Lecture 23 - Paradise XXX, XXXI, XXXII, XXXIII

author: Giuseppe Mazzotta, Department of Italian, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: May 7, 2010,   recorded: December 2008,   views: 5912
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Description

Professor Mazzotta lectures on the final cantos of Paradise (XXX-XXXIII). The pilgrim's journey through the physical world comes to an end with his ascent into the Empyrean, a heaven of pure light beyond time and space. Beatrice welcomes Dante into the Heavenly Jerusalem, where the elect are assembled in a celestial rose. By describing the Empyrean as both a garden and a city, Dante recalls the poles of his own pilgrimage while dissolving the classical divide between urbs and rus, between civic life and pastoral retreat. Beatrice's invective against the enemies of empire from the spiritual realm of the celestial rose attests to the strength of Dante's political vision throughout his journey into God. Dante's concern with the harmony of oppositions as he approaches the beatific vision is crystallized in the prayer to the Virgin Mary offered by St. Bernard, Dante's third and final guide. In his account of the vision that follows, the end of Dante's pilgrimage and the measure of its success converge in the poet's admission of defeat in describing the face of God.

Reading assignment:

Dante, Paradise: XXX, XXXI, XXXII, XXXIII

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