Metaphor in Dante

David Gibbons

Legenda (General Series)


1 December 2002  •  220pp

ISBN: 1-900755-63-7 (paperback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85


David Gibbons provides a working definition of metaphor as it was understood in Dante's time and, by close readings from the early lyrics to the Paradiso, gives a new, comprehensive account of Dante's gift for this rhetorical figure. If to be a master of metaphor is, according to Aristotle, a sign of genius - and Dante was known in the sixteenth century as 'poeta metaforicissimo' - then Gibbons's volume goes a long way to explaining a major facet of Dante's creative brilliance. The heart of the book is an analysis of metaphor in the Paradiso, but the volume also reaches back to Dante's earliest lyrics and concludes with a look forward to Petrarch's use of this important device.

David Gibbons was British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the University of Edinburgh 1997-2001, and is currently teaching and researching in Pavia, Italy.


  • ‘David Gibbon's book is a fascinating and subtle investigation of Dante's dazzling and experimental use of metaphors in the Divine Comedy. ... an important and notewhorty contribution to the understanding of Dante's use, creation, and renewal of the poetic language.’ — Paola Nasti, Modern Language Review 100.1, 2005, 229-30 (full text online)
  • ‘Not only is Gibbons alert to the complexity of the question generally - at once historical, hermeneutical, dialectical, and literary-aesthetic in kind - but his analysis of the texts he invokes is both sensitive and illuminating as regards the variety of Dante's imagery and its functionality within the poem as a whole.’ — John Took, Italian Studies Volume LIX, 2004, 153-4

Bibliography entry:

Gibbons, David, Metaphor in Dante (Cambridge: Legenda, 2002)

First footnote reference: 35 David Gibbons, Metaphor in Dante (Cambridge: Legenda, 2002), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Gibbons, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Gibbons, David. 2002. Metaphor in Dante (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Gibbons 2002: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Gibbons 2002: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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