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Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture$
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Teodolinda Barolini

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227037

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823227037.001.0001

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Introduction Reading Against the Grain: Musings of an Italianist, from the Astral to the Artisanal

Introduction Reading Against the Grain: Musings of an Italianist, from the Astral to the Artisanal

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Reading Against the Grain: Musings of an Italianist, from the Astral to the Artisanal
Source:
Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture
Author(s):

Teodolinda Barolini

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823227037.003.0001

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

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