The Figure of Beatrice – Charles Williams, 1943

Photo credit: Smart Destinations via / CC BY-SA

apocryphile press, 2005  p. 15

“The image of the woman was not new in him, nor even the mode in which he treated it. What was new was the intensity of his treatment and the extreme to which he carried it. In his master’s great poem – in Virgil’s Aeneid – the image of the woman and the image of the city had both existed, but opposed.  Dido had been the enemy of Rome, and morality had carried the hero away from Dido to Rome.  But in Dante they are reconciled; the appearance of Virgil at the opening of the Commedia has about it this emphasis also.  Virgil could not enter the paradise of that union, for his poem had refused it.  But after Virgil the intellect had had visions which it communicated to the heart, if indeed they are so far separate.  Since Dante the corrupt following of his way has spoiled the repute of the vision.  But the vision has remained.  People still fall in love, and fall in love as Dante did.  It is not unusual to find them doing so.”

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