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Eleven million viewers in is a very big television audience indeed it is a great deal bigger than the Evening News on Rai Television. The early com- mentators identify the "speaking gate" as a personification. Western Society and the Church in the lvIiddle Ages. Con un gesto imperioso del braccio faceva nascere attorno a Maciste, anche lui seminudo e con tortore in mano, un cerchio di lingue di fuoco. Vincent of Beauvais. Dante gives Hell both an outer and an inner gate see 8. Here devices specific to cinema — the extreme close-up, the mismatch of diegetic image and non-diegetic music — are brought into play alongside theatre and photography.
E si parla di arte; oltre che di Pizzinato, di Pollock, grazie alla collaborazione della Guggenheim Collection di Venezia. Prevedere per salvare. Non poteva mancare Venezia. Il vetro, le murrine, grazie alla fantastica collezione di Giovanni Sarpellon. Skip to main content Skip to table of contents. Advertisement Hide. Front Matter Pages I-X. Front Matter Pages Pages Donald nel paese delle meraviglie: In other words, the film industry establishes particular formulae and star personae with popular appeal but which develop as each new film invents different and unexpected situations.
It is the work of cultural analysis to deter- mine and discuss which elements are repeated and which are different in any given artwork: The promise of new and fantastic productions marks a difference between popular cinema and the folk culture of earlier times, involving as it did repeated songs and tales produced live and non-industrially. What is also worth mentioning here is how, in relation to Italian cinema, novelty has even been taken as definitional of the character of the popular during modernity: The constitution of popular cinema and its relationship to or exclusivity from art cinema occurs through the prac- tices of representatives of official culture as well as according to qualities intrinsic to the artwork.
Framing the Popular 15 of judgements on the very category, criteria and purpose used to analyse popular cinema the division between art and popular being one which Galt re-considers in this volume. The context of circuses, fairs and variety halls, in whose lineage popular cinema stands, offers a rather different perspective than those perspectives mentioned above which allege a failure to analyse reality.
Is a film auteurist because it negates its theatrical and industrial origins? Is it evasive when it is not made for explicit political and pedagogical aims? To maintain this would mean to replace critical analysis of films with verbal formulae [and] ignore the fact that every representation is always also a transformation of the represented object […] , cited in Grande, The first aspect of this challenge was a reconsideration of the radicalism of neorealism itself see Cannella, This approach, Eco maintains, is preferable to the attitude of the critic who negates these products en bloc, thus leaving the meanings of their appeal totally unchallenged.
Our hope is that this volume will likewise chart some of the ambivalences of popular cultural production and reception in Italy. It is also when film studies became instituted as an intellectual discipline, alongside the development of Cultural Studies a term which is left untranslated from the English when discussed in Italian. As well as this, interest turned towards analyses of popular film by means of genre studies, its representation both of reality and of different identity groups, and of pleasure in the cinema.
Culture is here understood as a negotiation Gledhill, and identity as residing not in a supposedly authentic condition of the popular classes, but as being a social process in continual development and redefinition — not least through the prac- tices of culture itself Hall, To widen the scope of scholarship on Italian cinema beyond the auteur and neorealist canons is certainly an objective that this volume endorses.
It does so, however, by being careful not to reinforce precisely that polarized film history that places the art film canon which has been allegedly studied over and over on one side and on the other the lower forms of film production that still need to be studied and appreciated. Such an agenda mirrors too closely one of the major ways in which popular Italian cinema has been tackled, that is to say, through the politics of rehabilitation. This scholarly practice is based on questioning the dismissal of certain strands of popular film pro- duction individual directors, films or genres in order to demonstrate that they are much more complex if not sophisticated than was previously thought.
In , the Venice film festival hosted the retro- spective Italian Kings of the Bs. Introduced by Quentin Tarantino, the retrospective celebrated a range of low-budget films including horror films, polizieschi and sex comedies made between the s and s. Tarantino himself declared that Italian B movies had been especially influential on him, a point that he forcefully reiterated when he came back to the Venice film festival in to compete with his Inglorious Basterds.
So successful has this process been that the retrospective trav- elled to the Tate Modern in and Italian B movie directors Dario Argento in ; Ruggero Deodato in ; Enzo Castellari and Sergio Martino in are regularly invited to Cine-Excess, the annual inter- national conference on global cult cinema which takes place in London. The practice of rehabilitation is, nevertheless, far from unproblem- atic. In a recent essay, Raffaele Meale points out that the rehabilitation of popu- lar cinema represents one of the most important aspects of the recent critical debate on the state of Italian cinema.
This volume aims to move towards an open hypothesis about what popular Italian cinema may look like; we contend that the objective of scholarship on popular Italian cinema should be to engage with a wider variety of film forms that may count as popular entertainment whilst also interrogating the relation of these forms with the art canon see Galt, and Rigoletto, in particular.
Within the varied range of frame- works on offer for understanding the popular, care has also been taken not to forget the value of the projects of class and popular emancipation that have so enlivened Italian film criticism.
A recent theorization of popular cinema can be found in La scena rubata by Paola Valentini, taken from the standpoint of three oppositions: The connection of film to other popular forms is made in the Comunicazioni sociali special edition on popular Italian cinema in the s.
In this collection, popular cinema is connected to the serialized literature of the nineteenth century through the pho- tostories of the cineromanzo Belloni and De Berti, , the post-war melodramas of Matarazzo to Catholic icon painting Lietti, , and, via the device of the voiceover in post-war comedy, to radio shows and popular pleasure in storytelling Villa, Framing the Popular 19 discussing some of the productive exchanges at play between popular cinematic production on the one hand and theatre, opera, fashion and variety on the other.
The multilayered relation between contemporary Italian cinema and television especially from the s onwards substantiates the useful- ness of this inter-medial approach. One of the distincive features of Italian film production of the last forty years has been the potential of the films for repeated and intense exploitation on the TV circuit after their cinema releases. This is partly due to the Rai cinema-Medusa duopoly which, together with the American majors, controls over 80 per cent of the Italian film market.
This duopoly is reflected in the even more powerful control that their sister companies state channels Rai and the Berlusconi-owned Mediaset have on Italian TV Ghelli, Bearing in mind the closeness between these two media in con- temporary Italy may be useful in unpacking the popular imagery that is currently consumed by film audiences nationwide.
Recent years have seen English language scholarship include popular genres within accounts of the history of Italian cinema. Similarly, it is now standard to include at least the popular cinema of the post-war period and mention of the filoni in any account of Italian cinema.
An underlying claim within the volume here is that the popular is a field with manifold connections to a range of aspects of daily life which, as the history of the debates outlined above suggest, is continu- ally reconstituted in a permanent and always only partial process of redefinition.
Added to this, the chapters below seek not to take a filmic text as existing as an answer to a particular pre-defined need nor as pos- sessing a life of its own, pushing or binding the spectator. Film is instead the mid-point in a dynamic interaction between spectator and social context, one which helps construct new needs through the creative invention of emotional experiences that do not pre-exist the viewing of a film.
This results in an emphasis on film analysis in the scholarship contained here, performed alongside other aspects of new research so as to understand one principal aspect of film: The chapters that follow draw on a variety of methods of scholarship by academics based in Italian, United Kingdom and US institutions.
He does so to ques- tion the bases of how we understand Italian cinema as popular — and whether we can understand it as such at all. His contribution thus acts as a companion to this chapter, completing an introductory section on the notion of popularity itself. These are films which draw from popular genres and which have been very commercially successful both in Italy and abroad but which often circulate both nationally and internationally as prestige productions.
She thereby contributes a major theorization, reconceptualizing aes- thetic categories and the relationship of popular to arthouse cinema. He argues that melodrama formed the principal form through which, for a certain period, Italian cinema expressed seriousness. This seriousness can be seen through the aesthetic strategies of melodrama and in the relationship it establishes between cinema and other central aspects of Italian life — the family, the Church and opera, amongst others.
Along with song and melodrama, comedy is another of the motifs present throughout Italian cinema. Typically young and inetto, she considers how the processes of identification with this figure can be read against genera- tional shifts occurring contemporaneously in Italian society. Taking a different approach to gender and the cinema of the s, Alex Marlow-Mann in Chapter 8 discusses a prolific but rather intellec- tually neglected filone, the poliziesco.
Towards a Re-Interpretation of Enzo G. Working from the philosophy of emotion provided by Robert Solomon, he proposes the possibility that rather than offering proto-Fascist responses to the crisis of Italian society in the s, crime films produce ambiguous possibilities regarding catharsis and justice. In his analysis, he considers the relationship between bodybuilding magazines, American culture and Italian masculinity, probing what the different forms and fortunes of two film versions of the Hercules myth can tell us about changes in Italian society from the s to the s.
Taking Bakhtin as his theoretical inspiration, he polemi- cizes for the cinepanettone as a playfully subversive and complex form. Maria Francesca Piredda focuses on a much lesser-known aspect of pop- ular Italian cinema, films made in the silent era by priests. In so doing he charts the place of the mondo film in the transition from s liberalization into the modern media culture of Italy.
Notes 1. A model of production that remained the main method of raising finance in the Italian industry. Framing the Popular 23 2. See Lottini, ; for the cultural distinctions operative in categorizing Italian silent films, see Brunetta, The Vatican maintained a vigorous interest in recommending or advising against films on moral grounds.
Bibliography Adorno, T. Per un dibattito sul cinema popolare: Il caso Matarazzo Rimini: Guaraldi Editori , 9— Guaraldi Editori. Argentieri, M. Marsilio , — Toffetti ed. Museo Nazionale del Cinema , — Baranski, Z. Framing the Popular 25 Belloni, C. Villa ed. Bondanella, P. Palgrave Macmillan. Bonsaver, G. Brizio-Sikov, F.
Brunetta, G. Brunetta G. Brunetta ed. Einaudi , 31— Einaudi , — Jeremy Parzen Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Burke, F. Caldiron, O. Cannella, M. Carabba, C. Guaraldi Editori , 37— Casetti, F. La nascita e lo sviluppo del cinema tra Otto e Novocento Milan: Riti e ambienti del con- sumo cinematografico — Rome: Castello, G. Edizioni Radio Italiano. Marsilio , 37— Celli, C.
Corsi, B. Editori Riuniti. Il cinema comico in Italia dal al Milan: De Mauro, T. Forgacs and R. Lumley eds , Italian Cultural Studies: An Introduction Oxford: Oxford University Press , 88— Miti, luoghi, divi Turin: Giulio Einaudi , — De Santis, G.
Cosulich Rome: Dyer, R. Eco, U. Lumley Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Fanchi, M. Fondazione Scuola Nazionale di Cinema. Feretti, G. Caldiron and S. Della Casa eds , Appassionatamente: Lindau , 92—6. Forgacs, D. Bennett et al. Routledge , 83— Manchester University Press. Ghelli, S. Zagarrio ed.
Edizioni Kaplan , 19— Gledhill, C. Storey ed. A Reader Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press , — Gramsci, A. Forgacs and G. Nowell- Smith, trans W. Boelhower London: Grande, M. Tinazzi ed. Gundle, S.
Baranski and R. Palgrave Macmillan , — Hall, S. Hay, J. Landy, M. Cambridge University Press. Framing the Popular 27 Lattuada, A. Lindau , —3. Lietti, R. Lottini, I. Bayman ed. Italy Bristol: Intellect , 33—5. Matarazzo, R. Lindau , 96—8. Meale, R. Edizioni Kaplan , 44—9. Menon, G. Marsilio , ix—xxiii. Marsilio , 1—5. Mosconi, E. Contributi per una storia culturale del cinema italiano — Milan: Vita e Pensiero.
Caldiron ed. Marsilio , 74— Pellizzari, L. Il Cinema Italiano — Milan: Contributi a una storia della critica cinemato- grafica italiana Rome: Quaglietti, L. Savio, F. Realismo, formalismo, propaganda e i telefoni bianchi nel cinema italiano di regime — Milan: Electra International.
Sorlin, P. Spinazzola, V. Tinazzi, G.
Torri, B. Marsilio , 33— Treveri-Gennari, D. Valentini, P. Il cinema italiano e lo spettacolo popolare — Milan: Villa, F. Fanchi and E. Mosconi eds , Spettatori: Fondazione Scuola Nazionale di Cinema , — Wagstaff, C.
Dyer and G.
Vincendeau eds , Popular European Cinema London: Routledge , — Duggan and C. Wagstaff eds , Italy in the Cold-War: Politics, Culture and Society — Oxford: Berg , 80— Wood, M. Zagarrio, V. Marsilio , 99— Christopher Wagstaff Two things interest me in this chapter: Is it enough for it to be made in Italy by Italians, or does the investment in production have to be Italian too — and how do we determine the nationality of money?
Do the viewers also have to be in the majority Italians? And if it did, would that modify our interest in the relationship between audience and artefact?
See Section 2 on issues surrounding the question of Italian nationality.
Are we referring to the absolute monetary sums received at the box-office in comparison with other films, or do we measure it relative to the pro- duction costs of the respective films, or are we referring to the amount of profit or loss accruing to the production company, or do we try to calculate the number of spectators who viewed a particular film, and if the latter, over how long a period?
Section 3 looks at some of the impli- cations of trying to use box-office receipts to characterize audiences. Section 4 reflects on the historical dimension of the distinction between popular and mass cinema. Does this mean that there are elite films with artistic qualities, and popular films without them?
And does this amount to an opposition between valuable films and inferior films, and whose interests are served by the existence of such an opposition?
If such an opposition really did exist, why would we accord scarce space in the economy of the educational curriculum to aesthetic objects of dubious value, if this entailed elbowing out of the programmes of study of the young people whom we are charged with educating those films which might challenge, stimulate and enrich them? Section 5 reflects on the caution necessary when talking about different cultural levels of cinema.
Once again, the intention is not to be polemical, but to shine a light on problematic areas. It is taken for granted from this point on that there can be a purely critical-aesthetic interest in popular cinematic artefacts which is not problematic in the least and the final section of this chapter comes to rest in that zone.
When we identify a group as the addressees of a film, are we identi- fying a target audience, or do we simply observe who went to watch a certain film or type of film, and make the assumption that this was the intended target audience?
Do we know how to classify the people who bought tickets in the past to watch a film — that is to say, is any infor- mation available about their social, economic or cultural attributes; has anybody collected that information and, if so, how? Are we trying to learn from cultural artefacts about the subordinate and non-dominant classes in Italy?
Might we be studying a certain kind of cinema in order to pursue a vocation to emancipate the working classes originally one of the goals of Cultural Studies in the United Kingdom — see Section 6 below? Or are we instead simply trying to gain knowledge about how, why, and in what circumstances these films were made — so as to know something about the film-making and filmgoing taking place in Italy at a certain time?
Are we assuming that the way we look at some of these films now, in our present circumstances, bears much relation to how Italian or foreign audiences watched these films when they were released; or do we feel the need to try and see the films as they were seen at the time — and is that possible a problem that has dogged Film Studies?
Has a reliable body of data on this matter been collected? Does our job as scholars permit us to define the object of study in terms of our own political, social, national, ethnic or gender-identity needs and desires, or does it require us to define the object of study strictly in terms of the certain knowledge we can demonstrate that we have about it? This issue is raised in Section 6 of this chapter. Section 6 discusses the distinction between the two alternatives.
Here the bald questions end, and some of the issues covered by previous questions are picked up, illustrated and discussed. The sum would have paid for well over a hundred Italian films at average costs, or over 40 prestige Franco-Italian co-productions.
Considering that the entire Italian film industry was investing 30 billion lire a year in produc- tion and collecting 44 billion lire in receipts and tax refunds, then the significance of an American presence in the market amounting to 21 billion lire a year becomes enormous.
Hollywood can be seen as dealing with a contraction of its home market by quite simply incorporating its foreign markets into a sort of expanded domestic market. Low wages and material costs and European government subsidies reduced produc- tion costs, while the audiences which American movies had lost on the domestic market could be replaced by Italian audiences or even foreign audiences of Italian films made with Hollywood money. It invested blocked funds in production, in technical facilities, in distribution and in some areas of exhibition.
Between and Italy co-produced films with France; in Italy produced films, 75 per cent of which were co-productions, designed for wide, state-subsidized dis- tribution in at least two participating countries — a large proportion of Spaghetti Westerns were both made and viewed by more Spaniards than Italians.
On one night in , 11 million people in Italy watched Umberto D. Eleven million viewers in is a very big television audience indeed it is a great deal bigger than the Evening News on Rai Television. In the need for entertainment at the cinema excluded Umberto D. Immediately after the Second World War box-office receipts were collected, for the most part, in the first-run cinemas in the 14 major cities of Italy, on Sundays double the take of weekdays and Saturdays 20 per cent less than Sundays , and predominantly in winter.
Films distributed by the eight major Hollywood companies accounted for 50 per cent of those prime days. It is to be noted that 5 per cent of the films in circulation constituted 50 per cent of film shows, while 10 per cent of the films took 80 per cent of box office receipts. Moreover, the films that got to be shown in the right place at the right time earned far more than films that got shown, let us say, on a Wednesday in summer. The average expenditure on cinema per head of population in Large Northern City: Lire Small Northern Town: Lire Large Southern City: Lire Small Southern Town: Lire For the year , average ticket prices: Northern Italy: Lire 8.
Lire Lire ; average ticket price in Agrigento: The growth of exhibition in post-war Italy took place proportionately more in smaller centres and rural areas than in the major cities.
These smaller centres with their lower ticket prices very much lower than in provincial capitals: Table 2. Italian Cinema, Popular? To the popular cinema belong works destined to be consumed by the lower classes exclusively; the mass cinema is instead designed to unify the public, bourgeois and proletarian, and therefore appears to have an interclass value.
One derives from a small-scale system of production; the other is a product of a more advanced industri- alization. To begin with, films were shot and projected by the same person who supplied the venue and the machinery. They were a fairground entertainment.
This high cost needed to be mortgaged over large ticket- paying audiences. But bringing a highly flammable material close to a bright, and consequently very hot, source of light, raised dangers for large audiences collected in enclosed spaces, and venues required expensive projection-boxes usherettes were not an extravagant way of getting clients to their seats, but a necessary aid to getting them out of the building when the place caught fire. The innovation of hav- ing distributors who purchased the film from the producer in order to rent it to the exhibitor brought down the cost of the film.
All the other innovations in the cinema required increased investment: Italian and French cinema confronted the problem by raising the cultural level of their films, and in parallel with that their quality. In the earliest days English producers, with one of the smallest home markets in the world, were said to put out a weekly total of new films which was the largest in the world.
This complete dependence on their foreign trade was justified when foreign producers were unable to supply their devouring markets unaided. But this ceased to be so after […] One is left with the impression that in Britain the film had to overcome the resistance of a particularly inelastic social and intellectual pattern.
In France and Italy the film might be a younger sister of the arts, in America art itself. In England it was a poor rela- tion, and, moreover, not a very respectable one. Low, If Cabiria exploited art and culture to develop a mass and international audi- ence, at the same time it produced an offshoot, the Maciste formula, directed towards a smaller and for the most part domestic popular audience.
We cannot conflate the popular and the mass, nor can we oppose the art cinema to a cinema for large, diversified audiences. Indeed, an argument can be mounted for the boundary of the popular being the physical space embracing performer and spectator, in which voice, body-movements and physical contact live music and dancing would be an example are directly experienced historically: Suspect, but not impossible. The blues offers an interesting example.
In the s and early s Charley Patton and Son House were undoubtedly popu- lar musicians, operating in a popular cultural context juke joints in the state of Mississippi.
As a form, the blues is so rigidly formulaic that its realization is necessarily auteurist, relying, as does jazz, on individual and one-off improvisation.
The performance of a song written and sung by a black Southern farm worker for fellow and contemporary black Southern farm workers is a very different phenomenon from a performance of that same song re-hashed by middle-class art students and merchan- dised by a capitalist commodity producer for a middle-class European teenage audience forty years later.
If pizza served and eaten in the quartieri spagnoli of Naples is popular, at the Savoy Hotel it is not. A song only exists in the singing and listen- ing. A pizza only exists in the cooking, serving and eating. The films were thoroughly denigrated for their popular qualities by northern critics at the time: No, no, in the name of God, never should these spectacles be repeated in an elegant theatre, a theatre like this, centrally located and with such a glorious past!
No, in the name of the good name and propriety of our national cinema! La rivista cinematografica, Let us illustrate this with a quotation from a justly famous essay by Stuart Hall: Popular culture is one of the sites where the struggle for and against a culture of the powerful is engaged: It is the arena of consent and resistance.
It is partly where hegemony arises, and where it is secured. But it is one of the places where socialism might be constituted. Hall, In the material analysis, we try to remain aware that films are com- modities designed to meet the needs of the production, distribution and exhibition sectors of an industry which is enormous at the exhibi- tion level, but relatively tiny at the production level.
Production exists only in order to serve, and only inasmuch as it does serve, exhibition. In short: Italian genre films of the s and s gave — and I tried to elaborate a theory of this — quantitative gratifica- tions: This is not qualitatively different splatter from other splatter that of Hollywood , just the same splatter but more often.
Like Coca-Cola, you cannot make it nourish you; all you can do is consume more of it. This is the function of a film in the exhibition sector of the market: The function of film A is to get the consumer to return to the cinema to watch film B. Its function is not to meet some hypothesized needs the consumer might have, but to stimulate repetitive consumption.
A deeply rooted conviction holds, instead, that cultural products must meet the needs of the consumers in order to generate exchange value: Where Italian cinema is concerned, this conviction fuels the insistence that it is possible to deduce from the themes of films that successfully sold tickets what social needs were being met of the consum- ers who viewed them.
This conviction has a distinguished Gramscian pedigree later inherited by the Cultural Studies movement in England. It is a story dear to popular audiences, which are drawn immediately to side with the young couple against the arrogance of the powerful man.
The villain is very often the lord of the region, a tyrant, and the beautiful girl a member of the common people ruled over by him. Behind the tearful emotional involvement of the public there is always a feeling of solidarity with the oppressed: The common man of the people, who every day submits to the injustices of the powerful, identifies with the character of the oppressed, who becomes his own implacable avenger from the Count of Monte Cristo to the various characters played by Amedeo Nazzari today , and directs his desire for rebellion against characters in books or in films.
If it were so easy and within the reach of anyone to emotionally arouse an audience, gold and diamond mines would become banal gambles compared with such a sure source of wealth. Italian silent cinema is known throughout the world for its ambitious historical dramas and its high-society melodramas, films directed not at a popular audience at all, but specifically designed to raise and expand the social and cultural level of cinema-going to encourage and justify investment in the industry.
Despite problems with the censor after being widely shown in , it was cut and redistributed in , it was so successful with the public that in it was given a soundtrack and re-released. But before that it was watched by Federico Fellini: What was the first film for me? I watched it while in the arms of my father, standing up in the midst of a crowd of people, wearing a sodden overcoat because it was raining outside.
I remember a huge woman with a bare midriff, her belly-button, and the flashing of her fierce eyes heavily made up. With an imperious gesture she conjured up around Maciste, who was also half-naked and holding a dove, a circle of tongues of fire. Fellini, The three different foreign models which were scrutinized quite seriously for what they had to offer in Italy were, in turn, Mosfilm in the Soviet Union, UFA in Germany and Hollywood in the United States delegates visited each and reported back.
The problems they faced were multiple. The Soviet model targeted the proletariat, whereas the only readily available audience for Italian cinema was the urban petty bourgeoisie.
In fact the majority of these comedies originated in the theatre, and not even in Italian theatre, but in Budapest. Various figures during the inter-war period envisaged a popular cin- ema, offering a popular reflection of popular life for a popular public though not a rural one.
A film that exemplified this aspiration would be Treno popolare, directed by Raffaello Matarazzo in Infelllo 31 E io ch' avea d' orror la testa cinta.
I saw a flag running in circles so rapidly that it seemed to scorn all pause. Callto 3 31 And I. I saw and knew the shade of him who in his cowardice made the great refusal.
These wretches. I come to lead you to the other shore. I refrained from speech until we reached the river. Canto 3 70 And when I gazed beyond them. I saw people on the bank of a great river. Inferno Caron dimonio. Catlto 3 Charon the demon. Compare John Morpurgo Like Vergil. Weeping she hath wept in the night.
Dante quotes the first verse both in the Vita nuova Chapter That both Heaven and Hell are referred to as cities cf. See Lamentations 1. The early com- mentators identify the "speaking gate" as a personification. How doth the city sit solitary. Dante notes that the three eternal creatures are the angels pure form or act. That Hell was prepared for the rebel angels is biblical Matt. Dante gives Hell both an outer and an inner gate see 8. In Par.. The destruction ofJerusalem was regarded by the exegetes as a figure of the Last Judgment and thus as applicable to Hell this figure is discussed further in the note on Through me.
The grieving city derives from the biblical personifica- tion of Jerusalem mourning its destruction in B. The central theme of the Inferno. Power is the attribute of the Father. The gate stands open. See also 9. Note the antithesis with line 9. The Aristotelian source of the phrase Nichomachean Ethics 6. The expression can refer both to the appearance of the writ- ing and to the obscure and harsh meaning "rhetorical" color..
Notes to Canto 3 And that great dragon was cast out. See also 2 Peter 2. In this canto Dante al- ludes to or quotes Aeneas's entrance into Hades Aen. The intellectual vision of God.
Here one must abandon. See John 6. The sense echoes the Sybil in Aen. Knowledge of the other world.
The legend of the neutral angels. Air darkened forever. Aeneas is describing the decapitation of Priam. I shed tears: The first of the pilgrim's varying emotional responses to Hell. Strange languages. Compare Matt. They are mixed. This mixing of human and angelic is not observed anyv"'here else in the poem. The first hint of Hell's kinship with Babel.
The rebel angels first averted themselves from God and then actively turned to evil with Satan. In other words.. Hinc exaudiri gemitus et saeva sonare verbera. Dante'sjourney will bring infamy to those in Hell and renewed or better reputations to the blessed. The line echoesAen. I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth" see the note to line Notes to Canto 3 from God. The flag acts as the lure.
The first instance of Dante's contrapasso [counter-suffering]-the fitting of the punishment to the sin see This unnamed soul has been identified as Pontius Pilate.
See Apoc. Dante clusters a number of references to Vergil's poem in this part of the canto a dozen in lines alone.
But Pietro da Morrone.. In Dante's day. Eliot translated this line in The Waste Land. The infinite number of the dead is a classical topos. The word for "coward" here. Dante's corrupt enemy see Celestine's act would thus have been a "neutral" failure to oppose a patent evil.
I saw people. See Am. Or by what decision do these remain on the shore. Ipse ratem conto subigit velisque ministrat et ferruginea subvectat corpora eumba.
In these lines. His filth is frightening. Portitor has horrendus aquas et flumina servat terribili squalore Charon.. Inferno the traditional rivers of the underworld.
For this last. And behold. I Ie is old now. Dante adapts Vergil's portrait of Charon. Vel quo diserirnine ripas hac linquunt. With a pole he steers and tends the sail of the iron-hued skiff that convcvs the bodies across. A dirty cloak hangs from his shoulders by a knot.
The "lighter vessel" appears in Purg. The first of several passages where Virgil quells protest by invoking the theological commonplace of God's omnipotence see 5. As in autumn. Notes ro Canto 3 Dante makes Charon a devil line Quam multa in silvis autumni frigore primo lapsa cadunt folia.
Aeneas crosses in Charon's boat. They cursed God. Charon's words imply that the pilgrim is destined for salvation. These lines have the distinction of being the first attested quotation from the It! Umbrarum hic locus est. This vivid detail. See Jer. This is the place of shades. Fare age quid venias iam ins tine. By another way. See Aell. Augustinian tradition see the 11 ote to 1. See the note to lines God's justice. Compare Aell. Where Vergil's simile gives two views oflarge numbers-the multitude of souls as dead leaves.
Compare Aer!. Dante gives itineraries for the soul after death at Dante's term is the generic uccello [bird]. Medieval geology. The image draws on the medieval commonplace of the tree of Adam's progeny.
Those of Adam's descendants who are damned even those who did not sin voiuntarily are damned by the sin inherited from Adam unless redeemed by faith in Christ.
The cause of this subterranean wind would not seem to be natural.. For other "sleeps" and "swoons" of the pilgrim. Another instance of the narrating poet's being caught again in the experience narrated. Notes to Canto 3 in the atmosphere. I found myself on the brink of the sorrowful valley of the abyss. Limbo--thc unbaptized-Virgil's account of the Harrowil1. E yo' che sappi che. Or yo' che sappi. Israel con 10 padre e co' suoi nati e can Rachele.
Canto 4 31 My good master to me: Now I wish you to know. I say. Israel with his father. S1 ch'io fui sesto tra cotanto senno.
Ovidio e 'I terzo. I saw four great shades coming toward us: Canto 4 70 We were still some distance from it. My good master began to speak: Ovid is the third. Madia e Comiglia. Eraclito e Zenone. Avicenna e Galieno. S1 che veder si potien tutti quanti. A vero1s che '1 gran comento feo. Cesare armata con Ii occhi grifagni.
Inferno Questo passammo come terra dura. Tulio e Lino e Seneca morale. Anassagora e Tale. D"iascoride dico. Canto 4 This we passed over like solid ground. Avicenna and Galen. Caesar in armor with hawklike eyes. Tullius and Linus.
I saw the master of those who know. Dioscorides I mean. Averroes who made the great commentary. Inferno La sesta compagnia in due si scema: Canto 4 The company of six is reduced to two: Aquinas placed it underground. The expression "pit of the abyss" [he "abyss" is liter- ally the "bottomless" IS biblical Apoc. Dante's placing unbaptized adults and vIrtuous pagans there is original with him and contrary to Church doctrine.
Though it is not fear that causes his pallor here.. I probed with my sight: According to Plato. Virgil's pity seems restricted to the souls in Limbo. There is an echo here of Vergil's description of the dead crov"ding the shores of Styx Aen. Perhaps the sound of the lightning flash of 3. Except for line Echoing 3.
Aristotle conclusively refuted this view. The existence of a Limbo the term means "edge" or "fringe" for unbaptized children and for the faithful waiting for Christ was asserted by the fathers of the Church. The best discussion is Padoan This theme became one of the most widely represented in the Middle Ages. Lines can be taken to mean that the pilgrim desires a high degree of certainty or that he desires clarification of his Christian belief.
Virgil's account refers to the so-called Harrowing of Hell. Virgil may seem to imply that those who lived before Christ were saved if they "adored" God or "prayed" to him rightly. Cantos 8 and 9 and Purgatorio This is a traditional metaphor. Dante's theory of salva- tion. I was still new. This question hovers over Dante's entire portrayal of Virgil see. Virgil identifies himself as one who. Confessions 1. They desire the beatific vision of God but cannot hope to reach it.
Satan while tak- ing by the hand Adam at the head of a line of Old Testament figures. Notes to Canto 4 saved. Chiavacci Leonardi suggests that his ques- tion reflects Dante's awareness that Christ's descent into Hell between his death and resurrection had been made an article of faith only in reasserted in The Byzantine anastasis. Christ was supposed to have descended into the underworld.
Augustine Enarrationes in Psalmos. Dante docs not seem to have known Propertius.. I was still new: Vergil died in 19 B. He apparently knew nothing of Aeschylus. Jacob named Israel after his struggle with the angel.
Dante refers to the Ars poetica. Virgil does not seem to have recognized Christ as any- thing more than a man. The hemisphere of light is a symbol both of the enlightenment achieved by classical civilization and of the knowledge the memory of the classical world possessed by Dante and his contemporaries the "honorable mention. Although Dante realized that his time possessed only tragmentary knowledge of antiquity.
A transparent autobio- graphical allegory. Pin dar. Horace the satirist: Quintus Horatius Flaccus SB. Virgil probably saw a classical laurel wreath rather than the cruciform nimbus. The only major Latin epic poet omitted here is Statius Dante had no direct knowledge of Homer or any other Greek poets.
Dante knew all or most of Ovid's works.. Publius Ovidius Naso 43 B. Not the daughter of Agamemnon but of Atlas. The phrase seems to echo Ovid's naming of himself as fourth in the line of elegiac poets in Tristia 4. Notes to Canto 4 the ancients and his conviction that he is worthy of their company no false modesty here.
At the autobiographical level of the allegory. Camilla and Penthesilea are virgin warriors: King Latinus. The stream is often glossed as representing eloquence.
There opposite. The elevation from which the group contemplate the great souls of antiquity seems to echo the hill from which Aeneas and Anchises see the future heroes of Rome Am.
As the early commentators point out. Therefore we drew. Along with lines Like the hemisphere of light. Dante refers to her again in Monarcizia 2. Lavinia his daughter: Figures from the Aeneid cf. Diogenes and Zeno Dante had read of in manuals. Figures from Roman history. Infemo Some works by both Cicero and Seneca were known to Dante. One of the most impressive achievements of the Middle Ages was the assimilation and mastery during the twelfth and thirteenth centu- ries of all the works of Aristotle.
Many storie. Dante mentions him in Convivio 4. Saladdin Salah ad-Din. Tullius is Marcus Tullius Cicero 46 B. Orpheus and Linus are legendary poets men- tioned in Vergil's Eclogues and Georgics. Cornelia was Julius Caesar's wife and the mother ofJulia. Although Dante makes Plato subordinate to Aristotle.
Seneca the moralist is Lucius Annaeus Seneca the younger 4 B. Socrates and Plato: Dante knew Plato only indirectly. When I lifted tny brow a little higher: The traditional author of the most widely used collection of works on materia medica. The inclusion of poets among philosophers reflects the Marcia was the wife of Cato the Younger. Dante ascribed to him several works by late followers of Plato and read him in a Neoplatonic key. Scientists and philosophers.
Avicenna Ibn-Sina. Elements and Optics were widely studied in Dante's time. Hippocrates fifth century B. Notes to Canto 4 Ciceronian tradition of identifying poetry with wisdom. Almagest was the leading astro- nomical textbook. Ptolemy's second century A. Euclid's third century B.
Dante treats the Muslim philosophers almost as extensions of Greco-Roman civilization. Galen second century. Inferno 31 La bufera infernal.
COS1 vid' io venir. COS1 quel fiato Ii spiriti mali 43 di qua. Canto 5 31 The infernal whirlwind. Caina attende chi a vita ci spense. Infemo 70 Poscia ch'io ebbi 'I mio dottore udito no mar le donne antiche e ' cavalieri. Caina awaits him who extinguished our life. Canto 5 70 After I had heard my teacher name the ancient ladies and knights. I sent forth my voice: Infemo Quand' io intesi quell' anime offense. Galeotto fu 'llibro e chi 10 scrisse: I began: I will do as one who weeps and speaks.
Canto 5 When I understood those injured souls. Galeotto was the book and he who wrote it: I bent my face downward. See Matt. This repre- sentation of the overall structure of Hell associates its successively lower levels with the body. Limbo is thus identified as the uppennost circle of Hell.
For the theory of col7trapasso. The infernal whirlwind. There stands Minos: According to Greco-Roman tradition. The narrower compass of this second circle is the first indication that Hell is funnel-shaped and that effects of compression and crowding will become increasingly prominent. The second of Virgil's reproofs of infernal custodians. In other words. Further references to Cretan leg- end are found in Inferno 12 the Minotaur.
Now the grief-stricken notes: This first region of Hell proper but sec- ond circle is marked by the onset of the discordant "music". The use of the term for a monastic guesthouse is bitterly sarcastic.
For this detail. Like many of the pun- ishments in Dante's Hell Purgatorio 26 Pasiphae. Orosius's Seven Books against the Pagans. Dido's story had both charmed and alarmed Christian moralists since at least the time of Augustine cf. And as their wings. An echo of Aen. One's desire is thus one's "weight. Dante follows hostile Christian accounts Augustine's City of God. Dante could have known from Macrobius that according to ancient tradition Aeneas and Dido lived several hundred years apart and that Dido was legendary for her chastity.
Dante's word for" desire" here. These directions correspond to the four classical "perturbations" of the spirit Oove. Confessions Dido com- mitted suicide when abandoned by Aeneas see also Queen of Egypt. Tusculan Disputations 5.
For these details and for his general knowledge of Semiramis. Talento [talent]. The emergence of the line of noble lovers and there is a reference to the medieval vogue of stories of adulterous love in Breton lais suggests that the starlings may represent more ple- beian lovers. Notes to Canto 5 The first of three bird similes starlings. The metaphor is maintained throughout the canto. Lust Latin luxuria was tradi- tionally regarded as the least serious of the seven deadly vices. Note the political metaphors: Bestiaries familiar to Dante e.
In the Comedy. Cleopatra morganatically married her brother. All seven examples involve the subversion of political or military responsibility by adulterous passion. The pilgrim's strong reaction of sympathy begins a process that reaches its climax at the end of the canto This is the last of the bird similes.. Francesca she is identified in line begins with a courteous salutation meant to capture the Such anachronistic description of classical and ancient figures is frequent in Dante's time.
Dares Phrygius and vernacular Romall de Troie versions of the story.. As doves. King Mark. For the comparison. Such phrases. His word for "lost" here. Behold Helen: Helen of Troy. As was the custom of the Ptolemies. L "magnanimum" [great-souled.
A cllilleid Dante conserves the classical epithet cf. Francesca was born in Ravenna. For Francesca's words. Francesca is alluding to Ovid's tale of Pyramus and Thisbe. In each case it is the personified god oflove that is made the agent. The city. Her yearning for peace was evident also in lines Each of these three terzinas be- gins with the word Love anaphora: She uses the language of pursuit to describe the relation between the Po and its tributaries. Hardt observed that of the nineteen instances of the word amor Love led us on to one death: In the Italian the first word.
Francesca's speech is a tissue of allusions to the fashionable poetry of love..