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33 votes
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Why is Dante's Magnum Opus Called a 'Divine Comedy'?

The question can be broken down into two subquestions: one about the term "comedy" and one about the adjective "divine". Dante never referred to his own work as the "Divine ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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19 votes
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What did Dante mean by "Papè Satan, papè Satan aleppe" in the Inferno?

There are a nauseatingly numerous amount of theories on what that illustriously ambiguous line could mean. It very well might have merely been invented by Dante to represent a sort of invocation (and ...
Tom O' Bedlam's user avatar
18 votes
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How might Shakespeare have become familiar with Dante's work?

TLDR: Shakespeare was clearly familiar with a lot of Italian literature second-hand, and there is circumstantial evidence for first-hand. Shakespeare's Italian influence is a question that's aroused ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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18 votes

Did Dante plagiarize the Divine Comedy from Kitab al-Miraj?

Sources This answer is mainly based on Reginald Hyatte (1997), The Prophet of Islam in Old French: The Romance of Muhammad (1258) and The Book of Muhammad’s Ladder (1264), New York: Brill. This ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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15 votes

Did Dante plagiarize the Divine Comedy from Kitab al-Miraj?

Dante was probably influenced and inspired by various Muslim sources, including the Kitab al-Miraj, but the similarities are not strong enough to claim plagiarism. This conjecture dates from 1919 and ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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11 votes

What is the planet that "leads men straight on every road" in Dante's "Inferno"?

The planet Dante says that the “shoulders” of the hill “glowed” with the planet’s rays. The only celestial bodies bright enough to light up the shoulders of a hill are the Sun and the Moon. The next ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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11 votes

Why is Dante's Magnum Opus Called a 'Divine Comedy'?

In the introduction by Bianca Garavelli to the Inferno there is a section titled "Il valore del titolo", that is, "The value of the title", in which this is explained in detail: ...
Charo's user avatar
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9 votes

What does "were with him when Divine Love first moved those fair things" mean in Dante's "Inferno"?

“Him” is the sun. The line means that the “fair things” (the stars) that are “with” the sun now, are the same stars that were with the sun when the Divine Love (God) first moved them, that is, on the ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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9 votes

What is the oldest non-biographical work of literature in which the author is also a protagonist?

As written, the most obvious answer would probably be a lyrical poet, writing in first person. Sappho's poetry (ca 600 BCE) appears to be among the first in the Western tradition to use such a device. ...
andejons's user avatar
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9 votes
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What is the context and origin of this Dante quote?

The quote comes from Dante's Divine Comedy, more specifically Canto 17 in Paradiso. Dante tells Beatrice that while traversing Inferno and Purgatorio in the presence of Virgil, he had heard grievous ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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7 votes
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What does Dante mean here?

I am working with John Ciardi's translation, New American Library, 1954. There are seven stanzas before this one which give some context to the lines you're asking about. No tortured wailing rose ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
7 votes
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How much time did one canto in Dante's Divine Comedy represent (if any)?

The cantos do not have a regular duration, but some elements in the story allow us to create a chronology. There are several sources in Italian, I tried to translate the one provided by the Dante ...
WalterVi's user avatar
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7 votes

Why the phrasing "where the sun is silent" in Dante's "Inferno"?

The original Italian is "là dove 'l sol tace" and, according to Bianca Garavelli in her notes to Dante's Inferno, it refers to il buio della «selva». L'immagine fonde i due sensi di vista e ...
Charo's user avatar
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6 votes
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How did Dante know so much about geography and astronomy in his Purgatorio?

TL;DR: Dante read a Latin translation of Al-Farghani, who summarized the work of Ptolemy. Astronomical claims in Purgatory There is a south celestial pole; the stars near it are not visible from the ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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4 votes

Dante's Inferno reference in Much Ado About Nothing

There is no direct, obvious reference to Dante's Inferno in Much Ado About Nothing. However, there is a tangential link between the two works in their character and plot: both can be conceived as love ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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3 votes

Where did Boccaccio refer to Dante's Comedia or Commedia as the Divine Comedy?

Boccaccio used the title Divine Comedy for the first time in a work that has variously been called Vita di Dante ("Life of Dante") or Trattatello in laude di Dante ("Short Treatise in ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes

What does the poet's introduction in Dante's Inferno mean?

The passage contains a number of curious anachronisms. It seems that Virgil was born in the village of Andes, near Mantua. Mantua is now the capital of Lombardy, but that name did not come into ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes
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Should I read the original text or the guide to the text first?

Steve Ellis is a poet and a literary scholar who published about Dante before producing a translation of the Divine Comedy. His translation for Vintage / PenguinRandomHouse contains a considerable ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes
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Free will in Dante's Divine Comedy

The following lines in Canto III of Paradiso appear to discuss this (quoted from the translation provided by WorldOfDante): The essence of this blessed life consists in keeping to the boundaries of ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes

Reference for Dante Quote

If the quote comes from Dante, its most likely origin would be the first part, Inferno, from the Divine Comedy. The Italian text of the Divine Comedy or Divina Commedia is available online (also in ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes

Dante Alleghieri's Divine Comedy "has been translated into the most languages in the world & top printed work after the Bible"?

The "[second] most translated book after the Bible" apparently depends on whom you ask. According to Professor Alfredo Moro, the 17th-century noel “Don Quijote de la Mancha is the second most ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes
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Who is "the Adversary of all Evil" in Dante's "Inferno"?

It's God. If you consult a commentary, they should all attest to that fact. You could also find the reference in Andrew Pinsent's The History of Evil in the Medieval Age: 450-1450 CE (Routledge: 2018)....
cmw's user avatar
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2 votes

Why the phrasing "where the sun is silent" in Dante's "Inferno"?

The metaphor of silence for the absence of light recurs in Canto V: Io venni in loco d’ogni luce muto I came to a place mute of all light Dante (c. 1310). Inferno V.28. Several commentators on ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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2 votes

Why is Dante's Magnum Opus Called a 'Divine Comedy'?

"Comedy" because it moves from darkness to light. "Divine" was Boccaccio's adjective, much like he used on "Divine Virgil" and "Divine Homer". First publication ...
2x_espresso's user avatar
2 votes

Is there evidence that the fate of some "A Song of Ice and Fire" characters was inspired by the "Divine Comedy"'s contrapasso?

George has certainly made many references and homages in A Song of Ice and Fire. However, the only direct mention I can find of Dante by Martin is the following: Two thousand years after the ...
Skooba's user avatar
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2 votes

Should I read the original text or the guide to the text first?

Read the book, not the guide. If you read a guide first, you will as likely as not approach the book with preconceptions based upon the guide author's opinions. Your opinion and interpretation of the ...
Chenmunka's user avatar
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1 vote

Who was indignant at Dante’s behaviour to the sinners in the “Inferno”?

I found four members of the chorus, including one (Coleridge) from whom I would have expected a more insightful response. There are few instances (notwithstanding his tremendous denunciations against ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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