The Meaning of Vita Nuova

Livingston, A. A.

In a brief note under the heading The Meaning of Vita Nuova (Mod. Lang. Notes, 1909, pp. 227-8), Professor F. J. A. Davidson returns to the subjective methods of the elder Rossetti, which, while of little scientific value, are not without stimulating interest. He suggests that nova may mean “strange,” “mystic.” Mystic as a synonym for strange is unfortunate: for the critics who adopt the regenerative idea of “new” normally incline to "mystic” as the descriptive adjective for the new life led. The exactest interpreter of this point of view is Giuliani (for whom vita nova is vita d’amore, purely and simply), just as D. G. Rossetti is the vaguest and most “mystic.” It requires some aplomb to consider the theory of youthful “effectually disposed of” by Witte in 1852, after that idea has been defended at such length by Prudenziano (1856), by Cossio (1907), and by such a distinguished critic as Casini in repeated editions.

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Romanic Review

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Academic Units
French and Romance Philology
Columbia University Press
Published Here
June 24, 2015


Source: / Bibliothèque nationale de France