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Is it the regular opportunity to speak privately with the king? Is it influence in crafting concrete state policies, or in receiving concrete favors from the crown? The bestowal of land grants and other attempts to curry royal favor are important indicators of secularization, but so are the changing patterns of religious observance, which Phillips mentions but does not explore.
He acknowledges the difficulty of determining to what extent the late Priors regarded themselves as lay or ecclesiastic, a difficulty that plagues the study of the military orders in general. The lines of inquiry that Phillips has launched regarding secularization might well be extended into other aspects of the question.
Prior of the Knights Hospitaller is nonetheless a fine study whose use of English source material is a healthy corrective to other works that have relied too extensively on Maltese records.
The complete Danteworlds : a reader's guide to the Divine Comedy
I hope that future historians, and perhaps Phillips himself, will reassess the general history of the English Hospitallers in light of these sources. Guy P.
It stands out from the large corpus of Dante reference works in its organizational style, accessibility for the non-specialist, and the comprehensiveness of the related website. Deriving inspiration, one assumes, from classical and medieval mnemotechniques , The Complete Danteworlds is organized spatially: each canticle is divided not into cantos but into circles, terraces, or spheres as relevant.
But, by lessening the number of units that must be comprehended and assimilated ten spheres instead of thirty-three cantos, for instance , The Complete Danteworlds helps the reader at any level of expertise establish a firmer perspective on the scope—and not just the geographic scope—of the poem.
As the name implies, The Complete Danteworlds is designed for the autodidact and for the student in the early stages of Dante studies, or even the early stages of literary studies. For the general Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date. For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
The Complete Danteworlds: A Reader's Guide to The Divine Comedy by Guy P. Raffa (Paperback, 2009)
Guy P. Raffa is associate professor of Italian at the University of Texas at Austin.
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