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March 3, 2003

what Dante knew about Francesca

Notwithstanding all this civic engagement stuff I try to do, I'm actually a moral philosopher. I have an incomplete manuscript of several hundred pages on the story of Paolo and Francesca and what it means for moral theory. (See this webpage.) It occasionally bothers me that I have left so much material untouched for so long. Today I sensed a lull and took out chapter one. It's a mess, but I enjoyed starting to reorganize it.

Dante ended his life in the household of the lord of Ravenna, one Guido Novello da Polenta. Dante was Guido's close friend and courtier. Guido's aunt was Francesca do Rimini, one of the most famous damned souls in Dante's Inferno. So it's intriguing—although not profoundly important—to ask whether Dante was already close to Guido when he wrote about Francesca. I spent this morning organizing the available (scanty) evidence: a nice break from more current concerns.

March 3, 2003 3:50 PM | category: fine arts | Comments


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