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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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Folco of Marseilles

Folco of Marseilles

(p.205) 5 Folco of Marseilles
Dante’s Lyric Redemption

Tristan Kay

Oxford University Press

The chapter explores Dante’s treatment of Folco of Marseilles, who appears in the Paradiso’s Heaven of Venus. Like Guittone, Folco eventually rejected love poetry and became an influential participant in the Albigensian Crusades, penning two surviving crusade poems. While Folco has often been omitted from considerations of Dante’s reflection upon love poetry in the Commedia, this chapter shows him to be crucially implicated. While Folco is saved on account of his surpassing of courtly love, the chapter argues that Dante implicitly undermines the troubadour’s achievements as another love poet unable to transcend the dualistic ideology of the pre-existing lyric tradition—instead positing an insoluble tension between eros and spirituality. The chapter’s study of Dante’s engagement with Folco highlights his determination to integrate lyric desire and religious content and challenges the view that we should regard the former troubadour as anticipating Dante’s own conversionary path.

Keywords:   Dante, Folco of Marseilles, troubadours, bishop, desire, conversion, lyric poetry, gender, Virgil

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