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Dante and the Limits of the Law - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Dante and the Limits of the Law

Justin Steinberg


Dante’s literary-theoretical framework is simultaneously and manifestly a legal one. Contemporary juridical rituals of everyday experience such as testimony, litigation, punishment, and confession permeate the Commedia. Yet they do so with a specific purpose. Though it may seem paradoxical, Dante invents this elaborate legal normative system to explore its capacity to comprehend exceptions; he deliberately embeds certain incongruities or anomalies in his construction of divine justice (such as the salvation of the pagan suicide Cato) to probe the limits of the law. Lacking a historicized under ... More

Keywords: divine justice, Cato, Carl Schmitt, Giorgio Agamben, state of exception, ius commune, judicial discretion, poetic license, empire

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780226071091
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226071121.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Justin Steinberg, author

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