Joyce, Dante, and the Poetics of Literary Relations: by Dr Lucia Boldrini

By Dr Lucia Boldrini

Boldrini's research examines how the literary and linguistic theories of Dante's Divine Comedy assisted in shaping the novel narrative concepts of Joyce's final novel Finnegans Wake. via precise parallel readings, she explores various connections: matters reminiscent of the query of Babel, literary construction as excrement, the complicated family members between literary, geometrical and feminine types. This e-book will entice students and scholars drawn to Joyce, Dante, and questions of literary kinfolk.

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Joyce, Dante, and the Poetics of Literary Relations: Language and Meaning in Finnegans Wake

Boldrini's examine examines how the literary and linguistic theories of Dante's Divine Comedy contributed to shaping the unconventional narrative strategies of Joyce's final novel Finnegans Wake. via specified parallel readings, she explores quite a number connections: matters akin to the query of Babel, literary construction as excrement, the complicated relatives between literary, geometrical and feminine kinds.

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The parties for and against count many illustrious scholars among their number, and I have no wish to take sides in this context. What matters for our purposes is that the theory of the fourfold meaning, ®rst proposed in Dante's Convivio, was later applied to the Commedia in a letter of dedication of the Paradiso to Dante's patron Can Grande, and that although the ®rst recorded attribution of the Epistle to Dante, by 32 Joyce, Dante, and the poetics of literary relations Filippo Villani, was not made until the end of the fourteenth century,7 the epistle was accepted as authoritative on the subject (although not necessarily, or explicitly, as Dante's own) by Dante's early commentators, including Guido da Pisa, Dante's son Pietro, Iacopo della Lana, and Giovanni Boccaccio.

Prudently, Dante does not go as far as explicitly equating his poems with the Biblical text, and draws a signi®cant distinction between theologians and poets by emphasising that the literal sense is true only for the former, whereas for the latter it is a `beautiful ®ction', a charming lie or mask which envelops the truth of the allegorical meaning. Dante declares that his intention is to follow the `modo de li poeti', and therefore he does not claim truth for the letter of his poems ± indeed, he cannot do so, because the treatise is meant to provide an apology for himself and for his behaviour after the death of Beatrice, when he had written poems for another `Donna Gentile' (`Gentle Woman').

In God's Writ both the letter and the other senses are true, because he is the only one who can signify through both words and things and is the author of two `books': the Bible, written in words, and the world, `written' in things. 4 Dante's assertion that he wants to follow the `modo de li poeti' would thus seem to disclaim any attempt to identify his poems with Scriptural writing; indeed he mentions the distinction between poet and theologian only when he writes about allegory and points out that, while the literal level is either true or untrue, the allegorical is always true.

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