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HUMANITIES 429 Amilcare A. Iannucci, editor. Dante: Contemporary Perspectives University of Toronto Press. xxii, 300.$55-00 cloth, $21.95 paper The volume contains an introduction by the editor and fourteen essays by English or North American dantisti, each accompanied by a bibliography: Zigmunt G. Baranski surveys some aspects of Dante's original uses of medieval literary theory; Albert Russell Ascoli argues for a more complex way of dealing with Dante's minor works, especially the Monarchia, in relation to the Commedia;MichelangeloPicone gives an overview of Dante's relation to his classical models and of its evolution throughout his works; Christopher Kleinhenz discusses Dante's techniques of biblical citation; Amilcare A. Iannucci analyses the theme of transgression in Francesca's love; Teodolinda Barolini points out the transgressive nature of Dante's poetics, especially in the Paradisoi Richard Lansing focuses on the return in the Earthly Paradise of a recurring tripartite pattern in the Purgatorio; Line Pertile analyses the poetics as well as the thematics of the Paradiso in the terms of a mystical tensionbetween desire and fulfilment whereby the final vision is anticipated and simultaneously delayed throughout the cantica; Steven Botterill discusses Dante's attempt to accomplish poetically what is inevitably beyond the possibility of language and ultimately finds Dante's claims about his poetry to be 'exultant' rather than 'diffident'; Joan Ferrante discusses the place of politics in Dante's writings as well as some features of his positions; Carolynn Lund-Mead places Dante's use of androgynous imagery within a context of mystical theology and examines as well the scholarship available on the subject; John Ahern reminds us that Dante's poetry would frequently be performed orally before an audience and that, in composing the poem, Dante had this broader audienceinmind; Deborah Parker traces trends in the medieval and Renaissance commentary tradition of the Commedia; William Franke takes up again the question of the fictionality of the poem, presenting the thesis that we need not relegate reality to the literal level, as interpretation was and should be considered an integral part of the truth. There is no perceptible thematic principle linking the collection's essays -which, aside from all dealing with Dante, appear to be on random subjects - although a relatively large portion of them deal, refreshingly to my mind, with the Paradiso. All of the authors are well-known Dante scholars and all of the essays contain interesting and significant points of view. However, most, if not all, of them have appeared previously in some form (most commonly the form appearing here is a kind of summary ofpositions taken by the authors in one or more works elsewhere). While the volume, therefore, is hardly designed for the specialist, to whom the views expressed here would most likely be familiar, it is, for the very same reason, especially useful for the non-specialist reader, who can obtain in a condensed form rmderstanding of a number of prominent contemporary views of Dante and at the same time benefit, for further reading, from the 430 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 bibliographies accompanying each essay. The volume would also serve as a useful reader for students. (MARGUERITE CHIARENZA) Hayden B.J. Maginnis. Painting in the Age ofGiotto: A Hisfon'cal Reevaluation Pennsylvania State University Press. 238. 128 illus. us$55.oo A historian sits amidst a tremendous amount of puzzle pieces. Some are of vibrant, discernible colours, some faded, others illegible or even blank Whenever he encounters one of many lacunae, he takes a pair of scissors and cuts the illegible or blank pieces into the required, but missing, shapes. Periodically, he is provided with improved schemes for the pieces to be put into place. Inevitably, the historian becomes aware of the changing patterns. Moreover, while questioning his task, he realizes that he himself is a fragment of the puzzle. Hence he now attempts not only to solve the puzzle but also to reveal the history of its patterns, and hisĀ· role as problem solver ... Similarly, Maginnis has put himself in front of a tremendous task His contribution is made up of fragments (three chapters appeared as standalone artides before the book was conceived), and he is well aware of his...


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