The Poetics of Dante's Paradiso placeholder

The Poetics of Dante's Paradiso

By Massimo Verdicchio
Categories: Medieval Studies, Literature & Language Studies, Literary Criticism, World Literature
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Ebook (PDF) : 9781442686694, 192 pages, August 2010
Paperback : 9781487526306, 192 pages, August 2010

Table of contents


Prologue I: DXV and Paradiso
Prologue II: The Poetics of Paradiso

1. Heaven of the Moon: Grammar (II-IV)
2. Heaven of Mercury: Dialectics (V-VII)
3. Heaven of Venus: Rhetoric (VIII, IX)
4. Heaven of the Sun: Arithmetic (X-XIV)
5. Heaven of Mars: Music (XV-XVII)
6. Heaven of Jupiter: Geometry (XVIII, XIX, XX)
7. Heaven of Saturn: Astronomy (XXI-XXII)
8. Fixed Stars: Physics and Metaphysics (XXIV-XXVII)
9. Primum Mobile: Moral Philosophy (XXVII, XXVIII, XXIX)
10. Empyrean: Theology (XXX-XXXIII)



Paradiso, the conclusion to Dante Alighieri's masterpiece, the Divine Comedy, is an exploration of the nine celestial spheres of Heaven. A highly original and comprehensive reading, The Poetics of Dante's Paradiso challenges established scholarly interpretations to demonstrate that the intricacies of Dante's text reveal a subtle irony, employed to deliver a sharp critique of the corrupt church and empire of his own time.

Massimo Verdicchio's canto-by-canto analysis focuses on the subversive undercurrents created by poetic allegory and irony and relates Dante's ordering of the heavens to the Arts and Sciences of the Trivium and Quadrivium (the major subjects taught at medieval universities). This new reading highlights Dante's use of language to expose the earthly flaws of the saints and denounce the illicit and destructive alliance between the House of Anjou and the church. The Poetics of Dante's Paradiso is thought-provoking, tenacious, and sure to stimulate discussion amongst all students of the Commedia.