“Scribe of God”, that’s how he walks. He approaches his task as a vocation and as a mission. The poet explains this by writing to Lord Cangrande della Scala, detailing the project of his Divine Comedy : “The whole work has for subject: the man according to whether by the merits or the demerits of his life, being endowed with free will, he goes before the Justice which rewards and which chastises. “ It specifies its purpose: “To remove the living in this life from the state of misery and lead them to the state of bliss. “
Dante intends to show realities, not concepts. He means bliss as a tangible, conceivable evidence. Likewise, he wants to expose the springs and fetters of his changing earthly world. Wars, lack of charity, blasphemies, betrayals, the plague of corruption and profit, pride and power that plague Europe, from Austria to Scotland, from England to Bohemia … “Dark forest” is the world in which he lives; “Dark forest” is also his own sinful heart. This heart, he wants to put it whole in his project, to bear witness to it.
Its mission is a journey, a journey of writing. “Like a pilgrim who goes on a road where he has never been, who takes any house from afar for his relay, and, realizing that it is not, takes another one in the same way, and so from house to house, until you find the right one ”, he writes. “Thus our soul, as soon as it sets out on the new and never traveled path of this life, turns its eyes towards its supreme good, and, for this reason, whatever it sees that it seems to care whatever good, takes it for himself. “ (Banq IV, 12).
The role of the writer is to “ open up to the Truth from top to bottom ”, wrote Georges Bernanos to his spiritual director when he began to write Under Satan’s sun. To another correspondent, he advises later: “If the good Lord really wants a testimony from you, you must expect to suffer a lot, to doubt yourself ceaselessly, in success as in failure. Because taken in this way, the profession of writer is no longer a profession, it is an adventure, and first of all a spiritual adventure. “
“What I have to tell now, no voice, no ink has done it yet, never imagined mentally”, vivifies the poet (By XIX, 7-9). Language and poetry are his tools, so he begs God’s help to make “May my tongue be eloquent enough so that a spark of your glory to future peoples can scarcely leave; because by looking back at my memory, by making my verses resonate a little, we will conceive of your victory all the more » (By XXXIII, 70-75).
“In his impatience to hear this ultimate sentence, he projects his earthly environment onto the furrows of infinity, and creates the Dantesque world sub specie aeternitatis – with the firm conviction of being only an agent, an announcer, a vessel of God “, writes the philologist Erich Auerbach.
The poet shows insolent assurance. He is sure of his literary design and destiny. “The security, the tranquility, the pride of Dante author as a guide for his reader – in contrast with the status of astonished, hesitant, emotional disciple, which he gives himself as a character in his work – is made up of several layers, Jacqueline Risset notes. One, the most surprising for us, is the properly prophetic certainty which animates it; another is linked to the intensity of the poetic state which never abandons it and which could be described as a sort of continuous trance in the language. “