Space, Place, Border. Dante and the Horizon

  • Bertrand Westphal Università di Limoges
Keywords: Dante, horizon, look, world representation, exploratory travel


Once, Dante crossed Hell to arrive on the beach of the Purgatory island, somewhere on the opposite side of the world. Obviously, at this early stage, the Austral hemisphere was not known. At the most, some geographers and theologians speculated about its very existence and its consistence. Some imagined an “Australia” which was far to be the nowadays Australia. As for him, Dante, both as an author and as a character, should have been curious of the spectacle of the new world which extended around the Purgatory island. Was he really? Did he look at the horizon which shut the perspective? In other words, was he already anchored in modernity? That is an important question which his attitude toward the horizon out of Purgatorio may allow to answer, at least in part.    

Author Biography

Bertrand Westphal, Università di Limoges

is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Limoges where he heads up a research team (EA 1087 EHIC ). He has specialised in questions the representation of place in literature and the arts. At the Géocritique mode d’emploi (conference that was held in Limoges in 1999 (proceedings published in 2000), he launched his  geocritical methodology. He published La Géocritique: Réel, fiction, espace with Minuit publishers in 2007, in Italian with Armando Press in 2009, and subsequently in English with Palgrave Macmillan, USA. In 2011, Westphal is publishing another study with Minuit: Le Monde plausible: Lieu, espace, carte. A year earlier, his book on contemporary Austrian literature, Austrofictions: Une géographie de l'intime, was published with Publications des universités de Rouen et du Havre in their “Austrian studies” series.


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How to Cite
Westphal, B. (2011). Space, Place, Border. Dante and the Horizon. Between, 1(1).
Cartographies of Comparative Studies