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Problems of the "Empyrean Heaven" in Dante

E J Stormon


Although commentators frequently employ the term "cielo empireo", Dante himself uses it only once in the Commedia. It is not unnatural for commentators to call it a tenth heaven, or to resurrect from the Convivio and elsewhere the term: "il cielo empireo". But when we look at his own positive statements we realize that this terminology, however useful in the short term, is finally inadequate and indeed improper. Even when spatial metaphors creep into the titles Dante uses, it is clear that the emphasis really falls on a spiritual condition: the Beatific Vision proper occurs precisely as the "alta fantasia" breaks; imagination and poetry can now go no further, because the reality has supervened.

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Spunti e Ricerche. Rivista d'italianistica.
ISSN (Print): 0816-5432.
ISSN (Electronic): 2200-8942.