Virgil the Blind Guide examines the repetition of certain linguistic configurations that have remained hidden because the meanings of the words involved do not relate to Virgil's competence as guide. Uncovering tropes that have yet to be studied, Howard allows us to see new junctures in the poet's travels, while highlighting Virgil's impotence and diminishing his authority as regards other poets, guides, and the demons of Hell's lower gate. The concealed route revealed by Dante's figurative signposts establishes Virgil's traits as foundational to the poem and allows for new perspectives and understandings of this critical character. Using this distinctive strategy, Virgil the Blind Guide helps us to piece together the complex puzzle that is Dante's pagan guide and suggests new ways of understanding important characters that are applicable to a broad range of poetry and prose.
Lloyd H. Howard is professor of Italian in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Victoria.
Preface; Acknowledgments; Abbreviations, and Commentaries Consulted; Note on Text and Translations Introduction; 1 Virgil's Taming of Plutus and Capaneus, and the Pilgrim's Changing Perceptions; 2 The Blindness of Virgil in Inferno 8-9, Purgatorio 15-16, and Purgatorio 22-23; 3 Encounters with the Heavenly Beings in Hell and Purgatory; 4 The Eclipse of Virgil and the Ascent of Mary after her Son; 5 Virgil, John the Baptist, and the Downward Journey "di giro in giro"; Conclusion Notes; Bibliography; Index