Dante's Christian Ethics

Purgatory and Its Moral Contexts

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George Corbett
Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature Book 110
  • Cambridge: 
    Cambridge University Press
    , March
     246 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Camilla Bambozzi forthcoming.


This book is a major re-appraisal of the Commedia as originally envisaged by Dante: as a work of ethics. Privileging the ethical, Corbett increases our appreciation of Dante's eschatological innovations and literary genius. Drawing upon a wider range of moral contexts than in previous studies, this book presents an overarching account of the complex ordering and political programme of Dante's afterlife. Balancing close readings with a lucid overview of Dante's Commedia as an ethical and political manifesto, Corbett cogently approaches the poem through its moral structure. The book provides detailed interpretations of three particularly significant vices - pride, sloth, and avarice - and the three terraces of Purgatory devoted to them. While scholars register Dante's explicit confession of pride, the volume uncovers Dante's implicit confession of sloth and prodigality (the opposing subvice of avarice) through Statius, his moral cypher.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

George Corbett is senior lecturer in theology and the arts, School of Divinity, University of St Andrews, Scotland. Prior to this, he was junior research fellow of Trinity College, and affiliated lecturer in Italian, University of Cambridge.



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