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The Figure of Beatrice

The Figure of Beatrice

A Study in Dante

By Charles Williams

258 pp

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About the Book

Dante’s extraordinary intensity of thought and experience may well be unequaled among poets, but this very power can all too often make his work seem formidable to many readers. Charles Williams's Figure of Beatrice stands out amid the vast field of Dante scholarship for its uniquely sympathetic enthusiasm and clarity, which brilliantly unlock this master poet’s vast reach for general readers and specialists alike. Williams begins by tracing the way in which the central image of Beatrice, representing transcendent beauty in feminine form, animates Dante's earlier works. He then plunges into and expounds on The Divine Comedy, meditating on its significance primarily through the affirmation of theological images. Foreshadowing the modern emphasis on Dante as philosopher-poet, Williams also touches on many later concerns of Dante criticism, including ambiguities of language, the inherent self-contradiction of all truly penetrating discourse, and in particular the archetypal role of the feminine. First published in 1943, The Figure of Beatrice, which is as much a moving and poetic work in its own right as it is a stirring testament to the Sommo Poeta, remains a must read for all lovers of Dante.

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