Chapter

<i>Introduction</i> Reading Against the Grain: Musings of an Italianist, from the Astral to the Artisanal

Teodolinda Barolini

in Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823227037
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241019 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823227037.003.0001
Introduction Reading Against the Grain: Musings of an Italianist, from the Astral to the Artisanal

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The Commedia's authority is centered on its truth claims, again a culturally fractious issue that raises the question of the reader's religious beliefs. There are complex cultural factors indisposing Italian scholars from objectivity regarding the Commedia's truth claims: either, as believers, they are incapable of taking Dante's prophetic pretensions at face value, since such claims can only be properly made by real prophets; or, as lapsed believers, and frequently converts to a militant secularism, they do not want to. At the same time, a very Italian cultural willingness to accommodate the idea of fiction was perhaps also a factor in the persistent view of Dante as poet rather that truth-teller.

Keywords: Commedia; Dante; prophets; secularism; believers; poet; fiction

Chapter.  8434 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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