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Dante's Paradiso: Cantos XXIV-XXVI

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2020

Edward L. Walter*
Professor of Romance Languages in the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.


The xxivth, xxvth and xxvith books of the ‘Paradiso’ consist chiefly of what has always been something of a puzzle to me, the examination of Dante by Peter, James and John, on Faith, Hope and Love. The allegory of the ‘Divina Commedia,’ clear enough in its main outlines, becomes matter for endless discussion as soon as we descend into details, but nowhere else, so far as I have observed, is there any difficulty in interpreting the general significance of so large a body of verse as these three books, if we take the literal sense, or in adapting it to some one theory, if we take the allegorical sense. The fact that I do not find any discussion of this puzzling examination in the Dante literature accessible to me has made me somewhat fearful of committing an offense very common in the study of all masterpieces in all literatures; but I console myself by the reflection, that in the vast number of Dante students who have found difficulties where none existed, I should feel myself in good company.

Research Article
Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 1889

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