Dante Alighieri did not invent anything, neither the “vulgar” language nor the journey into the afterlife described in the Divine Comedy, so it is not clear what Italians should celebrate. Arno Widmann, journalist and translator, writes this in an editorial published by the German newspaper “Frankfurter Rundschau” on the first day of Monday. “Italy praises him as one of those who have brought the national language to the top of great literature. In a certain sense, he created the language for his work, ”the text reads. Nothing new, according to the German author, not even for the theme of the Comedy: “In the Muslim tradition there is the story of Muhammad’s journey to Paradise”, writes Widmann who cites a study by the Spanish Arabist Miguel Asin Palacios according to which Florentine poet would have known and used the text.

In the editorial, Dante’s work – whose ego is defined as “huge” – is compared to that of Shakespeare: “Shakespeare’s amorality – we read – his description of what he is, seems light years more modern than Dante’s effort to have an opinion on everything, to drag everything before judgment of his morals. All this gigantic work is there only to allow the poet to anticipate the Last Judgment, to do God’s work “and to divide the good from the bad, concludes the journalist

“Let’s not talk about them, but look and pass (Inferno III, 51)”. Reply like this on Twitter, citing Dante, the Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, to whom we owe the institution of Dantedì, born from an idea launched by the writer and journalist Paolo Di Stefano in the Corriere della Sera.

“The baseness and inaccuracies contained in the article of the” Frankfurter Rundschau “ on the work of Dante Alighieri, represent an unacceptable attack not only on the figure of the Supreme Poet, but on world culture as a whole ». Thus Lucia Borgonzoni, Undersecretary for Culture, who continues: “It is in fact undeniable that the cultural heritage produced by the Florentine poet is an invaluable source of knowledge and knowledge that belongs to the whole world, which today remembers the 700th anniversary of his death” . “In addition to the unforgivable groundlessness of the reconstruction carried out by the German periodical – says Borgonzoni, who asks for” immediate apologies “-, it really appears in bad taste to have chosen precisely the date on which, universally, the right homage is paid to him”.

“This is nonsense, gratuitous statements and without historical basis. The Italian language did not exist when Dante started writing. He wrote in the Florentine vernacular and refined it so much that it then became the language of Italian literature in each region and therefore over the centuries adopted as the language of the entire peninsula. The prestige of the Divine Comedy has imposed its own language on all of Italy ». Thus Enrico Malato, professor emeritus of Italian literature at the “Federico II” University of Naples, president of the Pio Rajna Center, president of the Scientific Commission of the National Edition of Dante’s Comments and coordinator of the “New Commented Edition of Dante’s Works”. Malato is also the editor of the first three volumes of the series dedicated to Dante on newsstands with the «Corriere», of which he also wrote the initial premise.

March 25, 2021 (change March 25, 2021 | 22:15)

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