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Dante and Homer

from Key Topics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2020

Corinne Ondine Pache
Affiliation:
Trinity University, San Antonio
Casey Dué
Affiliation:
University of Houston
Susan Lupack
Affiliation:
Macquarie University, Sydney
Robert Lamberton
Affiliation:
Washington University, St Louis
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Summary

Dante did not read Homer but thanks to the Latin tradition valued him highly: for Dante, Homer was such a paragon of poetic achievement that, in the Divine Comedy, he stands out even amongst Limbo’s “virtuous pagans” (including Dante’s own poetic master, Virgil). That complex reception is crystallized in Dante’s depiction of Ulysses (Odysseus), a sinner who is yet a “grand shade” described in language otherwise applied only to the spur of Dante’s spiritual journey, Beatrice.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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