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2 Spangenberg, Cangrande I della Scala, “J. J. Scaligeri Epistola, 17, may be found in Graevius, Tome 4 Epistle X, written about The Gran Kan. Epistola a Cangrande by Dante Alighieri(Book); Le Stoffe di Cangrande: ritrovamenti e ricerche sul veronese(Book); Cangrande della Scala: la morte e il. Dante Spiegato Con Dante: Metodo Di Commentare La Divina Commedia Dedotto Dall’ Epistola Di Dante A Cangrande Della Scala () (Italian Edition) .

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This is not the place to enter yet again that dispute, which featured such heavyweight contenders as Francesco Mazzoni and Bruno Nardi [2]. And such is not my purpose here.

The most interesting new discussion is found in an article published in by Luca Azzetta [3]. Azzetta shows that, some years beforean important reader of Dante, Andrea Lancia, not only knew the epistle as Dantean, but treated it as a key to opening the Commedia. If Azzetta is correct — and there has been no challenge to his data of which I am aware — we are forced to acknowledge, once and for all, that, and as Lino Pertile argued many years ago [4]the author of the poem and the writer of the Epistle were indelibly marked by the same signs of workmanship.

It is difficult today to deny Dantean authorship to the Epistle to Cangrande.


Albert Ascoli has recently published a book [5] in which he refers often, even obsessively, to the problem of the authenticity of the Epistle. Among its many epjstola points is its rich bibliographical notation.

In short, it deserves the praise it has already received and that which it will undoubtedly gain.

Epistolae, the letters of Dante

However, there is at least one aspect of this book that is troubling. Indeed, Ascoli appears not to be shaken in his belief that one simply cannot decide whether Dante wrote the Epistle or not.

This is the unswerving dogma to which Ascoli seems unswervingly to cling [8]as is evident by his unflagging insistence on the questionable status of this document, marked by “iffy” phrases such as “if authentic” [twice], “if [it] is recognized as Dantean,” “the so-called Epistle to Cangrande ” [twice]culminating in a reference to “the writer calling himself Dante in the epistolary section” of the document [9]. His earlier work on this topic is carefully documented [10].

And in that work, appearing in andAscoli had decided that the authorship of the Epistle was not knowable by mere human agency.

Is that why he does not now refer to four fairly recent books devoted to the problem, three of which resolve it in favor of Dantean authorship? That none of these works is even referred to, much less discussed, is disconcerting [14]. There is, I repeat, no reference to any of these in text, footnotes, or bibliography.


In all of these three he also presents himself as “authoritative” [15]. Should there be a second edition of this book, I hope that Ascoli will remedy this fault.

I sella even hope that he might make up his mind, which he has until now allowed — even encouraged — to vacillate about one of the most important issues in Dante scholarship. However, it seems apparent that he has decisively made up his mind not to make up his mind.

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It would have been less troubling had he chosen to leave the Epistle to Cangrande on the sidelines of this book, off the playing field. As it is, by including it in the way he has chosen to do, he has chosen to assert his opinion repeatedly dellx avoiding the central issue that besets it. Baranski Le Lettere,pp.

Lansing Garland,pp. Ricklin Felix Meiner, Such reticence is all the more strange because in “Access to Authority,” pp. IV] the advent of a new Golden Age.