This article explores the idea of the soul through the framework of two of the most elusive terms in Dante’s Commedia, “umano” and “persona.” It begins with an analysis of the soul’s formation, outlined in Purgatorio 25, by way of the conjunction of corporeal matter and a supernal “spirito novo,” which after death seems to ascend beyond the realm of human existence. This account is then contrasted with the etymological and theological affordances of the concept of personhood, which frames the body as the form—the “mask” of flesh and bones—that continues to individuate the soul after death, immortalizing rather than transcending the human moment of its origin. From the examination of these disparities emerges a new perspective on Dante’s conception of human existence, illustrating its complex but fundamental place within the idea of perfection at the heart of his poetic universe.
"The Human Moment of the Soul,"
Bibliotheca Dantesca: Journal of Dante Studies: Vol. 5, Article 6.
Available at: https://repository.upenn.edu/bibdant/vol5/iss1/6
Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture Commons, Italian Language and Literature Commons, Medieval History Commons