Spring 1952 • Vol. XIV No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 1952 |

The Other Journey

Wherefore, I too, desiring to furnish something by way of introduction . . . have thought that something concerning the whole work should be premised, that the approach to the part should be easier and more complete. Dante to Can Grande In his Letter to Can Grande, where he explains that his poem is polysemous and that its subject is twofold, Dante does not point to the allegory of a journey in the Comedy. More senses than one and a duality of subject he explains with respect rather to things seen beyond. The subject, he says, taken in the literal sense, is the "state of souls after death"; whereas, allegorically, it is (to reduce his longer statement of it) God's justice as that may be seen in the state of souls after death. We take him to mean this: the literal sense, so defined, will point beyond itself in the manner that we may in fact see it doing as we read the poem. Here are Francesca and Paolo, forever without peace, tossed on an infernal storm. This is the simp

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