Wednesday, October 25, 2006

La Pia and Great Libraries

Jutta shares two links of interest:

First, an academic article by Aldo Scaglione that offers a detailed look at Purgatorio V. Here's a snippet from its subtle reading of the character of La Pia:
Pia's position in the topography of the Commedia gives reason to assume a significant parallelism with the somewhat analogous female characters who appear toward the beginning of each cantica, namely Francesca (Inf. V) and Piccarda (Par. III). All three are unusually gentle toward Dante, all three had been the victims of their husbands, yet, when seen in succession, they mark an interesting and telling progression from Francesca's complete, tragically lasting involvement in human passion, to Pia's transcending her private affairs in a willful state of preparation for the final, total salvation of her soul, and lastly to Piccarda's having reached the complete identification with divine will, as expressed in the memorable line,

«E 'n la sua volontade √® nostra pace» (Par. III 85).

Scaglione continues: The...contrast between this abruptly peaceful ending and the fury of the highly emotional, bloody, and tempestuous stories that immediately precede (vv. 64-129), is another example of Dante's unprecedented and uniquely effective method of arranging the parts of his poem by frequent variations in mood in the form of dialectically contrasting episodes, somewhat like the movements of a sonata. This discreet, subdued ending suggestively closes a canto that had been so full of dramatic action.

Jutta's second link is to a site about several of the great libraries of the world, including extraordinary collections such as that at Patmos (above), the Marcian, and the Bodleian (below):

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