Dante and the Mystical Tradition

Dante and the Mystical Tradition : Bernard of Clairvaux in the Commedia

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In this study, Steven Botterill explores the intellectual relationship between the greatest poet of the fourteenth century, Dante, and the greatest spiritual writer of the twelfth century, Bernard of Clairvaux. Botterill analyses the narrative episode involving Bernard as a character in the closing cantos of the Paradiso, against the background of his medieval reputation as a contemplative mystic, devotee of Mary, and, above all, a preacher of outstanding eloquence. Botterill draws on a wide range of materials to establish and illustrate the connections between Bernard's reputation and his portrayal in Dante's poem. Botterill's fresh approach to the analysis of the whole episode will provoke the reader to re-evaluate the significance and implications of Bernard's presence in the Commedia.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 284 pages
  • 149.9 x 228.6 x 22.9mm | 362.88g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0521021723
  • 9780521021722
  • 1,803,671

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; 1. (Re-)Reading Dante: an unscientific preface; Part I. Reading: 2. The image of St Bernard in medieval culture; 3. Bernard of Clairvaux in the Commedia: i. Life after Beatrice (Paradiso XXXI), ii. Mellifluous doctor (Paradiso XXXII), iii. Faithful Bernard (Paradiso XXXIII); Part II. Re-Reading: 4. Bernard in the Trecento commentaries on the Commedia; 5. Dante, Bernard, and the Virgin Mary; 6. From 'deificari' to 'trasumanar'? Dante's Paradiso and Bernard's De diligendo Deo; 7. Eloquence - and its limits; Bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

"...[an] intelligent, well-written book..." Peter S. Hawkins, Yale University, Speculum-A Journal of Medieval Studies "...an engaging study of the cultural mystical meaning of the mysticism of St. Bernard as portrayed in the vision of God conclusion of the Divine Comedy...Botterill's thesis should grasp the attention of Dante scholars and students of mysticism." The Reader's Review "...the erudition marshaled in Part 2 is certainly impressive and largely convincing..." R. A. Shoaf, Choice "...investigates the intellectual relationship between Dante and St. Bernard. He analyses the narrative episode about Bernard as a medieval mystic...he examines carefully the two areas in which a direct intellectual influence of Bernard on Dante has been noted: the portrayal of Mary in the .s:Commediar: and the idea of trasumanar in .s:Paradisor: i, 70." Manuscripta
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