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Beatrice in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and the Vita Nuova Essay

Project id 1012145
Subject area Biology
Document type Essay
Words 2643
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Beatrice in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and the Vita Nuova Se quanto infino a qui di lei si dice fosse conchiuso tutto in una loda, poco sarebbe a fornir questa vice. La bellezza ch'io vidi si trasmoda non pur di lá da noi, ma certo io credo che solo il suo fattor tutta la goda" (Paradiso, XXX) In Dante and Difference, Jeremy Tambling asserts that "Beatrice is throughout dealt with in the Commedia together with the assumption that she'll already be a familiar figure" so as to create the point that the Commedia "isn't offering itself as a single, independent, autonomous work". While I agree with Tambling's argue about the requirement to see the Commedia as a component of a greater work (and also the probable methods of doing this are endless--Vita Nuova a prep for the Commedia, Commedia as "sequel" to Vita Nuova, etc) there is something inherently faulty with the very first part of his statement: the concept of Beatrice as "recognizable" figure. For Beatrice is actually anything but familiar. Tambling is, of course, talking about the simple fact that everyone studying the Commedia who has read the Vita Nuova will recognize Beatrice--but the consequence is that this type of reader is going to have more knowledge of her than someone reading Dante for the very first time. In reality, the reverse is the case. In the Vita Nuova, we've accompanied Dante in his breathless chase through dreams and painstaking re-writings, intricate lies and fainting fits from the vain vain attempt to generate sense of, to monitor or write down a girl who has always managed to be the proverbial two steps beforehand. From the opening lines of the Inferno, Beatrice is just familiar within her unfamiliarity: we know her as the one who escaped the Vita Nuova unmarked and unwritten, leaving Dante to "no...

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