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Dante and Augustine

Dante and Augustine: Linguistics, Poetics, Hermeneutics

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 304
  • Book Info
    Dante and Augustine
    Book Description:

    Examining Dante's life-long dialogue with Augustine from a new point of view, Marchesi goes beyond traditional inquiries to engage more technical questions relating to Dante's evolving ideas on how language, poetry, and interpretation should work.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9029-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Linguistics

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    My work locates itself at the crossroads of two distinct but not unrelated approaches to Dante: on the one side, the investigations into the internal articulation and theoretical foundations of Danteʹs metapoetic thinking and, on the other, the studies of Augustineʹs influence on Danteʹs praxis as a poet. One of the aims of this book is to bring these two strains together. To that effect, I focus on Danteʹs dialogue with Augustine-the-theorist of language, literature, and interpretation in addition to the confessional Augustine, who has been traditionally taken as Danteʹs main reference point in a series of seminal studies in...

  6. 1 Linguistics
    (pp. 19-64)

    In this passage on the mechanics of language learning, Wittgenstein isolates the basic elements of a philosophy of language that he places, in his thinly veiled polemic, under the sign of Augustine. In his reading, the core of this outlook on language is that ʹEvery word has a meaning. The meaning is correlated with the word. It is the object for which the word stands.ʹ This three-member definition of language forms the core of a logical neo-positivist approach to language, which becomes the object of much of Wittgensteinʹs three-pronged philosophical critique: things, meanings, and words (nature, intellect, and language) are...

  7. 2 Poetics
    (pp. 65-106)

    The focus of this chapter is Dante as a theoretician of poetry in the years before theCommedia. It follows the traces that Dante left of his reflections on poetics, that is, the ideas about how poetry should be written that he entertained at various stages of his career and was confident enough to entrust to writing. In the pre-Commediaworks, his theory is laid out in parcels: a bit is entrusted toVita nuova25, some more is offered in the proemial treatise ofConvivio; other elements may be found inDe vulgari eloquentia. In what follows, I review...

  8. 3 Hermeneutics
    (pp. 107-153)

    In Ricoeurʹs analysis of the twofold nature of sense, its production and retrieval appear so involved with one another that he needs to treat them in one breath. In the passage quoted above, which is drawn from an extended meditation on semantics, the two notions of sense he isolates correspond to two differently inflected approaches to the hermeneutic of a text. On the one hand, when more attention is paid to the internal mechanisms by which sense is produced in a text, what is engendered is its explication. In this state of affairs, sense is the meaning that can be...

  9. 4 Augustine in Dante: Three Readings
    (pp. 154-196)

    This final section is devoted to a selection of three readings from theCommedia, one from each of itscantiche: Cato (fromInferno), Dido (fromPurgatorio), and Aeneas (fromParadiso). These passages have two main features in common: they represent cases of heightened Augustinian intertextuality and they offer metapoetic resonances. In them, Danteʹs dialogue with Augustine on individual points of historiography, literary criticism, and theology opens up and involves his theory of poetic making. They are also cases in which the poetics of the poem are tested in action. Having been shaped by the interplay of several earlier texts and...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 197-228)
  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 229-246)
  12. Index
    (pp. 247-251)