Virgil And Dante
DANTES VIRGIL: A LIGHT THAT FAILED
In memory of J. Arthur Hanson
No linked pair of poets has, over the centuries, been considered as so significantly related a pair of poet-prophets as Dante and Virgil. Not only does each of them present himself in the role of the vates or prophet, but their works contain solemn moments of explicitly prophetic utterance, promising us that we shall behold a novam progeniem of one sort or another. It further seems clear that Dantes presentation of himself as prophetic poet is at least importantly joined with his sense of Virgils own assumption of that role.
Among the past generation of Dantes readers it has become increasingly germane to place his role as poet into relation with his self-presentation as Judeo-Christian prophet. The ?«Italian school?», in which the most significant name in our century is probably that of Bruno Nardi, and the ?«scuola arnericana?», led by Charles Singleton, have in common, for all their many desperate differences, an awareness of Dantes appropriations of the vestments of such as David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, St. Paul, and of Johns vision on Patmos. Surely no
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