Dante as a gay poet

  • The reception of the "Vita nuova" among contemporary Italian poets is not based on the love theme. The "Vita nuova" provides Italian twentieth-century poets more with a model of autobiographical writing than with an erotic paradigm. What is essential is that the imitation of the "Vita nuova" expresses a clearly polemical anti-Petrarchan poetics - something which, of course, one would have no reason to look for in American poets. The American poet Frank Bidart's idiosyncratic appropriation of the young Dante, as opposed to the Dante-versus-Petrarch-based interpretation of Italian poets, is peculiar but by no means as exceptional in the American panorama as it might at first appear. Other gay American poets also treat Dante as a model: Robert Duncan, J. D. McClatchy, and James Merrill. In this essay Nicola Gardini attempts to explore, however rapidly, the grounds on which Dante may have become so essential for such poets. To be sure, the Dantism of these gay American poets may be viewed as a particular moment of the well-established American interest in Dante which goes as far back as Emerson and Longfellow and had its peak in Pound and Eliot. But Gardini argues that such gay Dantism - which no survey of Dante's twentieth-century influence has yet brought to the fore - is a kind of cultural allegiance stemming originally and specifically from the soil of gay discourses and gender preoccupations. Interestingly, Dante, not Petrarch, also serves as a model for some Italian homosexual poets: Michelangelo, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Giovanni Testori. What, then, is it in the work of a poet like Dante, who confined the sodomites in hell and mostly sang the praises of one woman, that is so compatible with, indeed inspiring for, gay views?

Download full text files

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar
Author:Nicola Gardini
Parent Title (English):Metamorphosing Dante : appropriations, manipulations, and rewritings in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries / ed. by Manuele Gragnolati, Fabio Camilletti and Fabian Lampart ; Cultural Inquiry ; 2
Publisher:Turia + Kant
Place of publication:Wien
Document Type:Part of a Book
Date of Publication (online):2019/10/23
Year of first Publication:2011
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/11/20
Tag:Gay erotic poetry; Productive reception
GND Keyword:Dante Alighieri; La vita nuova; Divina Commedia; Rezeption; Duncan, Robert Edward; Erotische Lyrik; Homosexualität
Page Number:14
First Page:61
Last Page:74
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 80 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft / 800 Literatur und Rhetorik
Sammlungen:CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft / ICI Berlin
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen