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The Dark Side of LiteracyLiterature and Learning Not to Read$
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Benjamin Bennett

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823229161

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823229161.001.0001

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. Dante and the Invention of the Novel Reader

. Dante and the Invention of the Novel Reader

(p.85) 3. Dante and the Invention of the Novel Reader
The Dark Side of Literacy

Benjamin Bennett

Fordham University Press

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

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