Theses Doctoral

Si' come dice lo Filosofo: Translating Philosophy in the Early Italian Lyric

Kumar, Akash

This study pushes back to the origins of the Italian lyric tradition in order to demonstrate that the impulse to distill the highest levels of intellectual culture into the vernacular love lyric was present from the very inception of the poetic vernacular. I aim to nuance our understanding of the divide between the early schools of poetry as determined by Dante in his role as a literary historian by analyzing early experiments in vulgarizing philosophy and science in the lyric production of Giacomo da Lentini, Guido delle Colonne, Guittone d'Arezzo, and Guido Guinizzelli. By isolating both formal elements of Scholastic argumentation and complex renderings of philosophical/scientific ideas, I develop a broad understanding of the early vernacular poetic engagement with Aristotelian philosophy that encompasses such areas as sensory perception, meteorology, and ethics. I trace the progression of this engagement from its Sicilian beginnings to the poetry of Guido Guinizzelli that is informed by the university culture of Bologna and posit that this early lyric form of vernacular humanism has profound implications for Dante's poetic identity as well as the development of a vernacular intellectual identity that feeds in to such developments as Humanism and the Scientific Revolution.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Barolini, Teodolinda
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 20, 2013