Dante and the Limits of the Law
|Rating||:||4.75 (647 Votes)|
|Number of Pages||:||239 Pages|
Only after reading Dante and the Limits of the Law does it become clear that, if we don’t know much about medieval laws of infamy (“infamy of fact,” “infamy of law,” and “infamy of punishment”), we will not fully understand what Dante means by the “law of counter-suffering” (la legge del contrapasso) that governs the forms of punishment in Inferno.”. “The best book on Dante to appear in years. A good book is one whose lessons seem obvious in retros
Caveat lector. unsworthyeti Very dense. I'm an academic but this was even too dense for me. You have to be very very interested in parsing words. It just wasn't for me.
Steinberg shows that Dante’s imagination of the afterlife seeks to address this gap between the universal validity of Roman law and the lack of a sovereign power to enforce it. Examining how Dante probes the limits of the law in this juridical otherworld, Steinberg argues that exceptions were vital to the medieval legal order and that Dante’s otherworld represents an ideal “system of exception.” In the real world, Dante saw this system as increasingly threatened by the dual crises of church and empire: the abuses and overreaching of the popes and the absence of an effective Holy Roman Emperor. He makes the compelling case that Dante deliberately exploits this highly structured legal system to explore the phenomenon of exceptions to it, crucially introducing Dante to current debates about literature’s relation to law, exceptionality, and sovereignty. Steinberg reveals how Dante imagines an afterlife dominated by sophisticated laws, hierarchical jurisdictions, and rationalized punishments and rewards. Exploring the institutional role of disgrace, the entwined phenomena of judicial discretion and artistic freedom, medieval ideas about privilege and immunity, and the place of judgment in the poem, this cogently argued book brings t