"opened the spiritual-heroic refrigerating apparatus, invented and patented in all countries by Dante Alighieri"
Dante Alighieri is the well-known Italian Renaissance writer, the author of the Divine Comedy. His mention only here, towards the end of the book, should not prevent us from realising that he is an important influence on A Portrait... and on Joyce. Dante served Joyce as a model of the artist who, wishing to speak openly about his own time, must be always at war with its society. Those who seek their lives may lose them, and the artist seeking to preserve his identity risks its loss. Joyce's image of Dante hints at the dangers as well as the virtues of exile, especially a self-imposed one.