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Friday, April 18, 2014

The Satanic Verses (2)

Note 2
The final GC version is interesting insofar as it introduces the theme of piracy, which in that time -- i.e. Renaissance, not the fictional era of the poem -- was a true problem. More than that, Gernand levels his opponent, the Nordic and Christian knight Richard, to a Muslim sea marauder, namely The Enemy. This thing won't be without consequences.

But in the previous version (GL and GC manuscript) there was an element that it is worth highlighting. The phrase in the last verse, "serva Italia," servile Italy or subjected Italy, comes directly from Dante, Purgatorio 6: 76 ff, "Ahi serva Italia . . ." In the official teaching of the Divine Comedy in Italy, the one provided in schools after the country's National Unity (1861), this section of the poem has become a 'must,' a sort of prophecy of the ideals of Risorgimento. That is a completely twisted interpretation of Dante's political ideas. In fact, no one used to quote Dante like that earlier than the 19th century. Or rather, some political reuses of Dante's verses can already be found in both Ariosto and Tasso, but anyway referring to the need to react against the military attacks from abroad, especially France and Spain during the long war between Francis I and Charles V, add the mercenary troops from Switzerland, etc. -- surely not in the sense of having one monarchy ruling the whole country, and much less so the House of Savoy as it would happen in the Risorgimento.