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dc.contributor.authorBarlow, Emma Louise
dc.date.accessioned2019-12-19
dc.date.available2019-12-19
dc.date.issued2019-09-30
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/2123/21588
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the modes of representation of Dante’s conception of suicide in the Commedia, and the ways in which these conceptions shaped and were shaped by Dante’s contemporaneous intellectual and literary landscape. There is a longstanding tendency to examine Dante’s conception of suicide in a selective manner wherein Pier della Vigna and the anonymous Florentine suicide evoke the medieval Christian condemnation of suicide and Cato stands alone as the ‘exception to the rule’. For this reason, no true attempt has been made to gain a comprehensive understanding of Dante’s conception of suicide. The introduction discusses the theoretical and critical grounding of the research, gives context regarding previous studies of suicide in the Commedia, and defines the methodology and criteria for analysis. Chapter 1 assesses the intellectual history of suicide upon which Dante was likely drawing in devising his literary conception of suicide. Chapter 2 explores Dante’s depiction of the figures of Pier della Vigna, the anonymous Florentine suicide, and other suicides who are described in terms of their bestial characteristics, and situated in impassable liminal spaces that reflect the base motivations behind their suicides. Chapter 3 examines the figure of Cato, who is portrayed as embodying aspects of the divine, and whose littoral environs speak to his suicide as an act of resurrection. These two chapters envisage Dante’s suicides as existing on a ‘spectrum’ based on their hybrid embodiments and their liminal geographical positioning within Dante’s otherworld. Chapter 4 surveys the reception of Dantean conceptions of suicide in the post-Dante Italian literary tradition. The conclusion traces a preliminary phenomenology of suicide as a literary theme that replicates Dante’s experience of exile, identifying and interpreting the liminal geographies of suicide designed by Dante to enable a nuanced spectrum of exilic experience to emerge on the page. Thus I intend to rethink Dante’s text as the immediate predecessor to the more varied depictions of suicide as an ‘othering’ act that appear in Renaissance Italian literature, and therefore as playing a far more significant role in the Western intellectual history of suicide than had previously been considered.en_AU
dc.rightsThe author retains copyright of this thesis. It may only be used for the purposes of research and study. It must not be used for any other purposes and may not be transmitted or shared with others without prior permission.en_AU
dc.subjectDante Alighierien_AU
dc.subjectCommediaen_AU
dc.subjectSuicideen_AU
dc.subjectLiminalityen_AU
dc.subjectMedieval Poetryen_AU
dc.subjectItalian Literatureen_AU
dc.titleLiminal Geographies of Suicide in Dante’s Commediaen_AU
dc.typeThesisen_AU
dc.type.thesisDoctor of Philosophyen_AU
usyd.facultyFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences, School of Languages and Culturesen_AU
usyd.departmentDepartment of Italian Studiesen_AU
usyd.degreeDoctor of Philosophy Ph.D.en_AU
usyd.awardinginstThe University of Sydneyen_AU


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