Corbella Caterina

«Vita Nuova» and «Convivio»: on the question of Beatrice’s nature

Corbella Caterina (2020) "«Vita Nuova» and «Convivio»: on the question of Beatrice’s nature ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2020, vol. 63, pp. 49-63 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII202063.49-63


This article studies the connection between Dante’s Vita nuova and Convivio and focuses on the relation between Beatrice and the donna gentile. The Convivio is used as a starting point to understand Beatrice’s nature and her role in the entire Dantesque corpus. The article outlines the questions arising from the comparison of the two texts (especially regarding the diff erent endings of the love aff air with the donna gentile, and her allegorical or non-allegorical status) and examines the hypothesis proposed by L. Pietrobono about the existence of a lost “fi rst redaction” of the Vita nuova. Admitting the impossibility to solve the incongruities, the author argues that a comparison between the texts is not only reasonable but also necessary, as Dante himself in the Convivio urges his reader to attempt it. Following this, the article moves on to analyse the interconnections between Beatrice and the donna gentile of Convivio, presented by Dante as a “better friend” for him. The study identifi es the common role which Dante assigns to both women in his journey to contemplation and beatitude as the source of contrast between the female fi gures; this assumption is illustrated with textual references. The fi nal section of the paper provides examples of how this thesis can shed light on links and diff erences between the two texts. It is also describes how these examples show how Beatrice and the donna gentile not only embody different ways to attain contemplation and beatitude but also represent two different understandings of contemplation and beatitude, the former focusing on love, the latter on knowledge.


Italian literature, Dante, Vita nuova, Convivio, Beatrice, woman in literature, love and knowledge


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Information about the author

Corbella Caterina

Academic Degree: Doctor of sciences* in Philology;
Place of work: Institute of World Literature, Russian Academy of Sciences; 25а Povarskaya Str., Moscow 121069; St. Tikhon’s University for Humanities; 9/1 Ilovaisakaya Str., Moscow 109651, Russian Federation;
Post: Researcher;
ORCID: 0000-0001-5996-0127;
Email: cate.corbella@gmail.com.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.