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THIS Volume forms the first portion or series of 'Studies in Dante,' which I am enabled to publish through the liberality of the Delegates of the Clarendon Press. The present volume necessarily appeals chiefly to serious students of the works of Dante. The Second Series will consist of miscellaneous Essays on various subjects connected with Dante, and will therefore, it is hoped, interest a wider circle of readers. Hence it has been thought desirable that the two parts should be published as separate and independent volumes.
The plan and purpose of the present Essay are so fully explained in the introductory pages that little remains to be said here beyond the acknowledgment of my indebtedness to many friends and others from whom I have derived assistance in various ways.
Among the friends who have kindly helped me, my thanks are due in the first place to Mr. Paget Toynbee, who, besides very kindly undertaking the great labour of reading and correcting the proof-sheets of this volume, has contributed at all times most liberally from his varied stores of knowledge and research on all subjects connected with Dante. These contributions will be found frequently, though still inadequately, recognized in the following pages.
I have also received most willing and liberal assistance from time to time, especially in the part of the work relating to Aristotle, from Professor Case of Magdalen College, Professor J. Cook Wilson of Oriel College, Mr. Grose of Queen's College, Mr. Stewart of Christ Church, and Dr. Henry Jackson of Trinity College, Cambridge.
Further, I must gratefully acknowledge my obligations to several previous writers. In the Divina Commedia generally, I have been constantly indebted to the exhaustive notes of Scartazzini, though not always able to agree with his conclusions. No one could attempt any sort of work upon this part of Dante without being so indebted. The notes of Mr. A. J. Butler, particularly in the Purgatorio and Paradiso, in which he has collected numerous classical and especially Aristotelian references, have likewise been very helpful. I have also availed myself of the wealth of illustrations which my friend the Hon. W. Warren Vernon has brought together in his excellent Readings on the Inferno and Purgatorio; soon, it is hoped, to be followed by an equally interesting work on the Paradiso. In the Convito I have derived very great assistance from the Appendix of Mazzucchelli to the 'Minerva' Edition, Padua, 1827, in which a large number of Dante's quotations in that work are identified. I have not always been able to agree with him, especially as to the references given to Aristotle. Moreover he has unaccountably omitted several quite distinct quotations, and in any case he never professes to go beyond those which are direct and acknowledged; only such, that is, as would be marked 'a' in my Index. Another work that has proved helpful in the Convito is the Saggio of Monti, &c. (the ‘Edd. Milanesi'), Milan, 1823. In the case of the De Monarchia, I have been saved much labour by Dr. Witte's elaborate classification of the quotations occurring there. But (as in the case of Mazzucchelli) he does not attempt
to go beyond acknowledged quotations, and I have found myself unable to accept some of the identifications proposed by him, particularly in respect of Aristotle.
Besides these general acknowledgments, I have always endeavoured to state from time to time the sources from which special information has been derived. But it must be borne in mind that often I may have arrived independently at results which others have published beforehand unknown to myself; and also in many cases my notes have been written before I became aware of what has been said or written by others in the same sense.
My best thanks are due to my late friend Mr. Henry Reeve, C.B., Editor of the Edinburgh Review, and also to the Proprietors of the Review, for permission to reprint such portions of the present Essay as appeared in the number for April, 1895.
Lastly, I must apologize by anticipation if (as I fear must be the case) some inaccuracies of reference should be detected. No labour or pains have been spared to secure accuracy in this respect as far as possible. The Indexes in particular have been read and re-read and verified several times. But as the references throughout the work, text and indexes included, amount to several thousands, it is hardly likely that any amount of labour could ever guarantee freedom from error. The work has occupied several years, and has often been interrupted by long intervals. I am conscious of a considerable variation in the technical details of the references which have been made under these circumstances. Sometimes a passage of several lines may be found referred to in full, sometimes under its first line, sometimes under the line containing the most striking point of a quotation. The labour of securing uniformity in details of this kind would have been enormous, and it would not have been worth while,
since no practical inconvenience can result from such variations as these. But for more serious blunders, which I dare not hope to have altogether escaped, as well as for conclusions in criticism or exegesis with which my readers cannot be expected always to agree, and which they may sometimes think altogether erroneous, I can only crave such indulgence as the extent and variety of the subjects dealt with, and the frequent difficulty of some of the problems involved, may perhaps be thought fairly to justify.
It should be added that the references to the numbers of the lines in Dante's prose works throughout this book are to those printed in the margin of the Oxford Dante, 1894.
ST. EDMUND HALL, OXFORD: