By Daniela Caselli
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Extra info for Beckett’s Dantes: Intertexuality in the Fiction and Criticism
In this passage, Bel is compared and contrasted to what is fashioned as his alter ego. This overt metanarrative technique uses intertextuality to proclaim the ﬁctionality of the protagonist. Belacqua’s artiﬁciality is duplicated by a further intertextual dimension. 9 The phrase ‘sedendo et quiescendo’ appears later in Beckett’s novel and does not belong to the Comedy, but can be found, together with the information that Belacqua was a lute-maker, in two early commentaries, the Comentum of Benvenuto de Rambaldis de Imola (c.
78–79. See also Roberto Mercuri, ‘Percorsi letterari e tipologie culturali nell’ese gesi dantesca di Benvenuto da Imola’, in Pantaleo Palmieri and Carlo Paolazzi (eds), Benvenuto da Imola lettore degli antichi e dei moderni (Ravenna: Longo, 1991), pp. 55–78, p. 61. The letter to frate Ilario and Boccaccio’s narrative about Dante’s mother’s dream are also reported in J. A. Symonds, An Introduction to the Study of Dante (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1893), pp. 70–72 and p. 36, respectively. This crit ical volume is mentioned as a source in one of Beckett’s early ‘Dante notebooks’, TCD MS 10962.
9 The phrase ‘sedendo et quiescendo’ appears later in Beckett’s novel and does not belong to the Comedy, but can be found, together with the information that Belacqua was a lute-maker, in two early commentaries, the Comentum of Benvenuto de Rambaldis de Imola (c. 1375) and that of the Anonimo Fiorentino (c. 10 The ‘tinkle-tinkle of a fourhander’ goes back to Benvenuto’s ‘aliquando etiam pulsabat’, a phrase quoted verbatim in Dream: Whether squatting in the heart of his store, sculpting with great care and chiselling the heads and necks of lutes and zithers, or sustaining in the doorway the girds of eminent poets, or coming out into the street for a bit of song and dance (aliquando etiam pulsabat), he [Belacqua] was cheating and denying his native indolence, denying himself to the ground-swell of his indolence, holding himself clear, refusing to be sucked down and abolished … Sometimes he speaks of himself thus drowned and darkened as ‘restored to his heart’; and at other times as ‘sedendo et quiescendo’ with the stress on the et and no extension of the thought into the spirit made wise.
Beckett’s Dantes: Intertexuality in the Fiction and Criticism by Daniela Caselli