La città come rappresentazione dell'inferno nell'Irlanda medievale del XIV secolo
The Harley MS 913, only relic of the variety of the Anglo-Irish dialects of the Middle Ages, conserves a satirical poem that targets the religious orders and the professional categories living in a fictional town (possibly an Irish one), with the only exception of the upper classes and the peasants. The poem does not even spare the saints, since the first five stanzas are dedicated to a number of holy figures put in what seems a devotional hierarchy. Each stanza starts with “Hail”, echoing both the salute given to the Virgin and the kind of toast used in a tavern. All the attributes used to identify the saints have a strong sexual innuendo, while Mary Magdalene is identified as the mother of Jesus’ illegitimate child, as written in the biblical apocrypha. To the author of the essay, however, the most interesting aspect is not the particular city the poet is describing, but how the writer conceives it as the receptacle of what he believes to be the worst of vices: money accumulation. The poet shows his disgust with the deplorable environmental condition of his city, and walking around it, he complains that what he sees is urbanisation, not hell. This is the poet’s condemnation of the city’s change into a mercantile and bourgeois society.
Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Lucia Sinisi "La città come rappresentazione dell'inferno nell'Irlanda medievale del XIV secolo", in: Prospero, X (2003), pp. 233-246