Reading Dante : The Pursuit of Meaning
Reading Dante: The Pursuit of Meaning examines the problem of thematic coherence in Dante's Divina Commedia. Unlike many Dante scholars who maintain that the poem's unity is the account of a journey through the afterworld, Jesper Hede argues that a systematic parallel reading of the poem's three parts (Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise) reveals that it is the vision of divine order that provides the poem with its thematic unity.
- Paperback | 288 pages
- 152.4 x 223.52 x 27.94mm | 453.59g
- 16 Feb 2010
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
Table of contents
Chapter 1 The Enigma of Meaning Chapter 2 Heraclitean River Chapter 3 Design in the Wax Chapter 4 Fragile Leaves of the Sibyl Chapter 5 Courage of Venus Chapter 6 Circle of Violence
Jesper Hede has produced one of the most informative and challenging inquiries into the structure of Dante's great epic up to now. It is both a rehabilitation and a continuation of T. K. Seung's study of the unity of The Divine Comedy, published in 1962. Bound to be controversial, Hede's thesis takes Seung's conclusions about theology and psychology as the two fundamental disciplines for Dante's exposition of God's universal order one step further. He tests his precursor's idea of the thematic coherence of The Comedy on a set of cardinal scenes from Dante's Hell and Paradise, effectively showing how the medieval poet's Trinitarian design informs every part of his work. Along the way, Hede delivers a penetrating scrutiny of a large number of prominent Dante scholars, combining close readings with critical observations. Accordingly, his work can be read as a hermeneutic summa of recent research on the structure of The Comedy, but above all it constitutes a bold contribution to the understanding of its unity of vision, an issue which certainly was at the heart of our medieval poet's conception of the universe. -- Anders Cullhed, University of Stockholm Jesper Hede has concentrated the research of many years into an illuminating and accessible study of Dante. Well aware of the huge amount of criticism devoted to Divina Commedia, Hede provides a much-needed and convincing treatment of the poem's thematic unity. Hell, purgatory, and heaven are bound together in this new reading, which shows deep humanistic insight. -- Brian Patrick McGuire, professor of Medieval history, Roskilde University, Denmark
About Jesper Hede
Jesper Hede is the academic secretary to the dean at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen.