Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Dolce Stil Nuovo, stilnovisti, morum probitas, literary ethics, pilgrimage, said, saying, Levinas

Major Advisor

Franco Masciandaro

Associate Advisor

Norma Bouchard

Associate Advisor

Philip Balma

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Love and Civitas: Dante’s Ethical Journey in the Vita Nuova

Alfred Robert Crudale

University of Connecticut, 2013

This dissertation examines Dante’s love for Beatrice, which begins as erotic passion accompanied by reason, and slowly develops into a well-ordered passion defined by the poet/lover’s interaction with the people of Florence. My study investigates Dante’s Vita Nuova through the lens of ethics, specifically literary ethics as it is formulated by the twentieth century philosopher Emanuel Levinas. Informed by Levinas’s philosophy, which defines ethics as an infinite responsibility to the other, I argue that Dante creates an ethical link between his poetry and the civitas. As I discuss the development of Dante’s love, I frame the three phases of the Vita Nuova in light of St. Bonaventure’s teaching, which outlines the mind’s journey to God, in his Itinerarium mentis in Deum. Here he delineates three stages through which the mind passes as it journeys toward God: the extra nos, with its focus on things external; the intra nos with the focus on things internal; and the supra nos, focused on things above. Dante’s libello establishes the poet’s idea of love, which is also connected to moral philosophy, and hence is the expression of his responsibility, as poet and lover, vis-à-vis Beatrice and the citizens of Florence.