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Dante’s Lyric RedemptionEros, Salvation, Vernacular Tradition$
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Tristan Kay

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198753964

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198753964.001.0001

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Arnaut Daniel

Arnaut Daniel

(p.155) 4 Arnaut Daniel
Dante’s Lyric Redemption

Tristan Kay

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers Dante’s engagement with Arnaut Daniel, a poet whose commitment to love, in contrast with Guittone’s, is unflinching. Given the problematic moral status of conventional courtly poetry for Dante, his evaluation of Arnaut might be expected to be as disapproving as his appraisal of Guittone, who confronted the moral difficulties inherent in the lyric tradition. Dante’s assessment of Arnaut is, however, far more positive. This chapter challenges the critical opinion that attributes Dante’s esteem for Arnaut to his technical prowess. Through close readings of Arnaut’s poetry and Dante’s references to him, it argues that the troubadour’s poetry encapsulates the nucleus of vernacular language, desire, and subjectivity that Dante saw as essential to lyric poetry in the vernacular, and that Arnaut’s standing as a paradigmatic poet of erotic love—and not simply as an indulgent master of poetic form—qualifies him as the Commedia’s ‘miglior fabbro’ (Purg. XXVI, 117).

Keywords:   Arnaut Daniel, Dante and lyric poetry, troubadours, desire, subjectivity, vernacular

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