer. The third Cxsar, Tiberius, is the legitimate judge of Christ incarnate and as such the avenger of original sin. Titus is the legitimate executor of the vengeance upon the Jews. The Roman eagle is the bird of God, and in one passage Paradise is called quella Roma onde Cristo e Romano (cf. Par. VI; Purg.

XXI, 82 ff.; Inf. XXXIV, 6I f.; Purg. XXXII, I02; etc., also
numerous passages in the Monarclhia).Furtlhermore, Virgil's role in the poem can only be understood on this premise. We are reminded of the figure of the earthly and heavenly Jerusalem,and indeed the whole concept is an example of figural tlhinking. Just as the Jewish-Christian metho(d of interlpretation,consistently applied to the Old Testament by Paul an(dthe Church Fathers, conceives of Adam as a figure of Christ, of Eve as a figure of the Church, just as generally speaking every event and every phenomenon referred to in the Old Testament is conceived as a figure which only the phenomena and events of Christ'sincarnationcan
completely realize or "fulfill" (to use the conventional expres-

sion), so the universal Roman Empire hiereappears as an earthly figure of heavenly fulfillment in the Kingdom of God.

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In an essay on figures (Figura, Archiv. Roman. XXII, 436) I lhave shown-convincingly, I hope-that the Comedy is based on a figural view of things. In the case of three of its most important characters-Cato of Utica, Virgil, and Beatrice-I have attempted to demonstratethat their appearancein the other world is a fulfillment of their appearanceon earth, their earthly appearance a figure of their appearancein the other world. I stressedthe fact that a figural schema permits both its poles-the figure and its fulfillment-to retain the characteristicsof concrete historical reality, in contradistinction to what obtains with svmbolic or allegorical personifications, so that figure and fulfillmentalthough the one "signifies"the other-have a significance which is not incompatible with their being real. An event taken as a figure preserves its literal and historical meaning. It remains an event, does not become a mere sign. The Church Fathers,especially Tertullian, Jerome, and Augustine, had successfully defended figural realism, that is, the maintenance of the basic historical reality of figures, against all attempts at spiritually allegorical interpretation. Such attempts, which as it were undermine th'e reality of history and see in it only extra-historicalsigns and significations, survived from Late Antiquity and passed into the Middle Ages. Medieval symbolism and allegorism is often, as we know, excessivelyabstract,and many tracesof this are to be found in the Comedy itself. But far more prevalent in the Christianlife of the High Middle Ages is the figural realism which can be observed in full bloom in sermons, the plastic arts, and mystery plays; and it is this figural realism which dominates Dante's view. The world beyond-as we put it earlier-is God's design in active fulfillment. In relation to it, earthly phenomena are on the whole merely figural; they are potential and lack fulfillment. This also applies to the individual souls of the dead: it is only here, in the beyond, that they attain fulfillment and the true reality of their being. Their career on earth was only the figure of this fulfillinent. In the fulfillment of their being they find punish-

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penance, or reward. That man's existence on earthis pro visional and must be complemented in the world beyond, is a concept in keeping with Thomist anthropology, if E. Gilson's observations on the subject are valid. He writes (Le thomisme, que 3rd ed., Paris I927, p. 300): une sorte de marge nous tient peu en deqa de notre propre definition; aucun de nous ne realise plenierement l'essence humaine ni mcme la notion complete de sa propre individualite. It is precisely this notion complete de leur propre individualite which the souls attain in Dante's world beyond by virtue of God's judgment; and specifically, they attain it as an actual reality, which is in keeping with the figural view and the Aristotelian-Thomist concept of form. The relation of figure fulfilled, which the dead in Dante represent in reference to their own past on earth, is most readily demonstrable in those cases in which not only character and essential being, but also a signification apparent in the earthly figure, are fulfilled: as for instance in the case of Cato of Utica, whose merely figural role as the guardian of earthly political freedom is fulfilled in the role he plays at the foot of the Mount of Purgatory as the guardian of the eternal freedom of the elect (Purg. I, 71 f.: liberta va cercando; cf. also Archiv. Roman. XXII, 478-8I). In this instance the figural approach can explain the riddle of Cato's appearance in a place where we are astonished to find a pagan. Such a demonstration is not often possible. Yet the cases where it is possible suffice to let us see Dante's basic conception of the individual in this world and in the world beyond. The characterand the function of a human being have a specified place in God's idea of order, as it is figured on earth and fulfilled in the world beyond. Both figure and fulfillment possess-as we have said-the character of actual historical events and phenomena. The fulfillment possesses it in greater and more intense measure, for it is, compared with the figure, forma perfectior. This explains the overwhelming realism of Dante's beyond. When we say, "This
explains . . .
,"

we do not of course overlook the genius of the

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poet who was capableof such a creation. To put it in the words of the ol0(commentators, who distinguish betweencausaefficiens, materialis, formalis,and finalis of the poem: Causaefficiens in hoc opere, velut in domo faciendaaedificator, est Dantes Allegherii de Florentia,gloriosus theologus, philosophuset poeta (PietroAlighieri;in a similarvein also Jacopodella Lana). But the particular way in which his realisticgenius achievedform, we explainthrouglh the figuralpoint of view. This enablesus to that the beyondis eternaland yet phenomenal; understand that it is changelessand of all time and yet full of history.It also enablesus to show in what way this realismin the beyond is from every type of purely earthlyrealism.In the distinguishedl beyondman is no longer involvedin any earthlyaction or enof human tanglement,as in any purely earthly representation events. Rather,he is involved in an eternal situationwhich is the sum and the result of all his actions and which at the of his life and sametime tells him what were the decisiveaspects Thus his memoryis led along a pathwhich,though his character. of Hell it is drearand barren,is yet always for the inhabitants the right path, the path which revealswhat was decisivein the life. In this conditionthe dead presentthemselves individual's to the living Dante. The suspenseinherentin the yet unrevealed future-an essentialelement in all earthly concernsand their of a dramatic, serious artistic and problematic imitation, especially kind-h1asceased.In the Comedyonly Dante can feel this susdramasare combinedin one great pense.The many played-out and that of all mankind;they are own fate his play, involving butexemplaof the winningor losingof eternalbliss.Butpassions, and joys have survived; in the sittorments, they find expression of the dead.With Danteas specand utterances uations,gestures, contator,all the dramasare playedover again in tremendously in in few a as the form-sometimes case of Pia centrated lines, de' Tolomei (Purg. V, 130). And in them, seeminglyscattered and fragmented,yet actuallyalways as parts within a general

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plan, the historyof Florence,of Italy,of the world,unfolds.Susof earthly the distinguishing characteristic penseanddevelopment, are no more.Yet the waves of historydo reachthe phenomena, shoresof the world beyond: partly as memoriesof the earthly past; partlyas interestin the earthlypresent;partlyas concern figurallyprefor the earthlyfuture;in all casesas a temporality his condiservedin timelesseternity.Each of the dead interprets tion in the beyondas the last act, foreverbeing playedout, of his earthlydrama. In the first canto of the poem Dante says to Virgil: "Thou
alone art hie to whom I owe the beautiful style which has done me honor." This is doubtless correct-and even more in respect

to the Comedythan to his earlierworks and canzoni.The motif of a journeyto the underworld,a large numberof individual motifs,manystylisticturns-for all thesehe is indebtedto Virgil. Eventhe changein his theoryof stylefrom the time of his treatise De vulgarieloquentia-a changewhich took him from the merely to the great epic and hence to full-dimenlyrico-philosophical for of human events-cannot be accounted sional representation of classical modelsand in particular by anythingbut the influence of Virgil. Of the writerswe know, he was the firstto have direct to the poetVirgil.Virgil,much morethan medievaltheory, access developedhis feeling of style and his conceptionof the sublime. Through him he learnedto breakthe all too narrowpatternof Italian "supremaconstructio." the Provencaland contemporary the problemof his greatwork, which was Yet as he approached to come into being underthe sign of Virgil, it was the other,the the moreliving traditions which overmoreimmediately present, whelmed him. His great work provedto be in the mixed style and figural,andindeedin the mixedstyleas a resultof the figural It provedto be a comedy;it provedto be-also in terms approach. ject in of style-Christian.After all that we have said on the sub the courseof theseinterpretations, therecan be no need for again explaining that (and why) conceiving all earthly occurrences

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throughthe mediumof a mixed style-without aesthetic restriction in either subjectmatter or form-as an entity sublimely figural,is Christian in spiritand Christianin origin. Hence too the unity of the whole poem, in which a wealth of themesand actionsis organizedin a single universal patternwhich embraces both heavenand earth:il poema sacro,al quale ha posto mano e cielo e terra.And, on the otherhand, it was again Dante who first felt and realizedthe gravitasproperto the antiqueelevated style, and even surpassed it. Let him say what he will; let it be as vulgar,grotesque,horrible,or sneeringas may be: the tone remainsthatof the elevatedstyle.It is impossible to imaginethat the realismof the Comedycould ever sink to the level of farce and servethe purposes of popularentertainment, as the realism of the Christiandrama so often does. Dante's level of tone is unthinkablein medievalepics before his time; and he learned
it, as can be shown by many examples, from antique models.

BeforeDante, vernacular that of Christian literature-especially inspiration-is on the whole rathernaive so far as questionsof style are concerned,and that despitethe influenceof scholastic rhetoric-an influencewhich of late has been rather heavily But Dante, althoughhe takeshis material emphasized. from the most living and sometimesfrom the humblestvernacular, has lost this naive quality.He subduesevery turn of expression to the gravityof his tone, and when he sings of the divineorderof things,he solveshis problemby using periodicarticulations and which commandgiganticmassesof devicesof sentencestructure of events; since Antiquitynothing thought and concatenations had existedin literature comparable (one examplemay standfor many: Inf. II, 13-36).Is Dante'sstyle still a sermo remissuset humilis, as he calls it himself and as Christianstyle should be even in the sphereof the sublime?The questioncould perhaps the Fathersthemselvesdid not be answeredin the affirmative; scornthe consciousemploymentof the art of rhetoric,not even Augustine.The crux of the matter is what purposeand what

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attitudethe artisticdevicesserve. In our passage,two of the damned are introducedin the elevatedstyle. Their earthlycharacter is preserved in full force in their placesin the beyond.Farinatais as great and proud as loves the light of the world and his son ever, and Cavalcante Guido not less,but in his despairstill more passionately, than he did on earth.So God had willed; and so these things stand in the figural realismof Christiantradition.Yet never before has this realismbeen carriedso far; never before-scarcelyeven in Antiquity-has so much art and so much expressive powerbeen employedto producean almostpainfullyimmediateimpression of the earthlyrealityof humanbeings.It was precisely the Christian idea of the indestructibility of the entirehuman individual which madethis possiblefor Dante.And it was precisely by producing his effect with such power and so much realismthat he openedthe way for that aspiration towardautonomywhich possessesall earthlyexistence.In the very heartof the other world, he createda world of earthlybeings and passionsso powerful that it breaks bounds and proclaimsits independence. Figure surpasses fulfillment,or more properly:the fulfillmentservesto bringout the figurein still moreimpressive relief.We cannotbut and weep with Cavalcante. admireFarinata What actuallymoves us is not thatGod has damnedthem,but that the one is unbroken and the other mourns so heart-rendingly for his son and the of the light. Their horriblesituation, sweetness theirdoom, serves only, as it were,as a meansof heighteningthe effectof thesecompletelyearthlyemotions.Yet it seemsto me that the problemis not conceivedbroadlyenough if, as has frequentlybeen done, it is formulated in termsof Dante'sadmiration exclusively or symof individuals pathyfor a number encountered in Hell. The essence of the matter,what we havein mind, is not restricted to Hell nor, on the otherhand,to Dante'sadmiration or sympathy. All through the poem there are instancesin which the effect of the earthly figureand its earthlydestinysurpasses or is subserved by the effect

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the noblesoulsamong produced by its eternalsituation. Certainly, the damned,Francesca da Rimini, Farinata,BrunettoLatini,or Pier della Vigna, are also good examplesin supportof my view; but it seemsto me thatthe emphasis is not whereit belongsif only such instancesare adduced,for a doctrineof salvationin which the eternaldestinydependsupon grace and repentance can no moredispense with suchfiguresin Hell than it can with virtuous pagansin Limbo.But as soon as we ask why Dantewas the first who so strongly felt the tragicqualityin suchfiguresandexpressed it with all the overwhelming powerof genius,the field of speculation immediately broadens. For all earthlythingsof whichhe laid hold, Dantehandleswith the samepower.Cavalcante is not great, and figureslike Ciaccothe glutton or the insantlyirate Filippo Argenti he treats now with sympathetic contempt,now with disgust.Yet thatdoesnot preventthe portrayal of earthlypassions in theseinstances from far surpassing, in theirwholly individual fulfillment in the beyond,the portrayal of a collectivepunishment, nor the latterfrom frequentlyonly heighteningthe effect of the former.This holds true even of the elect in Purgatory and Paradise. Casellasinging one of Dante'scanzoniand those who listento him (Purg.II), Buonconte telling of his deathand what becameof his body (Purg.V), Statiuskneelingbeforehis master Virgil (Purg.XXI), the youngKing of Hungary,CarloMartello of Anjou, who so charminglyexpresses his friendship for Dante (Par. IX), Dante's ancestorCacciaguida, proud, old-fashioned, and full of the civic historyof Florence (Par. XV-XVII), even the Apostle Peter (Par. XXVII), and how many others,open beforeus a world of earthly-historical life, of earthlydeeds,endeavors, feelings,and passions, the like of which the earthlyscene itselfcan hardlyproduce in suchabundance and power.Certainly they areall set fast in God'sorder,certainly a greatChristian poet the to has right preserve earthlyhumanityin the beyond,to preservethe figurein its fulfillmentand to perfectthe one and the But Dante'sgreat art carries other to the best of his capabilities.

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the matterso far that the effectbecomesearthly,and the listener is all too occupiedby the figure in the fulfillment.The beyond becomesa stage for human beings and human passions.Think of religious of the earlierfiguralforms of art-of the mysteries, sculpture-which neveror at best most timidlyventuredbeyond upon the immediatedatasuppliedby the Bible,which embarked the imitationof realityand the individualonly for the sake of a of Biblical themes-think of these and livelier dramatization brings them with Dantewho, within the figuralpattern, contrast to life the whole historicalworld and, within that, every single humanbeing who crosseshlispath! To be sure,this is only what interpretawas demandedfrom the first by the Jewish-Christian claims universal that interpretation tion of the plhenomenal; into validity.But the fullness of life which Dante incorporates is so rich and so strongthat its manifestations that interpretation
force their way into the listener's soul, indepen(lently of any in-

When we hiearCavalcante's outburst:non fiere li terpretation. il occhi suoi (lolce lome? or read the beautiful,gentle, and enchantinglyfeminine line which Pia de' Tolomei utters before her on earth (e riposato de la lunga she asksDante to remember an emotionwhich is concerned via, Purg.V, 131), we experience with human beings and not directlywith the divine order in which they have found their fulfillment.Their eternalposition in the divine orderis somethingof which we are only conscious can but serve to heighten the as a setting whose irrevocability for us in all its force. The effect of their humanity,preserved of life which overwhelms everything resultis a directexperience else, a comprehensionof human realities which spreads as widely and variouslyas it goes profoundlyto the very roots of our emotions,an illuminationof man's impulses and passions and indeed to which leadsus to sharein them without restraint their and their admire greatness. variety And by virtue of this immediateand admiring sympathy with man, the principle,rooted in the divine order,of the in-

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destructibility of the whole, historical, and individualman turns


against that order; makes it subservientto its own purposes,and

it. The imageof man eclipsesthe imageof God. Dante's obscures work mademan'sChristian-figural being a reality,and destroyed it in the veryprocess of realizingit. The tremendous patternwas brokenby the overwhelming powerof the imageryit had to contain. The coarsedisorderliness which resultedduring the later Middle Ages from the farcicalrealismof the mysteryplays is fraughtwith far lessdangerto the figural-Christian view of things than the elevatedstyle of such a poet, in whose work men learn to see and know themselves.In this fulfillment,the figure beeven in Hell there are great souls,and cercomes independent: tain soulsin Purgatory can for a momentforgetthe path of purificationfor the sweetness of a poem, the work of humanfrailty. of man'sself-fulfillment And becauseof the specialconditions in the beyond,his human realityassertsitself even more strongly, than it does, for example,in antique and specifically concretely, literature.For this self-fulfillment,which comprises the inentirepast-objectivelyas well as in memory-involves dividual's the historyof an individual's ontogenetic history, personal growth; the resultant of that growth,it is true,lies beforeus as a finished of product;but in many caseswe are given a detailedportrayal its severalphases; it is never entirelywithheld from us. More was ever able to presentit, we than antiqueliterature accurately are given to see, in the realm of timelessbeing, the historyof man's inner life and growth.

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