Anna V. Toporova
Russian State University for the Humanities, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences
On Dante’s Afterworld
Toporova A.V. On Dante’s Afterworld. Vestnik of Kostroma State University, 2023, vol. 29, № 1, pp. 81–84 (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.34216/1998-0817-2023-29-1-81-84
DOI: https://doi.org/10.34216/1998-0817-2023-29-1-81-84
УДК: 821(450).09”13/14”
Publish date: 2023-02-06
Annotation: Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy presents a large-scale picture of the afterworld that draws on prior tradition of depicting life after death. At the same time, the afterworld of the Divine Comedy is unique, being marked by numerous distinctions with the many similar descriptions in medieval literature: 1. The general nature of the depiction; the summa genre with its striving for universal coverage, classification, scholarship (references to authorities, use of contemporary knowledge), and moral and didactic impact. 2. The close connection of the otherworld with the temporal world – precise description of its location and structure, its connection with the earthly space. The otherworld is inhabited by similar characters, who emphasise their connection with the earthly space (they ask about their friends and relatives and their native city, invite Dante to tell his own story, and beg for his prayers). 3. Personal approach: rather than being illustrations of virtue or sin, the work’s characters are concrete people with their own fates both in the temporal world and in the afterlife. This leads to a powerful dramatic effect that sweeps the reader away and involves him in situations that he applies to his own life. Dante himself plays a double role in the Divine Comedy as both author and character. 4. Combination of “literary” and mystic experience.
Keywords: Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, medieval religious literature, vision genre
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Author's info: Anna V. Toporova, DSc in Philology, Professor, Russian State University for the Humanities, Leading Research Fellow; A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, anna.toporova@gmail.com, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2669-7734