By Albert Russell Ascoli
Top student Albert Russell Ascoli strains the metamorphosis of Dante Alighieri - minor Florentine aristocrat, political activist and exile, novice thinker and theologian, and bold experimental poet - into Dante, writer of the Divine Comedy and maybe the main self-consciously 'authoritative' cultural determine within the Western canon. The textual content bargains a entire creation to Dante's evolving, transformative dating to medieval principles of authorship and authority from the early Vita Nuova in the course of the unfinished treatises, The ceremonial dinner and On Vernacular Eloquence, to the works of his adulthood, Monarchy and the Divine Comedy. Ascoli finds how Dante anticipates sleek notions of customized, artistic authorship and the phenomenon of 'Renaissance self-fashioning'. strangely, the booklet examines Dante's occupation as an entire supplying an incredible aspect of entry not just to the Dantean oeuvre, but additionally to the background and thought of authorship within the higher Italian and ecu culture.
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Additional resources for Dante and the Making of a Modern Author
Dante, however, helps put Western culture on the road toward such a concept. See sections iii and iv. Just as the medieval definition of rhetorical inventio is that of finding preexisting topoi and arguments, while modern “invention” refers to the discovery of something essentially new, so author from augere develops preexistent materials as against the modern, creative author. For a reflection on this idea in relation to the history of literary authorship in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, see Said 1975: especially 83–90.
Nonetheless, I do not share the Foucauldian perspective fully. As just noted, his account of the medieval auctor is both incomplete and in part erroneous, in ways that might become a vehicle for challenging both his assumed historical perspective, and even the theory which he makes rest upon it. More to the immediate point, whatever its implications for a larger historiography of the auctor, the present book remains squarely focused on the Dantean oeuvre, and thus in some sense well within the paradigm that Foucault wishes to dispel.
In what follows, I will address each in turn, beginning with Arendt. Her concern is not with literary authorship at all, but with social and political “authority,” which she sharply distinguishes from “power,” on the grounds that the former is grounded in an originating legitimacy that the latter lacks, and is averse to the use of violence as a tool of coercion, which the other is not. Her account is historical, in that it posits the decline, even the virtual disappearance, of authority in a traditional sense during the modern era, which she roughly dates from the Reformation.