Dante and the Mystical Tradition

Bernard of Clairvaux in the Commedia

Dante and the Mystical Tradition

In this study, Steven Botterill explores the intellectual relationship between the greatest poet of the fourteenth century, Dante, and the greatest spiritual writer of the twelfth century, Bernard of Clairvaux. Botterill analyzes Bernard's appearance as a character in the closing cantos of the Paradiso in the context of his medieval reputation as a contemplative mystic, devotee of Mary, and, above all, a preacher of outstanding eloquence. Botterill's new critical stance will provoke a reevaluation of Bernard's significance in the Commedia.


"...[an] intelligent, well-written book..." Peter S. Hawkins, Yale University, Speculum-A Journal of Medieval Studies

"...an engaging study of the cultural mystical meaning of the mysticism of St. Bernard as portrayed in the vision of God conclusion of the Divine Comedy...Botterill's thesis should grasp the attention of Dante scholars and students of mysticism." The Reader's Review

"...the erudition marshaled in Part 2 is certainly impressive and largely convincing..." R. A. Shoaf, Choice

"...investigates the intellectual relationship between Dante and St. Bernard. He analyses the narrative episode about Bernard as a medieval mystic...he examines carefully the two areas in which a direct intellectual influence of Bernard on Dante has been noted: the portrayal of Mary in the .s:Commediar: and the idea of trasumanar in .s:Paradisor: i, 70." Manuscripta