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DHC Lecture with Zygmunt Baranski (University of Cambridge/University of Notre Dame)

Mind over Affect?
Some Thoughts on Dante and the Emotions


The study of the emotions has become increasingly central to medieval studies. The lecture began by discussing the unsystematic contribution that Dante scholarship has made to the question since the early twentieth century, and addressed some questions of method relating to the analysis of the poet’s engagement with contemporary ideas on the ties between reason and passion. It then focused on two areas—one ideological, the nature of heavenly beatitude, the other poetic and rhetorical, the poet’s addresses to the reader in the Commedia—in which Dante’s representation of the interplay between the intellect and the emotions effectively illustrates his thinking on each, as well as their interconnections.