- Dante’s technique of rapid recontextualization, here applied to Francesca’s story
- an emblematic announcement of the “poetics of the new” in the opening verses of Inferno 6
- the Cavalcantian echoes incorporated by Dante into this announcement of the poetics of the new
- Florence, the true protagonist of Inferno 6
- Florence and its “gluttony” for dominion and power: the metaphorizing of sin (the example of verse 50, discussed below)
- the important distinction between sin and underlying vice is introduced in verses 74-75
- Florence and factional violence: Dante’s own exile from Florence in 1302 is prophesied by Ciacco
- the shame and dishonor of exile, already described powerfully in the Convivio
- while the philosophical treatise gives a pass to Dante’s fellow Florentines — “Poi che fu piacere de li cittadini de la bellissima e famosissima figlia di Roma, Fiorenza, di gittarmi fuori del suo dolce seno” (Since it was the pleasure of the citizens of the most beautiful and famous daughter of Rome, Florence, to cast me out of her sweet bosom [Convivio 1.3.4]) — the Commedia treats Dante’s exile as an opportunity for consideration of Florence’s moral failures
- the lexicon of exile and dishonor, from Boethius’ exile invoked in the Convivio as “la perpetuale infamia del suo essilio” (the perpetual infamy of his exile [1.2.13]) to the shame (”onta”) of the White Guelphs in Inferno 6
- I connect onta (shame) in Inferno 6 to vendetta and civic strife in Inferno 29 and to the definition of ira in Purgatorio 17
- political analysis: the “divided city” of verse 61 and its implications spelled out in Inferno 28
- the analysis of Inferno 6 casts a net over a century of Florentine history: from the killing of Buondelmonte in 1216 to the time of Dante’s own exile in 1302
- the theme of the body, both virtual and eschatological, and its merging of Aristotle with Christianity
- Appendix on Dante’s canzone Poscia ch’Amor (circa 1295) and its roots in Inferno 6
 Inferno 6 begins with an example of the poet’s technique of rapid recontextualization, here applied to Inferno 5. The lush romantic aura that suffused the encounter with Francesca is brusquely brushed aside in the first verses of Inferno 6, and Francesca and her lover are referred to bluntly as “i due cognati”: “the two in-laws” (Inf. 6.2).
 Also at the beginning of Inferno 6 is an emblematic announcement of the Commedia’s “poetics of the new”, as discussed in Chapter 2 of The Undivine Comedy: for Dante-pilgrim alone, in Hell, there are the “novi tormenti e novi tormentati” (new sufferings and new sufferers) of Inf. 6.4. For the sinners, instead — as for the angels, but for opposite reasons, and with opposite results — there is no difference, nothing is ever new. Thus the narrator states categorically in Inferno 6.9 that in Hell “measure and quality are never new”: “regola e qualità mai non l’è nova” (Inf. 6.9).
 As I write in The Undivine Comedy:
The pilgrim and the narrator are both committed to forward motion, to the new. Analogous to the pilgrim’s experience of “novi tormenti e novi tormentati” is the narrator’s task to “ben manifestar le cose nove” (manifest well the new things [14.7]), recalled later in his statement that “Di nova pena mi conven far versi” (Of new pain I must make verses [20.1]). In contrast to the motion of the pilgrim who, by dint of continually “passing beyond” (Noi passamm’ oltre [27.133]), will keep meeting new things until one day hell will be a memory, confined to the past absolute — “quando ti gioverà dicere «I’ fui» (when it will please you to say «I was» [16.84]) — stand both the deathly stasis of hell and the vital quies of heaven. God is “Colui che mai non vide cosa nova” (Purg. 10.94), a periphrasis whose emphatic negation echoes the description of hell where ”regola e qualità mai non l‘è nova”. (The Undivine Comedy, p. 24)
 Moreover, this expression of the “poetics of the new” echoes the language of Dante’s primo amico, the poet Guido Cavalcanti, an imprint that gives to this passage at the beginning of Inferno 6 an uncanny resonance and a particular importance:
What is interesting, in our present context, about these classic verses of comedic upward mobility is that they are derived from Guido Cavalcanti, the poet of zero mobility: Contini points out the echo of Cavalcanti’s ‘‘una paura di novi tormenti,’’ from the sonnet Perchè non fuoro a me gli occhi dispenti. So Dante has reworked Guido’s fear — his friend’s paralyzing ‘‘paura di novi tormenti’’ (fear of new sufferings) — into his own relentless forward motion; after all, the ‘‘novi tormenti’’ of canto 6 have a positive connotation for the protagonist, not being his. Rather, he revels in the resurgent strength of that unbridled present tense, used in five verbs in three verses culminating in the resounding ‘‘Io sono’’: ‘‘mi veggio intorno, come ch’io mi mova / e ch’io mi volga, e come che io guati. / Io sono al terzo cerchio . . .’’ (Inf. 6.5-7). He is not stuck with Francesca, stuck with the ‘‘novi tormenti,’’ in the space of canto 5, the space of love and death, anymore than he will be stuck with anyone else he meets along the way. And, perhaps, there is a final Cavalcantian echo, not picked up by Contini: the verse that describes the deathly stasis of hell, ‘‘regola e qualità mai non l’è nova,’’ seems to me imprinted on a periphrasis for love in Donna me prega, where love is ‘‘La nova qualità’’ (the new quality [Donna me prega 49]). If so, then — in a transformation that accurately sums up Dante’s thoughts on what Guido had to say in his great canzone — Cavalcanti’s love has become Dante’s hell. (“Dante and Cavalcanti [On Making Distinctions in Matters of Love]: Inferno 5 in Its Lyric and Autobiographical Context,” p. 99)
 Inferno 6 could not be more different from Inferno 5. As compared to the “high” courtly and romantic lyricism of the latter half of Inferno 5, Inferno 6 is a “low” and plebeian canto, in its tone and stylistic register and even with respect to the form of punishment. Asking the soul of Ciacco about the dismal torment of the circle of gluttony, the pilgrim notes, in a verse that is emblematic of the transition to Inferno 6, that “if other pain is greater, none is more disgusting”: “che, s’altra è maggio, nulla è sì spiacente” (Inf. 6.48).
 This is the third circle, and the souls here are the gluttons. The main protagonist of Inferno 6 is Ciacco, whose name itself is lowly and plebeian, while Francesca’s name is redolent of the great feudal courts of France and French romance. Most importantly, Ciacco is a Florentine who addresses Dante as a fellow Florentine.
 Florence here enters the Commedia. Indeed, Florence — the city-state — is effectively the main protagonist of Inferno 6. The conversation between the Florentines Ciacco and Dante features words like “città” (city) and “cittadini” (citizens):
Ed elli a me: “La tua città, ch’è piena d’invidia sì che già trabocca il sacco, seco mi tenne in la vita serena. Voi cittadini mi chiamaste Ciacco... (Inf. 6.49-52)
And he to me: “Your city — one so full of envy that its sack has always spilled — that city held me in the sunlit life. The name you citizens gave me was Ciacco . . .
 By making Florence, the city, the true protagonist of Inferno 6, Dante also creates for himself an opportunity to think about sin in a metaphorical way. In what way is Florence connected to gluttony?
 In Ciacco’s words cited above, he characterizes Florence as “so full of envy that its sack is already overflowing”: “piena / d’invidia sì che già trabocca il sacco” (Inf. 6.49-50]). Here we see Dante’s penchant for widening the reach of a particular sin, allowing it to “overflow the sack” of that to which it literally refers. In Inferno 5 we already saw Dante’s interest in widening the reach of the sin of lust: thus, in treating lust he ends up treating the moral responsibility of readers and authors as well. Similarly, in Inferno 6 Dante pays very little attention to literal gluttony, which is touched on briefly in the treatment of Cerberus.
 Instead, Dante moves from literal gluttony to metaphorical gluttony. Thus, from literal gluttony he moves to the lust for wealth and power that is at the root of the factional politics that divide and destroy the city (Inf. 6.50). As we shall see, the same move from literal to metaphorical occurs, in more explicit fashion, in the purgatorial treatment of the sins of incontinence.
 Verse 50 beautifully crystallizes in its language the transition from the literal to the metaphorical. Literal gluttony is invoked in the verb traboccare (to spill out of, literally to spill out of the mouth of), with its root bocca (mouth). Literal gluttony is quickened by the yeast of envy: “La tua città, ch’è piena / d’invidia sì che già trabocca il sacco” (Your city — one so full / of envy that its sack has always spilled [Inf. 6.49-50]). Envy, like gluttony, is one of the seven capital vices.
 Gluttony quickened by envy becomes more than gluttony: it becomes the spur to the divisive factional rivalries that were destroying the city of Florence.
 On multiple occasions later in the Commedia, Dante will make clear his view of Florence’s metaphorical gluttony. One such occasion is the scathing apostrophe that opens Inferno 26, where Dante indicts Florence’s gluttony for dominion and power:
Godi, Fiorenza, poi che se’ sì grande che per mare e per terra batti l’ali, e per lo ’nferno tuo nome si spande! (Inf. 26.1-3)
Be joyous, Florence, you are great indeed, for over sea and land you beat your wings; through every part of Hell your name extends!
 The word “invidia” in verse 50 of Inferno 6 is repeated in verse 74, where envy is combined with two more vices: pride and avarice. Here Dante invokes three of the seven capital vices, viewed as instigators of the troubles that beset his city: “superbia, invidia e avarizia sono / le tre faville c’hanno i cuori accesi” (Three sparks that set on fire every heart /are envy, pride, and avariciousness [Inf. 6.74-5]).
 Telling us that “superbia, invidia e avarizia” — pride, envy, and avarice — are the three sparks that have inflamed the hearts of the Florentines against each other, Dante is demonstrating the relation of vice to sin. While sin is the specific act that has been committed, vice is the disposition of the soul that inclines it toward sinful action. Here Dante requires us to consider this distinction: the distinction between sin, the specific sinful act that has been committed, and the underlying vice, the disposition of the soul that inclines it to sin.
 In the case of Florence, the poet stipulates three underlying vices: pride, envy, and avarice. As noted above, these are three of the seven capital vices (mistakenly referred to as the seven deadly sins) that Christian thinkers had identified, in a kind of psychology of human behavior, as the instigators of human sin. The seven capital vices are: pride, envy, wrath, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust.
 Precisely as Dante says in verses 74-75, the vices are the sparks — “faville” — that inflame humans and cause them to act sinfully. In Dante’s metaphor, the vices are the sparks that lead to fire, while the sins are the flames themselves.
 The distinction between the act that is sinful and the disposition toward that act is the fundamental distinction between the organizational template of Hell and the organizational template of Purgatory. The organizational template of Hell is based on the sinful acts that have been committed in the past and never repented. The organizational template of Purgatory (a place for souls who, before dying repented of the specific sins they committed in life) is based on the seven underlying vices that inflame living souls to commit sinful acts.
* * *
 Dante-pilgrim — testing the prophetic capacities of the damned — asks Ciacco for an account of the future. He articulates his request as a three-part question: 1) What will happen to the citizens of the divided city? 2) Is any man there just? 3) And what has led to so much discord?
 For Dante the political thinker, the negative analysis of Florence is implicit in the lexicon of divisiveness and schism: “the divided city” — “la città partita” — of verse 61 and the “discordia” that assaults the city in verse 63.
 As we will see in the Commento on Inferno 28, which contains the bolgia of the schismatics, the highest of political values for Dante are concord and unity, while their opposites — division and discord — spell political disaster. These values are made explicit in Dante’s political treatise Monarchia, of which apposite passages are cited in the Introduction to Inferno 28.
 In Dante’s time Florence was not a “city” in our sense, but a state, and the references to the “city” are references to the state that Dante had served as a citizen-politician and by which he was unjustly exiled. The circumstances that led to the condemnations of January and March 1302 that changed Dante’s life are rehearsed in Inferno 6 and all the major protagonists of the political dramas that savaged the city are introduced, albeit in cryptic language: the White party (pro-imperial), the Black party (pro-papal), and Pope Boniface VIII.
 In the fiction of the poem, in which Dante’s voyage to the afterlife takes place in spring of 1300, the condemnations of 1302 have not yet occurred. Hence Ciacco’s prophetic speech in Inferno 6 is a moment of great personal drama: the moment in which Dante-pilgrim first learns that he will be exiled from his city. This is the moment in the Commedia in which Dante-poet first broaches a matter of great personal pain.
 To be exiled in Italy in 1300 is to be stateless: a vagabond, shamed, and dishonored. Dante had stated as much in his political treatise Convivio (written circa 1304-1307), a work in which he writes powerfully about his own condition as outcast beggar:
Ahi, piaciuto fosse al dispensatore de l’universo che la cagione de la mia scusa mai non fosse stata! ché né altri contra me avria fallato, né io sofferto avria pena ingiustamente, pena, dico, d’essilio e di povertate. 4. Poi che fu piacere de li cittadini de la bellissima e famosissima figlia di Roma, Fiorenza, di gittarmi fuori del suo dolce seno — nel quale nato e nutrito fui in fino al colmo de la vita mia, e nel quale, con buona pace di quella, desidero con tutto lo cuore di riposare l’animo stancato e terminare lo tempo che m’è dato —, per le parti quasi tutte a le quali questa lingua si stende, peregrino, quasi mendicando, sono andato, mostrando contra mia voglia la piaga de la fortuna, che suole ingiustamente al piagato molte volte essere imputata. 5. Veramente io sono stato legno sanza vela e sanza governo, portato a diversi porti e foci e liti dal vento secco che vapora la dolorosa povertade; e sono apparito a li occhi a molti che forseché per alcuna fama in altra forma m’aveano imaginato, nel conspetto de’ quali non solamente mia persona invilio, ma di minor pregio si fece ogni opera, sì già fatta, come quella che fosse a fare. (Convivio 1.3.3-5)
Ah, if only it had pleased the Maker of the Universe that the cause of my apology had never existed, for then neither would others have sinned against me, nor would I have suffered punishment unjustly–the punishment, I mean, of exile and poverty. Since it was the pleasure of the citizens of the most beautiful and famous daughter of Rome, Florence, to cast me out of her sweet bosom — where I was born and bred up to the pinnacle of my life, and where, with her good will, I desire with all my heart to rest my weary mind and to complete the span of time that is given to me — I have traveled like a stranger, almost like a beggar, through virtually all the regions to which this tongue of ours extends, displaying against my will the wound of fortune for which the wounded one is often unjustly accustomed to be held accountable. Truly I have been a ship without sail or rudder, brought to different ports, inlets, and shores by the dry wind that painful poverty blows. And I have appeared before the eyes of many who perhaps because of some report had imagined me in another form. In their sight not only was my person held cheap, but each of my works was less valued, those already completed as much as those yet to come. (Convivio 1,3-3-5, trans. Richard Lansing, on Digital Dante)
 In the Commedia, Dante intertwines the personal theme of his bitter exile with a moral indictment of Florence. While in the above passage from the Convivio Dante writes with resignation of the will of the Florentine citizens to cast him out — “Poi che fu piacere de li cittadini de la bellissima e famosissima figlia di Roma, Fiorenza, di gittarmi fuori del suo dolce seno“ (Since it was the pleasure of the citizens of the most beautiful and famous daughter of Rome, Florence, to cast me out of her sweet bosom) — in the Commedia those Florentine citizens are not let off the moral hook so easily. Rather they are subjected to a rigorous examination and their moral failures are unsparingly registered.
 Over the years, Dante elaborated a lexicon of exile. In the Convivio he cites the example of the unjust exile of Boethius. Unjust as it was, it was a cause of infamy to Boethius: “la perpetuale infamia del suo essilio” (the perpetual infamy of his exile [1.2.13]).
 In Inferno 6, Dante’s language for the disgraced Whites is a significant contribution to his lexicon of exile. This is the group to which he belonged and to whose fortunes he remained bound for some years after leaving Florence, before he famously turned away from all party alliances. In Inferno 6 the Whites are said to weep and feel shame — feel “onta” — as a result of their treatment at the hands of the Blacks: “come che di ciò pianga o che n’aonti” (however much they weep or feel ashamed [Inf. 6.72]).
 Onta, the shame and dishonor that results from social and civic injury, is a topic that will recur in the Commedia, for instance in the Geri del Bello episode of Inferno 29. See the Commento on Inferno 29 for a detailed discussion of onta in the context of Florentine factional violence and the practice of vendetta.
 The word onta is deeply sutured into the psyche of Italian communal life, as we can see by following its lexical traces.
 In Purgatorio 17 Dante defines each of the seven deadly vices. With respect to anger, he signals that ira is an impulse triggered by the particular cultural nexus of onta and vendetta. Dante’s periphrasis for a generically irascible man is therefore not generic at all, but embedded in his particular culture and in the particular psychic pathology induced by his culture’s norms.
 Thus, Dante’s definition of anger includes both the verb aontare (to take offense as a result of onta; the same verb used for the disgraced Whites in Inf. 6.72 cited above) and the word vendetta. In the succinct but telling definition of Purgatorio 17, an angry man is one who has been injured and who, ashamed as a result of the injury received, craves vengeance:
ed è chi per ingiuria par ch’aonti, sì che si fa de la vendetta ghiotto, e tal convien che ’l male altrui impronti. (Purg. 17.121-23)
And there is he who, over injury received, resentful, for revenge grows greedy and, angrily, seeks out another’s harm.
 Anger is injury that triggers shame, which in turn triggers desire for vengeance. Dante’s definition of a vice that afflicts all humanity is profoundly embedded in Florentine culture.
 Much of what went wrong in Florence, what led to its being a “divided city” — “città partita” (Inf. 6.61) — can be inferred from the description of anger in Purgatorio 17.
 We could also formulate in reverse: in defining ira in Purgatorio 17, Dante is so deeply influenced by the cultural norms of his place and time that he extrapolates the definition of anger from the factional violence and bitter blood feuds that tore apart his own city.
 The moral indictment of Florence and its citizens continues in the next part of the dialogue, where Dante asks Ciacco to tell him of the whereabouts in the afterlife of specific great Florentine citizens of the generation before his: “Farinata e ’l Tegghiaio, che fuor sì degni, / Iacopo Rusticucci, Arrigo e ’l Mosca” (Farinata and Tegghiaio, who were so worthy, Iacopo Rusticucci, Arrigo, and Mosca [Inf. 6.79-80]). These are citizens whom Dante-pilgrim here describes as having had “minds bent toward the good”: “ch’a ben far puoser li ’ngegni” (Inf. 6.81).
 Shockingly, Ciacco replies that these Florentines are among the blackest souls of hell: “Ei son tra l’anime più nere” (They are among the blackest souls [Inf. 6.85]). Ciacco’s condemnation of citizens whom the pilgrim considers exemplary of good work — “ben far” in verse 81 — is a confirmation of the moral depravity of Florence.
 The term “ben far” will recur as a description of Dante’s own contributions to Florence in another canto that deals with Florentine civic virtue, or the lack thereof, the canto of Brunetto Latini, Inferno 15. Brunetto tells Dante that he would have supported Dante’s “opera” (work [Inf. 15.60]) had he lived, and he characterizes Dante’s own actions with the same phrase, “ben far”, that in Inferno 6 is used for the great but damned Florentines: “ti si farà, per tuo ben far, nimico” ([the Florentine people] for your good deeds, will be your enemy [Inf. 15.64]). But whereas Dante remembers and honors the ben far of the previous generation, his own ben far will be rejected by his fellow citizens in his lifetime.
 Ciacco tells Dante that he will be able to see the souls of the great Florentines of the preceding generation as he proceeds through the infernal regions, and the reader should likewise pay attention to this directive. All the souls on this list of Florentines from Inferno 6 will reappear in Inferno with the exception of “Arrigo”, of whose identity we are unsure. We encounter Farinata degli Uberti in Inferno 10, among the heretics, and Tegghiaio Aldobrandi and Iacopo Rusticucci in Inferno 16, among the sodomites.
 The last soul on this list, Mosca dei Lamberti, who died in 1242, appears in Inferno 28, among the sowers of discord: he is blamed for having sown the division and hatred among the Florentines that led to factional division and strife in the city. The city’s factional discord was believed to have originated in the murder of Buondelmonte de’ Buondelmonti in 1216, a murder that was precipitated by Buondelmonte’s jilting of a woman of the Amidei family in favor of a Donati. Mosca’s sin was to have counseled the Amidei to take their revenge not in the form of a beating or a mutilation, but to kill Buondelmonte outright and have done with it, an act “which was the seed of evil for the Tuscans”: “che fu mal seme per la gente tosca” (Inf. 28.108).
 This canto’s catalogue of Florentine citizens who did bad rather than good — Farinata, Tegghiaio, Iacopo Rusticucci, Arrigo, and Mosca — thus will eventually culminate in Inferno 28 in a revelation about the consequent suffering of the citizenry as a whole. Mosca dei Lamberti’s act of factional violence is the “evil seed” that bore evil fruit for the entire Tuscan populace: “per la gente tosca” (for the Tuscan people [Inf. 28.108]).
 Dante’s analysis of the ills that affect “la gente tosca” thus casts a net over almost a century of evil action: he goes back to the killing of Buondelmonte in 1216 and comes forward to the time of his own exile in 1302. He includes the factional violence precipitated by Mosca de’ Lamberti in 1216 (Inferno 28) and later manifested in the warfare undertaken by Farinata, Ghibelline commander at the battle of Montaperti in 1260 (Inferno 10).
 All this taken together, all this nefarious behavior over many generations of Florentines, results in the “divided city” that Dante deplores in Inferno 6. In effect, Dante starts the history of Florence in Inferno 6 with the situation of contemporary Florence: the city from which he was exiled in 1302.
 He then works backward through time throughout the Inferno, ultimately coming in Inferno 28 to the “evil seed” that bears the bitter fruit of Inferno 6.
 In this first presentation of Florence in the Commedia, Dante is thus profoundly historical, laying the groundwork for showing, as he will do throughout the Commedia, that the factional violence of his day has its roots in a century of wrong-doing.
 Moreover, Dante’s engagement with this historical analysis is itself of long duration in his own poetic career, having begun in the canzoni Le dolci rime and Poscia ch’Amor. See the essay cited in Coordinated Reading, “Dante and Wealth, Between Aristotle and Cortesia: From the Moral Canzoni Le dolci rime and Poscia ch’Amor to Inferno VI and VII”, for the ways in which some key themes of Poscia ch’Amor, in particular, are reprised in Inferno 6. An excerpt from the essay is in the Appendix below.
 Finally, Inferno 6 features an important installment in the ongoing topic of Dante’s thinking on the body. This moment functions too as an installment in Dante’s stout and explicit Aristotelianism, his adherence to the philosophical tenets of the great Greek philosopher and his fascinating attempts to wed Aristotelianism to Christian eschatological beliefs.
 Aristotle is among the shades in Limbo, where he is accorded a remarkable honorific: he is “’l maestro di color che sanno” (the master of those who know) in Inferno 4.131. Toward the end of Inferno 6 Dante asks his guide whether the torments of Hell will be greater or lesser after the Last Judgment (Inf. 6.103-105). In reply, Virgilio instructs him to “return to your science”: “ritorna a tua scienza” (Inf. 6.106). By “tua scienza” Virgilio refers to Aristotelian philosophy and specifically to a passage in Nicomachean Ethics 10.5 on the pleasures that “perfect” and “complete” us.
 According to Christian theology, the human soul will reach “perfection” in the afterlife only after the resurrection of the body, when body is reunited with soul at the Last Judgment. At that point, when souls have achieved their “perfezion” (Inf. 6.110) — perfection, i.e. completion — only then will each soul experience his or her maximum of pleasure or maximum of pain:
Ed elli a me: “Ritorna a tua scienza, che vuol, quanto la cosa è più perfetta, più senta il bene, e così la doglienza. Tutto che questa gente maladetta in vera perfezion già mai non vada, di là più che di qua essere aspetta.” (Inf. 6.106-11)
And he to me: “Remember now your science, which says that when a thing has more perfection, so much the greater is its pain or pleasure. Though these accursed sinners never shall attain the true perfection, yet they can expect to be more perfect then than now.”
 The merging of Aristotelian principles with subsequent scholastic elaboration results in the doctrine that souls in the eschaton (after the end of time), a period that in Christian theology will be heralded by the Last Judgment, will experience more pleasure in Heaven and more pain in Hell.
 This passage is of great importance for a host of issues that constellate around the body and what it means to be embodied, in life and in eternity.
 Very important is the recognition that we are only completed, from a Christian theological perspective, once we have been reunited to our bodies.
 Ultimately the belief first stated here, at the end of Inferno 6, will issue into one of the Dante’s most remarkable “inventions” with respect to his journey: the idea, expressed in Paradiso, that he is graced in his vision to see the blessed in their bodies, as they will be after the Last Judgment.
 The recognition of the irreducible status of the body also informs some of Dante’s most extraordinary poetry, for instance Paradiso 14’s beautiful cadences on the blessed souls’ desire for their dead bodies:
Tanto mi parver sùbiti e accorti e l’uno e l’altro coro a dicer «Amme!», che ben mostrar disio d’i corpi morti: forse non pur per lor, ma per le mamme, per li padri e per li altri che fuor cari anzi che fosser sempiterne fiamme. (Par. 14.61-66)
One and the other choir seemed to me so quick and keen to say “Amen’ that they showed clearly how they longed for their dead bodies— not only for themselves, perhaps, but for their mothers, fathers, and for others dear to them before they were eternal flames.
 By the time we reach Inferno 6, Dante has already begun to thematize the body with respect to its status in otherworld journeys, for instance in Inferno 2’s reference to Aeneas journeying to Hades “sensibilmente”, i.e. “in the body” (Inf. 2.15). Now the poet begins to treat the issue of the “bodies” of the souls, an ongoing theme of the Commedia. See the Commento on Inferno 10, Inferno 13, and Inferno 25 for further discussion of the theme of the body in the Inferno.
 The theme of the resurrection of the body as introduced at the end of Inferno 6 thus connects to the poet’s creation of virtual bodies for his afterlife. These virtual bodies are ultimately treated in Purgatorio 25, but they are first adumbrated in this very canto.
 In Inferno 6 the travelers walk on the incorporeal shades: “e ponavam le piante / sovra lor vanità che par persona” (and set our soles upon / their empty images that seem like persons [Inf. 6.35-36]). These incorporeal shades — “vanità” as Dante calls them in Inferno 6. 36 — will seem to become quite substantial later on in the journey through Hell, especially in the encounter with the sinner whose hair Dante pulls in Inferno 32 (traitor Bocca degli Abati). We should be aware that Dante manipulates the representation of the souls’ substantiality to doctrinal effect: thus, the sinful materiality (pondus) of lower Hell gives way to the failed attempt to embrace Casella in the realm of sublimation (Purgatorio 2).
 Most of all, Inferno 6’s referencing of the Last Judgment and the resurrection of the body reminds us that, for Dante as for Catholic theology of the resurrection, the body is essential: not a husk to be discarded (as per the suicides of Inferno 13), but an integral part of the completed and “perfected” human being.
 For Dante, we only become perfect when we are reunited with our flesh.
On Dante’s canzone Poscia ch’Amor and Inferno 6
(Excerpt from: “Dante and Wealth, Between Aristotle and Cortesia: From the Moral Canzoni Le dolci rime and Poscia ch’Amor to Inferno 6 and 7”, pp. 43-45)
 Stanza 2 of Poscia ch’Amor has moved in the direction of a social specificity that is absent from Le dolci rime and that is critical not only to Inferno 7, as we have seen, but also to Inferno 6, the canto of Florence. Those who throw away their wealth in stanza 2 of Poscia ch’Amor, like those who tenaciously cling to it, are embedded not only within an abstract Aristotelian framework but also within a civic and social world. The social world that Dante evokes is that of Florence, where the rich vie with each other to show their virtue in the form of donations to social and cultural institutions of value (much as they do at charity dinners in New York today). Doing so, their names win renown and their virtue becomes part of cultural memory, residing «là dove li boni stanno / che dopo morte fanno / riparo nella mente» (Poscia ch’Amor, 20-24).
 The question that Dante poses in stanza 2 of Poscia ch’Amor is the line between virtuous giving — in Aristotelian terms, liberality — and the vice of prodigality, the «gittar via del loro avere» that he condemns. In our day we have made that line easier to patrol by taking legal steps to make distinctions between social and political virtue. But that line is always somewhat permeable. Dante’s point is that it is possible, by throwing away wealth profligately, to buy virtue. In this way, he claims, we can buy a place in civic cultural memory. We can, by throwing away wealth, purchase a place among the good citizens — «li boni» — who remain in our collective memory («fanno / riparo nella mente») after their deaths («dopo morte») : «Sono che per gittar via loro avere / credon potere / capere là dove li boni stanno / che dopo morte fanno / riparo nella mente» (Poscia ch’Amor, 20-24). As nobility is mistakenly believed to be the province of those who have «antica possession d’avere» in Le dolci rime, so in Poscia ch’Amor virtue is for sale in this world, bought and sold in the «mercato d’i non saggi» (35).
 The construction of an afterlife is a tried-and-true method of revealing the hypocrisies of society, and in Inferno 6 Dante finds a way to scratch the itch that so irks him in the second stanza of Poscia ch’Amor. He meets a Florentine and asks three questions: 1) «a che verrano / li cittadin de la città partita» (Inf. 6.60-61); 2) «s’alcun v’è giusto» (Inf. 6.62); 3) «la cagione / per che l’ha tanta discordia assalita» (Inf. 6.62-63). After answering question 1 with an account of future events that include Dante’s own exile from his native city, Ciacco explains that there are only two just men in Florence and that they are not understood (as Dante himself, exiled, was not understood), adding that the vices that inflame Florentine hearts are «superbia, invidia» and, of course, «avarizia» (Inf. 6.74).
 The pilgrim then asks the whereabouts of specific great Florentine citizens whom he first names and then labels as belonging with «li altri ch’a ben far puoser li ’ngegni» (Inf. 6.81). He is inquiring as to the moral standing of men, cittadini in the language of this canto, who, he says, in life turned their ingegni toward ben far. The dead citizens whom Dante lists for Ciacco by name are citizens whose names repose in his memory. He remembers them — they live on in his memory — in a precise dramatization of the life after death sought by the profligates of Poscia ch’Amor. In Inferno 6 Dante-poet dramatizes himself remembering fellow Florentines and he dramatizes himself conferring upon those Florentines the very life after death in civic memory that the profligates of Poscia ch’Amor attempt to purchase. Perhaps they have succeeded in obtaining what they desired ?
 Hell has its compensations, and the Florentine citizens whom Dante naively remembers as do-gooders are revealed by Ciacco to be damned: «Ei son tra l’anime più nere» (Inf. 6.85). Thus the Florentines whom the pilgrim remembers for their ben far do not deserve to be remembered. While the non-virtuous are remembered and honored as virtuous, the virtuous are not remembered and are not honored. Maybe indeed the virtuous are exiled, as Dante was. For Florentines do not recognize the two just men who live among them : «Giusti son due, e non vi sono intesi» (Inf. 6.73).
 The lapidary indictment of Inferno 6, «Giusti son due, e non vi sono intesi» (73), has deep roots in Poscia ch’Amor. It accords with the sentiment of a canzone in which the poet does not know to whom to tell the truth about the courtly virtue leggiadria («tratterò il ver di lei, ma non so cui» [Poscia ch’Amor, 69]), fearing he would not be inteso. Most of all, the verse «Giusti son due, e non vi sono intesi» accords with the sentiment of a canzone that has no congedo, an absence that is a wordless testament to the absence of virtue in the community. The poet of Poscia ch’Amor has no addressees to whom to write the traditional last stanza, no one to understand his truth, for none of Dante’s fellow citizens live according to the tenets of leggiadria. All of them — «tutti» — live contrary to the teachings of leggiadria: «Color che vivon fanno tutti contra» (Poscia ch’Amor, 133). The striking last word of Poscia ch’Amor, «contra», reminds us of the similar claim in Convivio, where Dante writes that, far from being cultivators of cortesia, the courts of contemporary Italy are places where everyone practices «lo contrario» : «sì come oggi s’usa lo contrario» (Conv. 2.10.8).
 When Dante wrote Poscia ch’Amor and deprived it of a congedo, because «oggi s’usa lo contrario», he implicitly depicts himself as not inteso, the inhabitant of a society in which no one is capable of understanding him. In Inferno 6 he expands the Florentine circle of virtue from one to two: he moves from «Color che vivon fanno tutti contra» (Poscia ch’Amor, 133) , a formulation that carves out only the author of the canzone as one who lives according to the tenets of leggiadria, to «Giusti son due e non vi sono intesi» (Inf. 6.73), a formulation that adds one other person.
 After Inferno 6 and 7, the next great installment of the issues treated by Le dolci rime and Poscia ch’Amor occurs in Inferno 15, 16, and 17. In Inferno 15 Dante meets Brunetto Latini, who translated Aristotle’s Ethics and who died in 1294, just as Dante was beginning to tackle the Aristotelian canzone Le dolci rime and the issues of citizenship treated by his mentor. The next canto introduces the Florentines Tegghiaio and Iacopo Rusticucci, two of the souls on Inferno 6’s list of apparently virtuous Florentine citizens who turn out to be damned. And Inferno 17 features Florentine usurers of the Gianfigliazzi, Obriachi, and Becchi families.
 Again we feel the presence of Poscia ch’Amor’s last verse, «Color che vivon fanno tutti contra». Indeed, we could say that the Florentine citizens named in these canti, along with those named in canto 6, constitute an eschatological congedo, in malo,
that is now appended to the canzone Poscia ch’Amor. A virtual congedo is conjured by these names. But this virtual congedo is written in malo, because these souls are in hell. They are in hell for their failure to enact the ben far for which they nonetheless achieved renown that lives in the memories of their fellow citizens, renown that Dante-pilgrim performs and that Dante-narrator debunks. Dante-narrator scripts the pilgrim’s naïve query regarding the whereabouts of «li altri ch’a ben far puoser li ’ngegni» (Inf. 6.81), but also Ciacco’s reply that pronounces them damned. Here in hell is the reason that Poscia ch’Amor has no congedo.