This essay examines both the figure and figurality of Clare of Assisi in Dante’s Paradiso, and documents the structuring function of the interpretatio nominis in the canticle and in Clare’s hagiographic tradition. In particular, it highlights the centrality of Clare’s canonization bull Clara claris praeclara meritis and the testimony of Mariano of Florence, a protagonist in the history of Minorite spirituality. In this paper, the elements that differentiate Clare’s hagiography from Francis’s that are relevant in Dante, the lexicographic scrutiny, the formal facts, and the study of the scriptural sources, all contribute to identify the model of perfection represented by Clare, she who is an exemplum most high, both in the first heaven and più sù.
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