The essays on Dante collected in this volume interpret his Commedia as the attempt of a renewal of the Christian work of salvation by means of literature. In the view of his author, the sacro poema responds to a historical moment of extreme danger, in which nothing less than the redemption of mankind is at stake. The degradation of the medieval Roman Empire and the rise of an early capitalism in his birth town Florence, entailing a pernicious moral depravation for Dante, are to him nothing else but a variety of symptoms of the backfall of the world into its state prior to its salvation by the incarnation of Christ.
Dante presents his journey into the other world as an endeavor to escape these risks. Mobilizing the traditional procedures of literary discourse for this purpose, he aims at writing a text that overcomes the deficiencies of the traditional Book of Revelation that, on its own terms, no longer seems capable of fulfilling his traditional tasks. The immense revaluation of poetry implied in Dante's Commedia, thus, contemporarily involves the claim of a substantial weakness of the institutional religious discourse.
Andreas Kablitz, geb. 1957, Professor an den Universitäten Tübingen, München und Köln, Romanische Philologie und Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft. Träger des Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Preises; Mitglied der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, der Nordrhein-Westfälischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Künste und der Nationalen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Leopoldina).