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Title: Unfading wonder : 'Meraviglia' as a path to poetic knowledge in Dante's Commedia and Ariosto's Orlando Furioso
Author: Magnabosco, F. M. M.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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My thesis considers wonder (meraviglia) as a path towards poetic knowledge as it appears in Dante’s Commedia and Ariosto’s Orlando furioso. In my textual analyses, I pursue manifestations of wonder as indicative of a specific moment of intellectual and philosophical inquiry that fills the gap between the dimension of the subject and that of the object, namely man and his world. Before embarking on close readings, in chapter one I disentangle the different components of wonder, tracing wonder’s earliest formulations back to Plato and Aristotle, and I re-define the fields of meraviglia’s neighbouring terms (stupore and ammirazione). My research aims to reassess the areas of wonder and of the marvellous, which literary critics have for too long confused, as active parts of the speculative discourses underlying both the Commedia and the Orlando furioso. As a result, in chapters two and three, I offer a picture of wonder which, in the Commedia, leads to experience of the divine dimension, bridging the human and the divine, but, in the Furioso, opens up a new interpretation of the earthly dimension, bridging the distances between men on earth and revealing the gnoseological bearing of its contradictions. This analysis demonstrates how differently the two authors relate to tradition: while Dante offers the first formulation of a redemptive Christian marvellous, linking pagan marvels to divine truth, Ariosto’s marvellous is to be seen as a climax to the liberation of wonder from medieval theological tenets, a process that gives birth to modern wonder. Through a diachronic and comparative investigation, I illuminate nuances of wonder that one could not discern by focussing on just one author or just one cultural period. The comparison between the two texts in light of wonder allows us to discover new paths within the poems, which show the connections between their marvellous features and their speculative drives.
Supervisor: Gardini, Nicola Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Languages (Medieval and Modern) and non-English literature ; Languages (Medieval and Modern) and non-English literature ; Languages (Medieval and Modern) and non-English literature ; Italian ; Italian ; wonder ; meraviglia ; marvellous ; aesthetics ; poetry