Human Vices and Human Worth in Dante's Comedy

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Cambridge University Press, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 323 pages
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Patrick Boyde brings Dante's thought and poetry into focus for the modern reader by restoring the Comedy to its intellectual and literary context in 1300. He begins by describing the authorities that Dante acknowledged in the field of ethics and the modes of thought he shared with the great thinkers of his time. After giving a clear account of the differing approaches and ideals embodied in Aristotelian philosophy, Christianity and courtly literature, Boyde concentrates on the poetic representation of the most important vices and virtues in the Comedy. He stresses the heterogeneity and originality of Dante's treatment, and the challenges posed by his desire to harmonize these divergent value-systems. The book ends with a detailed case study of the 'vices and worth' of Ulysses in which Boyde throws light on recent controversies by deliberately remaining within the framework of the thirteenth-century assumptions, methods and concepts explored in previous chapters.

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Contents

Dantes authors
11
Putting authors to the question
25
Division and numeration
50
Aristotelian values through Dantes eyes
77
Christian values through Dantes eyes
100
A courtly value in Dantes hands
126
Covetousness
149
Pride
174
Justice
198
Preface to Part Four
227
Notes
273
Bibliography
303
Index
309
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About the author (2006)

Patrick Boyde is Serena Professor of Italian in the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John's College. He is the author of Dante's Style in his Lyric Poetry (Cambridge,1971) and Night Thoughts on Italian Poetry and Art (Cambridge,1985). Human Vices and Human Worth in Dante's Comedy is the third book in his trilogy, which also comprises Dante Philomythes and Philosopher: Man in the Cosmos (Cambridge,1981), and Perception and Passion in Dante's Comedy'(Cambridge,1993).

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