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Title: Borges and Dante : a critical issue revisited
Author: Nùñez-Faraco, Humberto
ISNI:       0000 0000 7252 1922
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis examines the presence of Dante Alighieri in the creative work of Jorge Luis Borges. Its aim, however, is not to produce an extensive study of references and allusions to Dante in Borges; rather, it seeks to define the nature of the encounter in its deeper literary and psychological implications. In this respect, three central themes in Borges's reception of the Dantean poem are explored, namely, poetic language, ethics, and love. The main text of the thesis first presents a general appraisal of Borges's reading of Dante and the ways in which this is manifest in his writing. Next, it examines the issue of poetic language, which is introduced as the fundamental link in Borges's reception of the Commedia. In order to show the relevance of the topic in Borges, the chapter begins by exploring some of the complexities of his thought with regard to the problem of literary language and the ways in which elements of that thought coincide with some of the most fundamental linguistic and poetic concerns in Dante. These two sections-which describe (1) the prominence of the issue in Borges and (2) Dante's position on the matter-are followed by a final section which discusses Borges's critique of rhetorical language in the short story 'El Aleph'. Following the same method of inquiry, chapter 2 explores the rather neglected problem of ethics in Borges. It begins by looking at the ways in which Borges tackled the question in his early work, which is succeeded by a brief discussion of the issue in Dante. The chapter concludes by showing how Borges's encounter with the moral allegory of the Commedia resulted in a figurative representation of the Nazi Holocaust in the short story 'La escritura del dios'. The third and final chapter considers the theme of love, first by exploring the subject in Borges's early lyrics, then by presenting an outline of the dynamics of love in Dante, and finally by analizing the psychology of the erotic theme in Borges's reading of the Italian poet. This is characterized by the figure of the dead woman on whom the problem of time and mortality is reflected, but it includes elements of the tradition of 'courtly love' poetry. In a manner more specifically connected with the Commedia, Borges eliminates the symbolic element of Beatrice and highlights the role of forgetfulness in the amorous affair. In this respect, what distinguishes his narrative is the inversion of Dantean themes, as in the short stories 'El Aleph' and 'El Zahir'. In the latter, I also show Borges's playful reworking of the theme of lovesickness in connection with specific medieval and Renaissance sources.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Alighieri; Commedia; Divine Comedy