Dante's Griffin and the History of the World: A Study of the Earthly Paradise (Purgatorio, cantos xxix-xxxiii)

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9780198158165: Dante's Griffin and the History of the World: A Study of the Earthly Paradise (Purgatorio, cantos xxix-xxxiii)

The griffin from Dante's mountain of Purgatory, able to make a tree bear leaves and flowers, has long been seen to represent Christ. Through an examination of medieval griffin-lore and of Dante's own poem, this provocative study shows that this explanation is untenable. Peter Armour explores both intellectual and political concerns, and the imaginative world of early 14th-century Italy--including such themes as theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, folklore and romance, and prophecy and millenarianism--to provide a new interpretation of Dante's griffin as a powerful symbol central to the poet's presentation of the earthly Paradise and to humankind's lost ideal of collective happiness on earth.

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About the Author:

Author of The Door of Purgatory (OUP 1983)

Review:

'This study is based on solid scholarship and meticulous argumentation. It will rapidly establish itself as a classic of its kind.'
Forum for Modern Language Studies

`a devastating challenge to the wisdom inherited from the ages by most readers of Purgatorio ... this outstanding book, like The Door of Purgatory before it, does provoke one more general reflection. What Professor Armour's work as a whole seems to call for, with increasing urgency, is a
fundamental reconsideration of the nature and function of Dante's allegory.'
The Modern Language Review

`Armour's extensive knowledge of Dante's political theory, coupled with a profound understanding of the Commedia and a linguistic agility which allows him to explore every possible meaning of important but bague and problematic passages ... enables the author to put forth an intelligent and
valuable analysis of the historical vision behind Dante's political programme.' Blake Beattie, Sciatilla, US

'Armour's treatment of Dante's griffin shows wide and occasionally profound scholarship in his appreciation of both primary and secondary texts ... Armour's critical and detailed appreciation of this philosophical shift away from revelation per se provides an added intellectual unity to his
reading of the Purgatorio and of the Comedia generally ... the ultimate value of Armour's work in correcting the earlier misguided christological commentaries on the griffin symbolism still stands, and has certainly deepened my appreciation of both the political and historical contexts of the
Comedia.'
D.S. Marriott, Arts Quarterly, Eovta Eonta, 1991 Volume 1, No. 4

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Armour, Peter
Published by Oxford University Press, - (1989)
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