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Dante's Sacred Poem: Flesh and the Centrality of the Eucharist to The Divine Comedy (Hardback)
  • Dante's Sacred Poem: Flesh and the Centrality of the Eucharist to The Divine Comedy (Hardback)
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Dante's Sacred Poem: Flesh and the Centrality of the Eucharist to The Divine Comedy (Hardback)

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£90.00
Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 28/08/2014
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Arguing that the consecrated body in the Eucharist is one of the central metaphors structuring The Divine Comedy, this book is the first comprehensive exploration of the theme of transubstantiation across Dante's epic poem. Drawing attention first to the historical and theological tensions inherent in ideas of transubstantiation that rippled through Western culture up to the early fourteenth century, Sheila Nayar engages in a Eucharistic reading of both the "flesh" allusions and "metamorphosis" motifs that thread through the entirety of Dante's poem. From the cannibalistic resonances of the Ugolino episode in the Inferno to the Corpus Christi-like procession seminal to Purgatory, Nayar demonstrates how these sacrifice- and Host-related metaphors, allusions, and tropes lead directly and intentionally to the Comedy's final vision, that of the Eucharist itself. Arguing that the final revelation in Paradise is analogically "the Bread of Life," Nayar brings to the fore Christ's centrality (as sacrament) to The Divine Comedy-a reading that is certain to alter current-day thinking about Dante's poem.

Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
ISBN: 9781441129642
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 540 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Nayar fills a remarkable gap in Dante studies. Offering an extended analysis of the Eucharistic themes that extend throughout the Divine Comedy, she argues that "one cannot adequately stress the import of [transubstantiation]-this corporal intimacy with Christ-up to, and within, Dante's time." Careful not to overstate her thesis, the author treads cautiously, foregrounding the ambiguities and underscoring the limitations of such readings, never drawing too-sweeping conclusions on crux issues, especially the extent of Dante's own religious convictions. As with any good study of the Comedy, this work illuminates more than the poem, offering new insights on medieval theology, philosophy, and culture, especially evolving notions of the Eucharist and the myriad anxieties and cultural stresses such beliefs evoked and alleviated. Well written, methodically sourced, and carefully argued, the book justifies the conclusion that "through its subtle, evanescent, ungraspable presentation of Christ, Dante's poetic vision manages to evoke that physically indiscernible Real Presence which, for the Roman Catholic, transubstantiation begets." Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. * CHOICE *
[A] valuable and fascinating commentary on the Divine Comedy. * The European Legacy *

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