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On Tuesday I gave a brief presentation on my project for my Reception class, titled for the occasion, “Dante as a Reader of Vergil’s Aeneid III in Inferno XIII.” I worked up a bibliography for the class, which includes some of my notes on particular books. I also added a section on “Art” for the History of Art students in the class. I’ll post it here in the hopes that someone who is also interested in the topic might stumble across it and find it of some use. A girl can dream.
Editions and Commentaries of the texts:
Aligheri, Dante, The Divine Comedy, trans. and commentary by Charles S. Singleton, 6 vols. (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1970-75).
–Bilingual, a standard English edition of the complete poem.
Aligheri, Dante, Inferno. trans. Robert Pinsky, (New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994).
–Bilingual, a verse translation that attempts to recreate some of Dante’s terza rima in English, with useful notes in the back– a very accessible edition.
Aligheri, Dante, Inferno: The Indiana Critical Edition. ed. and trans., Mark Musa. (Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana UP, 1995).
–Includes useful commentary and several critical essays on a range of topics.
Tozer, Rev. H. F., An English Commentary on Dante’s Divina Commedia, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1901).
–Useful detailed commentary on the Italian text, particularly the more archaic passages.
Vergil, Aeneid, trans. Robert Fitzgerald, (New York: Vintage Books, 1990).
Vergil, Aeneid, ed. with introduction and notes by R. Deryck Williams, (London: Bristol Classical Press, 1996).
Vergil, Opera, ed. R.A.B. Mynors, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969).
Secondary Sources, General:
Comparetti, Domenico, Vergil in the Middle Ages, trans. E.F.M. Benecke, (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1997).
–A seminal work on Vergil Reception, though written 125 years ago. This edition includes a fine introduction from Jan M. Ziolkowski. An easy to read and elucidating work.
Hollander, Robert, Dante: A Life in Works, (New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP, 2001).
–Includes discussion of all of Dante’s works, incl. some insightful chapters on the Commedia.
Kallendorf, Craig, ed., Vergil, (New York : Garland Pub., 1993).
–From The Classical Heritage Series, this collection of essays is a useful and varied introduction to the Reception of Vergil, incl. two chapters pulled from VMA (above) and articles on Dante (Robert Hollander) and Vergil in Art (Alexander G. McKay)
Scott, John A., Understanding Dante, (Notre Dame, Ind. : University of Notre Dame Press, 2004).
–A very full book, with discussions of every work of Dante, his contemporary world, and a lengthy chapter on “Dante and classical antiquity.” Each heading is subdivided, making this large work relatively easy to use.
Secondary Sources, Specific:
Hawkins, Peter S., Dante’s Testaments: Essays in Scriptural Imagination, (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford UP, 1999).
–A collection of essays focusing on Dante’s models, incl. Vergil.
Jacoff, Rachel, and Jeffrey T. Schnapp, eds., The Poetry of Allusion: Virgil and Ovid in Dante’s Commedia,” (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford UP, 1991).
–Collection of essays by variety of scholars. The introduction is useful, as are the contributions of Stephany, pgs. 37-44 (see also below), Douglas Biow, “From Ignorance to Knowledge: The Marvelous in Inferno 13,” 45-61, and Michael C.J. Putnam, “Virgil’s Inferno,” pgs. 94-112.
Putnam, Michael C.J. “The Third Book of the Aeneid: From Homer to Rome,” in Essays on Latin Lyric, Elegy, and Epic, ed. Michael C.J. Putnam (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1982), 267-287.
Speroni, C., “The Motif of Bleeding and Speaking Trees of Dante’s Suicides,” Italian Quarterly 9 (1965), 44-55.
Sheehan, David, “The Control of Feeling: A Rhetorical Analysis of Inferno XIII,” Italica, Vol. 51, No. 2 (Summer, 1974), 193-206.
Lindheim, Nancy, “Body, Soul, and Immortality: Some Readings in Dante’s Commedia,” MLN, Vol. 105, No. 1, Italian Issue (Jan. 1990), 1-32.
Spitzer, Leo, “Speech and Language in Inferno XIII,” Italica, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Sep., 1942), 81-104.
Stephany, William A., “Dante’s Harpies: “tristo annunzio di futuro danno,” Italica, Vol. 62, No. 1 (Spring, 1985), 24-33.
Brieger, Peter H., Millard Meiss, and Charles S. Singleton, Illuminated manuscripts of the Divine Comedy, (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1969).
–Two big volumes, one all plates.
Donati, Lamberto, Il Botticelli e le prime illustrazioni della Divina Commedia, (Firenze: L.S. Olschki, 1962).
Kallendorf, Craig, “The Aeneid Transformed: Illustration as Interpretation from the Renaissance to the Present,” in Poets and Critics Read Vergil, ed. Sarah Spence (New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP, 2001), 121-148.
–Discussion of woodcuts and engravings accompanying Aeneid editions and translations, includes many good images.
Klonsky, Milton, Blake’s Dante: The Complete Illustrations to the Divine Comedy, (New York: Harmony Books, 1979).
Pope-Hennessy, John, A Sienese Codex of the Divine Comedy, (Oxford: Phaidon Press, 1947)
Posted by Dennis » Add Comment »
In Milton’s essay Of Education we learn that if only we should teach children, in addition to the usual arts and sciences, ‘the helpful experience of hunters, fowlers, fisherman, shepherds, gardners, apothecaries,’ then ‘those poets which are now counted most hard will be both facile and pleasant: Orpheus, Hesiod, Theocritus, Aratus, Nicander, Oppian, Dionysius, and in Latin, Lucretius, Manilius, and the rural part of Virgil.’
It comes as no surprise then when we find Nicander creeping up in book X of Paradise Lost. Satan has returned triumphantly to Hell and makes a self-congratulatory speech which doesn’t go over quite so well. Note, particularly, the list of snakes, which even includes a scorpion, from verses 524-529:
- So having said, awhile he stood expecting
- Their universal shout and high applause
- To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears
- On all sides from innumerable tongues
- A dismal universal hiss, the sound
- Of public scorn. He wonder’d, but not long
- Had leisure, wond’ring at himself now more:
- His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare,
- His arms clung to his ribs, his legs entwining
- Each other till, supplanted, down he fell
- A monstrous serpent on his belly prone,
- Reluctant but in vain: a greater power
- Now rul’d him, punish’d in the shape he sinn’d,
- According to his doom. He would have spoke,
- But hiss for hiss return’d with forked tongue
- To forked tongue; for now were all transform’d
- Alike, to serpents all, as accessories
- To his bold riot. Dreadful was the din
- Of hissing through the hall, thick-swarming now
- With complicated monsters, head and tail:
- Scorpion and asp and amphisbaena dire,
- Cerastes horn’d, hydrus, and ellops drear,
- And dipsas (not so thick swarm’d once the soil
- Bedropp’d with blood of Gorgon, or the isle
- Ophiusa); but still greatest he, the midst,
- Now dragon grown, larger than whom the sun
- Engender’d in the Pythian vale on slime,
- Huge Python; and his power no less he seem’d
- Above the rest still to retain. They all
- Him follow’d, issuing forth to th’ open field,
- Where all yet left of that revolted rout,
- Heav’n-fall’n, in station stood or just array,
- Sublime with expectation when to see
- In triumph issuing forth their glorious Chief.
- They saw, but other sight instead–a crowd
- Of ugly serpents. Horror on them fell,
- And horrid sympathy; for what they saw
- They felt themselves now changing. Down their arms,
- Down fell both spear and shield, down they as fast;
- And the dire hiss renew’d, and the dire form
- Catch’d by contagion, like in punishment
- As in their crime. Thus was th’ applause they meant
- Turn’d to exploding hiss, triumph to shame
- Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There stood
- A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change
- (His will who reigns above) to aggravate
- Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that
- Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve
- Us’d by the Tempter. …
Milton has clearly read Apollonius, Nicander, and Lucan.
If only more of us had been educated in his manner, we’d more easily see the allusion.