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Statius and the 'Commedia': An Analysis of the Importance of Statius's Epic Poetry to Dante's 'Commedia'

Fuller, Sophie Victoria; (2019) Statius and the 'Commedia': An Analysis of the Importance of Statius's Epic Poetry to Dante's 'Commedia'. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

In the surprising absence of a monograph dedicated exclusively to Dante and Statius, my research asks, firstly when and how Dante most likely read Statius’s available works, and then – more importantly – how, why, and where he drew on this authorial encounter in his own oeuvre. The presence of Statius forms a key part of Dante’s development of a chain of literary succession in the 'Commedia' from the great classical poets Homer and Vergil, via Statius, to Dante himself, the first Christian poeta. My thesis explores Dante’s reception of Statius’s two epic poems, the 'Thebaid' and the unfinished 'Achilleid', and provides a consistent overview of Dante’s engagement with Statius throughout his oeuvre. Through reference to the manuscript tradition, I demonstrate that Dante probably read Statian epic accompanied by glosses and paratexts and encountered Statian extracts in florilegia of classical poetry. I suggest Dante’s acquaintance with the 'Roman de Thèbes'. I consider Statian resonances in Dante’s ‘opere minori’ and establish that Dante’s Statius is not just a discovery of the 'Commedia', but a fundamental part of Dante’s ongoing exploration of classical poetry and its methods of reading. Through in-depth analysis of the 'Commedia' and Statius’s two epics, I re-evaluate Statius’s presence throughout the 'Commedia'; not just in 'Inferno', where Statius’s Thebes provides a model for the City of Dis, and 'Purgatorio', where he appears as Stazio, but also in 'Paradiso', which to date has been explored less fully regarding Statius. In doing so, I take the new approach of returning to medieval commentators of Statian epic (edited and in manuscript) and the 'Commedia' to fully understand the poetic, symbolic, moral, allegorical, and political implications of these Statian resonances. I demonstrate thereby that Statian epic was far more important narratively, poetically, morally, allegorically, and politically to Dante than has been acknowledged to date.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Statius and the 'Commedia': An Analysis of the Importance of Statius's Epic Poetry to Dante's 'Commedia'
Event: UCL
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083609
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