The Epistle to Can Grande: epistle to Can Grande della Scala; Allegory of the Theologians

 
9781682041888: The Epistle to Can Grande: epistle to Can Grande della Scala; Allegory of the Theologians

Dante describes interpreting through a "four-fold method" (or "allegory of the theologians" in his epistle to Can Grande della Scala. He says the "senses" of his work are not simple, but: “ Rather, it may be called "polysemous", that is, of many senses. A first sense derives from the letters themselves, and a second from the things signified by the letters. We call the first sense "literal" sense, the second the "allegorical", or "moral" or "anagogical". To clarify this method of treatment, consider this verse: When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a barbarous people: Judea was made his sanctuary, Israel his dominion (Psalm 113). Now if we examine the letters alone, the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt in the time of Moses is signified; in the allegory, our redemption accomplished through Christ; in the moral sense, the conversion of the soul from the grief and misery of sin to the state of grace; in the anagogical sense, the exodus of the holy soul from slavery of this corruption to the freedom of eternal glory.. they can all be called allegorical.

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About the Author:

Dante Alighieri was an Italian poet of the Middle Ages, best known for his masterpiece, the epic Divine Comedy, considered to be one of the greatest poetic works in literature.

A native of Florence, Dante was deeply involved in his city-state s politics and had political, as well as poetic, ambitions. He was exiled from Florence in 1301 for backing the losing faction in a dispute over the pope s influence, and never saw Florence again.

While in exile, Dante wrote the Comedy, the tale of the poet s pilgrimage through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. To reach the largest possible audience for the work, Dante devised a version of Italian based largely on his own Tuscan dialect and incorporating Latin and parts of other regional dialects. In so doing, he demonstrated the vernacular s fitness for artistic expression, and earned the title Father of the Italian language.

Dante died in Ravenna in 1321, and his body remains there despite the fact that Florence erected a tomb for him in 1829.

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