Austria Dantesque Encyclopedia

Austria Dantesque Encyclopedia

Austria. – At the time of D. Austria (‛Ostarrichi ‘, hence Österreich’ since 996; see OSTERLICCHI) was configured in the fiefdoms of Austria – broadly corresponding to the territories currently occupied by the Lower and Upper Austria – of Styria and Carniola. Not long ago, after various historical events, the dominion of the Habsburgs had begun; in 1282, in fact, Rodolfo I had invested his sons Alberto and Rodolfo with the fiefs of Austria, Styria and Carniola.

To the linguistic area of ​​jo (VE I VIII 4) certainly belongs also the Austria (Revelli, Italy 52); thus the German banks that the Danube leaves passing through the Hungarian territory (Pd VIII 66) are to be understood as lands of Austria.

The pluri-national state, indeed, at its peak, super-national, which was the Austro-Hungarian empire, strongly determined D.’s fortune in Austria. In the German-speaking provinces – part of which was later to constitute the current Federal Republic of Austria – the knowledge of D. develops on a large scale in perfect harmony with the other Germanic countries, so much so that it would seem vain to establish essential differences on the matter between the ‘TO. and Germany. On the other hand, the Austria for centuries it had the advantage of counting among its citizens particularly privileged defenders of Italian culture: it is they who, especially from the Romantic era onwards, impose a powerful stimulus for the awakening of Dante’s studies and the growing admiration for the poetic work of Dante.

Until Sturm und Drang, the last phase of European pre-romanticism, D.’s poetry was little known in Austria. We wanted to discover an influence of Dante’s journey to the afterlife in the infernal vision of the Tyrolean poet Oswald von Wolkenstein (1377-1445). In the Renaissance period, the cordial welcome given by Emperor Maximilian II to Lodovico Castelvetro suggested the idea that the author of the Sposition of 29 cantos of the Comedy had been, around 1570, one of the initiators of Dante’s studies in Vienna. However, in the intellectual climate of the Caesarean poets of the eighteenth century (Apostolo Zeno, Pietro Metastasio, etc.) and of the triumph of the Enlightenment, Dante’s work is submerged in oblivion, despite the widespread interest with which Austrian court life opens up to Italian culture.

The individual stages through which D. re-entered the poetic consciousness of the Germans during the Sturm und Drang and on the threshold of Romanticism are well known. The main promoters, all belonging to the movement, were Lebrecht Bachenschwanz, to whom we owe the first complete version of the Commedia in prose; Johann Nicolaus Meinhard, who treated Of the value of the triple poem by D., and translated large passages from it; Johann Wilhelm von Gerstenberg, who composed the Ugolino tragedy of Shakespearean taste.

The real German promoters of studies and love for D., the brothers August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel, stayed – the first in 1808, the second from 1808 onwards for more than a decade – in Vienna, where an interested public attended their university lectures. Both of them had already expressed themselves on D.’s genius with enthusiastic publications. In an essay from 1791, August, then twenty-four, had declared D. his “favorite poet”, of whom he boasted “human excellence” which “made him independent of fate”. The Comedy was exalted as a poem in the face of which all the other works of contemporaries seemed “not only in Italy, but in all of Europe monsters or dwarves”. The 1795 article published in “Horen”, where Schlegel had analyzed all of Hell for the first time in German, and a partial translation of it into triplets added to it aroused wide resonance. August was also among the first to feel the strength of the symbolism of the Comedy, which allowed him to adopt romantic principles by reconciling poetry with the horrible and repugnant places of the work. In the Viennese course On dramatic art and literature, D. became for him “the father of modern poetry”, greater than Virgil: an assertion that provoked for example. the criticisms of Joseph Schreyvogel in the “Wiener Sonntagsblatt”. Also for F. Schlegel, D. was already in 1800 the “holy founder and father of modern poetry” (Gespräch über die Poesie). In his Viennese course Geschichte der alten und neuen Literatur we find the well-known erroneous observations on Ghibellinism by D. and also, almost foreshadowing of the criticism of B. Croce, the distinction between distinctly poetic and other scholastic passages that would diminish the poetic essence of the Comedy. Despite this, F. Schlegel exalts D. as “the great Christian poet” who was able to “represent celestial apparitions and paradisiacal raptures in a really concrete and truly poetic way”. For Austria 2016, please check

In the first decades of the nineteenth century, the ideas propagated by the Schlegel brothers determined the growing interest in Dante. Alois Gleich (1772-1841) dramatizes the Ugolino episode; Ignaz Kollmann published the first of the poet’s dramatized lives in 1826; Franz Grillparzer (1791-1872) has been impressed by the drama of the Comedy since 1822. However, in the Studien zur italienischen Literatur of 1845 he confessed to being unable to appreciate Purgatory and Paradise, while Hell “enchants him like all people”. The number of poets inspired by D. increases from 1840 onwards. Worth mentioning are the Tyrolean Adolf Pichler (1819-1900), whose epic Fra Serafico denotes the influence of D .; and his poem D. in Trient (1896) is a moving testimony of the desire to see the Italy and to. in a peaceful emulation in the field of art and poetry.

First among the Austrian translations of the Comedy is that of JB Horwarter and KF von Enk (1830-31) in prose. More important is the translation into verse compiled in 1865 by the Viennese Josefa von Hoffinger, first among the translators of the Comedy and also the first to put her signature as a member of the “Deutsche Dante-Gesellschaft” founded in the same year. On the same occasion of Dante’s sixth centenary, the poet Robert Hamerling (1830-1899), translator of Leopardi, wrote a pathetic eulogy of Dante in Trieste. Rainer M. Rilke (1875-1926) admiration for D.; unfortunately his translation of the New Life was lost during the First World War. The most recent and at the same time the most poetic translation of the Comedy published in Austria is that of Benno Geiger of 1960-61.

In the field of literary journalism there are several well-known writers who dedicated several critical or current affairs essays to Dante. Among the most famous are Richard von Kralik (1852-1934) who wrote, among other things, an article D. und der Weltkrieg (1917), Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) who published two articles on the occasion of the sixth centenary of the poet’s death in the “Neue Freie Presse” and in the periodical “Das Inselschiff”. Karl Kraus (1874-1936) vehemently criticized Rudolf Borchardt’s translation of the New Life in “Fackel” (1923). To Lernet-Holenia (born in 1897) we owe a translation of the sonnet Oltre la spera che più largo gira (1927) and essays on D. und die deutsche Romantik, and D. und Petrarca.

The real Dante studies in Austria begin with Adolfo Mussafia (v.). First Dante in Graz (from 1857 to 1875) was the Venetian Antonio Lubin, in Innsbruck the comparatist Arturo Farinelli (from 1896 to 1905). Among the great names it is worth mentioning Leo Spitzer (1887-1960). Austrian scholars who have devoted much of their research to D. are Rudolf Palgen, professor of Roman studies in Graz (since 1943), Robert L. John, full professor in Vienna (since 1950), and Georg Rabuse, full professor at the university of Vienna (since 1965).

Austria Dantesque Encyclopedia