The Cabala of Pegasus

The Cabala of Pegasus

Giordano Bruno
Sidney L. Sondergard
Madison U. Sowell
Copyright Date: 2002
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    The Cabala of Pegasus
    Book Description:

    Giordano Bruno's Cabala del cavallo pegaseo (The Cabala of Pegasus) grew out of the great Italian philosopher's experiences lecturing and debating at Oxford in early 1584. Having received a cold reception there because of his viewpoints, Bruno went on in the Cabala to attack the narrow-mindedness of the university--and by extension, all universities that resisted his advocacy of intellectual freethinking.The Cabala of Pegasusconsists of vernacular dialogues that turn on the identification of the noble Pegasus (the spirit of poetry) and the humble ass (the vehicle of divine revelation). In the interplay of these ideas, Bruno explores the nature of poetry, divine authority, secular learning, and Pythagorean metempsychosis, which had great influence on James Joyce and many other writers and artists from the Renaissance to the modern period.This book, the first English translation ofThe Cabala of Pegasus,contains both the English and Italian versions as well as helpful annotations. It will have particular appeal to all Renaissance scholars and those interested in the Renaissance cabalistic underpinnings of modern literature.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12791-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Bruno’s Design for the Cabala
    (pp. xi-xxxvii)

    To study Giordano Bruno is to consider a life of discord and paradox, dedicated to the forging of an ecumenical philosophy in which divergent perspectives and apparently self-negating claims might be reconciled into a transcendent vision of human aspiration. Before introducing his portraits of Oxford dons as impotent sophists inLa cena de le Ceneri[The Ash Wednesday Supper, or The Dinner of Ashes] (1584), Bruno designates himself a member of a select group of philosophers “ne la medicina esperti, ne la contemplazione giudiziosi, ne la divinazione singolari, ne la magia miracolosi, ne le superstizioni providi, ne le leggi osservanti,...

  5. Bruno’s Cabala and Italian Dialogue Form
    (pp. xxxviii-l)

    Writing in Italy in 1585, the same year in which theCabala del cavallo pegaseoappeared in London, Torquato Tasso philosophized on the art of the dialogue in a short but elegant treatise,Discorso dell’arte del dialogo. In this discourse the Ferrarese court poet and dialogist highlighted what he regarded to be the essential role of imitation and verisimilitude in composing dialogues, and he specifically sanctioned the Platonic tradition:

    We have said that dialogues are imitations of discussions and that dialectical dialogues imitate disputations. It follows that those who are involved in discussing and disputing will reveal both their opinions...

  6. The Cabala of Pegasus
    (pp. 1-90)

    Most Reverend Father in Christ,

    Just as befalls a potter who has arrived at the end of his workday (the end being imposed not so much by the fading daylight as by the scarcity and depletion of his remaining supplies), who—holding in hand a piece of glass, or wood, or wax, or other material insu¡ffcient for making a vase—hesitates for a while, uncertain and unable to conclude, wondering what he can do with it, not wishing to throw it away unprofitably, and desiring in spite of everything that it serve some purpose, so that finally he finds it...

  7. Cabala del cavallo pegaseo
    (pp. 91-152)

    Reverendissime inChristo Pater,

    Non altrimente che accader suole a un figolo, il qual gionto al termine del suo lavoro (che non tanto per trasmigrazion de la luce, quanto per difetto e mancamento della materia spacciata è gionto al fine) e tenendo in mano un poco di vetro, o di legno, o di cera, o altro che non è su¡ffciente per farne un vase, rimane un pezzo senza sapersi né potersi risolvere, pensoso di quel che n’abbia fare, non avendolo a gittar via disutilmente, e volendo al dispetto del mondo che serva a qualche cosa; ecco che a l’ultimo il mostra...

  8. APPENDIX A. The Semiotics of Bruno’s Italian: A Linguistic Note
    (pp. 153-158)
  9. APPENDIX B. Antipedantry in Bruno’s London Dialogues The Playwright as Dialogist, and the Drama of Dialectic
    (pp. 159-184)
  10. References
    (pp. 185-200)
  11. Index
    (pp. 201-203)