PONTIFEX MAXIMUS. MYTH AND POETRY IN DANTE'S DIVINE COMEDY (Pontifex Maximus. Mit i poezja w Commedii Dantego)
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This article is devoted to ways of exploring the mythical strains in Dante's Divine Comedy. Previous research has managed to extrapolate the classical myths and their medieval variants from Dante's work. However, the theory of myth developed by Hans Blumenberg opens a broader perspective for interpretation, revealing not only the myths' anthropological and historical background, but also demonstrating the way they function within a literary work. The 'world image' presented in the Divine Comedy can be explored in three stages of interpretation. At the most basic level, the article refers to the 'catalogue' of classical and Christian myths contained in Dante's poem. Further analysis of mythical subject-matter allows us to distinguish periodical variants of myths from Antiquity to our time. Finally, 'the working of the myth' is considered at the most general level, with the help of 'absolute metaphors', epitomizing the key images dominating the worldview at every historical period. Being devoted to the central myth of Christianity, Dante believed to have connected 'earth and heaven' with the bridge of his art. The new approach to the subject of myth in Dante's poem, using anthropologically-based concepts, allows us to better understand the construction and functions of Dante's poetic 'journey' in European culture.
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