David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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John Woodhouse (ed.)
Clarendon Press (1997)
ante and Governance brings to the most grandiose of Dante's messages in the ivine Comedy critical viewpoints whose originality would, at any time, constitute an important addition to Dante scholarship, but the book is also notable for an approach which during the course of its composition spontaneously evolved as pragmatic and historical, particularly when seen against much contemporary Dante cricism. It explores Dante's breathtaking ambition to convince Europe's rulers and their subjects to create and embrace a universal peace, guaranteed by Pope and Holy Roman Emperor, which might afford serenity for mankind fully to develop its wonderful potentialities. In that context, a group of scholars, internationally known for their expertise not only in Dante studies but also in medieval literature and history, was invited to Oxford to discuss the poet's objectives. Each chose to argue a case from a close reading of Dante's own texts, using clear and jargon-free lamguage. Those deliberations created a well-focused and coherent group of papers on a variety of subjects, ranging from an aesthetic appreciation of Dante's depiction of free-will and moral responsibility, to a feminist perception of his attitude to the role of women in fourteenth-century Florentine public life.
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