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Title: Statius and the 'Commedia' : an analysis of the importance of Statius's epic poetry to Dante's 'Commedia'
Author: Fuller, Sophie Victoria
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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In the surprising absence of a monograph dedicated exclusively to Dante and Statius, my research asks, firstly when and how Dante most likely read Statius's available works, and then - more importantly - how, why, and where he drew on this authorial encounter in his own oeuvre. The presence of Statius forms a key part of Dante's development of a chain of literary succession in the 'Commedia' from the great classical poets Homer and Vergil, via Statius, to Dante himself, the first Christian poeta. My thesis explores Dante's reception of Statius's two epic poems, the 'Thebaid' and the unfinished 'Achilleid', and provides a consistent overview of Dante's engagement with Statius throughout his oeuvre. Through reference to the manuscript tradition, I demonstrate that Dante probably read Statian epic accompanied by glosses and paratexts and encountered Statian extracts in florilegia of classical poetry. I suggest Dante's acquaintance with the 'Roman de Thèbes'. I consider Statian resonances in Dante's 'opere minori' and establish that Dante's Statius is not just a discovery of the 'Commedia', but a fundamental part of Dante's ongoing exploration of classical poetry and its methods of reading. Through in-depth analysis of the 'Commedia' and Statius's two epics, I re-evaluate Statius's presence throughout the 'Commedia'; not just in 'Inferno', where Statius's Thebes provides a model for the City of Dis, and 'Purgatorio', where he appears as Stazio, but also in 'Paradiso', which to date has been explored less fully regarding Statius. In doing so, I take the new approach of returning to medieval commentators of Statian epic (edited and in manuscript) and the 'Commedia' to fully understand the poetic, symbolic, moral, allegorical, and political implications of these Statian resonances. I demonstrate thereby that Statian epic was far more important narratively, poetically, morally, allegorically, and politically to Dante than has been acknowledged to date.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available