Dante’s relationship to ‘plurilingualism’, 1 as with most other aspects of his intellectual career, is normally presented as having two distinct stages: ‘È possibile distinguere due fasi nello sviluppo del pensiero dantesco rispetto al complesso universo del plurilinguismo medievale. La prima include tutti gli scritti di Dante sino alla Commedia; la seconda è rappresentata da quest’ultimo capolavoro’. 2 The words, I am afraid, are my own; and I cite myself not on account of some imprudent vanity, but because the claim they make, though possibly not absolutely without merit when first put forward nearly twenty-five years ago, is now in serious need of refinement and rectification. This study, therefore, is not simply a contribution to our understanding of Dante’s thinking about language and style and of his experimental tendencies and strategies, but also a necessary and timely self-correction. To retract and modify our views is to follow in the wake of Dante, who, throughout his adult life, saw fit, as circumstances demanded, to correct himself, acknowledging the limits of previous positions. It is enough to think, appropriately in the present context, of his shifting notion of the causes of language change and variety. Although some scholars have overstated the extent to which Dante is a palinodic intellectual, largely as a result of relying too mechanically on that bipartite idea of the poet’s career to which I have already made reference, there is equally little doubt that, influenced both by changing historical and cultural conditions and by considerations of genre, Dante had no compunction about changing his mind, and, at times, quite dramatically. 3 It is not surprising, therefore, that a dialectical sense of the poet’s development, with the Commedia treated as an unicum especially as regards its formal qualities, and hence somehow ‘other’ in respect of the so-called ‘minor’ works, should have come to dominate Dante scholarship. By and large, this is not an unreasonable position; however, in recent times, I have become increasingly convinced of the need to attenuate somewhat the sense of divergence and to consider instead the progress of the poet’s remarkable career in terms that also recognize potential continuities between different texts, and especially between the Commedia and Dante’s earlier works. To do otherwise, I believe, is to fail to do justice to the Commedia’s complex genesis; and plurilingualism 99is, of course, a key component both of the poem’s make-up and of its coming into being.