Portrait of Beatrice
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141 pages

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The Portrait of Beatrice examines both Dante's and D. G. Rossetti's intellectual experiences in the light of a common concern about visuality. Both render, in different times and contexts, something that resists clear representation, be it the divine beauty of the angel-women or the depiction of the painter's own interiority in a secularized age. By analyzing Dante's Vita Nova alongside Rossetti's Hand and Soul and St. Agnes of Intercession, which inaugurates the Victorian genre of 'imaginary portrait' tales, this book examines how Dante and Rossetti explore the tension between word and image by creating 'imaginary portraits.' The imaginary portrait—Dante's sketched angel appearing in the Vita Nova or the paintings evoked in Rossetti's narratives—is not (only) a non-existent artwork: it is an artwork whose existence lies elsewhere, in the words alluding to its inexpressible quality. At the same time, thinking of Beatrice as an 'imaginary Lady' enables us to move beyond the debate about her actual existence. Rather, it allows us to focus on her reality as a miracle made into flesh, which language seeks incessantly to grasp. Thus, the intergenerational dialogue between Dante and Rossetti—and between thirteenth and nineteenth centuries, literature and painting, Italy and England—takes place between different media, oscillating between representation and denial, mimesis and difference, concealment and performance. From medieval Florence to Victorian London, Beatrice's 'imaginary portrait' touches upon the intertwinement of desire, poetry, and art-making in Western culture.



Publié par
Date de parution 30 mars 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780268104009
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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The Portrait of Beatrice
Zygmunt G. Barański, Theodore J. Cachey, Jr., and Christian Moevs, editors
The Portrait of Beatrice: Dante, D.G. Rossetti, and the Imaginary Lady
• Fabio A. Camilletti
Boccaccio’s Corpus: Allegory, Ethics, and Vernacularity
• James C. Kriesel
Meditations on the Life of Christ: The Short Italian Text
• Sarah McNamer
Interpreting Dante: Essays on the Traditions of Dante Commentary
• edited by Paola Nasti and Claudia Rossignoli
Freedom Readers: The African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy
• Dennis Looney
Dante’s Commedia: Theology as Poetry
• edited by Vittorio Montemaggi and Matthew Treherne
Petrarch and Dante: Anti-Dantism, Metaphysics, Tradition
• edited by Zygmunt G. Barański and Theodore J. Cachey, Jr.
The Ancient Flame: Dante and the Poets
• Winthrop Wetherbee
Accounting for Dante: Urban Readers and Writers in Late Medieval Italy
• Justin Steinberg
Experiencing the Afterlife: Soul and Body in Dante and Medieval Culture
• Manuele Gragnolati
Understanding Dante
• John A. Scott
Dante and the Grammar of the Nursing Body
• Gary P. Cestaro
The Fiore and the Detto d’Amore: A Late 13th-Century Italian Translation of the Roman de la Rose, Attributable to Dante
• Translated, with introduction and notes, by Santa Casciani and Christopher Kleinhenz
The Design in the Wax: The Structure of the Divine Comedy and Its Meaning
• Marc Cogan
The Fiore in Context: Dante, France, Tuscany
• edited by Zygmunt G. Barański and Patrick Boyde
Dante Now: Current Trends in Dante Studies
• edited by Theodore J. Cachey, Jr.
Dante, D.G. Rossetti, and the Imaginary Lady
University of Notre Dame Press
Notre Dame, Indiana
University of Notre Dame Press
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
Copyright © 2019 by the University of Notre Dame
All Rights Reserved
Published in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Camilletti, Fabio, author.
Title: The portrait of Beatrice : Dante, D.G. Rossetti, and the imaginary lady / Fabio A. Camilletti.
Description: Notre Dame, Indiana : University of Notre Dame Press, [2019] | Series: The William and Katherine Devers Series in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature; volume 16 | Includes bibliographical references and index. |
Identifiers: LCCN 2019002909 (print) | LCCN 2019007100 (ebook) | ISBN 9780268103996 (pdf) | ISBN 9780268104009 (epub) | ISBN 9780268103972 (hardback) | ISBN 0268103976 (hardback)
Subjects: LCSH: Dante Alighieri, 1265–1321—Characters—Beatrice Portinari. | Portinari, Beatrice, 1266–1290—In literature. | Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, 1828–1882—Criticism and interpretation. | Symbolism in literature. | Women in literature.
Classification: LCC PQ4410.B3 (ebook) | LCC PQ4410.B3 C26 2019 (print) | DDC 851/.1—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019002909
∞ This book is printed on acid-free paper.
This e-Book was converted from the original source file by a third-party vendor. Readers who notice any formatting, textual, or readability issues are encouraged to contact the publisher at ebooks@nd.edu
The William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies at the University of Notre Dame supports rare book acquisitions in the university’s John A. Zahm Dante collections, funds an annual visiting professorship in Dante studies, and supports electronic and print publication of scholarly research in the field. In collaboration with the Medieval Institute at the university, the Devers program initiated a series dedicated to the publication of the most significant current scholarship in the field of Dante studies. In 2011 the scope of the series was expanded to encompass thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Italian literature.
In keeping with the spirit that inspired the creation of the Devers program, the series takes Dante and medieval Italian literature as focal points that draw together the many disciplines and lines of inquiry that constitute a cultural tradition without fixed boundaries. Accordingly, the series hopes to illuminate this cultural tradition within contemporary critical debates in the humanities by reflecting both the highest quality of scholarly achievement and the greatest diversity of critical perspectives.
The series publishes works from a wide variety of disciplinary viewpoints and in diverse scholarly genres, including critical studies, commentaries, editions, reception studies, translations, and conference proceedings of exceptional importance. The series enjoys the support of an international advisory board composed of distinguished scholars and is published regularly by the University of Notre Dame Press. The Dolphin and Anchor device that appears on publications of the Devers series was used by the great humanist, grammarian, editor, and typographer Aldus Manutius (1449–1515), in whose 1502 edition of Dante (second issue) and all subsequent editions it appeared. The device illustrates the ancient proverb Festina lente, “Hurry up slowly.”
Zygmunt G. Barański, Theodore J. Cachey, Jr., and Christian Moevs, editors
Albert Russell Ascoli, Berkeley
Teodolinda Barolini, Columbia
Piero Boitani, Rome
Patrick Boyde, Cambridge
Alison Cornish, New York University
Claire Honess, Leeds
Christopher Kleinhenz, Wisconsin
Giuseppe Ledda, Bologna
Simone Marchesi, Princeton
Giuseppe Mazzotta, Yale
Lino Pertile, Harvard
John A. Scott, Western Australia
I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share.
—Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
Then she says, “I know you’re an artist, draw a picture of me!” I say, “I would if I could, but I don’t do sketches from memory” “Well,” she says, “I’m right here in front of you, or haven’t you looked?”
—Bob Dylan, Highlands
What of Rafael’s sonnets, Dante’s picture?
—Robert Browning, One Word More
The intellectual heights that beckoned the Byzantines remained unscaled [in the West] and religion was propagated in art through the emotions. It is spiritually and theologically much less ambitious, but it is, quite obviously, more practical and reasonable; and in the long run it succeeded. It can drive one nearly insane to speculate what would have happened if the Crusaders had not scotched Byzantium and the Turks killed it; if, in fact, it had participated in or led the Renaissance, as even in its last throes it led and made possible the approach; instead of expiring at its outset. . . . It is hopeless, because, without these events, one can play with the appalling thought that the Renaissance might never have happened.
—Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani
List of Illustrations
Note on the Text
CHAPTER ONE Painting Angels
CHAPTER TWO Early Italian Poets, Early Italian Painters
Conclusion: Veils
FIGURE 1 . Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The First Anniversary of the Death of Beatrice (1848–49), pen and ink on card. Birmingham Museums. Photo © Birmingham Museums Trust.
FIGURE 2 . Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Dante Drawing an Angel on the Anniversary of Beatrice’s Death (1853), watercolor. Ashmolean Museum. Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.
FIGURE 3 . Max Beerbohm, D.G. Rossetti Precociously Manifesting . . . That Queer Indifference to Politics . . . (1916–17), graphite and water-color on paper. Tate Gallery. Photo © Tate, London 2018.
FIGURE 4 . Giunta Pisano, Tavola dipinta cuspidata raffigurante San Francesco e sei miracoli (ca. 1255), tempera and gold on wood. Pisa, Museo Nazionale di San Matteo. Photo © SABAP Fototeca, Pisa SBAAAS-PI dig. 03885. AFSPI su concessione del MiBACT/Soprintendenza di Pisa, prot. 0013970 del 01/12/2017.
FIGURE 5 . Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Beata Beatrix (ca. 1864–70), oil on canvas. Tate Gallery. Photo © Tate, London 2018.
FIGURE 6 . Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Bonifazio’s Mistress: Compositional Study (ca. 1856), pen and brown ink on paper. Birmingham Museums. Photo © Birmingham Museums Trust.
I would like to express my thanks to the editors of the William and Katherine Devers Series in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature for having enthusiastically believed in this project from the beginning; to Michael Caesar, Simon Gilson, and Manuele Gragnolati for their encouragement and invaluable advice; to Lina Bolzoni, Danièle Chauvin, and Anthony L. Johnson for having supervised my early work on Rossetti; and to the School of Modern Languages and Cultures and the Humanities Research Fund at the University of Warwick for having covered image reproduction costs for this book. I am particularly grateful to the late Guglielmo Gorni for his careful and sympathetic reading of my first experiments on Beatrice, and to Simon Humphries, who, back in 2001, agreed to guide a young visiting

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