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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2020

Enrico VII, Dante e gli «universaliter omnes Tusci qui pacem desiderant»

From the book Le lettere di Dante

  • Elisa Brilli


In the superscription of his epistle VII to Henry VII (April 17, 1311), Dante validates himself as the first sender through the clause ≪exul inmeritus≫, already in use in his previous letters; he also refers to ≪universaliter omnes Tusci qui pacem desiderant≫ as second senders of the epistle. This is in conflict with the biographical portrait that will be presented by Cacciaguida, and especially with the claim that, from 1304 onwards, Dante’s party would have been himself (Par. XVII, 69). Since we lack documents witnessing some official charge entrusted to Dante in this political phase, scholars are divided between those who read the clause as referring to White and Ghibelline exiles, and those who see in it a reference to the Guidi Counts, who supported Henry VII. By examining all surviving historic and literary documents, I dismiss both readings and propose to read this enigmatic reference as a witness of Dante’s attempt to create a new community in support of Henry. An attempt that, in a long-term perspective, represents an ideal moment transition in the development of Dante’s strategies for shaping his audience, from those employed in his Vita nova to those which mark the prophetical attitude of the Purgatorio and Paradiso. The article also provides a new textual reading for the letter’s superscription, thus dismissing Pistelli’s proposal, who had been accepted in all subsequent editions.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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