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Dante and the Mediterranean Comedy
Date: 11th September, 2022
Publisher: PALGRAVE MACMILLAN
In recent decades the concept of Mediterranean has been cited with increasing frequency in relation to the study of medieval literatures. And yet, in what sense would Dante's Comedy be 'Mediterranean'? Is it because of its Greek-Arabic and Islamic sources? Dante and the Mediterranean Comedy analyzes the ideological function of references to the sea in the study of the Comedy undertaken by Enrico Cerulli, a scholar of Somali-Ethiopian languages, and a colonial governor of 'Italian East Africa.' Then it presents novel lines of inquiry on the reception and appropriation of the poem, such as the presence of Islamic sources in early commentaries of the Comedy, and cross-cultural allusions to Dante's Hell in some graffiti on the walls of the Spanish Inquisition prison in Palermo. The image of the Mediterranean that seeps through the poem and through the history of its circulation is vivid yet hardly idyllic.