From Living Experience to Poetic Word. Frames and Thresholds of Dante's Divine Comedy

Daniele Monticelli


This article concentrates on the functional duplicity of incipits and explicits in the articulation of the planes of living experience, memory, cognition and word in the Divine Comedy. The analysis of beginnings and endings at different structural levels of the poem demonstrates that they work, on one side, as modelizing and universalising frames which delimits the diegetic space conferring a final and stable meaning to narrated events; and, on the other side, as singularizing thresholds which, letting trespass the narrating instance into the diegetic space and the diegetic experience into the narrating instance, problematizes both the separateness and the adequate, harmonious articulation of living experience and poetic word. The article thus unravels Dante’s orchestration of limits and openings, totality and excess, sayable and unsayable across incipits and explicits of the Comedy and sketches a new possible research framework for the study of the mise-en-scène of the spatio-temporal distance/dialogue/tension between the embodied experience of Dante-character and the conceptualizing/poetic efforts of Dante-author and its role in the construction of the narrative strategy and the ideological structure of the poem.


Dante Alighieri; Divine Comedy; incipit; explicit; textual thresholds; narratology

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