Dante's Two Beloveds Ethics and Erotics in the "Divine Comedy" Olivia Holmes

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
28 Nov 2008
ISBN:
9780300125429
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
288 pages: 235 x 156 x 24mm
Illustrations:
0
Sales territories:
World

Re-examining key passages in Dante’s oeuvre in the light of the crucial issue of moral choice, this book provides a new thematic framework for interpreting the Divine Comedy. Olivia Holmes shows how Dante articulated the relationship between the human and the divine as an erotic choice between two attractive women—Beatrice and the “other woman.”  Investigating the traditions and archetypes that contributed to the formation of Dante’s two beloveds, Holmes shows how Dante brilliantly overlaid and combined these paradigms in his poem.  In doing so he re-imagined the two women as not merely oppositional condensations of apparently conflicting cultural traditions but also complementary versions of the same. This visionary insight sheds new light on Dante’s corpus and on the essential paradox at the poem’s heart: the unabashed eroticism of Dante’s turn away from the earthly in favor of the divine.

Olivia Holmes is visiting associate professor of Italian, Dartmouth College. Her previous book, Assembling the Lyric Self, won the American Association of Italian Studies Book Award in 2000. She lives in Hanover, NH.

“This superlative study of Dante shows the signs of long study and contemplation, honing and refining. Holmes offers a persuasive and original interpretation.”—F. Regina Psaki, University of Oregon


Dante’s Two Beloveds maintains a rare balance between the philological and semiological perspective. Holmes makes an important contribution to Dante studies.”—Simone Marchesi, Princeton University


Chosen as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2009 by Choice Magazine