Lecture 14 - Purgatory XXIV, XXV and XXVI (Guest lecturer Professor David Lummus)

Dante in Translation

Yale

This lecture deals with Dante's representation of the Earthly Paradise at the summit of Mount Purgatory. The quest for freedom begun under the aegis of Cato in Purgatory I reaches its denouement at the threshold of Eden, where Virgil proclaims the freedom of the pilgrim's will (Purgatory XXVII). Left with pleasure as his guide, the pilgrim nevertheless falls short of a second Adam in his encounter with Matelda. His lingering susceptibility to earthly delights is underscored at the arrival of Beatrice (Purgatory XXX) whose harsh treatment of the pilgrim is read as a retrospective gloss on the dream of the Siren in Purgatory XIX. By dramatizing his character's failings within the Earthly Paradise, Dante replaces the paradigm of conversion as a once-for-all event with that of an ongoing process to be continued in Paradise under the guidance of Beatrice.

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