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Dante's Tenzone with Forese Donati

Dante's Tenzone with Forese Donati: The Reprehension of Vice

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    Dante's Tenzone with Forese Donati
    Book Description:

    Dante?sTenzonewith Forese Donatiexamines the lasting impact of these sonnets on Dante?s writings and Italian literary culture, notably in the work of Giovanni Boccaccio.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6361-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction: Dante’s Harsh New Style
    (pp. 3-16)

    All great authors are multifaceted. There are many ways to view their lives, careers, and masterpieces. Each important literary work casts the writer in a different light, revealing a new aspect of the author’s style, thought, or temperament. Often biographical data produce a similar effect; they can present the author as a malleable human being who reacted to unexpected historical or personal developments. Sometimes the individual’s different faces diverge only slightly from one another, while at other times they contrast sharply. All of this is true of the great medieval poet Dante Alighieri. Some perspectives on Dante are familiar to...

  5. 1 La debita correzione: The Poetics of Insult in the Duecento
    (pp. 17-32)

    No artist works in a vacuum. Authors learn from their predecessors, and the literary tradition affects the interpretation of their works. This is particularly true of Dante Alighieri. Throughout his career, Dante consistently assimilated his influences, reworking them so that they became his own. This tendency can be seen in most of Dante’s works, including his three sonnets addressed to Forese Donati. For any analysis of theirtenzoneto be thorough, its literary context must be examined. The present chapter will highlight the ways in which Dante and Forese received the poetic tradition of slander. In many respects, this chapter...

  6. 2 Ad personam, ad stipitem: Readings of the Sonnets
    (pp. 33-59)

    Dante’stenzonewith Forese is in part a document of the thirteenth-century debate about nobility. Their insults are of a dual nature; they strike at each other as representatives of their respective families and class, and also as individuals. Therefore, their insults only make sense in reference to the persons in question. Additionally, Forese Donati and – especially – Dante Alighieri are extremely able poets. They use carefully constructed turns of phrase,double entendres, and slippery allusions. They make reference to each other’s biographies and family histories, and they evoke Florentine derogatory verse such as Rustico Filippi’s. They also follow vituperative aesthetics...

  7. 3 Hellish Echoes: Reminiscences of the Correspondence in Inferno XXIX and XXX
    (pp. 60-81)

    For most of his life, Dante’s attitude towards thetenzonewith Forese Donati was one of silence. Other authors like Dante da Maiano and Cecco Angiolieri addressed similarly insulting sonnets to him. Dante’s responses to them are lacking, however. He makes no mention of thetenzonein theVita NuovaandConvivio. The poetic exchange has no place in his treatiseDe monarchia, nor in any of his political epistles; it does not figure in his scientific writingQuestio de aqua et terra. One of therime petrosecontains language similar to Dante’s first sonnet of thetenzonewith Forese.¹ In...

  8. 4 The Terrace of the Tenzone: Purgatorio XXIII and XXIV
    (pp. 82-99)

    InfernoXXIX and XXX have echoes of thetenzonewith Forese Donati;PurgatorioXXIII and XXIV depend upon the exchange. The pilgrim meets the spirit of Forese Donati on the terrace of gluttony, inviting the reader to see the connections to their correspondence. Several scholars have already examined the encounter with Forese in the afterworld for reminiscences of theirtenzone. Attilio Momigliano claims that the cantos are incomprehensible without making reference to it. Piero Cudini notes Dante’s appropriation inPurgatorioof four rhymes which also had been utilized in the sonnets (‘-ese,’ ‘-oglia,’ ‘-etta,’ ‘-ui’). Vittorio Russo, moreover, discusses the...

  9. 5 Citations and Interpretations: The Literary Memory of the Sonnets in Boccaccio and Others
    (pp. 100-121)

    Dante has always been influential, and even his interaction with Forese Donati had an impact on other writers. To be sure, the sonnets of thetenzonewith Forese do not number among Dante’s most famous lyric poems. As a point in contrast, Dante’s stilnovistic verse was read across a broad geographical area in the early fourteenth century, when Tuscan literature influenced the culture of Northeast Italy.¹ Authors such as Giovanni Quirini of Venice and Nicolò de’ Rossi of Treviso borrowed topoi and language from Dante’s spiritualized love poetry.² The imitators of thetenzonebetween Dante and Forese are, conversely, few in number,...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 122-123)

    Thetenzonebetween Dante and Forese can be understood from many perspectives. The six sonnets can be situated in the history and culture of theDuecento, and they play a role in Dante’s biography and literature. Additionally, the poems influenced writers of theTrecento, in particular Giovanni Boccaccio. Yet the impact of Dante’stenzonewith Forese did not remain confined to the fourteenth century. The poems continued to be transcribed and redacted throughout theQuattrocento, indicating their continued relevance to Renaissance readership. Furthermore, Boccaccio’sDecameroninfluenced Niccolò Machiavelli’sMandragola, which contains echoes of one of Dante’s insulting sonnets. Although thetenzonewith...

  11. Appendix: Manuscripts and Stemmas
    (pp. 124-144)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 145-184)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 185-206)
  14. Index
    (pp. 207-214)