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Publications on Dante: John Alfred Scott

I have to thank Professor Scott for having supplied, on my request, the bibliographic information on which the following is based.
    Otfried Lieberknecht (18 December 1996, upgraded 7 January 2000)

[Books] [Articles] [Reviews]


  1. Dante magnanimo: studi sulla «Commedia», Firenze: Olschki, 1977 (= Saggi di «Lettere Italiane», 25), 354 pp. [publ. info | order]

    Reviews: Pietro G. Beltrami, Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, serie III, 7.4 (1977), p.1758-60; Guido Di Pino, Italianistica 7 (1978), p.146-148; Nicholas J. Perella, Forum Italicum 13 (1979), p. 527-535; Peter Armour, Italian Studies 34 (1979), p.140-141; Gabriele Muresu, Rassegna della letteratura italiana 84 (1980), p.287-289; Aldo Scaglione, Romance Philology 34 (1981), p.32-46

  2. Dante's Political Purgatory, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996 (= Middle Ages Series), xi + 295 pp. [order 1 |  order 2]

    Review: Ronald Herzman, The Medieval Review, 7 November 1996

    Cf. DSt 115 (1997): This book "was conceived as a whole in two parts: a political biography of Dante Alighieri followed by a detailed analysis of the political thread that runs throughout his Purgatorio. The first part offers . . . a sketch of the poet's experience of politics from his birth in a Guelf commune to his death after twenty years of exile and the way this experience is inextricable bound up with his writings. . . . The second, major section leads to the inescapable conclusion that the Purgatorio was inspired in large measure by the lesson drawn by the poet from Henry VII's attempts (1310-1313) to restore imperial power and authority in Italy. The lesson of those four years does not imply merely a denunciation of the causes for the failure of Henry's enterprise: it includes the immense hopes aroused in the poet's breast by that same enterprise, which appeared to him as proof that his political ideal was no utopian vision but a para-edenic state that could be realized on earth. ... Our understanding of the second cantica of Dante's masterpiece is partial and fragmentary without this historical-political approach." Contents: Preface (ix-xi); Part One: Dante's Politics. 1. Dante's Political Experience (1265-1302) (1-20); 2. Dante's Political Experience: Exile and Conversion (1302-1305) (21-35); 3. Exul Immeritus (1305-1321) (36-59); Part Two: Dante's Purgatorio. Introduction to Part Two (61-67); 4. Cato: A Pagan Suicide in Purgatory (69-84); 5. Manfred and Bonconte (85-95); 6. The Sordello Episode (Purgatorio VI-VIII) (96-127); 7. The Dream and the Entrance to Purgatory (Purgatorio IX-X) (128-143); 8. The Poem's Center (Purgatorio XII-XVIII) (144-157); 9. The She-Wolf and the Shepherds (Purgatorio XIX-XX( (158-178); 10. The Apocalypse (Purgatorio XXIX-XXXIII) (179-211); Conclusion (212-213); Notes (215-267); Bibliography (269-283); Index (285-295).


  1. "Allegory in the Purgatorio", Italica 37,3 (1960), p.167-184

    Cf. DSt 79 (1961): A review-article of C. S. Singleton, Dante Studies 2: Journey to Beatrice [...] containing a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book, followed by critical comments which especially take to task (1) what are considered excursions too far outside the poem itself, (2) the belaboring of certain points with excessive erudition, and (3) the blanket ignoring of all previous interpreters of Dante. [...]

  2. "Inferno X: Farinata as Magnanimo", Romance Philology 15,4 (1962), p.395-411

    Cf. DSt 81 (1963): Examines the history of the term, magnanimo, in its varying favorable and unfavorable meanings and, against the over-simplified traditional view of Farinata, brings to bear these findings upon Dante's presentation of the character in the light, furthermore, of the contextual preparation for the episode (Inf. VI and IX), linking pride and heresy. The word magnanimo, as used by the poet in Inf. X, 73, is seen as a microcosm reflecting Dante's complex attitude towards Farinata: admiration for the savior of Florence and condemnation of Farinata's ambition and pride, his clannish and partisan spirit. The episode underscores the vanity of Epicurean concepts evinced in both Farinata's and Cavalcante's obsession with the clan or material actions, the only means of immortality conceivable to these Epicurean heretics.

  3. "Dante's Use of the Word 'intelletto'", Italica 40,3 (1963), p.215-224

    Cf. DSt 82 (1964): Takes profound issue with Donald Heiney's study, "Intelletto and the Theory of Love in the Dolce Stil Nuovo" [...], and demonstrates that, far from being a non-rational "passive sensibility of love possessed by superior souls" (Heiney), the intelletto referred to in Dante's Donne ch'avete intelletto d'amore is indeed an intellectual faculty by which the select few have real understanding of the nature of nobility and therefore of true love. (cf., e.g., Conv. IV, xx, 9)

  4. "Politics and Inferno X", Italian Studies 19 (1964), p.1-13

  5. "Dante's 'Sweet New Style' and the Vita Nuova", Italica 42,1 (1965), p.98-107

    Cf. DSt 84 (1966): To clear up historical misconceptions, the author asserts that the dolce stil nuovo is not to be identified with a school of poets, but with Dante's own discovery of a purely disinterested love with praise of Beatrice: she inspires the love and is its terminus.

  6. "Notes on Religion and the Vita Nuova", Italian Studies 20 (1965), p. 17-25

  7. "A New Edition of Dante's Lyric Poetry", Romance Philology 22,4 (1969), p.581-600

    Review-article on Dante's Lyric Poetry, edited, translated, and annotated by Kenelm Foster and Patrick BoydeOxford: Oxford UP, 1967

  8. "The Rock of Peter and Inferno XIX", Romance Philology 23,4 (1970), p.462-479

    Cf. DSt 89 (1971): Cites several details neglected by previous critics and shows their significance both for the structure and theme of the canto and for the entire poem. In particular, the author examines the suggestive relation of the rock of Hell and the rock of Saint Peter (Matt. 16:18); the parallels of Adrian V (Purg. XIX, 103-105) and Marco Lombardo's indictment of papal corruption (Purg. XVI, 127-129) with Nicholas III and the similar message of Inf. XIX; the centrality of avarice in Dante's broad understanding of it, which eventually becomes a Leitmotiv in the Paradiso. An interpretation is also offered of the autobiographical passage of verses 16-21 which is seen to provide realistic effect and to contain in nuce the message of the whole canto. Against the traditional reading of the episode, the author concludes: "Even as he [Dante] had been obliged to break church property in order to save the life of a man imprisoned in the stone or pietra of a baptismal font, so now, to save the world from total ruin, the Church and its spiritual head must be liberated from the pietra of greed in which they are buried and suffocating to death." Inf. XIX, with its invective against simoniac popes is, to recall the words of Parodi, like the religious-political program of the whole Inferno--and not only of the Inferno.

  9. "Imagery in Paradiso XXVII", Italian Studies 25 (1970), p.6-29

  10. "Inferno XXVI: Dante's Ulysses", Lettere Italiane 23,2 (1971), p.145-186

  11. "Dante's Admiral", Italian Studies 27 (1972), p.28-40

  12. "La contemporaneità Enea-Davide (Convivio IV v 6)", Studi danteschi 49 (1972), pp.129-142

  13. "Dante's Allegory", Romance Philology 26,3 (1973), p.558-591

    Cf. DSt 92 (1974): Review-article on: Roger Dragonetti, Dante pèlerin de la sainte face (Romanica Gandensia, XI; Gent, Gand: Romanica Gandensia, 1968), and Robert Hollander, Allegory in Dante's "Commedia" (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1969). [...] In addition to the two works under consideration, the author reviews several other approaches to Dante's allegory and offers a rich selection of bibliographical references.

  14. "An Uncharted Phase in Dante's Political Thought", in: *Essays in honour of John Humphreys Whitfield: Presented to Him on his retirement from the Serena Chair of Italian at the University of Birmingham, ed. H. C. Davis, London: St. George's Press, 1975, p.41-52

    Reviews: Beatrice Corrigan, Italica 54 (1977), p.110-113; Christopher Kleinhenz, Romance Philology 35,4 (1982), p.677-681

  15. "Paradiso XXX", in: *Dante Commentaries: Eight Studies of the «Divine Comedy», ed. David Nolan, Dublin: Irish Academy Press, Totowa (NJ): Rowman and Littlefield, 1977, p.159-180

  16. "Dante's Francesca and the Poet's Attitude Towards Courtly Literature", Reading Medieval Studies 5 (1979), p.4-20

  17. "Chapter on Dante's Divine Comedy", in: *The New Pelican Guide to English Literature, ed. Boris Ford, Vol. I: Medieval Literature, Part Two: The European Inheritance, Harmondsworth / New York: Penguin Books, 1983, p.247-274, p.503-517, p.593-595

  18. "Monarchia III.iv.10: un leone tra le nuvole", in: *Miscellanea di studi in onore di Vittore Branca, Vol. I: Dal Medioevo al Petrarca, Fience, Olschki, 1983 (= Biblioteca dell'«Archivum Romanicum», I/178), p.185-192

  19. "Treachery in Dante", in: *Studies in the Italian Renaissance: Essays in memory of Arnolof B. Ferruolo, ed. Gian Paolo Biasin [et al.], Napoli: Società Editrice Napoletana, 1985 (= Studi e testi di bibliologia e critica letteraria, Nuova serie, 12), p.27-39

    Cf. DSt 104 (1986): Treats the unavoidable contradiction in the poet's division of fraud into simple and complex, and argues that examples of the latter are not confined only to the last section of Hell, but are an undercurrent also in episodes of simple fraud. Scott first emphasizes the essential negativity of this area of Hell: the ice is a symbol of sterility; the giants are aberrations of nature, treacherous and pridefully rebellious. Nimrod's rebellion wreaked havoc with the unity of language; his treachery is linked with that of Ganelon at Roncesvalles and the threat to the social unity of the Empire. The treacherous acts punished here are against both God and man, with disastrous consequences for humanity. Scott then examines two points peculiar to Dante's ordering of the sins of Fraud and Violence. In making Fraud the more hateful sin, Dante seems to agree with Cicero, but this puts him in opposition to Aquinas. Dante then differs from Cicero in maintaining that Fraud is peculiar to man. It is a misuse of his intellect, that divine attribute which is supposed to distinguish man from beast. This personal hatred of treachery, Scott argues, is manifest throughout the poem, but especially in the treatment Dante gives Boniface VIII and the other corrupt popes. The contradiction is that, as evil shepherds who betrayed the trust of their flock, the popes are "officially" guilty of simony, not treachery. The ambiguity is due to "Dante's sense of drama and his offended conscience," as well as his need to denounce the moral corruption of the Papacy.

  20. "Myth in Dante and Petrarch", in: *Myth & Mythology: papers from the Australian Academy of the Humanities Symposium 1987, ed. Francis West, Canberra: Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1989 (= AAH Occasional paper, 7), p.85-100

  21. "Dante and Philosophy", in: Annali d'Italianistica 8 (1990), p.258-277

    Cf. DSt 109 (1991): The view that the Divine Comedy represents Dante's rejection of his earlier "flirtation" with philosophy seems to be shared by many American Dante scholars. Yet, it is difficult to accept such a claim, especially given such evidence as Cato's cautioning Dante that music distracts our souls, and Dante the Poet's cautioning us, in Purgatorio, that it is music--and not true philosophy--which can be an obstacle.

  22. "Dante's Allegory of the Theologians", *The Shared Horizon: Melbourne essays in Italian language and literature in memory of Colin McCormick, ed. Tom O'Neill, Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1990, p.27-40

  23. "Baudelaire and Dante", in: *Essays in Honour of Keith Val Sinclair: An Australian collection of modern language studies, ed. Bruce Merry, Townsville: Department of Modern Languages, James Cook University of North Queensland, 1991 (= Capricornia, 9), p.14-25

  24. "Beatrice's Reproaches in Eden: Which 'School' had Dante followed?", Dante Studies 109 (1991), pp.1-23

    Cf. DSt 110 (1992): Scott suggests "that the generally accepted supposition that 'quella scuola' [Purg. XXXIII, 85] refers to Philosophy does not fit in with what Dante has witnessed and failed to understand--a pageant setting forth the vicissitudes and present corruption of the Church, which has its origins in the notorious Donation of Constantine--, since it is difficult to imagine how the phylosophica documenta ("teachings of philosophy") of Monarchia III, xv, 8 could prove to be any kind of barrier to grasping such a truth of universal import." Instead, Scott argues that "what the poet is denouncing in Beatrice's reference to "quella scuola / c'hai seguitata..." is the refusal of the "scuola guelfa" to accept the establishment of the Empire de iure and the concomitant necessity for humanity to be guided by the Emperor to the terrestrial paradise...where the pilgrim now finds himself. Dante in 1300, a citizen and soon to be elected Prior of a defiantly Guelph commune, had followed a path remote from that traced out by God for the well-being of humanity."

  25. "Dante, Boezio e l'enigma di Rifeo", Studi Danteschi 61 (1989 [publ. 1995]), p.187-192

  26. "Una contraddizione scientifica nell'opera dantesca: i due soli di Purgatorio XVI.107", *Dante e la scienza. Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi «Dante e la Scienza», Ravenna, 28-30 maggio 1993, ed. Patrick Boyde & Vittorio Russo, Ravenna: Longo, 1995 (= Interventi Classensi, 16), p.149-155

  27. "The Unfinished Convivio as a Pathway to the Comedy", Dante Studies 113 (1995), pp.31-56

    Cf. DSt 114 (1996): While recognizing the "immense gap" separating the two works, this study concentrates on aspects of the Convivio that prepare the way for Dante's poetic masterpiece. Book I: the passionate defense of his native tongue is highlighted as a milestone pointing towards the use of the vernacular in the Comedy, even as it offers a key to Sordello's role in Purgatorio. Book II: the question of what Dante meant by the "allegory of the theologians," and his idiosyncratic angelology are re-examined. Books III-IV illustrate: a shift towards a more qualified faith in human reason; the discovery of Virgil's true message and the providential role of Rome and her Empire; the introduction of imagery anticipating its superabundance in the poem. Despite the utterly different focus and self-corrections, the two works are in certain ways complementary: both aim to lead humanity "a scienza e vertù," while Dante never abandoned his faith in philosophy as capable of bolstering the love of God in rational human beings. [JAS]

  28. "Dante's Miraculous Mountainquake (Purg. 20.128)", Electronic Bulletin of the Dante Society of America, 27 June 1996 [http://www.princeton.edu/~dante/js.html]

  29. Preface to: Alfredo Strano, Al bivio: odissea di Mastro Filippo, Roma: Beta, 1995, p.3-4

  30. "Dante Jottings", in: *In amicizia: Essays in Honour of Giulio Lepschy, eds. Z.G. Baranski & L. Pertile, The Italianist (Special Supplement) 17 (1997), p.117-126

  31. "Canto XIV: Capaneus and the Old Man of Crete", in: *Lectura Dantis: Inferno, A Canto-by-Canto Commentary, eds. A. Mandelbaum, A. Oldcorn & C. Ross, Berkeley / Los Angeles / London: University of California Press, 1998 (= Lectura Dantis Californiana), p.185-195, p.185-195

  32. "Il mito dell'Imperatore negli scritti danteschi", in: *Dante: Mito e Poesia, eds. Michelangelo Picone & Tatiana Crivelli, Firenze: Franco Cesati, 1998, p.89-114

  33. "«Veramente li teologi questo senso prendono altrimenti che li poeti» (Convivio II, i, 5)", in: *Sotto il segno di Dante. Scritti in onore di Francesco Mazzoni, eds. Leonella Coglievina & Domenico De Robertis, Firenze: Le Lettere, 1999, p.299-309


  1. Modern Language Quarterly 19 (1958), p.87-90:
    Francesco De Sanctis, De Sanctis on Dante. Essays Edited and Translated by Joseph Rossi and Alfred Galpin, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1957

  2. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 17 (1959), p.399-400:
    Joseph Anthony Mazzeo, Structure and Thought in the Paradiso, Ithaca (N.Y.): Cornell UP, London: Oxford UP, 1958

  3. Romance Philology 13 (1959), p.106-107:
    Ulrich Leo, Sehen und Wirklichkeit bei Dante, Frankfurt a.M.: Klostermann, 1957

  4. Romance Philology 13 (1960), p.349:
    The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, I. Inferno. With translation and commentary by John D. Sinclair, New York: Oxford UP, 1959

  5. Comparative Literature 16 (1964), p.362-366:
    Rocco Montano. La poesia di Dante, Napoli 1958-59 (= Delta, N.S., 15-21)

  6. Italian Studies 21 (1966), 117-118:
    Lyric Poetry of the Italian Renaissance: An Anthology with Verse Translations. Collected by Levi
    Robert Lind. With an introduction by Thomas G. Bergin. New Haven: Yale UP, 1964 [© 1954]

  7. Medium Aevum 37 (1968), p.200-202
    *The World of Dante: Six Studies in Language and Thought, eds. Bernard S. Chandler & J. A. Molinaro, Toronto:
    University of Toronto Press, 1966

  8. Modern Language Review 63 (1968), p.488-489:
    *A Dante Symposium in Commemoration of the 700th Anniversary of the Poet's Birth (1265-1965), eds. William de Sua & Gino Rizzo, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1965 (= University of North Carolina, Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures, 58)

  9. Modern Language Review 63 (1968), p.489-490:
    Dantis Alagherii Epistolae. Edited by Paget Toynbee and Colin Hardie, 2nd ed., Oxford: Oxford UP, 1967

  10. Modern Language Review 64 (1969), p.189-190
    Dante's Inferno. Bilingual edition. With translations broadcast in the BBC Third Programme, ed. Terence Tiller,
    London: BBC, 1966; New York: Schocken Books, 1967

  11. Romance Philology 26 (1973), p.744-745:
    Glauco Cambon, Dante's Craft: Studies in Language and Style, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1969

  12. Modern Language Review 69 (1974), p.659-662:
    Sheila Ralphs, Dante's Journey to the Centre: Some Patterns in His Allegory, Manchester: Manchester UP, 1972; New York: Barnes and Noble, 1973

  13. Modern Language Review 70 (1975), p.643-644
    John G. Demaray, The Invention of Dante's "Commedia", New Haven / London: Yale UP, 1974

  14. Modern Language Review 71 (1976), p.932-934
    Luis Jenaro-MacLennan, The Trecento Commentaries on the "Divina Commedia" and the Epistle to Cangrande, Oxford: Oxford UP, 1974

  15. Modern Language Review 72 (1977), p.964-966
    Tibor Wlassics, Dante narratore: saggi sullo stile della Commedia, Firenze: Olschki, 1975

  16. Modern Language Review 72 (1977), p.967:
    Marianne Shapiro, Woman Earthly and Divine in the "Comedy" of Dante, Lexington (Kentucky): University Press of Kentucky, 1975

  17. Italian Studies 33 (1978), p.113-116
    T. K. Seung, Cultural Thematics: The Formation of the Faustian Ethos, New Haven / London: Yale UP, 1976

  18. Modern Language Review 75 (1980), p.107-108:
    Robin Kirkpatrick, Dante's "Paradiso" and the Limitations of Modern Criticism: A Study of Style and Poetic Theory, Cambridge (Engl.) / New York: Cambridge UP, 1978

  19. Modern Language Review 75 (1980), p.906-909:
    Kenelm Foster, The Two Dantes and Other Studies, Berkeley / Los Angeles: University of California Press; London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1977

  20. Italian Studies 35 (1980), p.101-102:
    Perella, Nicolas J. Midday in Italian Literature: Variations on an Archetypal Theme. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton
    University Press, 1979

  21. Modern Language Review 78,3 (1983), p.724-726:
    Jerome Mazzaro, The Figure of Dante: An Essay on the "Vita Nuova", Princeton (N.J.): Princeton UP, 1981

  22. Modern Language Review 91,1 (1996), p.238-240:
    Aldo Scaglione, Knights at Court: Courtliness, Chivalry & Courtesy from Ottonian Germany to the Italian Renaissance, Berkeley / Los Angeles / London: University of California Press, 1991

  23. Italian Studies, 1996, p.209-211:
    Dante Alighieri, Monarchia. Translated and edited by Prudence Shaw, Cambridge (Engl.) / New York: Cambridge UP, 1995 (= Cambridge Medieval Classics, 4)

  24. The Medieval Review (formerly Bryn Mawr Medieval Reviews), 9 December 1998:
    The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Edited and Translated by Robert M. Durling. Introduction and Notes by Ronald L. Martinez and Robert M. Durling. Illustrations by Robert Turner. New York / Oxford: Oxford UP, 1997 [© 1996]

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