Symphony of the Ineffable

Alessandro Vettori

in Poets of Divine Love

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780823223251
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240913 | DOI:

Series: Fordham Series in Medieval Studies

Symphony of the Ineffable

Show Summary Details


The poet's closeness to God leads to reflections on the inadequacy of language to convey the effects love has produced on his soul. But the poems at the end of the Laude also consider the crucial choice of the via negative as a path leading to mystical vision. The linguistic medium cannot give a full, satisfactory report of an encounter with the “Unutterable,” but can, although obscurely, indicate its characteristics and its effects. Grounding his belief in his personal experience of mystical union, Jacopone embraces apophatic theology, which teaches that divinity outside the realm of any human discourse. Language poses itself as a garment, the indispensable garment covering reality and at the same time determining it. Its opposite is silence, which is directly related to nudity in the mythic account of Earthly Paradise. Language and garments distinguish them from other creatures and identify them as humans.

Keywords: poems; mystical union; language; garments; Jacopone; apophatic theology; via negative

Chapter.  7917 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Fordham University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.