Dante in Mogadishu: The Divine Comedy in Nuruddin Farah’s Links

Keywords: Farah, Dante, Mogadishu, intertextuality, re-contextualization, paratext, epigraph


This article aims to explore the complex network of intra-textual and intertextual references to Dante’s The Divine Comedy in Nuruddin Farah’s novel Links (2005). By analyzing the quotations from the poem, this essay wishes to show how the Comedy informs the novel at various levels, from the paratext (since Dante’s tercets from Inferno are chosen as an epigraph) to the text itself (since Inferno appears to be deeply constitutive of Links). The analysis then suggests that, on the one hand, Farah employs Dante’s poem to address, represent and understand the civil-war context of Somalia from the protagonist’s point of view. On the other, he subverts and re-contextualizes Inferno to create new meanings and to distance his novel from Dante’s literary antecedent. Therefore, by analyzing the practices of intertextuality between the two texts, this essay aims to investigate both the converging and conflicting strategies enabled in the novel.

Author Biography

Marco Medungo, Newcastle University, United Kingdom

Marco Medugno is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.                                                                                                                       


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How to Cite
Medungo, M. (2020). Dante in Mogadishu: The Divine Comedy in Nuruddin Farah’s Links. Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde, 57(1), 45-55. https://doi.org/10.17159/2309-9070/tvl.v.57i1.8060
Research articles