Death drive in Pier della Vigna

A queer analysis of Dante's "Inferno", XIII




Italian literature, Dante, queer reading of, Pier Della Vigna, erotic metaphor, vassallaggio, sado-masochism, heteronormative model, Lee Edelman, jouissance


This paper aims to analyse canto XIII of Dante’s Inferno, on the basis of Lee Edelman’s queer theory, outlined in his book No Future. In the first part, I draw inspiration from the metaphor used by Pier della Vigna to describe his relationship with Frederick II of Swabia, on the background of the courtly cultural horizon. In this relationship lies a short circuit between the love field and the political field, which is the direct cause of Piero’s suicide and of the articulation of the contrappasso in the wood of suicides. In the second part, I analyse the stigmatisation that the text addresses against the homo-social relationship between Piero and Federico. This relationship appears to be an anomaly for the teleological horizon of the Commedia. On the basis of what Edelman stated in No Future, one can look at Pier della Vigna as a queer character, marked by the affirmation of jouissance in the present and the rejection of a meaning based on procreative futurism.




How to Cite

De Laurentiis, A. (2021). Death drive in Pier della Vigna: A queer analysis of Dante’s "Inferno", XIII. Whatever. A Transdisciplinary Journal of Queer Theories and Studies, 4(1), 1–28.