Typology in the Divine Comedy [Alan Clifford Charity]

Table of contents

Dati bibliografici

Autore: Alan Clifford Charity

Tratto da: Events and their afterlife. The dialectics of christian typology in the Bible and Dante

Editore: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Anno: 1987

Pagine: 167-261

The statements from Baumgartel which we have just quoted are applicable to the Commedia too, 'fur uns geschrieben, uns zur Warnung, uns zum Trost'. It is the whole of my aim in this final part to show how the Commedia's typology is 'applied' to that purpose of warning and comfort. I hope that by treating the subject here in the context of biblical typology, light will be cast back upon the Bible's use of typology, whose potential is here developed in a direction literally 'extraordinary' without involving fundamental change in its rationale. And I hope too to be able to show that the Comedy gains no less from this concatenation-or rather, that its criticism gains. For in the perspective which the Bible's use of typology gives us, we can go a great way towards overcoming the idea which amounts almost to a fixation in Dante criticism, that the 'allegorical meaning' (and the extent to which this is co-terminous with 'typological meaning' will be discussed later) is a subject for special study, something apart even, in the view of many critics, from the interpretation of the Comedy's 'thought'.
The Divine Comedy is a poem about conversion. It is, no doubt, incidentally about riuch else. But that its main subjects: becoming a Christian. The poem being directed (in current parlance, one might say 'geared') to the conversion of the world, or society, or his readers, its author works out his purpose as best he can and as, perhaps, he best can, by narrating his own. It is this enterprise which makes his poem significant in the history and theory of typology. It is this theme, in its working out through typology, which relates the Comedy, suggestively, to the Bible.
For we have seen, in the previous chapters, how, by its very nature, the biblical tradition of typology fastens on an event of conversion with the aim of effecting another. Acts of God alter existence, or the believer's view of existence, and therefore necessarily come home, when they do come home, to the person who is faced with the experience or addressed by the news of them with a call to a radical realignment, with a challenge to change his mind, his way of life, his allegiances, in accord with the new life, the altered conditions, with which he is presented by God. Israel is called to leave Egypt and to leave existence in 'myth', with its intransigent and ingrained conservatism and its terror of 'history', and to enter that 'terrific' history - but to enter with a faith which, built on the past act of God, holds the springs of hope for the future, with a faith in God's power to provide. Similarly, in the New Testament, Judaism and Hellenistic paganism are called; again God's power to transform is invoked; and the power which, in the news of Christ's resurrection, is declared to have overcome sin and death, now confronts man with the call to live up to that victory, to live, now, life eternal. Typology expresses tb:is call by articulating the new situation. It is an existential address from the past or the future action of God to a present which is obscurely-but to faith really - analogous with and caught up in that action. It is the prophet's, or the historian's, or the evangelist's chief way of turning prophecy, or history, or gospel, to challenge. The sheer moral urgency which typology gives to the writings in which it appears ought no longer to be underestimated.
This is the background against which the Comedy's use of typology must be seen. It articulates a simgar structure, and reveals similar concerns. But I say ‘similar' and do not mean ‘identical'. There is a new historical and religious situation by 1300, and one which dictates some alteration of typology's emphasis. Christianity: has been adopted nationally and internationally. Men speak of 'Christendom'. The concerns and the structure of Dante's typology differ from the New Testament's by having to respond to this new situation, by having to take it into account. Now it is not a matter of ‘becoming a Christian', quite simply. Rather, it is a matter of becoming one truly, of individually appropriating Christianity, of actualizing one's baptism in one's life. To this extent the emphasis-dictating situation is closer to that which the Old Testament's typology confronted. A sentence from Part I (p. 39) can be repeated, quite as aptly, here: 'Only by living up to the imperative could each man affirm the indicative as applying to him, and so become what, by virtue of the act of God, he was already - a member of God's chosen people, living in the new history which God had~ given him, according to the way which God had shown him.' And just as the Old Testament prophet addresses the word of God's future act too to the present as an imperative, so also does Dante in the Comedy. (For this to hold good, to be sure, it will be necessary for us to allow death the status of an act of God - in much the same way as, in discussing eschatological typology, we allow the 'after-life' and eschatology to be termed a period of 'history'. For death, at least in the Comedy, is conceived of as leading to a new existence, Godgiven, and one which is both discontinuous with, and the culmination of, each man's earlier, bodily, existence.) These insights of the Old Testament, which the New Testament, as I have shown, ratifies and begins to adapt to its gospel, Dante develops and presents with such clarity, through the allusive verbal texture and through the very narrative form of the poem, that an elemental aspect of Christian existence is brought, possibly as never before or since, to expression and intelligibility: the aspect of subfulfilment', the Christian's subfulfilment of both history and eschatology. Ifwe note how all this is done by means of typology, and by typology perfectly in keeping with the dialectic of typology in the Bible - its theory and practicewe may go on to wonder how else, or at least how better, it could have been done. The figure of Dante, the character in the Comedy, takes part in Christ's death and resurrection in a way that looks back and forward, back to the way Christ had shown him, forward to the future Christ promised him; and so doing he stands as a 'sign' which affirms for his contemporaries that the gospel is viable still. The significance of this whole enterprise, for theology, for aesthetics, and for the history of literature, amply justifies my present linking of the Commedia with the Bible.
But a word of warning is necessary. It would not be legitimate critical procedure to interpret the Comedy immediately into biblical, or biblical-theological, terms. If there is no reason why we should not sometimes translate what the Comedy itself shows of its aims, its method, its 'poetic', into such terms (and, indeed, such translation is necessary if the relation between the Bible's and the Comedy's typology is to be clarified), yet nothing exempts us from the need to start from the Comedy and justify our translations not from dogma or prejudice but by literary criticism.
But this is a warning which, after all, applies also to other approaches to the Commedia and its interpretation. It has not always been paid much attention. Natalino Sapegno speaks of the danger of reducing the Comedy to the proportions of a theological summa, and on similar grounds to this Mandonnet has justly been attacked by E. Gilson, and Busnelli and Orestano by Bruno Nardi - the Comedy's 'Thomism, even, still less what might be called its 'Paulinism', is not to be taken for granted.
But a similar, perhaps less obvious, fault is more directly relevant to the question of our approach in this present work. Critics who have specially concerned themselves with the allegory' of the Comedy have been content chiefly to do so either on the basis of the assumption that Dante's intention was to write what (employing terms derived from Convivio, II. I) is called 'allegory of the poets', or have instead chosen to rely on the Letter to Can Grande, of which not only is the authorship not indisputable but in some respects also the meaning, and have therefore seen in the poem an 'allegory of the theologians’.
Neither approach, however, carries conviction when t is applied, as often it is (for example, by Fergusson, Sayers, and to some extent even by more professional Dantists such as Singleton and Montano) from the Convivio or Letter systematically, or guasi-systematically, to the Commedia. The safer, the only correct critical way is the opposite one. The Commedia must be interpreted first as far as possible out of itself, out of its own implications and our own response to its poetry. Then we may see how the Letter accords with the poem, and, perhaps then only, feel our way towards a view of the possible genuineness of the Letter. So with typology. We shall sketch aspects of the poem which seem relevant, discuss them, and see finally how the Comedy's use of typology accords with that of the Bible.
Here, though, one point may be ated stas if dogmatically. Nothing inhe ptoem suggests that a consistent allegorization is to be applied from beginning to end, and down to the details. It would be then 'cabbalistic' indeed to attempt to interpret it so. However, some account of the theory of allegorical exegesis in the Middle Ages being an obvious pre-condition of the inquiry as to whether Dante, in the Comedy, makes use ofit, it will not prejudice the conclusions of that inquiry if, to avoid later digression, I give a brief outline here.
It may be brief, for ever since the time when the practice of allegorical exegesis came to be considered archaic in both pulpit and commentary it has been a fairly favoured field of historical research. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centurieh it was not only the historians of exegesis, but also the literary historians and critics, such as H. Flanders Dunbar and G.R. Owst, who were doing pioneering work on the topic, and since then it has attracted increasing attention from several sectors. Beside the three ful-scale treatments, by G. Spicq, Beryl Smalley, and H. de Lubac, which must be regarded as fundamental, there are a host of shorter contributions from biblical and iiurgical scholars, historians and students of medieval literature, among which I can make mention here of only a few that particularly concern themselves with the question of the relevancy of the allegorical treatment of the Bible to the Divine Comedy. In his Dante sous la Pluie de Feu, A. Pézard provides a useful if summary survey of the exegetical theory; C.S. Singleton, particularly in the first of his collections of Dante Studies, and R. Montano, in a series of works of which the essential conclusions are incorporated in his recent Storia della Poesia di Dante, attempt to apply it in a fairly thorough-going manner to the Comedy; and J. Chydenius offers another account of the theory in The Theory of Mediaeval Symbolism, and of its place in the Comedy in his monograph, The Typological Problem in Dante. With such a profusion of accessible work on the subject it is unnecessary for me to do more than outline the doctrine itself and indicate the features which are most significant for the present study.
The doctrine (so called) of the four senses of Scripture is the one which chiefly concerns our particular subject. It is, admittedly, only a single doctrine in a field in which, in the Middle Ages as now, exegetical doctrines proliferate and merge. But although it is scarcely ever found in its pure form consistently throughout the works of any one author, and was from patristic times always liable to be compounded with a doctrine of the 'body', 'soul', and 'spirit' of the sacred text with which, rationally, it was quite at odds, yet still de Lubac (passim) is right to attribute to it a distinct, ideal existence. No doctrine rivalled it in resilience. It runs as a kind of basso ostinato through several variant forms, and even where the sepecial threefold schema to which we referred was in the ascendancy, the ‘doctrine classique’ (as de Lubac calls it, acceptably) tended mto odify its more speculative excesses.
Thus the single choice of the doctrine of four senses as our chief source for the allegorical hermeneutics of the Middle Ages is not altogether arbitrary. The ordo expositionis which distinguishes it (i.e. the order, sensus litteralis; allegoricus or typicus; tropologicus or moralis; and finally, anagogicus) is not only the most frequent, but is also, at least in theory, the one possessing the greatest theological potential. It is this doctrine, besides, which the Letter to Can Grande applies to the Comedy.
The locus classicus for the thirteenth century is in Aquinas, Summa Theologia, I, i, 10, and it will be convenient to quote the major part of the reply straight away:

Auctor sacrae Scripturae est Deus, in cuius po testate est ut non solum voces ad significandum accomodet (quod etiam homo facere potest) sed etiam res ipsas. Et ideo, cum in omnibus scientiis voces significent, hoc habet proprium ista scientia quod ipsae res significatae per voces etiam significant aliquid. Illa ergo prima significatio qua voces significant res pertinet ad primum sensum, qui est sensus historicus vel litteralis. Illa vero significatio qua res significatae per voces iterum res alias significant dicitur sensus spiritualis; qui super litteralem fundatur et eum supponit.
Hic autem sensus spiritualis trifariam dividitur. Sicut enim dicit Apostol us ad Hebr. Lex vetus figura est novae legis, et ipsa nova lex, ut Dionysius dicit, est figura futurae gloriae. In nova etiam lege ea quae in capite sunt gesta sunt signa eorum quae nos agere debemus.
Secundum ergo quod ea quae sunt veteris legis significant ca quae sunt novae legis est sensus allegoricus; secundum vero quod ea quae in Christo sunt facta vel in his quae Christum significant sunt signa eorum quae nos agere debemus est sensus moralis; prout vero significant ea quae sunt in aeterna gloria est sensus anagogicus.

We shall have occasion to refer to this statement from time to time in the following chapters. What is most noteworthy now is the kind of definition of the 'spiritual' senses which Aquinas offers. It is by content or subject-matter that each sense is distinguished, and not by hermeneutical method. Untypical in certain other respects, the passage is utterly typical of medieval exegetical theorizing in that. And effectively, the distinguishing content of each 'spiritual' sense turns out to be an historical or existential situation. The senses are, in effect, senses of history: 'Deus... ad significandum accomodet... res ipsas.' Thus, here and throughout the tradition, the sensus allegoricus means, in reference to the Old Testament, that the words or events recorded in Scripture are taken as applying to Christ and the Church, that is, to the new dispensation. They are recorded 'pro nobis', for our sake (cf. I Cor. 9. 9; 10. 6, 11), for this is the ‘end of the ages', the time of fulfilment, to which the Old Testament points. This, clearly, is the sense which is most obviously related to the traditional scope of typology. Moving on to the next 'sense', as to content the sensus moral is speaks for itself; but it is worth remarking that this sense too is addressed to the new dispensation, though as imperative and not as a statement. The way in which this sense may relate to typology we shall suggest, shortly, below. The sensus anagogicus, finally, is that which applies the text to the hereafter, and this also (though only, as we should say, when the text in question has to do with an event and one which is confessedly fundamental in salvation history) may sometimes be comparable to the eschatolozjcal reference of biblical typology. In cases where the literal sense already refers to present or future existence it would normally, as by Aquinas, be thought idle to refer it back by allegory, or by any means, to a former one.
These are the essential elements of the doctrine, and it is in these elements, if anywhere, that its theological potential must be sought. Its best-known short formulation, the verse usually attributed to Nicholas of Lyra, restates them in epitome:

Littera gesta docet, quid credas allegoria,
Moralis quid agas, quo tendas anagogia.

But just as there is no mention in this verse of exegetical method, so also in Aquinas and throughout the period of the doctrine's sway its methodology and rationale were considered very rarely, and then to little purpose. Hence the actual faults in practice such as those to which I have occasionally pointed in this essay. For the methods actually used were learned not by rule but by imitation from earlier writers, and were in large part ultimately Hellenistic in origin, radically 'demythologizing' in purpose, 'allegorical’ in nature, and, it must be said, arbitrary in application.
But with the faults we are not at present concerned. If its faults were all that there were to be said of the doctrine, the comparison which I have several times invoked would not have been worth while. It is more important to establish whether, and in what sense, despite them, the doctrine might be said to contain genuine theological potential and a genuinely theological rationale. Nobody, I think, who understands this rationale, would deny that it has at least some points of contact with typology, and perhaps with 'applied' typology at that.
For though the methods most commonly associated with the doctrine arc only attached to it accidentally by the historical circumstances of the Hellenistic milieu in which Christianity grew up n ithe early centuries, the essential schema of doctrine is still recognizably Hebraic. And the relating of each 'sense' to a particular context in what we today call 'salvationhistory'-or alternatively, and perhaps more accurately, to a particular existential situation - is clearly a development from, if it is not identified with, Hebraic and biblical typology. In this situation it is obviously possible to replace the schema's usual concomitants, the Hellenistic-allegorical ethods of mlate antiquity, with the more dialectical methods which might realize its typological potential. The question is not only, however, 'did such methods exist?' (for it is clear enough from this essay that the methods in question are simply special uses of analogy), but 'were such methods ready to hand in the period which we are discussing?'
Clearly, the alternative methods to allegory which were to hand were practised only sporadically, but still such methods there were, and, moreover, they were practised. I cite only the most widespread and the most significant, the principle included among the exegetical 'rµles' of Tichonius which has been passed on and endorsed by St Augustine, according to which what is said of the Church's Head' may often be applied to his 'Body'. The place which this principle held in practice in the Middle Ages is sufficiently vouched for by the place it held in the Old Testament commentary which was perhaps the one most influential throughout the whole period, St Gregory's Moralia in lob. Repeatedly invoked there, it might not be an exaggeration to say that it is one of the principles on which the whole work is based, The legitimacy of the procedure by which Job is initially established as being 'typical' of Christ is of course more than doubtful; but once that step has been taken the further transition to the Church by means of this image of 'incorporation in Christ' is legitimate enough, and often effective:

Igitur quia in ipso expositionis exordio sic persona beati lob nuntiare Dominum diximus, ut designari per ilium caput et corpus, idest Christum et Ecclesiam diceremus: postquam caput nostrum quomodo designatum credatur, ostendimus: nunc corpus eius, quod nos sumus, quomodo exprimatur, indicemus: ut quia audivimus ex historia, quod miremur, cognovimus ex capite, quod credamus, consideremus nunc ex corpore, quod vivendo teneamus. In nobismetipsis namque debemus transformare quod legimus, ut cum per auditum se animus excitat, ad operandum quod audierit vita concurrat.

There is justification here for a sensus allegoricus and a sensus moralis, for the indicatives and imperatives arise from a faith which takes Christ for both Gospel and Law. There is no denying that this principle closely conforms to the 'applied' typology of the new dispensation expounded in the last part; and how much of the whole doctrine of the four senses can be justified when this principle is set at its centre and associated with a second which, taken over from St Paul, was equally a commonplace of biblical exposition, the principle, namely, that the whole history of Israel was 'prefigurative' and 'prophetic' (cf. I Cor. 10. II), may be judged from the statements of Aquinas who, not only in the Summa, but also, and more fully, in the Quodlibets, does thus centralize it:

Respondeo dicendum, quad distinctio istorum quatuor sensuum hoc modo accipi debet...
…Inter omnia autem quae in sacra Scriptura narrantur, prima sunt illa quae ad vetus testamentum pertinent; et ideo quae secundum litteralem sensum ad facta veteris testamenti spectant, possunt quatuor sensibus exponi. Secunda vero sunt illa quae pertinent ad statum praesentis Ecclesiae, in quibus ilia sunt priora quae ad caput pertinent, respectu eorum quae pertinent ad membra; quia ipsum corpus verum Christi, et ea quae in ipso sunt gesta, sunt figura corporis Christi mystici, et eorum quae in ipso geruntur, ut in ipso scilicet Christo, exemplum vivendi sumere debeamus. In Christo etiam futura gloria nobis praemonstrata est; uncle ea quae ad litteram de ipso Christo capite dicuntur, possunt exponi et allegorice, referenda ad corpus eius mysticum; et moraliter, referenda ad actus nostros, qui secundum ipsum debent reformari; et anagogice, in quantum in Christo est nobis iter gloriae demonstratum...

Some have seen in these statements a criticism, and perhaps even an envisaged reformation, of the exegetical practices current up to this time: 'distinctio istorum quatuor sensuum hoc modo accipi debet.' It is not possible to go quite so far. Aquinas here adds very little to the doctrine, and his own practice, as de Lubac points out, is not free of the allegorical procedures which the 'reforming' view of Aquinas would expect him to have disowned. But it is true that his theoretical statements do, to our minds, sort ill with these procedures. For on the one hand Aquinas presents Christ at the centre of what may now become, very easily, an historical typology which contains the imperatives and the indicatives, past, present and future, of human existence 'in Christ'. And, on the other, allegorical procedures, to the vindication of which his rationale is irrelevant, are retained in his scriptural commentaries. Perhaps the fact that this rather disconcerting cleavage is polarized as it is is significant - the faults appertaining to the realm of practical exegesis, where the influence of Hellenistic allegorizing was at its greatest, and the 'potential' to the realm of systematic theology, where dialectic is paramount. If the doctrine of the four senses was to become in practice what most recent criticism agrees that in theory it could be, this might well first happen in a realm where the particular allegorical influence in question was more remote than the dialectical influence, and especially in one where dialectics meets history. If it was unlikely to happen in biblical exegesis, where past habits were ingrained, and old interpretations handed on down, it might happen where the necessary focus on history, on the res gesta, was not impeded by the counter-attractions of the 'inspired words' of the Bible.

1. Figural realism and the state of souls after death

Approaching the Divine Comedy, as we do here, from the Bible, it is not so much history as cosmology that impresses itself on the mind. The poem's profound sense of history and historicality makes itself felt, not necessarily gradually but to a large extent imperceptibly; one becomes conscious of it rather by indirect means than immediately. But with the cosmology the case is quite different. One is aware of it, awake to it, at every stage, practically, of one's reading: aware, that is, of a cosmology that is in the highest degree intellectual and articulated, and at the same time wide-reaching, in a way which outside the Christian Middle Ages is scarcely conceivable: for, apparently at least, the realms of the after-life, eschatological blessing and woe, which in the Bible are conceived in much more temporal than spatial dimensions, are here incorporated in ascheme which brings the spatial dimension very much to the fore.
The earth is the centre of the cosmos. Around it revolves the adapted Ptolemaic universe of thirteenth-century scholasticism: nine concetric planetary spheres embraced in their turn by the Empyrean, the essential heaven. Beneath the inhabited (northern) hemisphere hell reaches down in narrowing circles to the earth's centre, to which Satan fell after being driven from heaven, and in which now he is fixed for eternity. At the antipodes to Jerusalem, in the uninhabited south, Mount Purgatory rises, created by the earth's matter flung upward by Satan's fall. Seldom, if ever, has the bete noir of modern theology, the three-storey universe, been presented as concretely as here. Hell, Purgatory, Heaven, thus have their apparently quite objective locations within an organized cosmos. We are faced not so much with a ‘realized’ as with a ‘simultaneous’ eschatology.
Moreover, the objective and concrete, even (let us confess it) weltanschaulich, character of the other world is accentuated in the poem. Dante is at pains to bring home its local reality. Purgatory, for example, set as it is 'di retro al sol, (nel) mondo sanza gente' (Inf. XXVI. 117) - in the southern hemisphere, that is, unknown and, save for the foolish and fatal journey of Ulysses (described in Inf. XXVI; cf. Par. XXVII. 82 f.), unvisited -offers, by virtue of this setting, a natural advantage to the poet or theologian who might wish to stress its 'mystical' character.
Since reality tends to be judged by what is known, by stressing Purgatory's 'unknownness', the qualities of it unknown to the human world, he may, without altogether denying its reality, make it still 'unreal' enough to prevent too worldly a view of it and leave it virtually in the province of 'spirit'. Dante, however, does the opposite. There are indeed some stars there 'non viste mai fuor ch'alla prima gente' (Purg. I. 24), unseen since our frst parents saw them from the earthly Paradise; yet the planetary constellations which we know rise sometimes over those horizons and it is the same sun, though from the north now (Purg. IV. 54-7), that lights those shores. The exactness of the geography leaves no doubt as to its all being part of the same world as ours.
Physical features of the landscape of Purgatory support the astronomical carefulness. Dante underlines their relation to what is familiar. In the well-known fifteenth-century picture of Dante and his book, in the Cathedral at Florence, stylization rather disguises the rugged, alpine, character of Purgatory in the poem. But in the Comedy, though there is no shortage of mathematics and symmetry, its geometry and arithmetic never interfere with the geographical and topographical realism. The mountainousness of Mount Purgatory is given its due. There are great boulders, fissures, ledges, cliffs. The climb is heavy going. Dante, the pilgrim, being still in the body, pants for his breath, and wishes he had wings (see Purg. IV. 24-45): he has to scramble, using hands and feet (v. 33); he pauses to ask Virgil a question, or questions Virgil in order to pause (vv. 34-6); and, as he feared, receives the answer for the moment, straight on up!" And so, the indirect method having failed, Dante resorts to the direct:

O dolce padre, volgiti, e rimira,
com'io rimango sol, se non restai

(O sweet father, turn and see:
I shall be left alone if you don't stop.)
(vv. 44-5)

and now Virgil agrees: 'Only drag yourself up to that ledge', 'in:fin quivi ti tira' (vv. 46-8). It was a deserved compliment to the credibility of the poet's description of his climb that was made by a nineteenth-century writer of a book on Dante - alpinista! It is easy to forget that for fantasy this journey equals anything in Gulliver or von Munchausen. 'Egli immagina', says Parodi, 'il più fantastico dei mondi e lo trasfigura nel più reale.' But it is not fantasy only which is transfigured, it is the domain of the after-life, and we are given no opportunity to forget this, however 'real' it is made.
Paradoxically, or at least unexpectedly, real in the Comedy, therefore, is the region of what might be called ‘eschatological space'. But it is not only a realism of space that is remarkable. The realism of character is no less; and character, too, is eschatological' here.
'Remarkable', that is to say, as much for its presence as for its degree. For character, after isall, not usually associated with spirits; the dimmed and reduced personalities of the 'shades' in the classical underworld harmonize with our own preconceptions of 'ghosts' much more squarely. But 'character' is for us something different. We associate it with being human, and ihc dead are not properly human at alt; not even Dante would call them so.
Apparently, indeed, he wishes to lay some stress on this fact. 'Omo' (uomo) is used directly only of man' in general or the living man. The inhabitants of the after-life in the Comedy are shades, and they insist upon it. The question comes up in the first canto: man or shade? And Virgil’s reply is expressed in the terms which most emphasize the djstinction between him and Dante: 'Non omo, omo già fui (Inf. I. 67). What once were men are souls now, shades without bodies, unable to have full human contact even with one another. Hence the pathos of the situation in which Statius, overcome by exceptional emotion when he learns that it is Virgil who stands before him, forgets himself for a moment and attempts to embrace the other reverently at the feet, and Virgil restrains him gently:

non far, che tu se' ombra e ombra vedi.'

(Brother, do not do so; you are a shade and see a shade.)
(Purg. XXI. 130-6).

The contrast between life and death is so stressed as to leave no doubt that for Dante death does not mean only a passage from one sphere to another; it is passage and transformation. It is even, as is shown by the recurrence of 'disfatto' and related forms as synonyms for 'dead', an 'unmaking'.
This, of course, agrees in all fundamental respects with the traditional Aristotelian anthropology which Aquinas had reaffirmed and adapted to Christian doctrine. The substantial union of soul and body which makes a man 'man’ is dissolved in death. If, in so far as it relates to the body, death is natural, yet with regard to the soul, whose natural condition is to be united with the body, the separation from the body is against nature, so that until the resurrection even a soul which is blessed, though morally perfect, does not make up perfect man, and is, indeed, as to its constitution, less than human. Union with the body is not detrimental to the soul but enhances it. St Thomas goes further than Dante when, since the sensitive powers belong to the mortal body, he denies that the 'separated’ soul has any access to empirical knowledge through the senses; and he specifically affirms that although the soul retains knowledge acquired in this life it can learn nothing of human affairs after death except by special divine dispensation. Dante, however, by his doctrine of the 'airy body' (Purg. XXV. 75-108, discussed below) and by allowing even to the damned some knowledge of earthly history (limited in this latter case to the comparatively distant future or distant past, as explained in Inf. X. 97-108), in these respects, and in these respects only, for particular purposes softens the distinction between life and death. Yet for him, as for St Thomas, the soul is deprived, by its very situation in a changeless eternity, of certain operations proper to 'man'. Historical flux and historical action no longer directly modify the soul's individuality or its future; this being the case, with very slight qualification, even in Purgatory, for there too the will is immutable with regard to its ultimate end. The final decisions have been taken in the course of historical life and the decisions which remain concern only the choice between means of attaining what the soul now knows to be perfect good. The souls in Purgatory are now, from the time of their death, secure in their destination, and Dante addresses them,

O anime sicure
d'aver, quando che sia, di pace stato.

(O souls who are sure of reaching, soon or late, the state of peace.)
(Purg. XXVI. 53 f.)

Thus the fact of death, as Guardini says, is continually emphasized in the poem: Die Tatsache des Todes wird immer wieder betont.' The journey of the live Dante, and the amazemenet provoked by it in those he encounters, points the contrast between his state and theirs. Even the dead themselves are brought by it to a fuller, more existential realization of death's character as a total sundering from the familiar, human, historical life of this world. Dante's presence among them brings recollection, and recollection, in its turn, in Purgatory but more especially in Hell, again and again produces nostalgiainstanced by an abundance of phrases, such as 'dolce terra', 'dolce lome', 'dolce mondo', 'mondo pulcro', 'vita serena', 'vita bella', 'vita lieta'. More than this, his arrival as an ambassador from the world has the effect of prompting the souls into speech, s thougah, as Auerbach says, each were moved by the awareness that this is its one and only opportunity to express itself. 'All of them find in the living Dante, who comes to them, an occasion and need to state what they are and to explain how they came to their ultimate destination.' The momentary modification of the otherwise absolute dissociation from life which the meeting with Dante signifies to the dead souls, does not lessen, but rather intensifies, the implied or explicit concentration of their discourse on death. 'Von ihr' (i.e. 'death'), Guardini continues in the essay recently cited, 'wird alles umschlossen, was in der Gottlichen Komodie gesagt ist', and this is certainly true of the speeches of the souls in Inferno. It is from death that they speak, and they speak of their death and their present situation even when their words are, directly, about their life. For their past life concerns them now chiefly as the process which disposed them to their present situation in death, and it is to events which reveal or typify that disposition that their words characteristically point.
No one, I think, in view of this concentration in the poem on death and the changed constitution which death denotes, would be surprised therefore to hear the work called a Summa mortis humanae; and plainly the very rigour of this focal tendency means that, whatever 'character-realism' in this connection implies, there can be no question of a return to (or repetition of) the character as before. If, before death, human character is ‘historical', the change it has undergone by death may be summed up by saying that now it is eschatological'; i.e. it is confronted and modified no longer by history and contingency but by eschatology and the absolute. Yet in general critics have not been slow to point out all the same how realistic is the art by which Dante has made his personae seem vibrant, individual, and, paradoxical though it be, 'live'. And few would hesitate to accept the justice of the phrase which in fact has been used to describe the Commedia: 'Dante's Summa vitae humanae.
For however strong Dante's sense of the transformation in death, he creates too, through the techniques of his poem, a vital awareness in the reader of the continuity between life and death which the soul's immortality preserves. The poetic and dramatic devices by which he transmits this awareness are legion, and I need indicate only a few of them.
The inhabitants of the ‘beyond’ retain, first, their individual, hitherto bodily, features in the 'shade' which the soul's informing power virti (informativa, Purg. XXV. 89) radiates on to its surrounding air: thus they are visible, and, as we have already had occasion to notice, having organs, can see, hear, feel (Purg. XXV. 79-108). There is no reason why this deviation from Thomism, and indeed from dogma in general, should be taken seriously as theology. Dante was, on occasion, perfectly willing to depart from Aquinas - Bruno Nardi has shown that he does so in this same canto and speech (vv. 37-78) - or, indeed, from any of his authorities; but he is unlikely to depart, as he does here, from them all at once, on a purely speculative matter, just for the sake of speculation. Instead, as Sapegno well says, 'the idea of an airy body, inconsistent but possessing all its sensitive faculties, was necessitated by obvious exigencies of representation and narrative’. It is a case of poetic licence, or, more specifically, of the application of aprinciple which, in relation to scripture, goes back to Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and even Philo, and is expressly utilized and referred to by Dante in explaining why the souls come to meet him in the various planetary spheres instead of remaining in their place in the Empyrean. According to this principle then, which is technically termed ‘accommodation', matters which naturally transcend human perception are suitably expressed metaphorically, in intelligible, often physical, terms:

Per questo Ia Scrittura condescende
a vostra facultate, e piedi e mano
attribuisce a Dio, ed altro intende.

(So scripture suits its words to human understanding, attributing feet and hands to God but meaning something else.)
(Par. IV. 43-5)

There is, however, one difference between this doctrine's use in he Paradiso and its application to the matter of the soul's 'airy body'. For in the latter case what is signified is not something clse' ('altro', Par. IV. 45) but the very person himself: the person, and not a 'meaning', is revealed to the pilgrim by mneans of it. Thus, except in Paradise where the forms' radiance veils their feature, those whom he knew on earth he recognizes here, and those whom h_e will know of by repute can be pointed out to him by their appearance. In the valley of princes (Purg. vrr) Sordello indicates Philip the Bold as 'quel Nasetto' ('small of nose', v. 103), while

quel che par si membruto e che s'accorda
cantando, con colui dal maschio naso

(the one who looks so sturdy, keeping time in song with him of the prominent nose)
(Purg. VII. 112 f.)

is Peter III of Aragon with Charles I of Anjou.
But all the Divine Comedy's realism of character is ultimately based upon this doctrine, this particular example of 'accomodation'. By means of it Dante is able to present character by appearance, gesture, bearing, as well as by the content, style and tone of speech. And it is not only a means of identification, it is the channel of an otherwise impossible degree of selfdisclosure on the part of the shades. Their visibility is itself a step in this direction. Their physical attitude and movement authoritatively suggest their individual nature and quality. Farinata rises 'come avesse lo inferno in gran dispitto' ('as if he held hell in complete contempt') (Inf. X. 36), raises his brow a little as he speaks (v. 45), and, interrupted, stands unmoved and undisquieted:

non muto aspetto,
né mosse collo, né piegò sua costa.

(his expression did not change, nor did he move his neck or bend his side.)
(vv.74 f.)

The shade alongside him contrasts markedly: rising only enough to allow his face to show over the edge of the tomb, he peers about in the vain hope of seeing his son, Guido, there with Dante, weeps as he speaks, and then, assuming prematurely that Guido is dead, falls back: 'supin ricadde, e più non parve fora' ('fell back recumbent and appeared outside no more') (v. 72).
Belacqua, whom we meet in a scene (Purg. IV. 97-139) which for humour and humanity matches any in the poem, will serve as our last example of this facet of the Comedy's realism. Among those who idly stand in the shade of a boulder in the Ante-purgatorio Belacqua alone is sitting:

E un di lor, che mi sembiava lasso,
sedeva e abbracciava le ginocchia,
tenendo il viso giù tra esse basso.

- O dolce segnor mio,- diss'io - adocchia
colui che mostra se più negligente
che se pigrizia fosse sua serocchia –

(And one of them, who seemed to me weary, was sitting and embracing his knees, keeping his face low down between them. O my sweet lord', I said, 'look at him there, who shows himself more negligent than if he had sloth for a sister.')
(vv. 106-11)

Belacqua is so much the same man as Dante knew on earth that, when he recognizes him, the poet feels like laughing:

Li atti suoi pigri e le carte parole
mosson le lab bra mie un poco a riso;
poi cominciai: - Belacqua...,
... dimmi: perché assiso
quiritta se'?...
… lo modo usato t'ha ripriso? –

(His idle movements and terse speech made my lips move towards laughter. Then I began, 'Belacqua ... tell me, why are you sitting here? ... You've gone back to your old ways, have you?')
(vv. 121-6)

'Lo modo usato t'ha ripriso?' It is a good question, and one might put it to many a character in the Commedia more seriously, perhaps, than it is put here. Belacqua's answer is 'no', as, strictly, in death it must always be. There is no return, no equality even of' ways' (modo) between life and death. No one can undergo death without transformation. But Dante has seen evidence enough in Belacqua's case, as we may in many another, that this question is not unequivocal, and is capable, almost equally, of being answered in the affirmative. Belacqua is very much the same man, though now his excuse for delay is a valid one. That is why Dante, perceptively, has him phrase his denial of the 'modo usato' in terms which, by their juxtaposition of lassitude and self-justification, hark back to the living man:

...O frate, l'andar su che porta?
che non mi lascerebbe ire a' martiri
l’angel di Dio che siede in su la porta

(O brother, what's the point of going on? The angel of God who sits at the gate of purgatory would not let me go through to my purgation.)
(Purg. IV.127-9)

The continuation of Belacqua's speech takes us a step further:

Prima convien che tanto il ciel m'aggiri
di fuor da essa, quanto fece in vita,
perch'io indugiai al fine i buon sospiri.

(First I must wait outside until the sky has wheeled about me as many times as it did in life, because I put off to the end my proper sighs.)
(vv. 130-2)

The conception of the 'contrapasso' which is evidently involved here is well known to anyone who reads the Inferno attentively. In principle, at any rate, all the punishments there are conceived as appropriate not only in degree but in mode to the sin. It may be that the punishment involves the sinner in an infliction of the same kind as that which he had inflicted upon others in life: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. This, fundamentally, is what is represented by the term contrapasso in the one place in which Dante uses it: Bertran de Born is condemned as a sower of discord and now carries his dissevered head by the locks:

Io feci il padre e il figlio in sé ribelli:
Achitofèl non fe' pii d' Absalone
e di David coi malvagi punzelli.

Perch'io parti' cosi giunte persone,
partito porto il mio cerebro, lasso!
dal suo principio ch'd in questo troncone.

Così s'osserva in me lo contrapasso.
(I made father and son rebels towards each other. Achitophel did no more towards Absalom and David by malicious incitements. Because I parted persons so united now I carry my brain, alas, parted from its root, which is in this trunk. So retribution is observed in me.)
(Inf. XXVIII. 136-42)

But the lex talionis is interpreted with a greater breadth and variety than in this fairly strict though already somewhat figurative application of it. It develops, in the Inferno, principally in two directions, the sin now contrasting with the punishment, now analogous with it. The epicures and gluttons, in the first case, are now assaulted through the senses to which they had pandered: there is a foul, cold rain, a putrid smell, and Cerberus 'who so deafens them that they wish they were deaf' (' Cerbero, che 'ntrona / l’anime si, ch'esser vorebbe sorde', Inf. VI. 32 f.). Similarly, far deeper in hell, in the fourth of the Malebolge, the shades of the diviners are contorted and face backward, 'for to see ahead was (now) denied to them' ('perché 'I veder dinanzi era lor tolto', Inf. XX. 14). But the other case is far commoner, in which the analogy between sin and punishment is direct and often so vivid that the latter is seen to consist in the perpetual continuance of the sin itself, now transformed to torment through the disintegration of man's proper personality, his free-will lost through being concentrated on the goal of his desires, the 'ben dell'intelletto' (Inf. III. 18) lost through intellect's perversion to the service of the passions (Inf. V. 29). Here one naturally recalls Francesca da Rimini first. With her lover she comes forward from a background into which at first she merges and against which finally she must be judged: 'la bufera infernal', the infernal tempest which drives the lussuriosi hither and thither, up and down, relentlessly, like passion (Inf. V. 28-45). But the reflection of the vice in its punishment is as plain as this in other places. The avaricious and the prodigal roll useless weights round the fourth circle, run up against each other, and wheel about quarrelling angrily about the only thing which their contracted vision notices: '"Perché tieni?" e "Perché burli?"' ('Why do you hold?' and 'Why do you throw away?', Inf. VII. 30). The law of the contrapasso allows wrath, violence against one's neighbour, hypocrisy and other sins to perpetuate themselves with a monotonous intensity which the contingencies of human life inhibited.
Meanwhile the characters are brought to their own kind of life in spite of this 'monotony' which leaves them fixed forever in a single context. It is a paradox that is well worth pondering. Their situation now radically reduces the variety of happenings and therefore elicits from the souls less various reactions than on earth; yet still, as Auerbach in particular has repeatedly emphasized, there is apparently no attenuation of their individuality - rather, the soul's situation seems to assist the individual's self-disclosure. Of course, Dante's journey, which itself becomes for a brief while part of the dead souls' environment, momentarily modifies this situation, makes it change for an instant into something which is almost if not quite ‘history'; and the effect of this is to produce a broader range of responses from the 'fixed' wills of the souls in hell, a range which temporarily simulates the variety of human responses on earth. But that is not the whole answer, though it goes some way. For in hell even variety of response is still related to the immutability of the evil will and to the eternity of the soul's retribution: it is against that background that these responses should be seen for it is against that background that they are presented. And in that background, formed by Dante's concept of the contrapasso, the soul is judged for something fundamental and not accidental in its character; in relation to which the 'accidents' of the soul's response to the contingent have their meaning.
The contrapasso, thus, no less than Dante's journey, assists the soul's disclosure of its nature - even, indeed, enforces it. In the concrete symbolism of the 'apt punishment', what was in life implicitly the organizing centre of a person's actions has become explicit; and now phrase after phrase epitomizes and drives home that economy of the soul's judgement, turning it epigrammatically into a resonant figure of speech. Bertran de Born's trope is typical:

Perch'io parti così giunte persone
partito porto il mio cerebra, lasso!

(Because I parted persons so united, now I carry my brain, alas, parted...)
(Inf. XXVIII. 139 f.)

And it is a theme with memorable variations: the violent against self have rejected human life:

Uomini fummo, e or siam fatti sterpi,

(Men were we, and are now made trees,)
(Inf. XIII. 37)

the sullen are submerged in Styx:

Tristi fummo
nell'aere dolce che dal sol s'allegra,

or ci attristiam...

(Sad were we in the sweet air which the sun makes glad...: now we sadden ourselves.)
(Inf. VII. 121-4)

The same canto has Virgil saying of the prodigal and avaricious,

la sconoscente vita che i fe' sozzi
ad ogni conoscenza or Ii fa bruni,

(The undiscerning life which made them foul, now makes them too obscure to be discerned,)
(vv. 53 f.)

and in canto XII Dante bursts out apropos of the violent against their neighbour:

O cieca cupidigia e ira folle,
che si ci sproni nella vita corta,
e nell'etterna poi si mal c'immolle!

(O blind cupidity and foolish rage, which, in brieflife, so incites us, and then, in the eternal, overwhelms us so cruelly!)
(Inf. XII. 49-51)

Here in the principle of the contrapasso, then, we have something which, at any rate in the case of the Inferno, but to a large degree in the Purgatorio also, assists in the revelation of eschatological' character. It provides for the objectification of psychological features much' as the principle of an 'airy body? allows the shades' physical lineaments to appear and be known. but in the contrapasso such objectifi,cation is no longer solely for the purpose of recognition, communication, sensation; for, seen in the context of judgement and of the apt punishment belonging to each soul who is recognized, conversed with, seen, by Dante the traveller, the recognition and communication which the 'airy body' permits are now only a part of a new kind of identification in depth. The situation of the soul is on this view recognizable as a translation into objective terms of the habitus and leading propensity of the soul in its earthly life: there, this habitus was hidden; here, it is revealed. There, the judgements and decisions of earthly existence became, through their repetition, the formative habits of their human subject, through which he committed himself to his personal kind of existence-his habitus becoming the invisible axis of his selfhood around which all his actions and sayings revolved. Here, in the soul's eschatological situation, on the other hand, the axial habitus has become visible, and its speech and actions can now more easily reveal their relationship to it. The soul's context provides a clue that was not accessible in life, and in its light we, and the traveller Dante, may be able to see in the shade's manner, its discourse, and its history, something which otherwise might well be missed, a degree of self-revelation which approaches selfdefinition, and which implicitly or explicitly confirms the justice of its judgement.
Thus, to take a single example, in the wood of suicides Pier della Vigna tells how slander had unjustly worked against him so that he lost the emperor Frederick's favour, which, before, had kept him in high office. The subsequent imprisoning and still more the contempt in which he was held seemed to him insupportable, and brought him to suicide. Now in Hell's seventh circle, he has become a tree, troubled by the harpies and painfully wounded whenever, as has just happened, a twig is snapped off from his branches.
Several features indicate the man he was, the courtier, lawyer, and poet. He speaks in courteous and measured, but perhaps somewhat too fulsome, terms:

Si col dolce dir m'adeschi,
ch'i' non posso tacere; e voi non gravi
perch'io un poco a ragionar m'inveschi.

(So much with your sweet speech do you allure me that I cannot be silent; and pray, do not be burdened if I draw out my discourse a little.)
(Inf. XIII. 55-7)

Once he has recovered from the sudden shock of pain his style is impersonal ('Io son colui', v. 58; see I. Brandeis's excellent account, pp. 53 f.), bearing signs of a detachment which contrasts strongly with the immediate cry of pain and appeal for pity which were the first words heard from him (see vv. 33-6: 'perché mi schiante?... perché mi scerpi? non hai tu spirto di pietà alcuno? ('Why do you rend me? Why do you tear me? Have you no pity?"). The culmination of his narrative is summed up with fine legal precision: 'l'animo mio... ingiusto fece me contra me giusto' ('my mind... made me unjust to my just self’) (vv. 70-2); and throughout he indulges his penchant for the neat figure of speech, giving to his lines an excessively stylized, precious and artificial quality which increases the sense of Pier's withdrawal from the immediacy of human contact and intercourse.
Yet all of these features, even those apparently neutral in themselves, serve in the context of suicide and the soul's situation to present the habit of mind which accounted for the act and its punishment. Easily pained, now, by these artificial means, as then, Pier vainly tries in self-defence to detach himself from a world whose terms he cannot accept. As Brandeis notes, even his virtues are twisted to his undoing: having seen, with a jurist's keen insight, the injustice of life, he shrinks from it. He tries to harden himself, but the tree he becomes in hell is still sensitive, and bleeds. His triple protestation of innocence (v. 72, 74 f., 64-7) thus becomes, even though just, a sign too of his refusal to participate and involve himself in life; and when hurt, like the other suicide in this canto, his recourse is the helpless complaint, 'perche mi schiante?' etc., 'why me?'.
And that this refusal and its effects are considered by Dante to be the result of the soul's free decision is made plain at several points in the poem. There is, first, the passage to which both Brandeis and Montano have pointed as shedding light on this canto. In the heaven of Mercury Dante hears tell of Romeo di Villanova who, as to his fortunes, is Pier della Vigna's counterpart: a minister at the court of Raymond Berengar, he was formerly high in his master's confidence; then, brought under false suspicion, poor and old, he went into voluntary exile,

e se 'l mondo sapesse il cor ch'elli ebbe
mendicando sua vita a frustro a frustro,
assai lo loda, e pii lo loderebbe.

(And if the world knew the heart he had, while begging his life crust by crust, much as it praises him, it would praise him more.)
(Par. VI. 140-2)

Now, however, Romeo is 'dentro alla presente margarita' (v. 127), that is, as the commentator Benvenuto of Imola says, 'intra stellam Mercurii parvam et pretiosam', and it is an emperor, fittingly, who praises him.
But in case the presentational symbol (as in spite of one's aesthetic ideals is often, regrettably, the fact) is barely comprehended until supplemented with the discursive, we have also the clear and explicit statements of Marco Lombardo in Purgatorio XVI. There, at the Commedia's centre, Dante faces up to a problem which is at its heart, and affirms the absolute justice of the divine judgement: 'the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are (thus or thus)' (cf. Purg. XVI. 67-72, and 82 f.: 'in voi è la cagione, in voi si cheggia': 'in you is the cause, in you let it be sought'). Man does not need to act only as stars or earthly influences prompt him:

Lume v'e dato a bene e a malizia,
e libero voler; che, se fatica

nelle prime battaglie col ciel dura,
poi vince tutto, se ben si notrica.

(Light is given you to distinguish good and evil, and free will, which, if it endures the strain of its first battles with the sky, finally, if well nurtured [by good habits] conquers all.)
(vv. 75-8; see also Par. V. 19-24)

There is, besides, Marco continues, another way of creating an individual's habitus, a greater influence than stars or men, which, if in free will one commits oneself to its creative power, turns one's disposition towards salvation and conforms it to God's will. It is the power of God himself:

A maggior forza ed a miglior natura
liberi soggiacete; e quella cria
la mente in voi, che 'l ciel non ha in sua cura.

(In freedom you are subject to a greater power and better nature; and that creates the mind in you over which the stars have no control.)

Marco here refers primarily, doubtless, to the making ('cria') rather than, as in the Pauline passage cited below, the 'remaking' of the human mind. But ifit is not a question, strictly, of'remaking', it accords well enough with the Pauline passage, seeming to imply a continuing creation of the mind, so long as it is well guided. The divine power which created the human mind originally, now, as grace, continuously enables you (cf. 'soggiacete' you are subject) to overcome the natural influences. Where the pastors fail to guide, there are still laws (v. 97), and, as Beatrice develops this theme, there are also the Bible and the sacraments to help you (Par. V. 73-8). Grace, if man will freely commit himself to it and submit to its questioning and prompting, will promote another existence within him than the merely natural, the 'new life' of man under election.? 'Questa vi basti a vostro salvamento' ('let this suffice you for your salvation') (Par. V. 78).
Now we have dwelt at some length on the rationale of the realism of character in the Inferno, and there is no need to treat it as fully with regard to the Purgatorio and Paradiso. For there the conditions for realism are not fundamentally different. Again, we are in regions where 'character' would be expected to be, and to some extent actually is, modified by having undergone death and by having entered upon a (relatively) changeless existence. Yet, mutatis mutandis, the dramatis personae in these realms also are 'realistic', and moreover - in a sense still fundamentally that in which it could be said of those in the Inferno-they are 'realized': their individual disposition has reached its individual fulfilment. Even those undergoing purgation are 'realized' in this sense, though their 'perfecting', their ethical fulfilment, has not yet come into being or is there only in the way in which it may be in human life, as a kind of pre-echo, an assurance; for they are where they are because the decisions of their life, even if only at the moment of death (cf. Purg. V. 101), have committed them there, to the realm of salvation. As surely as character in life can make that critical self-commitment, the character in death will hold fast to it.
Therefore, mutatis mutandis again, the Paradiso and the Purgatorio have their own concrete symbols for the axial centre ofa person's existence, their analogues to the contrapasso-it was, we recall, Belacqua's situation which initiated our discussion of this principle. In the Purgatorio, cornices, and in Paradiso, spheres, replace the circles of hell; but still, each in its way, these locations represent visibly the propensities of the souls found within them, and aid the poet in his task of bringing souls' 'eschatological character' into significant relation with human life. For by being in each specific case a kind of symbolic extension of the personality who is here rewarded or punished, these locations cast light back on the living person who, by decisions taken when his will was still mutable, has committed his soul to this place.

'Cast light back': the phrase may stand for the mode and method by which Dante manifests the special historical relationship between the 'shades' and the 'men' they once were. From eschatological existence the 'shades' cast a searching light back on their own historical existence, and perhaps, too, on historical existence in general. Neither equated with, nor wholly distinct from, their living selves, the dead summon up, their past life, and expose it more fully than ever before. Despite the great transformation which death brings about, their manifestation here is of such kind that each one is revealed in hi s situation as the fora perfectior of his earthly self, as a selfhood now freed from the contingency of earthly affairs which tad hitp.erto always impeded his total self-revelation.
And this in turn directly confronts us now with the question, in what way this relationship between life and death we have described in this chapter may properly be called typological. We content ourselves here with the few preliminary observations which our treatment can already substantiate. l'he characters' realism, first, is of a kind which Auerbach, relating it in fact to typology, has called 'figural'. And the facts which we have presented confirm· the precision of his term. If the souls whom Dante meets are in the forma perfectior of their historical existence this, surely, is equivalent to saying that they realize the existence which their historical lives have prefigured.
Moreover, this 'figural’ relationship, with its peculiar success in doing justice to both continuity and change, manifests something which is familiar in another form from our treatment of the Old Testament; for here once again is a dialectic between owness and steadfastness, which is here not ostensibly, to be sure, or directly, concerned with God's action, but rather with human existence. Yet human existence, after all, in Christian belief is directly dependent on the action of God: for Dante go less than for us it has been decisively constituted by the action of the God who, in virtue of that, now justly submits it to judgement. Here again, therefore, we feel ourselves to be in a realm which is at any rate closely associated with what we have understood by 'typology'.
But it is one thing to call a relationship 'typological' and another to call it 'allegorical'; for the relationship which typology embodies is, to our minds at least, a dialectical rather than a directly representational one. One thing does not mean another in typology: it involves it, or has inferences for it, or suggests it, and it does all these things for no other reason than that there is a real, existential, parallel, as well as a certain historical dependency and continuity between the events which typology relates. Allegory, on the other hand (especially as a literary mode), involves not history so much as sententiae, spiritual truths rather than unrepeatable happenings, and it gene rally appears to depend on a devaluation or the ‘letters' for the sake of the general truth which the letter figuratively expresses.
The contemporary distrust of the great allegorical onslaught on the Commedia associated with Pascoli, Valli and, in his own way, Mandonnet, is in this context wholly explicable; indeed it is wholly correct. And explicable also, in view of the above conception of allegory, is the contemporary distrust of Dante's authorship of the Can Grande letter; for on whatever other grounds this letter may be defended or disputed it has seemed to some critics (most recently Nardi and Hardie ) that its allegorical doctrine is positively misleading as a standard by which to interpret the poem. Here, though, it is not so certain that these critics are right. It is worth considering the question as it is typically discussed by one of the best of them.
Thus, in the Lectura Dantis Scaligera which Nardi gave in 1960 and entitled 'Il Punto sull'Epistolaa Cangrande', he finds a discrepancy between the apologetic, defensive tone of the allegorical doctrine in the Letter and the outspoken and prophetic literal sense of the poem. The latter, he says, is devalued by the former: implicitly, at least, the Letter's allegorical doctrine decisively compromises a work before which one feels as if confronted by 'a prophetic vision, directly inspired by certain of the prophetic books of the Bible'.
Again, though Nardi does not deny the existence of ‘places in the poem which are indeed allegorical’ (and he cites ‘sotto il velame delli versi strani’ (Inf. IX. 63) from the scene in which Virgil d Dante, forcibly impeded from entering the city of Dis, await help from heaven) he finds himself forced to deny that such passages are typical of it. And on this account he takes the letter to task, on the one hand for its treating 'the state of souls after death' as the literal subject (for Nardi, the literal subject is the journey of Dante), and on the other for encouraging the allegorizing of this literal subject so as to empty the poem of the personal experience and visionary idealism which bring it close in spirit to Franciscan Joachism and the prophets of the Old Testament. In combination, the two flawed facets of the Letter's subiectum duplex reduce the poem, he says, into a kind of' ethico-theological treatise De novissimis'.
Now one cannot but agree with Nardi in his choice between the two alternative readings of the poem which he presents, polarized as they are into 'allegorical' and 'prophetic'. But when one looks at the Letter there arise certain doubts. Here, though it will be convenient to quote both paragraphs, it is the second which chiefly concerns us:

§7. Ad evidentiam itaque dicendorum sciendum est quod istius opens non est simplex sensus, ymo dici potest polisemos, hoc est plurium sensuum; nam primus sensus est qui habetur per litteram, alius est qui habetur per significata per litteram. Et primus dicitur litteralis, secundus vero allegoricus sive moralis sive anagogicus. Qui modus tractandi, ut melius pateat, potest considerari in hiis versibus: 'In exitu Israel de Egipto, domus Jacob de populo barbaro, facta est Iudea sanctificatio eius, Israel potestas eius.’ Nam si ad litteram solam inspiciamus, significatur nobis exitus filiorum Israel de Egipto, tempore Moysis; si ad allegoriam, nobis significatur nostra redemptio facta per Christum; si ad moralem sensum, significatur nobis conversio anime de luctu et miseria peccati ad statum gratie; si ad anagogicum, significatur exitus anime sancte ab huius corruptionis servitute ad eteme glorie libertatem. Et quanquam isti sensus mistici variis appellentur nominibus, generaliter omnes dici possunt allegorici, cum sint a litterali sive historiali diversi. Nam allegoria dicitur ab ‘alleon' grece, quad in latinum dicitur 'alienum', sive 'diversum'.
§8. Hiis visis, manifestum est quad duplex oportet esse subiectum, circa quod currant alterni sensus. Et idea videndum est de subiecto huius operis, prout ad litteram accipitur; deinde de subiecto, prout allegorice sententiatur. Est ergo subiectum totius operis, litteraliter tantum accepti, status animarum post mortem simpliciter sumptus; nam de illo et circa illum totius operis versatur processus. Si vero accipiatur opus allegorice, subiectum est homo prout merendo et demerendo per arbitrii libertatem iustitie premiandi et puniendi obnoxius est.

A single reading of these two paragraphs and the questions multiply. First, do the literal and allegorical scnses described here really conflict with that literal sense so highly spoken of by Nardi? Secondly, have the alternatives presented by Nardi y an connection at all with the 'alterni sensus' spoken ofin the Letter? Thirdly, does the literal sense which the letter describes really exclude the visionary journey which Nardi takes to be the poem's proper subject?
The answer to the last question may properly be postponed to a later chapter, but with regard to the first two we can obtain some help directly from the early commentators of the Comedy. According to them, the literal sense of the poem (which, whether or not they write in dependence on the Letter itself, they take to at least include the status animarum post mortem) bears an intrinsic relationshi to the subject of the main 'al egorical' (i.e. 'spiritual') sense: the state of souls after death is a figure of their state in this life, i.e. as the letter makes plain, of their state as 'men' when they were men and not merely souls. Or rather, as we have seen, the eschatological state of the soul is the forma perfectior, the fulfilment of their state in this life. Francesco da Buti writes with exemplary clarity:

Il suggetto di che l'autore parla, si e litteralmente lo stato dell’anime dopo la separazione dal corpo, et allegoricamente o vero moralmente e lo premio o vero la pena a che l'uomo s'obliga vivendo in questa vita per lo libero arbitrio.
(The subject of which the author speaks is, literally, the condition of souls after their separation from the body, and, allegorically or morally, the reward or the penalty to which man, while living in this life, becomes liable through his free decision.)

The part which stands out here as a useful gloss on the expressions of the Can Grande Letter (ofwhich Buti has obviously at least second-hand knowledge) is the phrase 'vivendo in questa vita'. Thus Buti interprets the 'allegory' of the Comedy in terms of the historical relationship which we have made the subject of our present discussion. He sees allegory not so much as a means for extracting speculative, unhistorical sententiae concerning the justice of God from an otherwise worthless husk of a poem, but rather as a means of impressing on the reader life's real liability to judgement. Again and again Buti makes this perfectly clear, if we read him carefully:

Ciò che dice litteralmente dell'inferno, allegoricamente s'intende de' mondani' [i.e. ‘quelli del mondo', those in the world, as on p. 165 of his commentary, and often] che sono viziosi e peccatori.
(That which Dante says literally of Hell is allegorically understood of those in the world who are vicious and sinners.)

Without implying approval of all the methods used by Buti to draw out the allegory, such statements are surely in principle quite undeniable. What Buti says here of the 'allegory' of the Divine Comedy amounts to no more than we ourselves have attempted to show, and without being conscious of using what we would call 'allegory'. Put into modern idiom, Buti is saying only that the souls represent life more vitally than the living themselves for they have had their life brought, by their death, into unmediated confrontation with the ust jjudgement of God. It is hard indeed to see how this interferes with the poem's 'prophetic' character.
And yet this much, when one looks back at the Letter, is surely already implied there. With a clarity of distinction, which seems to me wholly Dantesque, the Letter has souls after death on the one hand, distinguished from, on the other, 'man' exercising 'free will'. Can this imply only that the two senses differ as 'specific' differs from 'general'? Surely not.
But in this case it seems equally unjust to the Letter to see in it an apologetic desire to exalt the allegorical sense at the expense of the literal. The fact that its two senses are distinguished by times, and only by times, like the four senses of the previous paragraph, means that it would be a paradoxical proceeding indeed to go on to attribute to one sense a reality not possessed by the other. For the two are equal and interdependent.
This leads us a step further still. If, as it. is with this view, the ‘allegory’ is constituted precisely by a ‘looking back’ on human existence from death, is it proper to call it ‘allegory' at all? Not, certainly, if we take allegory to mean all that which Nardi means by it. If it were to that 'allegory of the poets' (in which, as Convivio II. I, points out, the literal sense is only a bella menzogna, 'pleasant fiction') that the Letter referred when calling the subject of the poem 'allegorical', it would be a misnomer, quite simply. And, since despite de Lubac's defence of patristic exegetical practices they still often seem, to my mind at least, to involve a cursory, if not contemptuous, regard for the 'letter' of history, so would it be a misnomer if its reference were only to such an allegorizing practice as Origen's. But is this in fact what is meant?
Clearly, the problem here can be resolved finally only by a more careful investigation of the meaning of allegoria and allegoricus in Dante's period than Nardi seems to have made. But even the Letter itself may show how its own understanding of he tertm may accord with the Comedy's practice, and so with the poet's intention, the final court of appeal. For there (§ 7), as. in the Middle Ages generally, the 'theological allegory' which is the find it applies to the poem, defines each sense only (as we have seen) by their historical (or existential) distinction in content. If the one sense (litteralis) is Old Testament history, another (allegoricus) may be part of the history in the New Testament, another (anagogicus) eschatological, and another (moralis) (generally) present. But the literal sense of the text may, obviously, already refer to some later period of history, to an existential situation other than that of Israel - that is, ri to a period or situation which is also the subject of one of the 'mystical' or 'allegorical' senses. In that case, if, as here in the Comedy, the literal sense is eschatological, then any other senses there may be must be (so to speak) 'post-figured', rather than 'pre-figured', but they may still be there, as, in the Comedy, it is clear that at least one of them is, and intentionally. The sensus moralis would still refer to the present life, and the sensus allegoricus to Christ's past life or to life in Christ. Still the mystical senses would be defined by their content, and the content would still be 'historical’. There would still be nothing in the distinction between them to indicate how the mystical senses were to be discovered in, or on departing from, the text. The distinction would only point to the direction, or directions, in which, setting out from the text, they might be sought.
And so far this accords not only with the scholastic but also with traditional (patristic and monastic) habits and views. To recapitulate: the earlier period, as Spicq says, rarely showed interest in strictly hermeneutical problems: sound exegesis was confused with sound doctrine; if the latter were orthodox, the exegesis which mediated between doctrine and textwasjustified by its results. But even in this situation, whether in spite or because of this disregard for the eneral roblems of exegetical method, the various -Hellenistic 'allgorical' methods which were practised (see above, p. 90, for an early example) did not impose themselves on the 'doctrine' or dogmatic statements of the 'three' or 'four senses of scripture'. When, therefore, with the Victorines in the twelfth century, and especially with the great Dominican theologians of the thirteenth, an interest in hermeneutics did arise, the new magistri in theologia were able to incorporate the doctrine and its terminology (i.e. litteralis, allegoricus, moralis, and anagogjcus) without being thereby committed to the doctrine's accidental, if serious, malpractices. The senses were still, by Hugh of St Victor, Bonaventure, and Aquinas, defined by their content. But the typological frame work which this content reflected was now much less (though somewhat, indeed) impaired by arbitrariness or by allegorizing. Instead there was a new respect for the ‘letter', or hisftory, for sound exegesis. All this is now generally recognized, though by few critics of the Commedia. But what has happened in Aquinas' treatment of the four senses of scripture is more revolutionary still, more even (it must be confessed) than Aquinas himself appears to have recognized. In the Summa, and more fully in the Quodlibet, the so-called 'allegorical senses' have for the first time been almost completely detached from the arbitrary methods of 'allegory'. The literal sense is by Aquinas (and before him by Albert the Great) extended, so as henceforth to include all that the human author intended. Meanwhile the other three senses are now comprehensively ordered in a logical interrelation which rests on their mutual relation in the providential action or God. It is possible now, as a consequence of these two facts in combination, to draw out the text's typological inferences, and those of the so-called 'allegorical doctrine', by means of a hermeneutical process which does not include allegory at all. It is possible; and in fact when we look at his treatment of the four senses we find that Aquinas explains them in terms which provide for this only. The 'allegorical' senses as he deals with them all rest apparently only on the providence of God, who has ordered history, as if semantically, to signify his purpose. And their interpretation, given faith, is on that account still akin to the literal interpreting f thoe words of a human writer: the aim is still to discover the intended meaning of the author. That is why, though he does not call these interpretations literal, he can still call them 'senses': Auctor sacrae Scripturae est Deus.'
Thus, the 'allegorical’ connection between the distinct senses of Scripture has been effectively replaced, though the term 'allegorical' is retained, by a dialectical one. For history here is recognized as in God's providence itself qialectical.
And surely, in the Commedia, a similar relation has produced closely sim lar results. In the individuals life and death, which after all form part of history, past and present are recognized as dialectically interrelated; and the expression of their relation is, in the Comedy, dialectical in turn. By means of reference and implication, by the language, gesture, and bearing of individual souls, the light of eschatology is cast back on historical life: the future is made to involve the present, the past is fulfilled in the future. In this respect, surely, Nardi is right to call the poem a work of prophecy.
And when we look back once again at the Letter to Can Grande now a single phrase seems to stand out: 'duplex oportet esse subiectum, circa quad currant alterni sensus'. It is a curious phrase, hard enough to translate, harder still to accept as a natural expression for the operations of the 'allegory' which the 'poets' (or for that matter the pre-scholastic and even scholastic theologians in practice) use - the kind of allegory to which Nardi, and others, understand the Letter to refer. 'Around which the alternative senses play' is the hallowed English rendering, and perhaps it is the best. But however we may look at it the phrase is hardly a straightforward one; still less is it a cliche borrowed from the commonplace books of exegetical terminology. In the last resort, perhaps, the dialectical interplay of the Comedy's twofold (historical and eschatological) subject forces its critic, like the author of the Letter, to use only indirect and suggestive means to describe the poem's existential structure.

2. Dante and the aesthetes: the typology of death

The Letter to Can Grande is quite decided as to the branch of philosophy to which the Comedy belongs: that of ethics.

§16. Genus vero philosophie sub quo hie in toto et parte proceditur, est morale negotium, sive ethica; quia non ad speculandum, sed ad opus incoeptum est totum. Nam si in aliquo loco vel passu pertractatur ad modum speculativi negotii, hoc non est gratia speculativi negotii, sed gratia operis.

In this instance, at least, there is no reason for disputing the letter's agreement with the poet's intention. Even the earlier poems (or some of them), according to Dante's reference to them in the De vulgari eloquentia (n. 2), are concerned with rectitudo, or, as is also said, with directio voluntatis, the 'rightness', or more probably 'righting', of the will; it is hard to deny that the Comedy shows a like concern. The seriousness of this aim and intensity of its pursuit make it all but impossible to take the poema sacro as merely a representation of what Dante saw or claims to have seen in the 'beyond'. It is rather that this representation itself is to be a means of righting the will, of bringing about change of life. The description of Dante's journey is for us, as in the poem the journey itself is for him, a way of effecting that change.
In nothing is the Divina Commedia as close to the Bible as in its ‘application' of typology for this purpose. But its typological structure, which has the after-life as the primary narrative subject, is peculiarly its own. The state of souls after death here I makes their earthly life seem a prolepsis of their present condition and place. By the same token the world appears in its I judged representatives as already submitted to judgement, liable already to reward and punishment ('iustitie premiandi et puniendi'). And the implication, or application, of this for the reader is that the poem is alling chim to realize his own liability in the face of the judgement presented, to expose himself to that judgement, tq take stock of, with anxiety. We are in a realm for which Heidegger's terminology might have been specially created. ‘Das Sein zum Tode', though nuanced in its Christian context in such a way as to lay the stress upon its aspect as 'being towards judgement', that is, taking up a responsible stance in view of the judgement, is precisely the theme of the Comedy's 'double subject'. The poem's altogether systematic 'exposure' of the reader to death provides pro f of its uthaor's being aware, like Heidegger, that the individual in his everyday life, and man in general (i.e. 'das Man', the impersonal pronoun personified) tries to ignore and evade the reality of death, and has to be awakened to an 'authentic' understanding of the seriousness of his historical existence. And just as for Heidegger the existential realization by the individual that death, and even his death, is 'not to be outstripped' makes 'authentic' existence possible, so for Dante; the der reais required to see his own death and his own judgement in the death and judgement of the real people that are represented here; and thus to live according to the promptings of that anticipating insight, that 'fore-having' ('Vorhabe').
The motif itself, 'think on thy latter end', was, of course, a religious commonplace throughout the Middle Ages; and even the idea of the good life as a 'fore-having', a proleptic death, is by o means nunusual. Gregory the Great had said, 'qui enim considerat qualis erit in morte, semper sit timid us in operatione', and he added: 'Perfecta enim vita est mortis imitatio, quam dum iusti sollicite peragunt, culparum laqueos evadunt.' It is not therefore the counsel itself that is remarkable in Dante, for his counsel is, besides, organically related to the command of the prophets to live eschatological existence, and of St Paul to 'realize' one's own eschatology by dying and rising with Christ. Rather it is the extreme power of this counsel's presentation, and specifically of its presentation through the technique of typology.
For by making his shades 'alive' with their human character undiminished, and with real names, well-known names (cf. Par. XVII. 136-8), attached to them, Dante has taken a bold step already. But he has presented them as dead too, inescapably: they no longer have what is essential to Dasein, real human being: they are without a future, without, in Heidegger's termsonce - more, 'something still outstanding which they can and will be'. Their death is the direct subject, and only through death is life seen. But it is seen; life and death are shown as typologically related. And plainly, to the reader, but none the less mysteriously, by this further step Dante has poetically opened the way to a fuller experience of one's own death in the death of others than is naturally possible, or has ever elsewhere been poetically achieved.
Obviously the reader's part in all this is important. To whom much is given much is required, in this case as in others. The reader, or critic, must of course judge for himself the value of'right will' in the form or forms it takes in Dante's work, and judge the value also of the particular allegiances of Dante. But at least he should always be aware that the Comedy does have this serious concern, that its composition, as the Can Grande letter says, both as a whole and in all of its parts, was undertaken for practical resu!ts ('gratia operis', §16): finis totius et partis est removere viventes in hac vita de status miserie et perducere ad statum felicitatis' (§ 15). It is hard at first, certainly, to take such statements seriously, even if we think they represent the intention of the author. They are after all the kind of statements which are often met in medieval and renaissance prefaces: a kind which we associate with didacticism, and often a didacticism which is wished upon the work - sometimes, as with Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, after its completion - to suit contemporary literary-critical ideals.
But even in that genre these statements are unusually ambitious. For that reason, too, it is hard to take them seriously. For to recognize the Comedy as Christian and having moral aims is one thing, but to see it as essentially Christian and to take its moral aims as of its innermost nature is another. It is as a poem primarily, that it exists for us today; and poetry is not often thought of, as the Letter thinks of this poem, as (in a sense much stricter and more intense than Osgood's) a possible means of grace, with Christianity and Christian ethics able decisively to modify its whole mode of communication as well as forming a large part of the work's 'subject'.
Yet neither, even in Dante's time, was it easy to think of poetry in these terms. The Letter's statements are no less remarkable for their extreme ambition, in that period. The poets, Alain de Lille and Dante's contemporary, Albertino Mussato, were exceptional in attributing to poetry a close association with theology; but the scholastic theologians repudiated these suggestions of alliance, although these poets did not claim so much as Dante, or the author of the Letter, for their work: there is no hint, on either side of the controversy, that poetry could be a means of grace. For such a claim to come into existence a new kind of poetry, would be needed - and, perhaps, a new kind of reader.
But despite the paradox involved here, and despite the ambiguity of its status, between poetry, theology, allegory and prophecy, the Comedy is this new poetry, fusing, for the reader who attends to it, all four. Basically, despite its narrative's compounding of extraordinary occurrence and extraordinary phenomena, it is an existential communication, a communication from and to existence as we know it, and as such it should be taken.
I intend, then, in the remainder of this chapter, to substantiate these claims as they require; and, preferring to concentrat_e for the moment on the existential character of the Comedy, I shall generally leave the relevance of this 'character' to the poem's typology, and vice versa, to be inferred from the flanking chapters. Here, one explanatory word, or one jotting, may be enough. In the Comedy, as in the Bible, the existentiality of its address to the readers, the poem's whole urgency and its seriousness, provide the context in which its use of typology should be seen. Typology is used, as it may best be, existentially; it works in the poem, as the fundamentally biblical kind of typology always does, towards criticism, towards revaluation, metanoia. For to express 'grace' (i.e. to report an act of grace) which is the task of such typology-means to express that which will come as a surprise, as ihe cause of revaluation. And it is so, too, with judgement, which typology also expresses and which also is a 'surprise'.
We shall see this with Dante the character, through his encounter, in Infero V, with Francesca da Rimini - an episode which all who know Dante know well (and which most of these who write write on), but which also, because of this familiarity and because of its comparative self-containedness, holds out for our purpose one great advantage: it is strangely well able, or liable, to reveal the ultimate tendencies of the various critical standpoints from which he comedy has been judged.
One such standpoint - or perhaps a group of standpoints is particularly relevant. Its presuppositions are precisely antithetical to those of the Letter to Can Grande, and, as I believe the scene itself will show, to Dante's method of poetic communication and his aim. There can hardly be a better name for this standpoint (which is not peculiar to critics) than 'aesthete', for it seems to have connections with several of the normally divergent meanings of the term. But the precise sense will appear as we proceed.
The standpoint is typified by a wide range of critics, which makes the selection of two somewhat arbitrary. But the two are each representative. First, there is Foscolo, whose tender description of Francesca represents romantic criticism of a kind common in the last century: 'Her fault is purified by the ardour of her passion, and truthfulness beautifies her confession of desire.' But en passant, is it truth that is its beauty, or is it that its beauty is taken by Foscolo for truth? This is subjective criticism which tells us more about its propagandist than about Francesca. And second there is Benedetto Croce, who is now, still, more influential, and is more subtle: rightly seeing that Dante's sentiments are not unmixed within this scene, he considers it one of the moments in the Commedia when the 'mistero della giustizia divina' contradicts the sentimento etico umano'. He can praise Dante for sometimes making us aware of such contradictions - Dante then is a poet - and blame him when sometimes he doesn't - and then 'ripiglia il moralista' (the moralist takes over) ‘e anzi il teologo', while, we infer, the poet stands in abeyance.
These would both serve to represent for us the idea of the aesthete as critic. And they are both open to attack, for by the standards of a more objective criticism, and a steadier regard for the poem as it stands, Croce and Foscolo are wrong and wrong precisely here: looked at objectively, Francesca is plausible rather than admirable; she demonstrably - for one can see it in her speeches - subjugates reason to appetite and passion (Inf V. 39); it is her own incomprehension that makes her fate seem so perverse (v. 93); and it is surely because of, not in spite of, this passion, this incomprehension, and perhaps this plausibility, that her bid for pity is so strong. Much of our pity for her is the echo of her pity for herself. And similarly, our surprise at her judgement by Dante reflects and is conditioned by her surprise at her judgement by God. We must return to this vital point later. Our present concern is the 'aesthete'.
Yet discussion of the 'aesthete' as critic uncovers only a part of the present relevance of the 'aesthetic': a consideration of Canto V in the light of these criticisms can hardly fail to suggest that Dante himself is the 'aesthete', the archetype of these critics. I refer to the 'Dante-personaggio'; not the poet of the Commedia, but the traveller as we find him in this canto.

Poscia ch' io ebbi ii mio dottore udito
nomar le donne antiche e i cavalieri,
pietà mi giunse, e fui quasi smarrito.

(After I had heard my master name the ladies and knights of antiquity, pity assailed me, and I was almost lost.)
(vv. 70-2)

We note first how 'literary' is the quality of the romanticism to which Dante here responds. The lines quoted witness the strength of this response, and considering that what he has had from Virgil is little more than a catalogue of names it is strong indeed. And it seems to me that no other hypothesis so well explains its strength, and fits the facts recorded as this, that the very names, Semiramis, Dido, Cleopatra, Helen, Achilles, Paris, Tristan, evoke for Dante a whole world of romantic literature, and, definitely, literature. The quoted lines themselves drive home the point by the phrase, 'le donne antiche e i cavalieri', with its peculiar redolence of the chivalric romance accentuating once again the 'literary' element in these people's appeal. The nearest equivalent for us is Shakespeare's

When in the chronicle of wasted time
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,

And beauty making beautiful old rhyme
In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights.

For here explicitly, as in Dante implicitly, the romance exists on a 'literary' level; there is no immediacy, only distancing, for the 'ladies' are' dead' just as Dante's 'donne' are 'antiche'; in properly human terms the poet has no connection with them. And Dante's pieta' is conditioned by that distancing; the literature has so filled his head with romantic notions that he is ‘quasi smarrito', lost', as at first (Inf. I. 3).
Nor is that all. We are now faced with a passage of the literature which produces these apparent symptoms of Romanticism. As literature it is excellent: Dante at least attributes to his earlier self good taste. But by the end of Francesca's recitation he is not merely 'quasi smarrito ', but absolutely so:

di pietade
io venni men così com'io morisse,
e caddi come corpo morte cade.

(Out of pity I became faint, as if dying, and I fell down, as a dead body falls.)

We can see the stages. Already his call to the lovers is 'affettuoso ', tender; and Francesca, when she comes in response to his cry, couches her exordium in a vein of gracious courtly compliment. There are dissident factors - 'l'aere perso' ('the black air') (v. 89), ‘mal perverso' ('perverse fate') (v. 93) - and of these Francesca's words take cognizance, treating the facts of her situation, however, as if they essentially did not belong to her, as if she were out of place here. Instead, the manner, the style, of her speech invite us to see the situation as extrinsic to those who are in it, to see them as not of its essence:

O animal grazioso e benigno,
che visitando vai per l'aere perso
noi che tignemmo il mondo di sanguigno,

se fosse amico il re dell'universo
noi pregheremmo lui della tua pace
poi c'hai pieta del nostro mal perverso.

(O gracious and benign creature who goes through the black air visiting us who stained the world with blood, if the king of the universe were more kindly disposed to us we should pray him for your peace, because you feel pity for our perverse fate.)
(vv. 88-93)

The proper setting for this gracious period is the court, or perhaps the walled garden, where the interests of the' gentle' heart may be pursued at leisure; and the illusory atmosphere of such a context is intensified as Francesca continues in the accent of Guinizelli and of Dante himself, the love poet of the dolce stil nuovo:

Amor, ch' al cor gentil ratto s'apprende...

(Love, that is quickly apprehended by the gentle heart.)
(v. 100)

With the threefold iteration of 'amor' at the beginning of consecutive terzine the lulling and soothing process is continued and intensified again. Not surprisingly, Dante, whose part in the changed situation which her words conjure is, as it were, already written for him by Francesca (cf. vv. 89 f., 93), responds in the way required of him. 'China' il viso' ('I lowered my face, v. 110):

O lasso,
quanti dolci pensier, quanto disio
meno costoro al doloroso passo!

(Alas! how many sweet thoughts, and what fervour, must have led them to their sad fall.)
(vv. 112-14)

And his pitying response is all the more apt, dramatically, because he is responding to ideals that were at any rate closely related to, or were actually, or (at the fictitious time of the journey) are, his own: the whole scene, as Nardi has said, is 'un episodio stilnovista'. And with Dante respond Croce and Foscolo, though with less reason. But the fact remains, nonetheless, that it is fundamentally a purely 'literary', 'poetic', ‘aesthetic', ideal, for Dante as much as for them. It is literary, it is of the realm of fancy, but they think it true. And above all, at least for the moment, Dante the traveller thinks it true. Amor is irressible when it comes to the gentle heart: ‘Amor…a nullo amato amar perdona' ('Love does not tolerate one loved not to love in return') (v. 103).
But there is a change now. The position has been that Francesca acts as romantic (or romanticizing) literature upon Dante, and makes of him, like herself, an 'aesthete'. But in her next speech (v. 121-38) she takes over his present part, or rather, since it is a recollection and in the past tense, she tells how she and Paolo came to this ‘doloroso passo’ precisely by the means which now lead Dante to the point of tears. 'Noi leggiavamo ' - it was literature - di Lancialotto come amor lo strinse’ - and romantic literature at that ('We were reading how love constrained Lancelot') (vv. 127 f.). But they took it for life. They translated it, or tried to translate it, into the sphere of existence. And they found that the amorality of the love in the book became immorality in existence. The reason why it is so is not stated. All that Francesca does state is that the book and its author was 'Galeotto', a pandar, a go-between.
But therefore, on the strength of her own 'literary pathos', so has Francesca been a 'Galeotto', to our traveller, our archetypal aesthete. Or at least so she has been if he will not see the parallel between her reaction to Lancelot and his reaction to her. And would not the logic of the situation lead us on, to say further, of Croce and Foscolo, that if they do not see this parallel they make not of her alone but of Dante the poet a pandar, a ' Galeotto'?

From this point the concept of the 'aesthetic' seems to deepen, and to blend with the 'aesthetic' category of Kierkegaard. This 'category', or 'stadium' (to use Kierkegaard's word), denotes a rootless, uncommitted, existence, without fundamental 'seriousness'. 'Rootless' because it does not relate itself in any vital way to its environment, to life as it is, to 'existence' conceived as (in Heidegger's terms) In-der-Weltsein or Da-sein, human 'being in the world', 'being there'. This we see in the case of Francesca, and in the traveller's case it is a real danger. And 'uncommitted' because it does not have an end, a purpose, except the illusory one of attaining to a sublime but fancied freedom from ethic or duty, seizing instead only upon the elusive pleasure of the moment. This is seen, in Francesca's case, in the illusory amorality of her 'literary' world.
For the kind of sublimity which Francesca possesses, even in our eyes, consists precisely in her rejection of the ethical, her refusal of responsibility in the world. Francesca made this refusal on earth, and she does so even now, in Hell, speaking in a way which disguises her culpability from her hearers too. For 'she tells the story of her vicissitudes in the most general terms' - in her first speech especially. She words it in the fixed and consecrated formulas of courtly love, 'tending to relate her experience to a generic and impersonal situation, and striving by this means to explain and justify it, to transfer the cause of her first impulse to sin away from the specific responsibility of the individual to a plane where a transcendent and irresistible, force is responsible - Love'.

Hence [Sapegno continues] the elaborate structure of her discourse, both from the formal point of view - with its studied internal correspondence and the repeated use, at three points, of a single grammatical subject which does not coincide with the real subject of the actions expressed (and aims, rather, to distract the listener's attention from that real subject: the persons of the lovers) - and also on the conceptual level, on which, by referring each act of the drama to a declared or assumed doctrinal norm, her discourse is transformed into a kind of urgent syllogism which, from determined logical premises, leads as if by necessity to a foreseeable conclusion, independently of the wills of the particular agents.

Thus this facet too of the 'aesthetic' individual, the evasion of responsibility, is noticeable in Francesca. And certainly, for Dante, it is a moral, not a natural, fault, it is immoral not amoral behaviour; so long as man has his reason he is called to be 'serious', to know good and evil and choose the good as his telos, his will's end.
Here, then, is what today we should call an 'existential category' applying quite ell two Francesca and no doubt to others of the inhabitants of Danis femo. But the mere presence of existential categories in the poem was never in doubt; for the divisions been e ree resthts of the afterlife, as well as the divisions within them, themselves represent categories of existence: so much our last section showed. Neither that nor even the presence of people who, accidentally, fit into categories created by existentialist thinkers would, by itself, show the poem to be, in the other sense of the word, 'existential (existenziell, that is, as distinct from existenzial’). And it follows, too, that an interpretation of the poem is not to be called 'existential' merely on account of its using or demonstrating the presence of such categories.
But the Comedy does, I believe, demand such interpretation, and our preliminary discussion of 'aestheticism', in terms of both 'critics' and 'categories', may help to make plain that demand.
It is clear, first, that although we may speak of the subjectiveness of the 'aesthetic' interpretation of Francesca, it would be misleading to locate the fault strictly there. It is not subjectivity itself so much as its direction that is wrong. It has fastened on the wrong object, and has failed to take account of the episode's own self-criticism, as it appears, for example, in the soul's context and characterization. The interpretation corresponds, plainly, to something real in the Dante-personaggio's attitude, and it corresponds, too, to Francesca's understanding of herself. But it is not, as it pretends, an interpretation of the scene as a whole, and the actors themselves are only properly understood in that context. Fundamentally, the fault here is not subjectivity, but rather a lack of seriousness; the attention given to the poem is 'aesthetic' rather than 'human'. But to this fault ostensibly objective criticism can lead equally.
Of this J.H. Whitfield sometimes seems guilty. He remarks that all those human passions which one critic (Montano) had indignantly repudiated as gross inventions of De Sanctis are allowed (by the same critic) to return surreptitiously (' but also', says Whitfield, 'maybe triumphantly') 'as the possessions of Dante-character and Dante-peccatore'. (Why this is a criticism of Montano it is hard to see.) 'And', Professor Whitfield continues, 'we may be, even if mistakenly, more interested in the peccant Dante than in the end-result.'
Now what Whitfield says here is right. One could even go further. We may be more interested, and are even (since how many of us do not recognize a part of ourselves in these 'aesthetes'?) likely, at first sight, thus to be more interested, because more involved. And we may be forgiven for this - I believe, indeed, Dante intends it. We may be forgiven if we repent, if, that is to say, our involvement is only 'at first sight', as with the Dante-personaggio it is.
But the tone of Whitfield's remark is not so easy to agree with. The phrase 'even if mistakenly' suggests that the interest he posits here is not an involvement; or rather, that one may persist in one's preference for the peccant Dante without Whitfield's considering it a serious enough 'mistake' to need rectifying. Either, therefore, it is not really so wrong because these 'human passions' are not really so evil as Dante (or Montano) would have us believe; or it is not so wrong because - quite apart from the question whether they are evil or not Dante does not present, or at any rate he does not attract us to, a viable alternative. In the first case, the criticism of Dante is (theoretically) ethical; in the second (theoretically), literary. In practice, however, Whitfield does not very clearly distinguish them. He contents himself with the mixture, the issue is clouded, and we are persuaded that the human passions of Dante have returned triumphantly indeed. At the end of his lecture Whitfield is able to refer back to near the beginning: 'Did we not see, in starting, that Dante's humility is in Inferno I, and is suspect, while his pride is shown in Paradiso, and is genuine? This is an opposite paradigm to Montano's.'
Now this is, on the face of it, objective criticism. It is objective, at all events, if one leaves out of consideration the moral element in it - as we shall, for, after all, Whitfield does not commit himself to it. And as such we may deal with this at the same time as we deal with another (again, on the face of it) objective criticism, that of G. Tromba tore-a criticism that is (more than Montano's) 'an opposite paradigm' to Whitfield's. Trombatore was not involved with Francesca even at first sight. He saw her, evidently at once, as 'the demoniac woman who employs her fair person, her sensual charms, to bemuse the virtue of the gentle heart and lead it to perdition'.
But this is not what Kierkegaard would call 'inwardness'. It is not even, I should say, sensitive. It misses the point of the episode, and, in a sense, of the Comedy-by self-knowledge to see and reject the 'aesthetic' life of Francesca. This deserves stressing: by self-knowledge, not merely by knowing the fault of Francesca. Our subjectivity must be involved, and involved by both pity and fear. For we see ourselves in Francesca, as Dante saw himself, and must therefore pity her. And we should also see through ourselves, as we look at her, to what will be our end, if our self-identification with her persists, and are therefore invited to fear. But Trombatore does not pity, and I it seems as if Whitfield does not fear. And neither of them so ' much as seems to realize that it is the Comedy's intention that they should, that the reading that the Comedy requires is an active and dramatic one, that the reader is supposed to be changed.
I repeat: it is the Comedy, and not my doctrine or y doc- m trinaireness, that demands this subjectivity, this 'inwardness', and change. I ts own 'aesthetic' in the philosophical sense, its own 'poetic', is an existential one. We can see this in action in this· same canto, where, in rejecting Francesca, Dante plainly rejects too the philosophical aesthetic of the courtly love convention and its poetry, and rejects it as 'aesthetic' in Kierkegaard's sense, because it claims for its elite a freedom from the moral law which governs those outside. And in place of this Dante evolves, and practises, an existential poetic whose aim is to bring the reader to the point of change, of repentance, the point at which he may (if he will) commit himself to a real ethico-religious Christian existence in the context of a history that has been transformed by grace.
An analogue for this poetic, as it exists in the Francesca episode, can be found in a wholly different kind of work, Thomas Mann's short novel, Death in Venice.
Again - to note the more obvious parallels first - it is concerned with a death upon the shores of the Adriatic, and again it is a kind of damnation. Moreover, it is a damnation which is closely bound up with an aesthetic in the strict philosophical sense, and with the deceptive danger of an aesthetic which turns its back upon knowledge - in Francesca's case, the knowledge of good and evil, of individual responsibility, and, in the case of the writer Gustav von Aschenbach, knowledge of the immoral and daemonic tendency of the creative principle. Aschenbach's art is Apollonian, it is all discipline, willed control, ordered and composed, and it celebrates a humanistic moral triumph over the Dionysian abyss: 'explicitly (Aschenbach) renounces sympathy with the abyss, explicitly he refutes the flabby humanitarianism of the phrase: "tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner".
And Thomas Mann's own involvement in this is real. As in the Comedy, there is an 'appropinquation' or assimilation of the protagonist (end I mean here Francesca) and the author. Francesca speaks like one of Dante's own poems; Dante, as it were, breathes something of himself into her. And Aschenbach's literary output has a palpable relation to Mann's, and his 'aesthetic' is at least one element in Mann's, a possible development of Mann's, as Francesca's is an element and a possible development of Dante's.
Death in Venice is, on one level, the work of that 'possible' Thomas Mann. Its style, like Aschenbach's, is classical, imperturbable, Apollonian, existing in an ordered, if simplified, moral ethos which has no truck with the abyss.
But the story told in the style, the story of Aschenbach, conflicts with the style and with Aschenbach's classical temper, telling of the fever-ridden, hectic dream-world, world and/or dream, which Aschenbach enters as he comes to Venice. And this hectic element, the plague-it is Asiatic cholera, a secret hidden behind the ornate surface of the city-and the moral disorder, the moral and physical decomposition hidden behind the composed classical style of the esteemed protagonist, these together are the abyss, the swampy jungle of his fitful daynightmare, and he cannot cope with them, they are outside his scope. But they now fascinate him, aesthetically, and he succumbs to their fascination, hiding from himself the common and cliched quality of this lure and its fatal 'end', disguising it in the unreal, mythological style of his thought-as Thomas Mann does by the style of the prose.
But there is a difference, despite the 'appropinquation' that signals involvement. Thomas Mann, unlike Aschenbach, is conscious of the 'desperate' direction of the style. By objectifying the danger he is able to elude it. In the realm of Dante poetics we must reckon with the ossibilii ofsimilar behaviour: as here, when Dante's old style, the dolce stil novo, at east in Francesca's first speech, is identified with Francesca's, and Dante-personaggio is so 'involved' that he 'swoons'... 'di pietade'. It is a deceptive and dangerous style, and Francesca and the traveller are deceived by it. But the poet, like Thomas Mann, rejects it. It has been dramatically re-assumed, but he is now beyond it, and sees through it to its end in despair, in damnation.

It is time to draw threads together and reach a conclusion. T'he critique of aestheticism is, I believe, for Dante, a means to an end. Here perhaps is the first and fundamental point of comparison between Kierkegaard and Dante. The aim in each case is that of 'becoming a Christian' when all men think themselves Christians, of 'becoming a Christian... when one is a Christian of a sort'. Speaking of the Concluding Unscientific Postscript Kierkegaard says, 'this work concerns itself with and sets the Problem", which is the problem of the whole authorship: how to become a Christian'. And he elaborates this: Having appropriated the whole pseudonymous, aesthetic work as the description of one way a person may take to become a Christian (viz. away from the aesthetical in order to become a Christian), it undertakes to describe the other way (viz. Away from the System, from speculation, etc., in order to become a Christian).’
And Dante asks, 'how may I become a Christian?', and asks his readers to ask it. For this reason Dante the poet deliberately engages us, with his traveller, in the 'human passions' of the Inferno, to the end that he may 'find us where we are", and not only find, but show us where we are, to show us with complete moral seriousness what he claims is the teleology of the existence in which we are. 'In quo medio doctrinat nos moraliter in persona sui", as Dante's son Pietro says in connection with another part of the Inferno, 'debere aperire oculos mentis ad videndum ubi sumus, an in recta via ad patriam, aut non.' Probably it would be going too far if we said that Dante proposes, by turns, this or that circle, this or that 'state of soul', for us to recognize and assent to as our telos, the liable state of our soul. The inspiriting concerns of the poetry are more various, and more complex; the poetry's art, its techniques and channels of access to us, are not so monotonous or so streamlined and (so to speak) super-marketed as that kind of statement suggests. But if the statement can point to a truth deserving of emphasis, a factor which needs facing up to, we may allow it, duly qualified, to stand. For the truth is that the Comedy has at least 'such a' deliberately and radically critical tendency as it suggests. The poem does aim, and persistently, to provoke the reader into implicit self-criticism. A.N. Wilder remarks of the stories in the New Testament that 'they “put us on the spot..” Our consciences must stand and deliver.' It is so, repeatedly, with the Commedia. It is assiduous in the attempt to bring us to know ourselves, and to know ourselves, here in the Inferno especially, as committed in this way or that to a sinful existence. For such knowledge is one precondition for repentance.
Away, then, from aesthetics by showing the end of aesthetics, which, Dante and Kierkegaard agree, is despair: 'Las,ate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.' And if the truly desperate are often, like Francesca, quite unconscious of a despair with which they are now unendingly at one, the despair to which Dante introduces us and whicli he induces in us is one which on the contrary does know and admit its own existence, and from which, therefore, we may be delivered. Away from aesthetics, through despair, to life as a Christian. This is the movement in Kierkegaard's work and the context of his counsel f despairo: I counsel you to despair... not as a comfort, not as a condition l in which you are to remain, but as a deed which requires all the power and seriousness and concentration of the soul, just as 'surely as it is my conviction, my victory over the world, that every man who has not tasted the bitterness of despair has missed the significance of life.' The Inferno illuminates these words, and they in turn light up the Infi17!0, for which they might serve as a motto. 'For here', Dante can say, 'is my victory over the world. I counsel you to despair... if you would wish to join in it with me.' Then, after the victory, despair only remains as something abolished, like the memory of in aftesr, passing through Eunoe.
But if despair is the negative side of the Comedy's existential intention, it needs still a positive side to be presented and shown (as I said somewhat earlier) to be a viable alternative. Despair may be the precondition of repentance, but it does not itself effect repentance. Repentance is made possible only by the sight of something better, of a better way and one within our reach.
For the penitent's self-knowledge is not only what we know when we experience our death and judgement 'conditionally' in (for example) Francesca's: the knowledge of ourselves as doomed by sin. It must include also the knowledge ofa future possibility, one which attracts us more strongly than sin. And if we take the Letter to Can Grande at its word, when it says that the aim of the work is to 'remove the living in this life from misery to happiness, to effect therefore the change of existence which takes place in conversion, it must also be a part of the poem's existential aim to give the reader knowledge of that future possibility, to attract him and direct him towards 'blessing'.
We should expect, therefore, the Comedy, like the Bible, to contain alongside the typology of rejection, culminating in despair, a typology of conversion which points, and perhaps directs the will, to salvation.

3. Prophecy and the typology of redemption

As we should expect, the new knowledge and the new scope of authentic Christian existence - the new, other, possibility for the will's choice comes fo its natural expression in the Purgatorio and Paradiso, just as in the realms of the after-life which they depict the new scope itself reaches its final fulfilment. For as we have seen, in all three cantiche a type of life in death presents itself as the fulfilling, in reward, purgation, puni shment, of the soul's historical habitus; and as the Infemo shows, and vividly, the moral teleology of decisions made for evil, so the Inferno's successors show something at least of the process towards fulfilment and then the very fulfilment itself, this movement and this attainment both issuing from decisions made on earth for good. The address to the reader of this aspect of the structure of the Comedy might be the defiant pronouncement found in Deuteronomy:' See-I have set before you this day life and good or death and evil' (Deut. 30. 15) - a kind of 'take it orleave it'.
Nevertheless, if this were all, the poem would (so far as it is viewed as 'address') consist of nothing more than a series of exempla, which, like those in Purgatorio (the 'whip' and the 'bit'), though they may encourage a will once resolved, would not often by themselves (as Dante well knows, cf. Purg. xIv. 143-7) effect a change in the will's disposition. By however non - didactic means it were presented, it would be didache and not kerygma: it would in fact be law, not gospel. For o shotw the better way is one thing; to convince a soul in misery that it is viable is quite another. So here: the fixed wills of the souls permit an echo to be heard of the soul's life while its will was changeable, and in the Purgatorio this echo still sometimes recaptures something of the tenuousness and hardship of the movement into Christian existence. But it is only something of the ardhship. In the nature of things there is a gulf set between these souls and us. The news of their conversion is less immediately experienced than their present slate in bliss or (at least) safety. A certain surprise mingles occasionally with the joy of the Dante-character when he meets someone whom he had known and loved on earth and finds him here and safe (Nino Visconti, for example-' Giudice Nin gentil' of Purg. VII - and Forese); but though by such surprises as this the wonder of God's grace is expressed, and its accessibility, a further mediating principle is needed if this accessibility is to be demonstrated to the point of being 'gospel', or if, as the Can Grande letter claims, the presentation is perceptibly and perhaps critically to influence the reader's choice.
This is one main purpose of the living Dante's journey in the poem. The journey itself is the alternative to sin and judgerent shown not as a fait accompli but as in feri. Gradually, but from the very start and with ever greater clarity, Dante reveals this journey to us as salvation coming into being', as the image of conversion. This is 'gospel' in a way the fait accompli of the souls in Paradise can never be. Through the tale of how a man, and one such as the Dante whom we see at the beginning, has been enabled to attain to his salvation, salvation's viability for others, or for all, is claimed, is clarified, and is made palpable. At least under this aspect, Dante the character is the reader's representative, the reader's grounds for hope.
Right through the narrative the Dante-personaggio is, as any reader will confirm, human, and convincingly. His actions and his words arise naturally and spontane_ously: out of event and from personality. Moreover, not only in Inferno V and I, but right hrtough the poem, at least up to the moment at which Virgil 'crowns and mitres him over himself' (Purg. XXVII. 142) and perhaps even after that (cf. Purg. XXXII. 9 and Par. XVI. 13-15), he is essentially and continually: liable to sin. The socalled Ottimo Commento makes the dual point, laconically enough, in its 'proemio':

Ed e da no tare, che Dante pone se in forma comune d'uomo..., e d'uomo, dico, intento nelle sensualitadi di questo mondo, inchinato ad esse: o vero se in forma del libero arbitrio, inchinante alle sensualitadi.

(And it is to be noticed that Dante puts himself in the common likeness of man..., and of man who is, at that, intent upon the sensualities of this world, and inclined to them - or rather, in view of his free will, inclining to the sensualities.)

And again, unlike the souls, Dante's journey figures a process rather than a state, a process moreover begins aria which eras 'our life' ('nostra vita', noteworthily, in Inf. I. 1) - and begins with mortal danger. The threat to Dante's life is both physical and -since he is dying, if the threat is realized, in the status miserie, the state of sin - also, spiritual. He has lost the straight way (Inf I. 3) - there is no means of telling how,

tant'era pieno di sonno a quel punto
che la verace via abbandonai

(so full of slumber was I at the moment of abandoning the true way)
(vv. 11 f.);

and when (v. 2) he comes to himself and sees the 'better way', he finds that vice impedes his taking it: he is still in danger, and unable to save himself. When Virgil comes upon him, he is rushing downhill ('in basso loco', v. 61), and his cry, with its allusive Latin and the undiscriminating vocative, 'miserere di me..., qual che tu sii' (have mercy on me, whoever you may be', vv. 65 f.), expresses the extreme spiritual desperation of a man to whom the source of his help now is irrelevant so long only as help comes.
Already then, in the middle of life and theoretically therefore (cf. Conv. IV. 23), at the height of his powers, Dante is close to death and threatened by it. The wood is

lo passo
che non lascio già mai persona viva,

(the pass that no-one ever left alive)
(Inf. I. 26 f.);

and Virgil describes the she-wolf as

'questa bestia' (che)...
non lascia altrui passar per la sua via,
ma tanto lo 'mpedisce che l'uccide.

(the beast (which) lets no-one pass this way, but so harasses them that she kills them.)

The gravity of Dante's situation is disclosed by indirect means also. The linguistic connection between the Comedy's first line and the words ofHezekiah-'In dimidio dierum meorum vadam ad portas inferi' (Isa. 38. 10) - is plain. But the relevance of these words, as F. Montanari points out, lies in the fact that there is a closeness of contextual relation too. Hezekiah is also in 'mezzo del cammin di nostra vita' (Inf. 1. 1). His 'sickness unto death', moreover, has the character of a sentence passed on him by God, not merely a death in the course of nature.
Similarly, Dante, as the reported dialogue between Virgil and Beatrice indicates, has had sentence already passed upon him (Inf. II. 96). His saving, then, like Hezekiah's, is a sovereign act of grace, suspending the judgement to which he is liable, and at the last moment snatching him from the gates of hell. Virgil is sent as heaven's instrument of salvation, and Dante's death is postponed. 3 But the postponement is only of 'essential' death. The altro viaggio' (the other journey') (If. I. 91) which Dante ' must take, bears, itself, the closest relation to death: it is, in an almost literal sense, a 'fore-having', a prolepsis. Dante is to experience everything in death except his own death as some: thing finally now bringing his life to an end. An anticipation is substituted for fulfilment.
But the fulfilment which Dante anticipates by this journey is, as is apparent from the manner of its initiation in heaven, no longer the death to which he was hitherto tending. It is a ‘fore-having’ whose purpose, so far as Dante himself is concerned, is to change his death from death in sin to death in grace, to effect conversion. There is no other way - so far has Dante gone along the 'via non vera' (Purg. XXX. 130) - to bring him back 'upon the 'verace via' (Inf. I. 12):

Tanto giù cadde, che tutti argomenti
alla salute sua eran già corti,
fuor che mostrarli le perdute genti.

(He fell so far as to be past all remedy save that of showing him the lost souls.)
(Purg. XXX. 136-8)

Et sic auctor noster [writes Pietro] descendit ad infernum iuvenis, et in medio camini ipsius vitae..., ut eis probabiliter abominatis moriens non vadet ad essentialem infernum.

Dante is himself exposed to death, and the reader through him, not, then, ultimately in order to produce despair, but to make his redemption possible. Repeatedly, in the Purgatorio, we hear said directhisly by the Dante-personaggio. Casella, for example, asks him, 'ma tu perché vai?' (i.e. 'why do you go this way alive?' Purg. II. 90) and he receives the answer:

Casella mio, per tornar altra volta
la dov'io son, fo io questo viaggio.

(in order to return another time here where I am, I make this journey now.)
(Purg. II. 91 f.)

In contrast to his peril in the Francesca canto (cf. 'caddi, come corpo morto cade', Inf. V. 142) the journey has by thisimte taken on the character of an anticipation of salvation rather than a pre-experience of doom. ‘Sono in prima vita', he says on another occasion, ancor che l'altra, sì andando, acquisti' ('I am still in the first life, though, by this journey, I may gain the other' - i.e. eternal life) (Purg. VIII. 59 f.) these phrases mark a growing optimism about the issue of this journey, an assurance which modifies the whole feeling of the 'anticipated death' which the journey involves. And this note, new in its confidence, if not materially distinct in its meaning from what was already implied by Virgil's 'a te convien tener altro viaggio' (Inf. I. 91), derives from its location in Purgatory a significance which makes it apt, too, to the experience of Dante in Hell. The suffering, the fear, the pity, felt by him there. now take on the colour which suffering has in this cantica: it is necessary. it is all 'for the sake of' the greater good, the better way, the maggior cura (Purg. II. 129) of salvation. Hence Dante's two exclamations, pointing to the difference between the souls' sufferings down below and the sufferings here, cast a new light back on his own sufferings in the fernoIn. The latter are now transmuted as their nature is realized as not only temporal and temporary but also 'for the sake of’ bringing him oretpentance, and hence, ultimately, bliss.

Ahi quanto son diverse quelle foci
dall'infernali! che quivi per canti
s'entra, e la giù per lamenti feroci.

(Ah, how different are these entrances (i.e. to the cornices) from the infernal ones! for here to the sound of songs one enters, and down there to wild laments.)
(Purg. XII. 112-14)

Suffering is greeted by song here: to the souls in Purgatory its purpose is known: the moulding of the character into conformity with the will of God. But the reader, like Dante himself in the poem, is struck by the contrast with his own natural reactions. And again, as the poem had implicitly done already in the Francesca canto, by forcing him to respond as the man he is, his natural reaction to the first sight of purgatorial pain is permitted, even expected. But now the poem invites him, by the example of the souls here, to transvalue his values, to see the transforming purpose, the new conformity, the promise of new life, which suffering here involves. And this time he is addressed directly:

Non vo’ però, lettor, che tu ti smaghi
di buon proponimento per udire
come Dio vuol che'l debito si paghi.

Non attender la forma del martire,
pensa la succession; pensa ch'al peggio,
oltre la gran sentenza non può ire.

(Reader, it is not my wish that you should be dismayed from good resolve by hearing how God wills that the debt be paid. Heed not the suffering's quality; think of its consequence. Think how, even at worst, it cannot last beyond the great Judgement.)
(Purg. X. 106-11)

Compare Purg. XXIII. 72:

Io dico pena, e dovria dir sollazzo.

(I say 'pain', but should say, rather, 'solace'.)

Dante expects, perhaps, to dismay. But he adds this repeated 'pensa': 'pensa la succession; pensa... !' The changing of values which the poem encourages is a change which Dante himself has undergone in its course.
So the personal value of the journey for Dante becomes, as it proceeds, something which more and more clearly involves the reader as well. And ifat this stage_ the personal value of the journey is all that the Dante-personaggio knows ('per tornar altra volta '), it is beginning to be hinted to us that by according him this special grace the inscrutable providence of God (cf. Purg. VIII. 66-9) may have some deeper purpose, which at least includes that of bringing others after him in his tracks.
In this connection it is worth recalling the conclusions of E. Auerbach and L. Spitzer from their work on Dante's 'addresses to the reader'. As the announcer of a revelation', writes Auerbach (Romance Philology, VII, 1953-4, 276), 'the poet surpasses his readers: he knows something of the highest importance which they must learn from him ... The reader, as envisioned by Dante..., is a disciple...' He is called upon 'to follow. 'This is where the repeated formal 'addresses', and especially their characteristic imperatives, 'pensa' (Inf. VIII. 94, XX. 20, XXXIV. 26; Purg. X. 110, XXXI. 124; Par. V. 109), and, in other places, 'mirate', 'ricorditi', leggi', 'immagin', and so on, take their place. In them one sees Dante's sense of the urgency of this journey of his for his readers too. And we may quote, as Auerbach does (pp. 273 f.), besides the passage from Purg. X already cited, especially the address to the reader in Inf. XX (vv. 19 f.) –

Se Dio ti lasci, lettor, prender frutto
di tua lezione, or pensa per te stesso...!

(If God grant you, reader, to reap fruit from your reading, now think for yourself...)

- and the sublime passage in Par. X which, beginning,

Leva dunque, lettore, all'alte ruote
meco la vista...

(Lift therefore, reader, your sight with me to the spheres)
(vv. 7 f.)

makes explicit the message addressed to the reader only indirectly in such passages as Purg. XIX. 6I-3 and XIV. 148-51, and then continues:

Or ti riman, lettor, sovra'l tuo banco,
dietro pensando a ciò che si preliba,
s'esser vuoi lieto assai prima che stanco.

Messo t'ho innanzi: omai per te ti ciba.
(Now stay, reader, on your bench, thinking back to the foretaste you have had, if you desire gladness before you are tired. I have set the food before you. Now feed yourself!)
(vv. 22-5)

The (to our minds) extraordinarily developed interest in the processes whereby poetry may influence. its readers - in the lines of force, of action and response, between the poem and the reader - which such conscious attempts to control the reader's feelings and thoughts presuppose in the poet, bears fruit throughout the Comedy. In the previous chapter we saw just one other form of its outworking. And in the breadth and depth of its application in the Comedy this interest must remain remarkable. But at least the fact of its existence can, in historical terms, be accounted for. The medieval habit of mind by which poetry is no other than a species of rhetoric, of eloquence, is enough to explain why this interest is, in itself, by no means unparalleled in the historical context. A paragraph of the Can Grande letter may be cited as, in this respect, in the main, typical of its age-the paragraph, strangely ignored by the commentators, but still repaying close reading, in which the writer begins to expound the 'exordium' to the Paradiso.

§ 19. Propter primam partem notandum quod ad bene exordiendum tria requiruntur, ut dicit Tullius in Nova Rethorica, scilicet ut benivolum et attentum et docilem reddat aliquis auditorem; et hoc maxime in admirabili genere cause, ut ipsemet Tullius dicit. Cum ergo materia circa quam versatur presens tractatus sit admirabilis, et propterea ad admirabile reducenda, ista tria intenduntur in principio exordii sive prologi. Nam dicit se diciturum ea que vidit in primo celo et retinere mente potuit. In quo dicto, omnia ilia tria comprehenduntur; nam in utilitate dicendorum benivolentia paratur; in admirabilitate attentio; in possibilitate docilitas. Utilitatem innuit, cum recitaturum se dicit ea que maxime allectiva sunt desiderii humani, scilicet gaudia Paradisi; admirabilitatem tangit, cum promittit se tam ardua tam sublimia dicere, scilicet conditiones regni celestis; possibilitatem ostendit, cum dicit se dicturum que mente retinere potuit; si enim ipse, et alii poterunt.

If we can once overcome the still latent romantic suspicion of and distaste for a process that attempts to lay bare the workings of poetry and to show them to be as much deliberate as charismatic, this passage can help us to see profithow ably the art of persuasion' could be harnessed by the medieval writer, and made homogeneous with 'art’.
But in our context there is still more to note. The last phrase, 'si enim ipse, et alii poterunt', is, in context, a little odd. Ostensibly it is linked with the comparatively trivial issue of the possibility of retaining. amemory of what he saw, an issue which has more to do with what would strictly be called 'credulitas' than with 'docilitas', which should mean 'docile to receive the instruction imparted by the work', and - since in this work the instruction is, we have just been told, moral and practical, not purely speculative - 'prepared to act on such instruction'. But, in that context, the phrase is at least redundant, and it arguably weakens the case. We might expect, if the object is indeed to render the reader more 'credulous' as to the possibility immediately at stake, such an argument as we find later, in §28, an argument which is formally this one's reverse: 'if others can, why not Dante?' But in fact the charge of irrelevance attaches more to the issue at stake in this part of the sentence than to the particular phrase which concludes it. When we look back at the paragraph as a whole we see that it is the issue of credulitas which is, here, a digression, and that the author, who has been for the moment distracted (presumably by his wish to connect 'possibility' with the 'potei' of the prologue (Par. 1. 11)) from the question with which the main part of the paragraph really faces him-how far, that is, the 'marvellous matter' ('materia admirabilis') of the Paradiso ('presens tractatus') is possible-now only, with the last phrase, returns to it. For to that question (the question, implied by the paragraph, concerning 'docility') the final words as they stand are relevant, and are important - not, indeed, because they justify their own claim or seek, logically, to do so, but because they affirm it, and then carry on with another claim which this time, with the first premised, is logical: 'si enim ipse, et alii poterunt'. If Dante could, others may. The marvellous journey is possible, viable; if for Dante, also for others. The phrase, in the setting of the whole paragraph, demands this wide application. The reader may act upon the news Dante has to impart to him, being confident that it is true. For Dante himself has adventured, and has experienced these 'marvellous' things.
Meanwhile, to return to the Comedy itself, the Purgatorio X passage which I have quoted (p. 232) contains references whose significance for the interpreting of Dante's foretaste of death it would be a pity to miss. It speaks of a 'debt' which is paid by 'martire’ (vv. 108 f.), a suffering (or perhaps 'passion') which is undergone in view of an implicitly glorious consequence. These phrases already suggest how one might define the 'conforming' and the 'transvaluing of values' more exactly than I have done so far. The sufferings in Purgatory are not unconnected with the passion of Christ (see Purg. XXIII. 73-5), nor is that passion, any more than these sufferings, unconnected with something of which St Paul speaks in the present, in terms of this life: 'We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed..., always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death, for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies' (II Cor. 4. 8, 10 f.; the Vulgate of v. 11, which is the most significant for the Commedia, reads: 'Semper enim nos, qui vivimus, in mortem tradimur propter Jesum, ut et vita Jesu manifestetur in came nostra mortali'). The typological back-reference, which not only the sufferings in Purgatory but Dante's whole journey implies, is, in the terms of medieval theory, the dialectically related sensus allegoricus of his journey. In our own terms, the journey is a subfulfilment' of the Christ-event.

This theme, along with the 'deeper purpose' of Dante's journey as a means of grace, comes o extpression in an episode which, for our or any purposes, is among the most significant in the poem. It is the scene (Par. XIV. 91-XVIII. 51) of the poet's encounter with his ancestor, Cacciaguida, a scene which is set at the centre of the Paradiso and elaborated with a breadth of design equalled only by the scene of Dante's meeting with Beatrice in the Paradiso terrestre.
In the early part of canto XIV, Beatrice and Dante have finished questioning the theologians; now, having risen from the sphere of the sun to that of Mars, they see (vv. 97-102) souls which appear as lights constellated in the form of a cross which so 'shines forth' Christ that no similitude is adequate for its expressing (vv. 103-8). Here the lights break into song and sing so sweetly that the poet is rapt and hears only the words, 'Risurgi e vinci' ('Arise and conquer') (v. 125). Then all falls silent.
Of these 'lights '-they are 'warriors of God one detaches himself and addresses Dante with especial joy (XV. 13-69). It is his great-great-grandfather, Cacciaguida, who, responding gladly (and lengthily) to Dante's questions, speaks of the decline of Florence from his day to the present-its ancient houses destroyed, decayed, or degenerated, its families divided into Guelf and Ghibelline ('O Buondelmonte!', XVI. 140), its nobility passing, the parvenus splitting into further factions. This brings us to the beginning of canto xvn. He foretells then, in canto XVII, 'per chiare parole e con preciso / latin' (' in clear words and with precise speech') (XVII. 34 f.), the fact, and to some extent the course, of the poet's exile, and finally counsels him, as St Peter will do again ten cantos later (Par. XXVII. 64-6), and as Beatrice has done (Purg. XXXII. 103-5; XXXIII. 52-7), to show all his vision to the world when he returns: 'Tutta tua vision fa manifesta; / e lascia pur grattar dov'e la rogna!' ('Reveal the whole ofyour vision and let them scratch where they itch') (XVII. 128 f). And Dante takes it all to heart - with something of a stoic grace, but also, one gathers, with some inner disquietude, for Beatrice finds it incumbent on her to encourage him (XVIII. 4-6). He is now directed to look once more at the once more singing cross, and sees there the souls of Joshua, Maccabeus, Roland and Charlemagne, before being taken up into the next heaven, the heaven of Jupiter where he will meet the souls of' the just'.
What first stands out as striking in this synopsis is the immediate subject of conversation between Cacciaguida and Dante, which, instead of what might be expected at this stage in Paradiso (a placid heavenly discourse, perhaps, on infidels, or courage, or crusading), turns out to be nothing but Florence, than which, as will appear, no topic could be more un-placid or more terrestrial-it is very much, indeed, a topic for Hell. Nevertheless, from XV. 97 to the end of canto xvrr, our attention is turned more or less unremittingly back towards Florence, and particularly towards the decline and fall of Florence:

Fiorenza dentro dalla cerchia antica
ond'ella toglie ancora e terza e nona,
si stava in pace, sobria e pudica

(Florence, within the ancient circle whence she still hears the strokes of nine and twelve, was then in peace, sober and chaste.)
(Par. XV. 97-9)

Most of the time. in this canto, it is upon this ancient peace that we are directed to look, and it is set against the backcloth of the heavenly peace, 'questa pace' (Par. XV. 148), to whicb, through the last fourteen cantos, we have already been translated; and it seems now as if the first peace has been a figure of the second, as if, alternatively, the first fruits of heaven used to be relished on earth in Cacciaguida's Florence, where the eternal was 'not yet' and yet already'. It is not unlikely that this picture was inspired in part by nostalgia; but nostalgia per se is unlikely to have so much space devoted to it as this in the poem which Dante himself calls the poema sacro. Dante's concern, as appears from the movement of ideas through these cantos, is very much with the present. For the moment we note how Cacciaguida, 'warrior of God' and crusader as he is, delights chiefly in 'peace', despite having been born under the influence of Mars (XVI. 34-9) and in the city whose patronage Mars was so loth to surrender when it was rededicated to the Baptist (Par. XVI. 46 f.; and cf. Inf. XIII. 143-50). And it is worth noting too that the description of Florence here at peace is pursued by means of an analogy with Rome and Roman traditions (Par. XV. 121-9, cf. XVI. 10 f.). Rome was, for Dante, 'sacred history', and the dependence on, and correspondence with, Rome in Cacciaguida's Florence constitutes a typology based still, fundamentally, on faith in the action of God.
But with the next canto an already hinted change of focus takes place. Against the temporal heaven of Mars is set the degenerate city of Dante's own time, which perseveres less and less (cf. XVI. II). in the imitation of Rome (or heaven! - 'quella Roma onde Cristo e romano', Purg. XXXII. 102). Luxury has succeeded simplicity; the Florence where Bellincion Berti could be seen going

di cuoio e d'osso, e venir dallo specchio
la donna sua sanza il viso dipinto

(wearing leather and (a) bone (clasp), and his wife might be seen coming from the mirror without a painted face)
(Par. XV. 112-14)

has now disappeared; in its place there is a new Sardanapalus in every horhe (XV. 107 f.). This luxuriousness is a stressed alteration and a stressed vice; but if one pays canto XVI its due attention one sees that it contains exempla of nearly all the vices luxury, avarice, glut ony, pride, barratry, hypocrisy, violence and fraud: it seems as if all the sins of Hell are here, and certainly we are likely to be reminded of those parallel cantos in the Inferno (XV and XVI) where also the conversations turn critically back and back upon Florence.
'Laggiù', in those cantos. Brunetto Latini has spoken of e th Florentines as 'quell' ingrate popolo maligno° (Inf. XV. 61), and adds to these adjectives a few lines later 'avaro', invidioso' and 'superbo' (v. 68). If we cannot parallel these words here above, the mood is strikingly similar. Brunetto, in the same passage, mentions that 'old report on earth proclaims them blind' (Inf. XVI. 67); here, Cacciaguida compares them to a blind bull (Par. XVI. 70). Cacciaguida’s distrust of parvenus and new arivals –

Sempre la confusion delle persone
principio fu del mal della cittade!

(always the mingling of peoples was the root of the city's illness!)
(Par. XVI. 67 f., cf. vv. 49 f.)

is equalled, in the Inferno, by Dante's own indignant outburst:

La gente nuova e i subiti guadagni
orgoglio e dismisura han generato,
Fiorenza, in te, si che tu già ten piagni.

(the newcomers and the quick financial gains have engendered pride and prodigality, Florence, in you, so that already you weep for it)
(Inf. XVI. 73-5, cf. Par. XVI. 148-50)

- an outburst which is occasioned by a question of J acopo Rusticucci's as to the truth of reports that Florence's wonted courtesy and valour have quite left her (cf. again, Par. XVI. 10 f.). The impression which we receive from such parallels or agreements as these is that Dante is intent on recapitulating the Florence-as-Hell theme of the Inferno - or rather, since what we are being shown is not static, a picture, but dynamic, a history, that he is intent on recapitulating the idea of a descent into Hell in terms of Florence, a Florence of which, if, before, as Cacciaguida recollects her, it were true that she felt herself already tasting the first-fruits' of redemption, now, certainly, suffers the first-fruits of judgement: a Florence in which the eternal is, in a now wholly unfortunate sense, 'already,'.
Florence is, then, judged, and her history hitherto, plainly, s i the very reverse of redemptive'. Mars (as tutelary deity) has taken a hand in bringing about her decay (Par. XVI. 145-7; cf. Inf. XIII. 143-50) and, as appears from some lines in this same canto XVI (v. 58-60), the ecclesiastical degeneracy has taken a hand too, but the substance of these speeches agrees with the reading of Marco Lombardo in the Purgatorio (again, the parallel canto, XVI), and despite these natural and super-natural influences the blame for evil lies still with the individual, who has the power within him to decide between right and wrong.
These cantos, as appears from their treatmnt of Florence in decline, constitute an extremely impressive manifestation of Dante's control of historical issues - a control that is 'modern', one would say, much rather than 'medieval', for even the Marxist view would find something in the social and ecpnomic explanation of cultural decline here to which its own concerns should not be unsympathetic.
But Florence's is not the only history told in this episode, and the idea of a descent into the Inferno is told in other terms than the social-historical. The descent separated from conformity with the sacred history co-exists in the area of reference of these cantos with references to a descent which is by no means so separated, and which is part of a larger movement which echoes not the Inferno alone, but the whole journey of Dante.
Cacciaguida's own history, first: his life is given in only the barest outline-birth, baptism, marriage and death fighting in the crusades (XV. 130-48). The time of his birth is fixed by a reference in the following canto, which relates the event to the Annunciation, as if the angel's promise to Mary lived on past its fulfilment and related also to Cacciaguida’s birth:

Da quel di che fu detto 'Ave'
al parto in che mia madre, ch'e or santa,
s'allevi di me ond'era grave...

(From that day on which 'Ave' was said, to the time when my mother, who is now sainted, gave birth to me with whom she was laden...)
(XVI. 34-6)

That this language is intentional it is impossibile to doubt, especially as he atctual event of Cacciaguida's birth is narrated with the same evocation; a momentary ambiguity of syntax d an the fall of the stress at the beginning of a new terzina having the effect of bringing Cacciaguida and Christ into a relationship whereby the former is seen as re-enacting the birth of the latter:

A così riposato, a cosi bello
viver di cittadini, a cosi fida
cittadinanza, a cosi dolce ostello,

Maria mi diè, chiamata in alte grida.
(To such a peaceful and fair living for citizens, to such a faithful citizenry, to such a sweet lodging, Mary gave me, called on with loud cries.)
(XV. 130-3)

And the point of this is driven home:

insieme fui cristiano e Cacciaguida.

(I became Christian And Cacciaguida simultaneously)
(v. 135)

Of his death, finally, it is said that he came through martyrdom here, to this peace ('e venni dal martiro a questa pace’, XV. 148) - which also is a phrase which shows a resemblance to the redemptive history of Christ, and, though Dante's 'martiro' is not so-literal, to- that of Cacciaguida's 'seed' (XV. 48), Dante.
For Dante himself is subject to the same kind of linguistic resonances from the first time Cacciaguida addresses him:

O sanguis meus, o superinfusa
gratia Dei
(XV. 28 f.)

- in terms which refer back to the Virgilian Anchises and his Elysean address to Aeneas, but perhaps intentionally also recall the language of sacramental theology. There is no doubt at all of the allusion a few lines later:

O fronda mia in che io compiacemmi;
(XV. 88)

cf. Matt. 3. 17:

filius meus... in quo mihi complacui.

Dante's role, like Cacciaguida's, like, too, the Divine Comedy's, is to figure the redemptive history of Christ.
And it is on Dante that canto xvn chiefly concentrates, and on his scendere e 'l salir', descent and rising, though it is by different steps now than those which the vision as a whole narrates. Of that narrated movement we are, however, first reminded (XVII. 19-23) and then twice more (vv. 112-15, 136 f.); but between the first reference and the other two come the clear and deliberate words of Cacciaguida, 'di Fiorenza partir ti convene' ('you will have to depart from Florence') (v. 48), and the forecasting of the course of the poet's exile. The juxtaposition of these passages might by itself imply the relation of the narrated story to the story of Dante's life,' but in fact the moving passage which stands at the centre of this speech makes the relation plainer still:

Tu lascerai ogni cosa diletta
più caramente; e questo è quello strale
che l'arco dello essilio pria saetta.

Tu proverai si come sa di sale
lo pane altrui, e come e duro calle
lo scendere e 'l salir per l'altrui scale.

E quel che più ti graverà le spalle
sarà la compagnia malvagia e scempia
con la qual tu cadrai in questa valle.

(You will leave everything most dearly loved; this is the shaft that the bow of exile will first pierce you with. You will find how salt another's bread tastes, and how hard the path which goes down and ascends another's stairs. And that which will weigh most heavily on your shoulders will be the vicious and ill company in which you will fall down into this vale.)
(XVII. 55-63)

'Scale', 'scendere e 'l salir', 'valle', 'cadrai' - such diction in such a place seems to recapitulate the whole poem in the terms of exile. Perhaps, too, it recapitulates in terms of Christ. For certainly other lines bring Dante's exile into the same kind of relationship with Christ's death as had previously been suggested by the reference to Christ's baptism. The first reference to Christ's death comes immediately before the exile is prophesied ('pria che fosse anciso / l’Agel di Dia che le peccata tolle', vv. 32 f.); then (vv. 49-51) we hear that the exile is plotted 'la dove Cristo tutto di si merca' ('where Christ each day is bought and sold'). It is possible, too, that ti gravera le spalle' is intended to remind us of the phrase from the gospels already quoted in XIV. 106: chi prende sua croce e segue Cristo'. In such a context of allusion the prophecy of Dante's exile has its place; the connotative references are not, as with Florence, of a descent separated from Saviour and Emperor, but of a dying with Christ, and it is for this reason possible for Cacciaguida to speak in remarkably joyful terms of his fore-knowledge of these sufferings:

si come viene ad orecchia
dolce armonia da organo, mi vene
a vista il tempo che ti s'apparecchia.

(as comes to the ear an organ's sweet harmony, comes into my sight the time that is being made ready for you.)
(vv. 43-5)

For such 'dying with Christ' implies that 'resurgi e vinci' with which our episode began; or at any rate so it seems for some such relationship between 'bitter' and 'sweet' is implied in the whole conversation. We are not far from the spirit of' these things have I spoken unto you that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world' (John 16. 33; cf. Luke 6. 22 f.) - a verse which is again brought to mind by Beatrice's 'muta pensier: pensa ch'i' sono / presso a colui ch'ogni torto disgrava' ('alter your thoughts; remember I am close to him who lifts the burden from every wrong') (XVIII. 5 f.), coming so promptly after Dante's tempering in his thoughts 'col dolce Pacerbo' (v. 3).
It is from this paradoxical tension, so strong in this part of the poem, a tension that is here bound up with the fundamental historical and eschatologicatension between present and future tribulation and present and future (eternal) comfort, that Dante must have drawn that sense of the urgency of his vision for the world and hence of his prophetic calling which inspired, as well as the Comedy, the passionately public-spirited letter to the Italian cardinals, with its 'gratia Dei sum id quod sum'. For the indicative involves an imperative, and the knowledge of what is involves a need to act upon it and testify to it. So that it is fitting that here Dante should receive the most elaborate and explicit command to declare his vision that he is to have, at the moment when he learns the worst and the best about his future.
Finally, let me simply point out that the temporal tension with which the episode ends is but an elaboration of what was implied at its beginning. 'Already' but 'not yet' Hell is fulfilled in Florence. Similarly in the Ini§mo persons are presented as fulfilling eternally their most characteristic and individual earthly existences. And on the personal level, just as in cantos XV d xvanI the relations of repetitions between Cacciaguida and Christ, and through these cantos and the following one between Dante and Christ depend on the history of redemption that was once for all fulfilled in the Incarnation being brought to effect and epretition in the poet and his ancestor, so the same movement can be traced in the Comedy as a whole, and there again the same tension. Indeed, the typological structure of the whole poem is shown to be this tension's image.

The suggestiveness of these cantos cannot be exhausted by the few statements which I may permit myself. Even their relevance to 'typology' will only be sketched at this point.
In the first place, an issue is raised here upon which my whole treatment of Dante's 'applied typology' ultimately depends. It is an issue whose significance has scarcely ever been appreciated by the commentators, though certain of the facts which imply this significance are in themselves quite well known. In the relationship which the Cacciaguida cantos imply between Dante and Christ an image is taken up which has been suggested much earlier. What Dante does, in his journey, Christ has done Dante's descent into Hell, and his release from it, is a typological repetition, a 'subfulfilment' of Christ's. Hence the reference to the time of the journey (and especially that in the Inferno, XX1. 112-14), which shows that Dante conceived his journey as having begun with a descent into Hell on Good Friday, 1300, and as releasing him from what, at just the point at which the ascent begins, is called the tomba of Hell (Inf. XXXIV. 128), on the morning of Easter Day. The first line of the Comedy, again, has its relevance in this connection: the age which it indicates Dante to have reached, thirty-five (il mezzo del cammin di... vita') is taken by Dante, as Convivio IV. 23 shows, to be the age at which Christ had died.
Dante's 'fore-having' of death is now shown to be more than a purgation-process. It is a 'dying with Christ', taken to an almost literalistic extreme, which revitalizes a phrase grown perhaps over-familiar. The evocation of Christ's having done before him what he now does in the poem is a confession or Dante's part of his dependence on Christ for what he gains from this journey--the other life'. The focus here, certainly, has changed since St Paul used the image of dying and rising with Christ. The stressed history here is no longer that of Christ, but the individual follower's, and the Pauline emphasis on the relationship between the believer and his Lord has, moreover, as we have had occasion to notice, been replaced by a stress laid on the relationship between the individual and the general, between this man, Dante, and Everyman, or rather ‘whoever' (as Singleton puts it) will go on this journey of redemption, whose viability Dante by these means claims. Yet despite the novelty (in relation to the Bible) of this latter focus, the typology is all there still as historical correspondence and historical dependence and continuity. The one history which the poem narrates includes the prophecy and the recapitulation of others; it is heavy with the marks of these others; one echoes and enfolds, or is echoed and enfolded by another. This is not simply a method of allegory or simply a form of it, but the expression of history conforming itself through grace to the pattern of Christ's history, or, to reverse the terms, the expression of an effective history (Christ's) whose effect lies in its repetition in and throughout all history. De Lubac's words, explaining the relationship between the moral and the allegorical senses of medieval exegesis (as he conceives it), are expressive in this connection: 'Sommet de l'histoire, le Fait du Christ supposait l’histoire, et son rayonnement transfigurait l'histoire', and as he affirms later, 'le fait de l'Incarnation est d'autant plus magnifié... qu'on en montre mieux le fruit.'
By these images, references, and evocations - that is, by allusive rather than simply allegorical methods - Dante conveys what he sees as the dialectical relation between his history' and the redemptive history of the Gospels (a relation which is genuine theologically, it is worth remarking, since the transformation of Dante's life into conformity with Christ depends on the power of Christ's life and death to transform).
Now again the question of 'the four senses of Scripture' and their application to the poem arises. The answer is necessarily a complex and yet, once apprehended, a clear one. Complex, on account of Dante's own physical presence in a narrative otherwise peopled by shades, a presence hicwh reverses the typological situation connected with 'souls after death'. Dante the character only prefigures the after-li fe which they already exist in - sono in prima vita / ancor che l’altra, si andando, acquisti', Purg. VIII. 59 f.); the shades post-figure the physical life he still embodies. Literally 'anagogical', their present state implies and echoes the past moral life (the content of the sensus moralis) which, for each of them, it presupEoses. Dante's present actions, on the other hand, which, if reported other than literally, would be the concern of the sensus moralis, imply and pre-echo his future redemption, his. anago'ge' (so to speak), and are its presupposition, its basis and its deciding. So much, from our earlier discussion, is plain: Dante's Journey is a type of his future; the souls' state is the fulfilment of their past.
But now we see also that alongside the relation between the predominantly eschatological or anagogical narrative and the sensus moralis (of this life) upon which our treatment has hitherto chiefly concentrated, a third 'sense', the sensus allegoricus or typicus, shows its presence: the sense whose subject is Christ. This makes itself felt, above all, in connection with the journey of Dante, for the interpretation of which, it cannot be too strongly stressed, it is the single most fundamental factor. But this 'sense', or this analogy, is not confined to that journey; and it would be a little surprising, indeed, if it were. For, at least from the time in which the last chapters of the Monarchia and the letter to the Italian Cardinals were written, Dante had come to think of the life of Christ as the single most binding precedent for the guidance of the life of the Church, and, as I think it is reasonable to deduce, of the Church's members. By the same token, conversion is above all a turning to the following of Christ. The fact is written so large in the Comedy that we miss it only by its suffering the proverbial fate of woods lost among trees. So, allusions to an analogy with Christ are also poetically and rhetorically active in passages referring to the conversion and lives of others than Dante-in the narratives of St Francis and of Cacciaguida, for example; and a sensus typicus reappears, momentarily but suggestively, in the references to Trajan (Par. XX. 46-8, 103-17), who, though in a quite different way from Dante, parallels Dante's experience; tardily, by special providence, he too has followed the footsteps of the suffering Saviour, gaining experience both of the infernal and of the heavenly worlds:

Ora conosce quanta caro costa
non seguir Cristo, per l'esperienza
di questa dolce vita e dell'opposta.

(Now he knows how dearly it costs one to live without following Christ, from his having experience both of this sweet life and its contrary.)
(Par. XX. 46-8)

Thus the subject-matters of all three ‘allegorical senses’ mentioned in the Epistle to Can Grande reveal their presence in the Comedy, and, more important, reveal themselves not as presences only, but as active and relevant analogies to the protagonist's journey and to the 'state of souls after death'. It would not be difficult to show how Old Testament events also, which are of course the province of the literal sense of' In exitu Israel', are occasionally invoked by the poet in order to help state or clarify his theme. We must be content to cite only the two or three most important: Par. XXV. 52-7, XXII. 94-6; Purg. II. 46-8.
The last of these passages, which quotes the very verse used in the Letter in such a context and such a way as makes plain that the literal situation of the souls agrees precisely with the anagogical sense of the Psalm (cf. also the exposition of the 'fourth sense" in Convivio II. I), prompts me to record my agreement with Singleton as to the special appropriateness of this verse and its 'senses' as defined in the Letter to the main themes of the Comedy's narrative. The Letter's phrases speak for themselves: 'nostra redemptio facta per Christum', 'conversio anime sancte de luctu et miseria peccati ad statum gratie', 'exitus anime sancte ab huius corruptionis servitute ad eterne glorie libertatem'. The fact that the literal sense of the Comedy, by being located immediately in moral and anagogical regions, differs from that of the psalm leads C.G. Hardie to protest that the Letter's exposition of these senses is 'simplicist and misleading'. But is there really more difficulty in this than in the case of a biblical text which is literally concerned with these fields? The difference lies only in the stress (unusual in the Middle Ages, but not in the Bible) which Dante lays on the need to notice typological back-references as well as forward ones. But even this is not quite unprecedented, as we shall see.
The literal sense of the Comedy, however, now needs to be looked at more closely. Here lies the crux of what Johan Chydenius, in the only work devoted to typology in the Commedia calls the typological problem in Dante'. The 'history', which the literal sense must have for its subject ifwe are to call the work 'typological', is clearly not, in the Commedia, that of the Exodus. But is there a history, properly so-called, at all? There are several problems which here meet, and require solution. For first, though of course it is possible for the sensus litteralis, even in the Bible, to be concerned directly with an eschatological, or moral subject, it was Aquinas' opinion that in such cases it would be wrong (but perhaps by this he only means generally 'pointless') to interpret the text by means of back-references into the past. And along with this goes what may seem a more daunting objection to the labelling of the Comedy's subject and method as 'typology'. For where is the 'history' of its literal sense? Are we committed to calling Dante's Passage through eschatological regions historical'? Even if we prefer to label the Comedy allegory of the theologians', rather than typology', this problem does not wholly evaporate. For as we have argued (and as may also be inferred from Mailhiot's treatment of the subject) Aquinas' senses of Scripture are virtually senses of history, not of words.
Singleton here is evasive. The literal sense of the narrative is for him to be taken as true - it is what the poet requires ofus. Elsewhere he calls this literal sense the itinerarium mentis ad Dum but this is to limit even if, as hit e suggests, we note carefully that ‘mentis' does not mean merely ‘of the mind’ but 'of the soul' and of mind and heart', 'for the heart is surely involved.
For the fact remains that by this phrase, however much one may include in ‘mens', something vital is still excluded. Bonaventure's work, Itinerarium mentis in Deum, which is the only one Singleton cites in explaining his use of the phrase, is entirely intellectual and affective in scope, and, if we were to interpret Dante's journey entirely in these terms, it would amount to a substitution of something fundamentally abstract for a journey which the Comedy makes concrete. If this were the correct interpretation it would be possible only by means of a quibble to distinguish the journey from 'allegory' in the normal sense of the word - an abstracting and generalizing psychological system would be substituted for life and history.
Chydenius, on the other hand, faces the problem correctly, looking for a historical basis about which the Comedy elaborates the shape of its fiction. His idea of 'history', however, seems insufficient: it is hardly to be distinguished from 'reality'. And by concentrating rather on 'things' than upon events in his search for the literal truth upon which the Comedy 'builds' (the spatial metaphor is, I think, significant) its typology, he virtually prejudges the issue. For the answer is finally imported from outside and it is the answer required by the 'figures' whose traditional 'typological' meaning Chydenius studies in the greater part of his book: Jerusalem, Paradise, and the Bride. Scarcely anything, then, but the vision of Beatrice is 'typical', for in that vision, which we may be sufficiently convinced really happened, the three 'figures' meet. To do this argument justice, the conclusion certainly follows, for from the understanding of 'typical' from which Chydenius works, scarcely anything could be 'typical' but this vision. Typology has become static, a platonic conception of earthly and heavenly correspondences, instead of historical. Its relations with the historical actions of God, and man's response to such action, has virtually been broken off. As by Singleton's itinerariam mentis, or even more drastically, by this view of the Comedy the autobiographical substance of the mythologized journey is limited to the sphere of the 'mens'. Biography or autobiography no doubt includes what Singleton calls the itinerarium mentis, and it includes, in Dante's case, doubtless also, something which we would call 'vision' - a vision, in all probability, connected with Beatrice - who is also, by the way, an imago Christi. But it includes more than this, for events which encounter man, and man's action in response to events, are in the last resort perhaps what finally constitute 'life'. It is in this sense that Malagoli's phrase, 'una grande sinfonia autobiografica', is a better description of the Comedy's meaning for Dante than either of the attempts at more strict definition which are offered by Singleton and Chydenius.
For if this journey is in fact 'mythologized', it retains still an autobiographical substance with which it never loses contact, and which the 'mythology' serves to interpret. The Cacciaguida cantos, as we have seen, make this certain when they draw a parallel between the narrated journey and the exile. Virgil's words in Inferno x suggest the same interpretation: 'da lei (Beatrice) saprai tua vita idi l v aggio' ('from her you will learn the journey of your life'). The viaggio is a vita; the vita is a viaggio. The journey is a life lived, not just thoyght of.
Yet clearly something has happened to this ‘autobiography’ in its transposition into the 'myth' of the poem. Just what has happened, and how, despite its happening, it may remain autobiography', is not, however, easy for the modern reader to see at least, not immediately.
But the early 'Lives' of St Francis provide a helpful perspective. There, undeniably, a historical basis exists for the most part behind each unit of narrative. Whatever may happen in detail, and even whatever may happen in the ordering of the whole, there is always a substratum of actual events and actual human living' which the formal didactic considerations of the writers may sometimes disguise, but not generally hide. Yet these formal and didactic considerations do not normally become imposed on the narrative merely because of the aesthetic and didactic character of the author. Very often one senses the aptness of form to content. The saint's life demands a special kind of treatment in order to interpret its effect, and not just mirror its action and its chronology. And it is specially interesting in our context that one of the features of St Francis's life which produced such 'stylization', from the earliest 'lives' of the saint increasingly down to the work of Fra Bartolomeo of Pisa at the end of the fourteenth century, was that which the title of Fra Bartolomeo's work precisely expresses: De Conformitate Vitae B. Francisci ad Vitam Domini Jesu. In this latter work - as also in paintings of up to seventy years earlier the fundamentally theological point in the imitatio Christi is brought out by setting event opposite event from the life of Saviour and servant. In the earlier 'Lives' of St Francis, stylization of incident and evocative phrase together do the same work.
If, therefore, as I suggest, the Commedia, too, employs stylization and language for the same purpose, there is no more need to assume that this involves a departure from history, than there is in the case of St Francis. 'Nam quis sani intellectus crederet ipsum ita descendisse ', writes Pietro, 'et tali a vidisse, nisi cum distinctione dictorum modorum loquendi ad figuram?' And he goes on immediately to make the point which justifies the historicality of the Commedia's literal sense which its typological method requires, with a sure instinct extending Aquinas' principle for dealing with metaphors in Scripture: 'Nam non est ipse litteralis sensus ipsa figura, sed id quod est figuratum.' It is Dante's life ch iwhi s the literal sense, not the figurative journey into eternity. The figuring, the stylizing, of Dante's life, on this view, remains vital, a necessary means of expressing something he felt about it. It is done for the sake of a point of theology, or, better, for the sake of a claim made by means of typology. But the figuring, as such, has no independent existence: it exists not to replace Dante's personal history, but_to interpret it. Without he isttorhical basis, the myth would e b meaningless; with it, Dante's claim can be made: this, Dante may say, is my own self-conforming with Christ; Christ's truth has become mine, and I believe that my truth points to his.
And if the St Francis legends, or these features in them, help us to see also-as surely they do - the value of the typological back-reference to a history prior to that directly narrated, there is no reason why we should not if we wish to look further back still for assistance in overcoming St Thomas's doubts on this subject - to the features of the New Testament narratives to which we have drawn attention in the previous chapter. There too, in St Paul's journey to Jerusalem, a self-conforming with the life of Christ is presented by indirect means, in phraseology and echo. There too, in the Gospel stories of, above all, the temptation of Jesus, a back-reference exists for the sake of a claim that is existential, both gospel and challenge: the claim that Christ fulfils history. In these narratives too the typology without which such a claim could not be (understandably) presented has attention drawn to it by means of a stylization, by an acted, or at any rate by a biographical, parable recalling past history, by a kind of 'prophetic symbolism'.
And further back still, as this phrase reminds us, the prophets in the Old Testament use typology, not to authenticate their message, but in order to make it intelligible to the listener's preunderstanding of its subject-matter, for the sake, ultimately, of the message's being heard rightly.
Dante's use of typology is akin, therefore, at least in these respects, to the Bible's. The narrative setting is original; and the work itself presupposes a different context in Heilsgeschichte, a difference brought about by the passage of time and the flux of historical process. But even the differences in cosmology, anthropology, ontology - all the factors, in short, which go to make up a world-view - do not prevent (and still less does the difference of context) the Divina Commedia's sharing a substantially similar view of existence to hatt of the Bible. It is this view of existence", something distinguishable, it would seem therefore, from a world-view, its feeling for man's historicality, its sense of the immanent and continuous workings of providence, which permits the Commedia's typology to come as close as it does, and uniquely close, to the Bible's. For here, as we have suggested, typology is not catechetic, hardly ever merely didactic, but prophetic, existential, even in its own way 'kerygmatic' in so far as it points to Christ, the fulfilment of history, the perfector and judge of man.
Was Dante, strictly, a prophet, as he is often, at least loosely, called? One thing our discussion permits us to add to the debate. Viewed in the aspect of 'prophecy' the whole Comedy may be seen as, formally, a 'vocation-vision' akin in its nature to those of the Old Testament prophets but ere unihquely articulated to contain, itself, the whole sum of the message. And its message isthat of the prophet: ‘weal’ and ‘woe’, God's grace and judgement, the call to repentance, the call to the new existence which, by God's grace, is made possible.

4. Conclusion

Despite any possible implications to the contrary, the content and proportions of the three parts of this study are not intended {o represent the view that the Divine Comedy of Dante should or could constitute a third 'Testament', such as that to which the Abbot Joachim of Fiore had looked forward. But these proportions did imply, and now the contents have I hope confirmed, first, that the Divine Comedy's use and understanding ofology typ has a kind of continuity, if not identity, with the use and understanding of typology in the Bible and, secondly, that in certain respects the Comedy may contribute to the fuller comprehension of the dialectics of typology in its biblical and Christian context.
The first, and perhaps the main, contribution of this kind is its depiction, in typological narrative, of the orientation of human existence towards the future, the figural and linear connection between a man's life and his death. The New Testament authenticates this development. It does not actualize it. And even if we can no lunger hold to the medieval, or the early Christian, eschatolorical picture, Dante's depiction must, I think, be allowed to have the power of conveying a sense of existential relevance through this picture, which it is not so easy to shrug off, though, finally, we may gainsay it.
And the Comedy lso aactualizes something which, though in this case it is actualized already in the Bible, is, in the Bible, actualized only quite sketchily: that is, the possibility of a typological narrative which exposes with an ideal clarity the Christian’s self-conforming with God's once-for-all past act in Christ. The poem casts a new light of its own, through its presentation of these two typological relations, between present and past and betweer present and future, upon the question of the Christian's 'subfulfilment’ of both history and eschatology (a question which is at the very heart of Christian ethics in the New Testament, and which cannot well be excluded from the subject-matter of typology - on the grounds that it is ethics, or on any other grounds-for, arguably, until it is related to typology it will neithe have the intellectual attention it deserves nor reach its right place in the Christian witness). For Dante's journey, representing ananticipation, a foreshadowing, of his death and his salvation, and representing also an echo and an implementing of Christ's giving himself up to man, and hence to death, provides hereby the very image of ‘conversion’ and 'repentance' as the New Testament conceives them. The whole work 'concerns itself with and sets', as I have already quoted Kierkegaard as saying, 'the "problem"... how may I become a Christian?' And perhaps, as I have argued, the Commedia answers it, for Dante, also. Nothing, than this subject-matter, could be closer to the subject of typology in the Bible. The action which is fundamental to both is the action of a 'change of conformities', of the entering upon a 'new' existence which is offered, continuously ('steadfastly'), by the 'wonderworking' God of the Bible.
Thus the Divine Comedy corroborates the application of the concept of typology to individual life, and it corroborates the dialectics of its 'application'. And I have also tried to show how here - we may say again, 'as in the Bible' - the message of typology is presented not only as Dante's 'gospel', the gospel 'con temporized' for him, but to us too, as existentially, as directly, and as immediately, as it can be.
Together these three or four points are enough, in my view, to endorse the statement that the nature and scope of biblical typology have in the Comedy been rediscovered. Stated thus baldly, this is amazing; but once the fact is established we can see a little deeper into the springs of the Comedy's power and into the rationale of its address, its challenge, to the reader. Yet even at this stage it is only possible to guess at the real explanation for the 'rediscovery' to which the poem bears witness. In its literary-historical context there is no written analogue close enough, not even in the 'saints' lives', for us to be sure that it was from there that the rediscovery stemmed. The nearest source of the typological understanding and method revealed in Dante's poem is probably to be found inthe scholastic doctrine of the four senses of Scripture, which has at any rate an implicitly typological structure and a supporting theology linearly descended (though through sometimes unfortunate marriages) from the Bible itself. But if Dante's of use typology as this possible source and the Letter to Can Grande suggest, is to be cal ed 'allegory', and, allegory of theologians', it is at the same time deeply distinguished from, as well as intimately related to, even this kind of allegory' as we find it elsewhere. For elsewhere it is the allegory of exegesis, not literature, and bound up too often, too closely, with hellenistic thought-forms and practices. Only in the writing of history - and however stylized and mythologized for the sake of being, from Dante's point of view, understood rightly, the Comedy (and some saints' lives) may be, it is history still, fundamentally - could the theologians'allegory' pecbe ted ex to free itself altogether from the hellenistic exegetical concomitants which were at that time, in exegesis, conventional. This is what has happened in the Comedy, and so radically does the event distinguish the poem from the exegetical doctrine, that even if, as I believe, the poem's typological structure is expressible in terms of the doctrine, in the last resort the poem breaks out from the doctrine's categories. In this situation it would be better to reserve the term 'allegory' for those features which the work shares with the Romance of the Rose, Brunetto's Tesoretto, and the Faerie Queene; for to call history 'allegory' ( even history of the sort we have in the Comedy's basic narrative thread, the descent and rising of its author) cannot but confuse; and when we speak of medieval exegesis of the Bible as 'allegorical' today we are surely referring mainly, even entirely, to its hellenistic methods, methods which the Comedy does not share, and to which it can no longer (any more than can the Bible) be subjected. Its own methods and uses are those of the Bible, and especially of the Gospels and Acts. The methods are similarly indirect, in one way or another allusive, but at the same time, at least in their author's belief, dialectically founded; and the uses are still the same as the Bible's, to challenge 'history' with 'a history' which bears upon it, to present a told history to the concerned mind of the hearer, and to reveal how it may be 'applied' in the hearer's own life. And if the methods and uses are similar, surely the doctrine, the rationale, the dialectic, the theology, is similar too: for on theological dialectic, as I have shown, the uses and methods are founded.
Thus, in conclusion, it may be well to express with such mathematical clarity as is possible what I take that fundamental doctrine to be. We return, then, to the Christian view of Christ's history as the absolute norm of divine action and human existence. In that history, God's action and man's answering faith or obduracy come, in the Christian view, to fulfilment. Conformity, or the lack of it, to God's act in Christ is the absolute norm for God's judgement: on the issue of which depends 'eternal life', 'weal' or 'woe'. So, in degree, with regard to Christ's 'representatives', God's acts in the past or the present, their 'word' through prophet or Christian, the 'types', whether pre- or post-figurative, of Christ: they are 'relative' norms on account of their witness to Christ.
But is mathematical clarity, even were it possible, desirable in this region, or apt? The philosophical structures themselves must not be taken for typology's subject. Its subject is surely the history which such structures help to conceptualize and so present for decision. But however adequately these structures represent the Bible's own understanding of history they cannot replace the history itself. The more graphic they are-and they may be graphic:

Christ [Israel, Yahweh]; Christ [past; future];
Christ’s history [salvation; judgement]; Christ’s history [faith; obduracy]

- the further do they leave history for a realm of abstraction and speculation. To their very own issues, which are those of our unequatable life and our complex history, these structures can do little justice. Through such media the issues themselves can hardly be heard by the ear of human concern. For this reason are the issues which such structures conceptualize presented - and this too I have throughout tried to show - by the Bible and Dante not as structures at all but as applied and embodied typology, not as philosophical but as existential possibilities. And thus it is ultimately not with regard to the philosophical feasibility of these or any such structures, but with regard to the existential possibility of the critical history for us, as and when it is presented to us existentially, that we are called upon to decide.
So, to summarize, it would always be hard to deny that events have, in some sense, an after-life. But with these events the crucial events of the biblical history, I have tried to show that we can go further; and to be true to the writers' intention, we must. For at least these events, through typology, demand an afterlife that is their echo, not just their effect, and one which takes place not only broadly, in history, but is also specific, in us. We are called to be part of their after-life.

Date: 2021-12-26