“Soul—the term occurs often, meant in a rigorously philosophical sense as a ‘vital principle’ or ‘bodily entelechy.’ Just like all the medieval masters, Dante sees in man a being made up of both body and soul. As regards the relationship between the two components, Dante sticks to the Aristotolean solutions, adopted unanimously by the theologians of the day. Hence, the soul may be conceived and represented as separate from the body, in its definitive condition of a dweller in the kingdoms of the afterlife. In this sense, the term is used countless times to refer to the shadows of the dead in their concrete individuality: ‘O spirit courteous of Mantua’ (Inferno, Canto II, 58); ‘But all those souls who weary were and naked,/Their colour changed’ (Inferno, Canto III, 100).”
Retrieved from The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists by Simon Njami.
For more on the French-Algerian artist Kader Attia, see Wikipedia.