. Dante and the Invention of the Novel Reader

Benjamin Bennett

in The Dark Side of Literacy

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780823229161
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241002 | DOI:
. Dante and the Invention of the Novel Reader

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This chapter further attempts to evolutionarily define and identify the reader from his or her young roots in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries onward to the modern reader as he or she fully emerged by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Herein, the author discusses and critiques the breakthrough contributions of poet and language theorist Dante Alighieri, his Divine Comedy (Commedia), a classic world literature masterpiece, and his intelligent use of the “allegory of theologians” and hermeneutics to the early characterization of the novel reader. The text posits that readers ought to learn how to manipulate their reading experience such that they are able to both estrange the author's subjective condition and acknowledge that their own imagination and perspectives mold how they interpret the text's meaning along the reading process as appropriate.

Keywords: allegory; Commedia; Dante; novel reader

Chapter.  24530 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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