In a message dated 5/8/02 4:00:23 PM EST, [log in to unmask] writes:
> Dear Steve,
> Both my sense and my understanding
> of _La Vita Nuova_ are that the new way is
> a new poetic way. Beatrice takes a firm
> second-place to the _dulce stil nuovo_.
> You don't say how Dante viewed her, so I
> don't know if we read what is a poetic
> treatise in the same way.
I am certainly a novice on literature in general, Dante in particular, and
especially La Vita Nuova. But even with my little knowledge, it seems clear
that Dante viewed Beatrice as his "light" which guided him upwards towards
God (as occurs 'literally' in the journey in the Commedia). It's that notion
of a human lover as a guide to Divine love that I'm saying TSE is utilizing
(in part) in "What the Thunder Said".
Marcia, surely the "new life" that Beatrice revealed to Dante is the
religious life. For those unfamiliar with La Vita Nuova , here are just a few
excerpts (from sections II, XX1X, and XVII):
>From "II The first meeting with Beatrice"
>From then on I say that Amor governed my soul, which was so soon wedded to
him, and began to acquire over me such certainty and command, through the
power my imagination gave him, that I was forced to carry out his wishes
fully. He commanded me many times to discover whether I might catch sight of
this most tender of angels, so that in my boyhood I many times went
searching, and saw her to be of such noble and praiseworthy manners, that
certainly might be said of her those words of the poet Homer: 'She did not
seem to be the daughter of a mortal man, but of a god'. And though her image,
that which was continually with me, was a device of Amor's to govern me, it
was nevertheless of so noble a virtue that it never allowed Amor to rule me
without the loyal counsel of reason in all those things where such counsel
was usefully heard.
>From "XXIX The number nine"
Therefore if three is of itself the only maker of nine, and the only maker
from itself of miracles is threefold, that is the Father and the Son and the
Holy Spirit, who are three and one, that lady was accompanied by this number
nine to reveal that she was a nine, that is a miracle, of which the root,
that is of the miracle, is solely the miraculous Trinity.
>From "XLII The final vision"
After writing this sonetto a miraculous vision appeared to me, in which I saw
things which made me decide to write nothing more of this blessed one until
such time as I could treat of her more worthily.
And to achieve this I study as much as I can, as she truly knows. So
that, if it pleases Him by whom all things live, that my life lasts a few
years, I hope to write of her what has never been written of any woman.
And then may it be pleasing to Him who is the Lord of courtesy, that my
soul might go to see the glory of its lady, that is of that blessed Beatrice,
who gloriously gazes on the face of Him qui est per omnia secula benedictus:
who is blessed throughout all the ages.
It is, of course, the Commedia that Dante predicts he will write when he
talks about "a miraculous vision appeared to me, in which I saw things which
made me decide to write nothing more of this blessed one until such time as I
could treat of her more worthily".
-- Steve --