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Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Italian Nietzsche (4)

I had approached Philosophy when I was still almost a kid, with the tender and mystical devotion of a Dante approaching a Beatrix he has dreamed of, and never seen.

__Giovanni Papini, L'altra metà (1911), Foreword



Later on, Papini -- possibly a unique case in Italian literature -- will fiercely attack Dante just for this, because Dante referred Christological expressions, taken from the Gospels (see Purgatorio 29: 85-86, 30: 19, 33: 10-12), to a chick. That in fact was the point: Beatrix as an interface of Christ himself, rather than a fairy tale princess. According to Dante's son Jacopo (James), she wasn't a true woman but a symbol of the Holy Scriptures. See also Purgatorio 27: 58, where . . .  whose voice is it?