The ‘fortuna di Dante’ among English and American poets of the twentieth century is a rich story that continues on into this millennium with new permutations and undiminished energies. Pound and Eliot canonized Dante for more than one generation of poets and readers. Although Eliot famously rewrote Dante’s infernal encounter with Brunetto Latini in ‘Little Gidding’, it was Purgatorio rather than Inferno that both Pound and Eliot valorized, its charged and affectionate poetic encounters serving as a model for key moments in both their works. Both poets especially loved Purgatorio XXVI, in which Dante’s meeting with Guinizelli and then with Arnaut Daniel is staged as an encounter between languages as well as poets, with Dante incorporating Provençal into his terza rima. For others such as Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott the theme of poetic encounter in the afterlife, or between the dead and the living, remained a dominant trope, leading to important scenes in several Walcott poems and to Heaney’s great purgatorial poem, Station Island.
Keywords: Alighieri, Dante – Divina Commedia – Paradiso; Alighieri, Dante – Vita nuova; productive reception; American poetry; Merrill, James Ingram; Wright, Charles
Title
Reclaiming Paradiso
Subtitle
Dante in the Poetry of James Merrill and Charles Wright
Author(s)
Rachel Jacoff
Identifier
DOI Target
Description
The ‘fortuna di Dante’ among English and American poets of the twentieth century is a rich story that continues on into this millennium with new permutations and undiminished energies. Pound and Eliot canonized Dante for more than one generation of poets and readers. Although Eliot famously rewrote Dante’s infernal encounter with Brunetto Latini in ‘Little Gidding’, it was Purgatorio rather than Inferno that both Pound and Eliot valorized, its charged and affectionate poetic encounters serving as a model for key moments in both their works. Both poets especially loved Purgatorio XXVI, in which Dante’s meeting with Guinizelli and then with Arnaut Daniel is staged as an encounter between languages as well as poets, with Dante incorporating Provençal into his terza rima. For others such as Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott the theme of poetic encounter in the afterlife, or between the dead and the living, remained a dominant trope, leading to important scenes in several Walcott poems and to Heaney’s great purgatorial poem, Station Island.
Is Part Of
Place
Vienna
Publisher
Turia + Kant
Date
2011
Subject
Alighieri, Dante – Divina Commedia – Paradiso
Alighieri, Dante – Vita nuova
productive reception
American poetry
Merrill, James Ingram
Wright, Charles
Rights
© by the author(s)
This version is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Language
en-GB
short title
Reclaiming Paradiso
page start
123
page end
136
Source
Metamorphosing Dante: Appropriations, Manipulations, and Rewritings in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, ed. by Manuele Gragnolati, Fabio Camilletti, and Fabian Lampart, Cultural Inquiry, 2 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2011), pp. 123–36
Bibliographic Citation
Rachel Jacoff, ‘Reclaiming Paradiso: Dante in the Poetry of James Merrill and Charles Wright’, in Metamorphosing Dante: Appropriations, Manipulations, and Rewritings in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, ed. by Manuele Gragnolati, Fabio Camilletti, and Fabian Lampart, Cultural Inquiry, 2 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2011), pp. 123–36 <https://doi.org/10.25620/ci-02_08>
Format
application/pdf

References

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Cite as: Rachel Jacoff, ‘Reclaiming Paradiso: Dante in the Poetry of James Merrill and Charles Wright’, in Metamorphosing Dante: Appropriations, Manipulations, and Rewritings in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, ed. by Manuele Gragnolati, Fabio Camilletti, and Fabian Lampart, Cultural Inquiry, 2 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2011), pp. 123–36 <https://doi.org/10.25620/ci-02_08>

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