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Lucifer's Legs Author(s): Anna Granville Hatcher and Mark Musa Reviewed work(s): Source: PMLA, Vol.

79, No. 3 (Jun., 1964), pp. 191-199 Published by: Modern Language Association Stable URL: . Accessed: 23/11/2011 14:58
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JUNE 1964





(Inferno xxxiv.79 [lo duca] . . . / volse la testa ov' elli avea le zanche)

AFTER POINTING out to Dante the bodies of Judas, Brutus, and Cassius hanging from the mouths of Lucifer, Virgil gives his disciple to understand that it is time for them to make their way out of Hell: . . Ma la notte risurge,e oramai e da partir,che tutto avem veduto.' (68-69) Meekly Dante embraces Virgil's neck and, at the moment when the wings of Lucifer are widely spread, Virgil, with Dante on his back, catches hold of the Devil's hairy side and the two companions begin their descent "tuft by tuft" along the enormous hairy body. When they reach the mid-point of Lucifer's anatomy: ... la dove la coscia si volge a punto in sul grossode 1' anche ... (76-77) Virgil, with great difficulty, manages to reverse his position, and the descent turns into an ascent: . . . lo duca con fatica e con angoscia Volsela testa ov' elli avea le zanche, e aggrappossi pel corn'uom che sale, al si che 'n inferno i' credea tornar anche. (78-81) How should line 79 be interpreted? The literal translation is easy enough: "[the leader] . . . turned his head where he had his legs." But who is he (to whom do the legs belong)? Does elli refer to Lucifer, the description of whose body continues through line 77, or to Virgil, mentioned in line 78? That is, is the pronoun used in its regular function of indicating a shift of subject ("Ed egli a me") or in its secondary, anaphoric function ("S' el fu sl bello com' elli e or brutto")? Of forty commentators consulted only five (L'Ottimo, Bambaglioli, Daniello, Garboli, Chimenz; i.e., only two modern critics) offer the first interpre191

tation,1 and of forty-one translators all, to a man, opt for the second, identifying elli with the subject of the preceding verb volse (the majority choosing to replace 'legs' [zanche]by 'feet', and the imperfect tense [avea] by the pluperfect). According to them, Virgil "Turnedroundhis head wherehe had had his legs" (Longfellow)
1 Compare:L'Ottimo: "il viso verso l'anche e verso le
gambe di Lucifero rivolse. . . "; Bambaglioli: "Virg. volvit faciem versus ancas et tibias Luciferi. .. "; Daniello: "volse la testa ove (Lucifero) avea le zanche . . . "; Garboli: "elli: Lucifero"; Chimenz: "Virgilio ... volge la testa verso le gambe [zanche]di Lucifero." As for the second interpretation, twelve commentators make it clear in some way or other that they identify elli with Virgil; most of them do so by omitting this pronoun in their paraphrase or translation of line 79: "se posuisse pedes ubi habebat caput..." (Pietro di Dante) or "si capovolge; porta quindi la testa dove prima teneva i piedi" (Steiner; cf. also Benvenuto da Imola, Landino, Giovanni da Serravalle, Andreoli, delli Bargigi, Francesia, Venturi). Equally revelatory is the paraphrase of Porena, with its change of construction: "Virgilio ha volto la testa verso la direzione che prima era delle gambe. .. " Scartazzini, instead of offering his own version, quotes the translation of Pietro di Dante; and Pfleiderer's (rather vague) comments accompany the translation of Streckfuss: "Wo erst der Fui3 war, kam das Haupt zu stehn." The majority of the commentators who discuss line 79 are content to state merely that Virgil reversed his position on Lucifer's body (si capovolse, si rivoltb)-an interpretation that would hold true with either of the two possible references of elli (whether Virgil turned [started to turn] his head in the direction of his own legs, or of Lucifer's legs, he would be reversing his position). Given, however, the unanimous opinion of the translators (see above) in favor of the first assumption, it is highly likely that any commentator who does not take the stand of identifying elli with Lucifer is siding with the translators and with the majority of the commentators who have committed themselves. (Like Steiner, they may be reasoning, influenced by their own interpretation): "si capovolge; porta quindi la testa dove prima teneva i piedi."


Lucifer's Legs avea le zancheand thereby diminishing the "inevitability" of the parallel: testa-zanche) and would introduce ambiguity, surely the last thing Dante would wish in this passage: confusion between the body of Virgil and that of Lucifer! And if one reads this line within its context one should "feel" how clearly, with what gentle insistence, Dante seems to be indicating that in line 79 we are still following the contours of Lucifer's body. That coscia . . . anche belong with zanche is suggested by the parallelism of clausal construction; surely dove . . . and ove . . .refer to two points on the same surface:9 Quandonoi fummola dovela coscia Si volgea punto in sul grossode 1' anche, lo duca con fatica e con angoscia Volse la testa ov'elli aveale zanche, al e aggrappossi pel . . . Moreover, our line is immediately followed by a reference to the hair (lo pel) on Lucifer's body. Guess for guess, it is that of L'Ottimo (" . . . il viso verso ... le gambe di Lucifero rivolse . . . ") that should have occurred to everyone. The first purpose of this paper will be to prove, linguistically, that his guess was right; then, the artistic corollaries and corroborations of this interpretation will be analyzed. The grammatical demonstration is based on a study of all instances of egli (ei)10occurring in the
2 Comparealso the English translations of Anderson, Ayers,Butler, Cummins,How, Johnson,Langdon,Lockett, Lowe, Musgrave,Parsons,Plumptre,Shaw, Sinclair,Swiggett, Tozer, White, Wright. s Comparealso the Frenchtranslationof Masseron,and Frenchtranslation. the anonymous 17th-century 4 Compare of also the Germantranslations Bartsch,Kannegieser,Notter, Philalethes(pseud.),Ramhorlt,Streckfuss, Witte. ' Compare of also the Dutch translation v. Velzen. 0 ThoughMeyer-Ltibke translatesOld It. zancaby 'Fui3,' or the wordis not found in this sense in Tommaseo-Bellini in Petrocchi.Corominas his dictionaryattests this meaning in Romance (e.g., Port. chanca 'pe grande') but not for Italian: in an anatomicalreferencethe word means only 'leg,' just as is true of modemcianca. 7 Thereis a vast difference between'wherehe had his feet (at the moment)'and 'wherehe had had his feet (earlier)'; when Dante has said the first, one hardly has the right to translateas if he had said the second.The DivinaCommedia de is not the Cantar Mio Cid,whosetense systemstill baffles scholars. 8 The expression will pronoun' be used through'anaphoric that repeatsthe subject out to designatea (subject)pronoun of the immediately precedingclause. 9 Note also the rhyme:anche-zanche. 10Originallythis study was limited to the pronounegli, sinceit is the tonicformthat we findin ourpassage.Further

"Turned round his head where his feet stood before"

(Cary) "Turned his head where he had had his shanks" "Turnedhis head wherehe had had his feet before"
(Carlyle-Wicksteed) "Turned head to where his feet had been" (Sayers)2 "plaga, en se renversant, sa tete ofuil avait les pieds" (de Montor)3 "A los pies la cabeza traspusiera" (Barbuglia) "voltou a cabega para onde tinha as pernas" (De Campos) ". . . volta / La testa al sit di pee" (Cardiani) "Da wandt . . . / Den Kopf dahin, wo erst die Fui3e waren" (Gmelin)4 "wist. . . / 't Hoofd, waar hij eerst de beenen had, te dringen" (Bohl)5 (Norton)

"quo crura pedesque tenebat, / Invertit caput" (Piazza) Tobas Edev" (Musurus "OeLs rTiV Keta\X ''pOa rTOVS

"Adroesei beni' r liley buasai'i bedion"(Rees)

A linguist is apt to be perplexed by the procedure of those who have treated this line. How can a translator take such liberties with the clear word-material (zanche)6and morphology (avea)7 of Dante's text? How can a commentator assume the responsibility of choosing one of the two possible interpretations of elli without discussing the evidence on both sides? Not one has even mentioned the possibility of another interpretation. Moreover, granted that what has been offered (by translators and commentators alike) is only a guess, something "felt" to be likely, how could so many scholars have guessed and "felt" so badly? Given the two theoretical possibilities of interpretation (which is a rare situation), why does it first occur to anyone to see, in the pronoun that Dante took pains to insert, a redundant rather than a functional element? There is nothing that speaks in favor here of an anaphoric pronoun8and much that speaks against it (not all of which shall be mentioned at this point). For one thing, line 79 offers a factual narrative statement, not elaborate rhetoric or (simple) dialogue, both of which encourage anaphora; for another, we have a clear and "tight" construction: the subject of the immediately preceding clause has been specified (lo duca), and no distracting element has been allowed to intervene between the verb-phrase (volse la testa) and the clause that closely limits it. The normal (and unambiguous) way to express the idea assumed by all the translators would be: Volse la testa ov' aveale zanche; to insert an unnecessary pronoun would be awkward (interrupting the flow of volse la testa into

Anna Granville Hatcher and Mark Musa Commediaand the Vita Nuova. Of the hundreds of examples, as many as 10311clearly refer to the subject of the immediately preceding predication.12 Now, if even one of these 103 examples corresponds to the construction of the passage with which we are concerned, then the theoretical possibility of an anaphoric interpretation of elli in line 79 must be granted (and the correct analysis of the "ambiguous" line would necessarily depend on non-grammatical criteria). Thus, to prove linguistically that our elli can refer only to Lucifer, it will be necessary to show that each one of the 103 predictions with anaphoric elli differs from our own in a significant and objectively describable way. This means that, first of all, a significant and objective description must be offered of the grammatical unit represented by lo
investigation revealed, however, that in terms of the categories set up for egli, there was no difference in the behavior of the two pronouns. Accordingly, they have been taken together; and the label egli will be used for both, without distinction. 11Not included among the examples of anaphoric egli are those in which the pronoun (a) is combined with a second subject: che tutta ingrata ... si fara contro a te; ma poco appresso ella, non tu, n' avrd rossa la tempia. (Par. xvn.66) or (b) is reinforced by means of stesso: Quando si parte 1' anima feroce dal corpo ond' ella stessa s' e disvelta . .. (Inf. xmi.94-95) It should be clear why, in this analysis of anaphoric pronouns for the purpose of comparison with our passage, only those of the third person have been considered. That the use of first- and second-person pronouns must differ from that of third-person pronouns is due to two factors (that work in opposition): on the one hand, the pronouns of the first and second person are rarely needed for identification, as egli rather often is; on the other, their highly personal reference lends itself to redundant use in emotional utterances, to an extent not matched by the more impersonal egli. Incidentally it is interesting to note that, of the 103 examples of the third-person pronouns used anaphorically, only 30 represent the atonic form: the tonic egli is used more than twice as often as ei in an anaphoric function. This is not what one would be led to expect from Rohlf's treatment (n.157-217), which gives rather the impression that it is only the atonic form that is used anaphorically. 12The phrase "immediately preceding predication" is meant to include not only dependent clauses, but also participles and infinitives that serve a similar function. Two limitations, however, have been introduced: To be considered an "immediately preceding predication" it is necessary that (a) all the basic elements of the clause in question precede the one with egli; and (b) the two clauses be on the same level of discourse (either narrative or conversation). For the first reason, the following example is


duca confatica e con angoscia / volsela testa ov' elli avea le zanche. The simplest formulation, for our purposes, would be: "a complex clause containing a main clause with non-generic subject followed (only) by an adverbial clause, with egli as subject, which modifies the main verb."'3 Of the 103 examples of anaphoric egli, 32 must be immediately excluded if only because the pronoun, unlike that of Inferno xxxiv.79, is found in an independent clause. In 12 cases the preceding clause is also independent, e.g., E la sua volontate6 nostrapace; ell' e quel mareal qual tutto si move
(Par. III.85-86)14

In 20 cases the preceding clause is dependent (thus the construction would be completely the
excluded: the antecedent of elli (line 20) is the subject of a clause that is interrupted by the elli-clause: "Madonna, quelli che mi manda a vui, quando vi piaccia, vole sed elli ha scusa, che la m' intendiate. (V.N. xi. 18-20) For the second reason, certain examples in which narrative and conversation are combined have been included even though the pronoun does not continue the subject of the clause that actually precedes it on the printed page: 'Questo superbo volle essere sperto di sua potenza contra al sommo Giove,' disse 'I mio duca, 'ond' elli ha cotal merto. (Inf. xxxi.91-93) . . . uno spirito d' amore . . . pingea fuori li deboletti spiriti del viso, e dicea loro:

a "Andate-voi onorarela donna vostra";ed elli rimanea nel luogo loro. (V.N. xi)
Obviously a pronoun in conversation cannot have as antecedent a word of the narrative (Inf. xxxI.93), or vice-versa (V.N. xi). It is not impossible, however, that the insertion of the alien clause, particularly when conversation is interpolated into narrative, may encourage the use of anaphora. 13In other words, no example with anaphoric egli will be considered similar to our own unless its antecedent is nongeneric and it is found in a clause that is dependent, is introduced by an adverbial conjunction, modifies an independent clause by modifying the verb of that clause (i.e., not an adverbial element, or a noun, e.g., la parte dov' ei son . . . ), and follows the main clause that it modifies, instead of preceding it or being inserted into it. That the features just listed are, in a general way, significant for syntax, should be immediately obvious; just why this particular combination of features should be decisive for the exclusion of an anaphoric pronoun is less obvious; a few explanatory suggestions will be offered later (note 21). 14Cf. also Par. xxx.146; Purg. vmi.115; ix.91; xi.69; xxvn.106; Inf. x.68; xxi.119; xxxi.93; xxxI.128; V.N. XIX [p. 35 in Barbi's ed.]; xi [p. 40].-Incidentally, if Par. III.85 quoted above is read 'E' n la sua volontate e nostra pace... ', then the ella of the next line would not be anaphoric.

reverse of lo duca . . . le zanche:

Lucifer's Legs dependent-

independent instead of independent-dependent), e.g.,

Qual e colui che cosa innanzi a se

Of the 18 examples of anaphoric egli in an adverbial clause, 8 must be excluded because this clause precedes the main clause that it modifies;
in . e quelli . . . disse: " . . . " Quand' elli ebbe'I suo dir cosi compiuto, la fiamma dolorando si partio (Inf. xxvII.124-131)

Subitavede, ond' ei si maraviglia. . .

(Purg. vI.10-11)15

Of the 71 examples of anaphoric egli found in a dependent clause, 46 must be immediately excluded if only because their antecedent, unlike lo duca, is the subject of a dependent clause, e.g., . . "Sovra quella poi t' aggrappa Ma tenta pria s' e tal, ch' ella ti reggia"
(Inf. xxiv.29-30)16

our pronoun repeats the subject of the preceding

main clause (quelli . . . disse), but it is not this

clause that is modified; the complex construction

to which egli belongs is Quand' egli ebbe . . . cornpiuto, / la fiamma . . . si partlo. And the same is

Now we come to the group that interests us most, since it is the only one that might contain examples of a construction parallel to that of lo
duca ... le zanche: that in which the pronoun,

subject of a dependent clause, repeats the subject of the immediately preceding independent clause. Of the 25 examples here represented, 7 must be excluded because the dependent clause containing anaphoric egli is not adverbial; one of them is a noun clause: E similmente1'animaprimaia mi facea trasparer la coverta per
quant' ella a compiacermivenia gaia (Par. xxvI.100-102)

true of the other 7 examples.18 Of the 10 examples of anaphoric egli in an adverbial clause which follows the independent clause it modifies, 6 must be excluded because the adverbial clause does not modify the verb of the main clause. In the following example, it modifies no specific element whatsoever of this clause: Denar si tolse, e lasciollidi piano, Si corn'ei dice . . . (Inf. xxiI.85-86) while in all the rest it modifies an adverbial element of the preceding clause, e.g., Che nol potea st con gli occhi seguire,
Ch' ei vedessealtro che la fiamma sola (Inf. xxvI.37-38) or: Ma tanto piu maligno e piui silvestro

and 6 are adjectival, e.g., Virtui diversafa diversalega col preziosocorpoch' ella avviva
(Par, II.140)17
16 Cf.

si fa '1 terrencol mal seme e non colto,

quant' elli ha piu buon vigor terrestro (Purg. xxx.118-120)19

also Purg. vi.50; vin.10; xxiv.37; Par. v.131;

xxvu.103; xxxi.113; Inf. ni.67; v.58; x.49; xi.74; xvIm.88; xxi.21; xxi.135; xxm.61; xxv.16; xxxii.115; V.N. xi [p. 41]; xxix [p. 123]; xxix [p. 124]. It should be stated that clauses introduced by the coordinating onde (cf.... ond' ei si maraviglia of Purg. vii.ll, quote above) will be considered independent, as will also those introduced by the "corroborative" che, e.g., .. e non pur a me danno Superbia fa, chi tutti i miei consorti Ha ella tratti seco nel malanno (Purg. xi.67-69) 16Cf. also Inf. iii.90; vi.39; xii.81; xi.131; xiv.58; xvIII. 12; xxiim.18; xxiv.117; xv.30; xvI. 12; xxix.105; xxxii.3; xxxiv.34; xxxiv.131; xxxiv.132; Purg. rv.91; ix.126; xi.44; xvi.101; xviii.127; xxiv.86; xxiv.144; xxvIi.126; xxix. 138; xxx.45; xxxi.84; xxxii.49; Par. vi.73; ix.23; xii.19; xiii.122; xiv.15; xxIi.57; xxHm.126; xxiv.36; xxv.65; xxvin.17; xxx.12; xxxi.33; xxxiii.135; V.N. xxi [p. 85]; xxii [p. 96]; xxvi [p. 117]; xxvi [p. 119]; xxxvi [p. 144]. 17Cf. also Par. v.130-132; xxui.124-126; xxxi.16-18; Inf. xi.76-77; xxvi.47-48. 18 Cf. also Inf. iv.34-35; xxi.64-66; xxxI.49-54; Purg. ni.53-59; iv.88-98; vm.91-95; xiv.49-51. In the example quoted above "Quand' elli ebbe . .. com-

piuto, / La fiamma ... si partio" (and in every other example in this group except Purg. xiv.49-50) we have to do not only with the reverse of the order of clauses found in "Volse la testa ov' egli avea le zanche," but with something else even more important: the (anaphoric pronoun) subject of the dependent clause differs from that of the main clause that it modifies. And in such cases (perhaps to avoid theoretical ambiguity, cf. Quand' ebbe . . . compiuto, / La fiamma . .. si partio) the presence of the pronoun would seem to be the rule rather than the exception (at least when the verbs of the two clauses are in the same number and person): a study of third-person zero-subject in the Inferno reveals only one instance of the omission of the pronoun in the construction in question: Lo mio maestro disse: "Questi e Caco ..." Mentre che si parlava, ed ei trascorse E tre spiriti venner sotto noi (Inf. xxv.25-35) Here, the pronoun was probably omitted from the mentre che clause in order that the ei of "ed ei trascorse" (indicating the shift of subject to Caco) might stand out in greater relief. 19 Cf. also Par. vii.115-117; xi.55-57; Inf. xxm.52-54. That anaphoric egli may appear in a clause that modifies an adverbial element of the main predication may be explained by the fact that, in such cases, we always have to do with a correlative construction (si ....che, pis . . . che etc.), i.e., a

Anna Granville Hatcher and Mark Musa Of the 4 examples in which the adverbial clause with anaphoric egli modifies the verb of the preceding independent predication, 2 must be excluded because the complex clause represented shows not a bipartite but a tripartite construction (the adverbial clause with egli being sandwiched between the two main halves of a correlative construction), e.g., Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare
la donna mia quand' ella altrui saluta,


Thus, not one of the 103 examples of anaphoric egli is found in "a complex construction containing a main clause with non-generic subject, followed only by an adverbial clause with egli as subject, which modifies the main verb." When the pronoun appears in such a construction, it will not repeat the preceding subject: e faccian siepe ad Arno in su la foce,
si ch' elli annieghi in te ogni personal (Inf. xxxiii.83-84)

ch' ogne lingua deven tremandomuta

(V.N. xxvi.1-3)

Non corse mai sl tosto acqua per doccia A volgerruota di molin terragno,
Quand' ella pii verso le pale approccia, Come '1 maestro mio per quel vivagno (Inf. xxIm.46-49)

and when the preceding subject is continued, the pronoun will not be found: . . . e prese li '1bracciocol runciglio,
si che, stracciando, ne porta un lacerto. (Inf. xxII.71-72)

The two examples that remain must be excluded because the antecedent of the pronoun is generic:
Sempre a quel ver c' ha faccia di menzogna De' 1' uom chiuder le labbra fin ch' ei pole
(Inf. xvi.124-125)

It is a basic rule of logical procedure that the unambiguous cases of a given type be allowed to throw light on the ambiguous. When the evidence of the former is consistent (as is true of the 103 clear cases of anaphora just analyzed), all possibility of ambiguity disappears: only one interpretation is possible for the elli of Inferno xxxiv.
79-the non-anaphoric.20 Thus our passage is to

"Sperino in te" nella sua teodia Dice, "color che sanno il nome tuo !" E chi nol sa, s' egli ha la fede mia? (Par. xxv.73-75)
parallelistic construction (which seems to favor anaphora: see note 21). And if it tends to be excluded from a clause that modifies the verb of the main predication, this is perhaps because such a clause is in closer connection with the subject of the main clause (since the subject governs the verb, not an adverbial element): that is, in closer connection with the antecedent of its own subject. In " ... " disse Minos a me quando mi vide, the main verb disse, governed by Minos and determined by quando mi vide, serves, as it were, to transmit the essence of Minos directly to the verb vide of this determining clause-which thus has less need of an explicit subject of its own. 20 There is a second way (one, incidentally, much easier to demonstrate) of proving the non-anaphoric reference of elli in Inf. xxxiv.79, and that is by reference to word-material instead of construction: to the individual word ove that introduces the clause containing the pronoun. The frequency of anaphora (found mainly in dependent clauses) varies according to the conjunction used: the greatest number of cases are found with se, come, and che+preceding correlative, while none has appeared with poscia che, da che, si 'until.' As concerns ove (and the same is true of dove) it may be said that whenever the pronoun appears in a clause introduced by this conjunction, IT NEVER REFERS TO THE SUBJECT OF THE MAIN CLAUSE. This is, of course, necessarily true when the overall construction is that of Lo duca . .. le zanche (e.g., "Questo m' avvene ovunqueella mi vede": V.N. xxvII); it happens also to be true in every other case, regardless of construction. Whether (d)oveintroduces a noun clause: Questa ballata in tre parti si divide: ne la prima dico a lei ov' ella vada ... (V.N.xII) or an adjective clause:

be translated: "When we had reached the point where the thigh (of Lucifer) turns on the swelling
of the haunch (of Lucifer), my guide . .. turned

la parte dov' ei son rende figura (Inf. xvin. 12)

or an adverbial clause which modifies not the verb but the adverbial element Id (and follows a dependent rather than an independent clause): Ei mormorava, e non so che 'Gentucca' sentiva io la ov' ei sentia la piaga della giustizia che sl li pilucca. (Purg. xxiv.37-39) the pronoun always refers to an entity different from the subject of the main clause (Cf. also Inf. xxIII.6; xvIn.73; Purg. III.132; xxxn.108; Par. xi.49; V.N. xxi [p. 85].) And by the same token, when the subject of the two clauses is the same, the pronoun is never found-again, regardless of construction: Con quel furore e con quella tempesta ch' escono i cani addosso al poverello, che di subito chiede ove s' arresta (Inf. xxi.67-69) .. e per6 nel secondo giron convien che sanza pro si penta qualunque priva se del vostro mondo . .. e piange la& dov' esser de' giocondo (Inf. xi.41-45) Quante il villan . . . vede lucciole gial per la vallea, forse cola dove vendemmiaed ara . . . (Inf. xvi.25-30) (Cf. also Inf. xv.114; xx.78; xxv.72; xxv.94; xxvii.48' Purg. I.23; ix.36; xiv.34; xviii.30; xvi.15; xvm.102; Par.


Lucifer's Legs ated, proceeding henceforth "corn'uom che sale." A second gain is the elimination of the attribution to Virgil of the word zanca (mod. It. cianca), whereby our passage is purged of (what would have been) a demonstration of inexplicable bad taste on Dante's part: the term zanca, this vulgar, derisive word, applied to the noble body of the pilgrim's beloved guide! That the impossibility of such an attribution was not, alone, sufficient to point conclusively to the proper identification of elli is a sad commentary on the commentators (and translators), whose stylistic insensitivity allowed them to accept such a grotesque juxtaposition ("le cianche di Virgilio!"), with apparently no concern whatsoever. And their indifference is all the more absurd in that it is not due to their ignorance of the overtones of the word zanca: in the comments on Inferno XIx. 45, where the same term is applied to the sinner
Nicholas III (" . . . quei che sl piangeva con la

his head in the direction of the legs (of Lucifer),

and grappled on the hair (of Lucifer)."21

So far we have been concerned with grammar alone; now that we have established the antecedent of elli in line 79 (and the proper attribution of a certain pair of legs), what are the extra-grammatical corollaries? First of all we can understand better the nature of the movement made by lo
duca in reversing his position ( . . . volse la testa

ov' elli avea le zanche / ed aggrappossi al pel corn' uom che sale ... ). According to the translators, Virgil, after having reversed himself, somehow, "grappled on the hair (as one who mounts)." But precisely how was this reversal accomplished? And was not Virgil already holding on to the hair? Now we know that it was the hair of Lucifer's leg that he grasped ( . .. ov' elli avea le

zanche / . . . aggrappossi al pel): what Virgil evidently did as, descending tuft by tuft, he reached the point of Lucifer's body where the thigh turns, was to move his head to the side and downwards until (still holding on with one hand to the hair above him) he could reach with his other hand to grasp the hair below him-then (aided now by the shift of gravitational pull) to free the first hand and complete the half-circle he had initivi.72; xxn.66; xxv.95; V.N. xv [p. 62]; xxi [p. 86]; XLI [p. 162].) This does not necessarily mean that anaphoric egli is excluded with (d)ove; in the following example the pronoun repeats the ella of the preceding (dependent) clause: Ne li occhi porta la mia donna Amore, per che si fa gentil ci6 ch' ella mira; ov' ella passa, ogn' om ver lei si gira (V.N.xx. 1-3) It does not, however, refer to the subject of the clause modified, which is ogn' om (this shift of subject regularly calling for presence of the pronoun in the preceding clause, see note 18). Thus two definitive statements may be made that exclude the possibility of lo duca serving as antecedent of elli in Inf. xxxiv.79: (a) "in the construction represented by lo duca ... le zanche the third-person pronoun is never used anaphorically"; and (b) "in a clause introduced by (d)ove the third-person pronoun never refers to the subject of the main clause."-When a grammatical analysis is correct it can often be proved by reference to more than one criterion. 21In this treatment of pronominal usage in the Commedia (and Vita Nuova), linguistic analysis has played an ancillary role: that of demonstrating the impossibility of a certain translation of a certain line of poetry. Any linguist must accept the conclusions here reached (unless he can prove faulty analysis, and crucial faulty analysis, of the material classified), but no linguist should be satisfied with the present treatment as an adequate description of pronominal usage. It is true that we know two reasons why anaphoric egli is excluded from Inf. xxxiv.79, but we do not know why

zanca"-the only other instance of its use in the Commedia), pains are often taken to point out the pejorative connotations of this slangy anatomical word, its appropriateness in reference to the despicable simonist even being stressed. We can only assume that the commentators of Canto xxxiv, with as little logic as linguistic flair, have
these reasons should be effective, and we have no idea what other reasons may exist for exclusion, in general, of anaphoric third-person pronouns; again, we know, in terms of a mainly unsifted classification, when the presence of anaphoric egli is possible, but we have no idea whatsoever when it is necessary. A far more detailed analysis of the evidence presented, as well as a detailed analysis of new evidence (verbs with zero-subject), would be necessary before we could hope to begin to understand the phenomenon which is here treated as a means to an end. And such an involved linguistic study would be a project in itself, out of place in this article devoted to the interpretation of Inf. xxxiv.79. It may not, however, be out of place to point out, by way of rounding off our discussion of the linguistic problem represented in this line, three widespread tendencies characterizing the material collected: (a) In 25 out of 66 cases the subject of the dependent clause which serves as antecedent to egli is a relative pronoun; it may refer to a specific entity ("Questo diss' io diritto alla lumera / che pria m' avea parlato, ond' ella fessi / lucente . . . ": Par. v.130-132) or to a type (" ... chi volesse / salir di notte, fora elli impedito / d' altrui?": Purg. vxi.4951). It is surely true that a relative pronoun distinguishes itself from other possible antecedents in that it can never be repeated in the following clause: "John goes where he wants" can conceivably be paraphrased by repetition of the antecedent ("John goes where John wants"), but it would be utterly impossible to imagine the same kind of paraphrase for "This boy who goes where he wants..." ("This boy who goes where who wants ... "). It may be because of the abstract quality of such an antecedent that the pronoun is so often felt necessary, by compensation, in the following clause. (And the predilection for anaphora following a generic ante-

Anna Granville Hatcher and Mark Musa reasoned, according to the procedure of petitio principii: "since this word refers to Virgil, it cannot possibly be used here pejoratively." But more than the negative gain of eliminating a tasteless interpretation is involved in the proper attribution of "le zanche"; it is important not only that the connection of these legs with Virgil be severed: they must be seen, and clearly seen, as belonging to the anatomy of Lucifer. And this for artistic reasons: with the attribution of "le zanche" to Lucifer, there is put back into focus what Dante had intended to be the last detail of a picture that he had been building up for us. Almost half of Canto xxxIV is devoted to a top-tobottom description of Lucifer's body: in lines 29-55 the trunk is presented, with specific references to the head (and its parts: crown, faces, mouths, chins) and the shoulders, to the arms and the wings; in lines 72-79, describing the two pilgrims' passage over Lucifer's body, we are shown first the wings unfurled, then the expanse of hairy sides, then the hips, where the thigh turns on the swelling of the haunch-then to be reminded, as Virgil turns his head downward, of that expanse below where all is legs ("Volse la testa ov' elli avea le zanche"): those legs at which Dante, a moment later (line 90), seated on the edge of the cleft, will gaze, spellbound (the last spectacle of Hell granted to the wayfarer will be the legs of Lucifer). According to the old translation, the anatomical description would have been interrupted, the legs being mentioned only after the pilgrim and his guide have left the body. But there is still another indication of the importance of attributing "le zanche" to Lucifer, and here the correct translation of line 79 puts into relief not only the artistic but also the didactic intentions of Dante. To see this we must bear clearly in mind the fact mentioned above, that in the whole of the Divine Comedy the picturesque word zanca is mentioned only twice: in Canto xix.45, where it is used of Nicholas III, and in our line. This fact is known to all the commentators, most of whom, in the first passage, conscientiously refer us ahead to the second and, in the second, back to the first-being apparently not in the least perturbed by the fact that the limitation of this conspicuous word to two instances might suggest a deliberate coupling of the two beings singled out for such characterization: Nicholas III and Virgil (if their interpretation had been correct) Now it is clear that if the verbal parallelism was deliberately, meaningfully intended, it was in order to couple Nicholas with Lucifer. Can we be sure that it was so intended? Why would


Dante choose precisely this sinner as offering in some way a parallel to the fallen seraph? Dante's horror of the sin of simony is well known: many commentators point out the intensity of the moral anger expressed in Canto xix, and it is indeed true that Dante has reserved his harshest indictments for the sinners in the third bolgia of the eighth circle.22The various dramatic details that contribute to the crushing
cedent, even when not a relative pronoun, may perhaps be similarly explained.) (b) Of the 71 cases in which egli is found in a dependent clause, in 27 this is a relative clause with oblique che (quanto). Frequently we find a combination of (a) and (b); this is what we have in the following example, with two instances of (b): " ... d' un ruscelletto, che quivi discende / per la buca d' un sasso ch' elli ha roso / col corso ch' eli avvolge . . . ": Inf. xxxIv.130-132. At first thought it might be surprising that the relative pronoun would tend to attract anaphoric egli, when (d)ove,which is a relative conjunction, reveals the opposite tendency. But if one remembers that the form che (quanto) is ambiguous, serving either as subject or as object, one instantly comprehends that the presence of the subject egli serves to point conclusively to the oblique function of che. (c) Apart from these two constructions we find, in all four groups illustrated above in the text, the tendency to use egli when a parallelism of some sort is intended. Occasionally, there is a comparison between the acts (states) of two different entities ("Ma poco poi sarAda Dio sofferto / nel santo offizio; ch' el sard detruso / la dove Simon mago e per suo merto": Par. xxx.145-147: cf. also the type with double subject, note 11); more often, however, we find a parallel between two acts (states) of the same person: 'S' ei fur cacciati, ei tornar d' ogni parte,' (Inf. x.49) S' el fu sl bello com' elli e or brutto... (Inf. xxxiv.34) 'Se la vostra memoria non s' imboli nel primo mondo da 1' umane menti, ma s' ella viva sotto molti soli, ditemi chi voi siete . .. (Inf. xxix. 103-106) Io sono Omberto; e non pur a me danno superbia fe', che tutt' i miei consorti ha ella tratti seco nel malanno. (Purg. xi.67-69) Io dico che, secondo 1' usanza d' Arabia, I' anima sua nobilissima si partio ne la prima ora del nono giorno del mese; e secondo 1' usanza di Siria, ella si partio nel nono mese de 1' anno ... (V.N. xxix) This is surely the same tendency that is reflected in the frequency of anaphoric egli in correlative constructions; in either case, the presence of the pronoun serves to maintain a balance: since the two predications are of equal weight, each should have its subject expressed. 22Why does Dante not save his diatribe for the sinners in the ninth and last bolgia, whose crimes have been classified by Virgil, his teacher, as the most heinous? Enrico Sannia (II comico ... nella Divina Commedia,p. 162) suggests: "Se la frode occupa il piA basso loco nella sua morale teologica, la cupidigia del clero ha il posto piu abbietto nella sua morale sociale."


Lucifer's Legs Two pairs of legs rising from the ground!26Dante has offered us a visual as well as a verbal parallel in his presentation of the simonist as the prefiguration of Satan.27
23 Cf. the forthcoming article, "The Aesthetic Structure of Inferno xix," by Mark Musa. 24Thus zanche with Dante is restricted to legs that are raised upright, emerging from the ground, unable to perform their natural function of movement through space. It is true that in Inf. xxxIv.79, where the word is applied to Lucifer, his legs have not yet been presented to us in this position; but the next moment they will be, they must be; and to Virgil, when he turned his head, it was thus that they appeared. His pupil, through whose eyes we must see, was slow to orientate himself. In choosing the word zanca, the poet may not only have been influenced by its pejorative connotations: he may have been familiar with the variant meaning of zanca 'asta'; and it is surely in an upraised position that legs, particularly naked legs (as we must assume to be those of our sinners), must closely resemble sticks (cf. XIX. 47: " . . . come pal commessa"). Indeed Machiavelli, in his charming dialogue with Dante which he inserts into his Discorso o dialogointorno alla nostra lingua, has Dante explain as follows his choice of

force of this indictment cannot be discussed here,23but it may be remarked that, for the first and only time in the Inferno, Dante the pilgrim takes it upon himself to deliver a sermon (lines 90-117) to a sinner, in which he analyzes and passes final judgment on the sin; in fact, the sin (of simony) is twice analyzed: first of all by Nicholas himself, who offers an expert's appraisal of the extent of the crimes committed by him and his fellow sinners-crimes which combine the natural sins of selfishness and greed with that of sacrilege. Thus Dante may have chosen Nicholas as a pendant of Lucifer not only because of the gravity of his sin but also because this offered what might be called a technical similarity with that of Lucifer: Christ's vicar who despoiled Christ's Church, like the angel who plotted against his Maker, was guilty of betraying the holy station where he had been placed by God. This in itself might be reason enough to see in the verbal parallel in question a deliberate coupling of Nicholas and Lucifer. But in what sense is it meaningful? Why should the connecting link be precisely the word zanca? That it is pejorative is hardly enough. It would seem that in choosing a word of physical reference (and an evocative term, inviting visualization, as zanca does), Dante wishes us not only to think of the two figures together, but to see them, to see their bodies. If so, a reference to legs was the only one possible (and adequate) for Nicholas. The body of this sinner was buried head-downward; what Dante saw before him was only a pair of twitching legs protruding from the ground; the Nicholas he addressed consisted of nothing but zanche! In this word, recalling the up-raised legs of Nicholas, is epitomized the contrappassoof the simonist (who had attempted to reverse the sacred order of things). And it should also recall the contrappasso of Lucifer. Nicholas is not the only individual in the Inferno who must be visualized with legs extending upward: when, having completed the movement in the direction of Lucifer's legs, and having reached the cleft on which Virgil seats him, Dante lifts his eyes, it will be of course a pair of up-raised legs that he will see, to his amazement, a towering above him:24 greatly magnified version of the limbs of Nicholas25 (and the culminating image of the Inferno): Poi usci fuor per lo foro d' un sasso e puose me in su 1' orlo a sedere; appressoporse a me 1' accortopasso. Io levai li occhi, e credettivedere Luciferocom' io 1' avea lasciato, e vidili le gambe in su tenere. (85-90)

zancain CantoxIx:

N. Dimmi: tu di' ancora, volendo dire le gambe, E quello che piangeva con le zanche, perche lo di' tu? D. Perche in Firenze si chiamono zanche quelle aste, sopra le quali vanno gli spiritelli per san Giovanni, e perche allora, e' 1' usano per gambe; e io, volendo significare gambe, dissi zanche. As a matter of fact, Dante would seem to be saying that for him the word zanca had only the meaning 'asta' and that he personally was the creator of a semantic shift: 'asta' >'gamba.' Of course, this must be taken in the spirit of Machiavelli's dialogue. 26The first impression that comes to the reader of Canto xxxiv as he senses the parallel in question must be that of "post-figuration" rather than prefiguration: in reading Canto xix (for thefirst time) weobviouslycannot see Nicholas as prefiguring Lucifer; only in Canto xxxiv can the parallel between the two be sensed, and the first reaction (seeing Lucifer and remembering Nicholas) must be: "Lucifer is in the same position as Nicholas!" It is only when re-reading, or re-thinking, Canto xix (seeing Nicholas and remembering Lucifer) that we can truly see the simonist as the prefiguration of Satan, see his figure against the background of the Devil's colossal shadow-which is surely the way Dante would have us see him: it is he, alone, who gains in significance from the parallel. 26It is true that there are an indefinite number of upraised legs in the same circle with Nicholas, but he is the only one who is individualized and the only one seen at close range by the pilgrim. 27 In addition to the direct correspondence between Nicholas' contrappassoand that of Lucifer, who are both buried in the ground upside down, Canto xxxiv also contains several variations on this contrappasso.The legs (and torso) of Judas emerge from the chasm of Lucifer's central mouth, while Brutus and Cassius both hang head downward from the mouths on both sides; as for the anonymous sinners, some are standing on their heads and others, bent like a bow, have their heads (and feet) on the ground. Moreover, in the description of Brutus, there is also a verbal parallel linking this

Anna Granville Hatcher and Mark Musa With the correct translation of Inferno xxxIv. 79, the verbal parallel (zanca-zanche)is immediately given. But the visual parallel represents no such corollary: that first Nicholas and then Lucifer are presented with upraised legs protruding from the ground is a fact in itself, quite independent of the interpretation of our line.28 And because independent, it may serve to corroborate the interpretation given, to add proof of an artistic nature to the linguistic proof already offered. For it would surely be inconceivable for Dante (a) to associate Nicholas with Lucifer by means of a visual parallel and (b) to associate him with a third person by means of a verbal parallelwhich recalls the visual! Thus the graphic detail of Lucifer's legs seen rising from the ground, being absolute proof of the first kind of parallel, thereby determines the proper attribution of zanche in . . . ov' elli avea le zanche" and, hence, the proper antecedent of elli. This study began with the treatment of a grammatical problem, and ends with a discussion of certain artistic details of symbolical import. As a result of establishing the correct antecedent of a personal pronoun in a certain line of Canto xxxIV, some new light was shed not only on this canto as a whole but also on Canto XIX,with the corollary revelation of a connection between


these two cantos: a detail which must have its place in the artistic structure of the Inferno. This structure surely has still many aesthetic secrets to reveal. HOPKINS UNIVERSITY JOHNS Baltimore 18, Md. INDIANA UNIVERSITY Bloomington
inhabitant of Lucifer's circle with Nicholas: lines 64-66 of our canto,

Degli altri duo ch' hannoil capo di sotto

Quei che pende dal nero ceffo e BrutoVedi come si storce, e non fa motto are surely intended to recall the lines (46-48) of Canto xIX in which the pilgrim addresses Nicholas: Anima triste, come pal commessa,' Comincia' io a dir, 'se puoi, fa' motto.'

'O qualche se', che'Idi su tiendi sotto,

Of these correspondences only the first has apparently been seen by the commentators: according to Longfellow (i.437) the similarity between the position of Judas and that of Nicholas was pointed out by D. G. Rossetti in his Spirito antipapale (I.75, Miss Ward's tr.); of the later commentators consulted, only Grandgent has seen fit to comment on the parallel. 28 Thus it is difficult to understand why this parallel has escaped the attention of all the commentators up to the present.