This paper attempts a reading of Alfonso Varano’s most famous work, Visioni sacre e morali, posthumously published in 1789, as one original response to the eighteenth-century reinstatement of Dante’s oeuvre. Notably, the goal of this contribution is to examine the semantics of bodily suffering in Varano’s Visioni. Such examination should highlight new elements on the way in which Varano directly employs Dantean references to construct his religious and sepulchral imagery. Indeed, drawing from the Dantean raw images, and particularly the infernal ones, which became popular in eighteenth-century Christianity due to their still relevant cautionary message, Varano builds an effective lyrical lexicon of bodily pain reminiscent of the Commedia. Such language lays the foundation for a fertile deathly repertoire that develops during Varano’s time being appreciated by his contemporaries and inherited decades later. Varano’s legacy is evident even in Giacomo Leopardi’s Appressamento della morte, dated 1816. Specifically, this analysis includes excerpts from Visione V entitled “Per la peste messinese coll’apparizione della beata Battista Varano” by Alfonso Varano and Inferno 28 and 29.
Di Martino, Simona
"“Orecchie rose e labbra mozze” and Other Bodily Suffering in Alfonso Varano: Dantean Reminiscences in Eighteenth-Century Sepulchral Poetry,"
Bibliotheca Dantesca: Journal of Dante Studies: Vol. 4, Article 6.
Available at: https://repository.upenn.edu/bibdant/vol4/iss1/6