heliotropia heliotropia/08-09/olson.pdf può apparire a chi le presenti novellette riguarda, le quali non solamente.
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Heliotropia 8 – 9 ( 2011 – 12 ) http://www.heliotropia.org http://www.heliotropia.org/0 8 – 09 / olson . pdf 51 The Language of Women as Written by Men: Boccaccio, Dante and Gendered Histories of the Vernacula r * n creasingly , critical practice has turned its focus to the reading of gen – der within the works of Giovanni Boccaccio not just as the study of the representation of women within the novelle of the Decameron , but understood broadly as the convergence of language and gender in Boccac – oeuvre . 1 Recent scholarship in this vein comes to terms with the au – studies of female discourse within his narratives to his challenging objec – tifications of women which resist totalizing claims. Some scholars argue that we can not ask whether or not Boccaccio was a misogynist or a femi – nist, claiming that his hermeneutics challenge these categorizations (most recently, Marilyn Migiel). Others, such as Millicent Marcus, have asserted novelle , such as Decameron VIII.7, novella itself critiques misogyny. Still others view the foregrounding of women producers of discourse within society as the origins of a feminist literary tradition (Teodolinda Barolini). To judge from the dedication to lovelorn women in the Decameron anti – feminist diatribes of the Corbaccio , shifts problematically from one of * I would like to thank Teodolinda Barolini, Lisa Rabin and Lauren – Claire Kelley, as well as the two anonymous readers of this essay, for their extensive feedback on earlier ver – sions. This essay also benefited from the feedback of Pier Massimo Forni and hi s grad – uate class on the Decameron at The Johns Hopkins University in March 2010, and Ka – Decameron at Queens College – CUNY in April 2010. 1 See Marilyn Migiel ( Rhetoric ) and the contributions contained in the volume Boccaccio and Feminist Criticism , edited by Thomas Stillinger and F. Regina Psaki, including Decameron Also see Teodolinda Barolini ( . For diverse considerations of t he De mulieribus claris in this spirit, consult: of Margaret Franklin; Dux femina facti: 73; and I
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Heliotropia 8 – 9 ( 2011 – 12 ) http://www.heliotropia.org http://www.heliotropia.org/0 8 – 09 / olson . pdf 52 philogyny to one of misogyny. This dualistic interpretation hinders a reading of his corpus let alone of singular works in one direction or the other. Gender studies in Boccaccio have yet to examine the ways in – à – vis Dante ( Esposizioni Accessus , 19) impact upon our reading of the Decameron ( Decameron Proem , 9). In this article, I explore the subject of gender in Boccaccio through an analysis of his gendered history of the vernacular as the language of history of the vernacular one can achieve a different reading of the canoni – cal negotiations of the Proem, the Introduction to Day Four, and the Con – clusion of the Author in the Decameron . Ultimately, I argue that Boccaccio can be related to misogynist and non – misogynist ideologies by means of his own rhetoric of philogyny when seen as the result of linguistic debates within textual communities tha t can be discerned inside and outside of the Decameron . corpus in which his Author (or, in the case of the Decameron 2 ) adopts a fe – male persona or addresses a female audience. The narrator of the Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta – Heroides ); the Teseida is dedicated to a fictional woman, Fiammetta; the Author of the Decameron addresses a female audience, and its storytelling brigata is populated with more women than men. 3 Additionally, the Decameron highlights the role of women as producers and interpreters of discourse, from the seven female members of the br igata to numerous female characters who advocate for themselves and others with their words, such as Ghismonda and Madonna Filippa. Yet while female characters have been the subject of analysis, it is the Author of the Decameron he who identifies with th and with the poets of the stilnovo , while also jockeying for a position 2 As Regina Psaki writes , this primary narrator in the Decameron is audience. 3 The willingness for Boccaccio to figure women as writers, speakers and readers c on – trasts with the strategy of misogyny that Gretchen Angelo finds in medieval French Le Roman de la Rose spheres of endeavor are clearly separate, and the written word falls within the province of men. The use of this type of misogyny implicitly defines every male reader as a Angelo 85).
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Heliotropia 8 – 9 ( 2011 – 12 ) http://www.heliotropia.org http://www.heliotropia.org/0 8 – 09 / olson . pdf 53 within their ranks who has escaped similar scrutiny regarding his rela – works, I would argue, can b e read as both sociological (for example, in the study of female characters) and sociolinguistic (as in the ways in which language is gendered as a whole and in its grammatical parts). – fashioning in the Decameron re quires that we shift our focus to a voice whose brief autobiography ac – service of ladies. 4 His service to women in offering the text of the Decameron is scripted in a false stance of humility in relation to the ranks of other stilnovist poets who write about love Da nte Alighieri, Guido Cavalcanti and Cino da Pistoia. At the same time, Boccaccio addresses his potential detractors, those humanists who favored only Latin production and translation and who had yet to accept the idea of vernacular produc – tion in lyric poetry, let alone in prose. 5 The combination of a female audi – ence with interlocutors both instrumental (as in the case of the three lyric poets) and disinterested (as in the case of humanist detractors) in the es – tablishment of a vernacular canon gestures to the complexity of literary production in the vernacular during a time of shifting ideologies, when Petrarch and other humanists at the vanguard of Latinate literary produ c – tion ran counter to the linguistic project initiated by Dante in the Comme – dia . 6 This complexity, I believe, is reflected in the words of the Author whom I read in part as a fictional elaboration of Boccaccio as a historical author. As the Author change s from one who once suffered like women, so does lo – cutio De vulgari eloquentia I.vi.2) to a new literary vernacular in prose, one that is and is not Esp o – sizioni Accessus , 19). He speaks not in an original maternal vernac ular, and not in the language of women (as Boccaccio claims in the Espo sizioni ) yet he co 4 – esp . 1 8. 5 See Mazzocco (102) f or an assessment of the questione della lingua vernacular production in poetry versus in prose (102). 6 – fashioning in the case of Thomas More and Christopher Marlowe with that of Christine de Pizan, who consistently negotiates her gendered identity with her authorial one. See Desmond ( 195 96 ) and Greenblatt.
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Heliotropia 8 – 9 ( 2011 – 12 ) http://www.heliotropia.org http://www.heliotropia.org/0 8 – 09 / olson . pdf 54 7 gendered identity a once lovelorn man writing for an audience of love – lorn women alongside the establishment of the vernacular as a literary language despite and because of its history as the language of women. It must see philogyny as a strategy to revise and benefit from the misogynist commonplaces of current linguistic and artistic ideologies. Furthermore, it must see philogyny as part of a rhetorical strategy to build vernacular au – thority within shifting textual communities, those that comprise – Esposizioni XV . 96), and those that comprise liter – ature in the vernacular (i.e ., the merchant class). 8 In this essay, I propose that we view the dedication of the Decameron new project of composing the vernacular Decameron . In particular, by sit – uating the self – reception of Dante, who first articulated the gendered linguistic difference of a maternal vernacular and a literary one in the De vulgari eloquentia , shall begin by problematizing the decision to write the Decameron in the Trat – tatello in laude di Dante and in the Esposizioni , in addition to the gen – dered definitions of the vernacular in the Epistle to Cangrande d ella Scala, the Convivio and the De vulgari eloquentia . 9 I thus contextualize Boccac – beginnings of Renaissance humanism. This context is then compared to the language of the Decame ron and its dedication to women in love in the Proem, which Boccaccio seems to contradict in a subsequent letter to Mainardo Cavalcanti ( Epistola XXII). Finally, I address the Introduction to Day Four and its negotiation in erotic terms of canonical hierar chy. Ul – – fashioning within the literary circles from which it originated (namely Dante) and for which it was theoretically destined, thereby locating the dependence of 7 See Migiel , 8 See Cazalé Bérard. See also Bruni for a broad i production under the rubric of philogyny. 9 While the authenticity of the Epistle still remains unclear, as Albert Russell Ascoli notes, I agree with his assessment that it remains an important document for Dant e criticism and, most of all, independently as a cultural document. See Ascoli.
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Heliotropia 8 – 9 ( 2011 – 12 ) http://www.heliotropia.org http://www.heliotropia.org/0 8 – 09 / olson . pdf 55 authorial masculinity upon a r hetorical philogyny. 10 Or, to echo Alison Cor might with reason suspect that all this supposed talk to women, even in the context of the dolce stil novo , is really to impress other men, an d th en only an elite among them ( ). In the case of Boccaccio, the dedication of the Decameron to women was truly to the literary elite of posterity. vernacular. From Dante onwards, as well as for other authors in French and Old English later on, such a project entailed distancing the vernacular – ing of the language of erotic material, as manipul ated by male writers. It meant exploiting the spoken vernacular as the language used by women for moments when a fictive audience was required (as in the Decameron Proem), but restoring the written vernacular to the Muses. For Boccaccio, this meant that it was the Muses who, as he explains in the Introduction to Day Four, showed Boccaccio how to write, not the women whom he claims gave him inspiration. His Muses, I argue, are the emblems of classical in – struction in literature; they provided him with the refined language that he could use while also claiming, with false humility, to speak in the language Dante is instrumental in his defense of that literary language. I. – Inferno V , the Decameron and Esposizioni male author reading a text, one who possesses the authority to judge its inherent value? Viewing these canonical negotiations as dependent upon the readership troped as female in the Proem and the Introduction to Day Four but ultimately destined for a male, literary readersh ip, one notices the intersection of misogynist and philogynist discourses with literary auctoritas . And the important predecessor and interlocutor of that dis – course is Dante. 10 Again, to compare with earlier French production, Angelo posits that the misogyny that Le Roman de la Rose serves to establish a masculine textual community and a masculine vernacular (Angelo 85).
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Heliotropia 8 – 9 ( 2011 – 12 ) http://www.heliotropia.org http://www.heliotropia.org/0 8 – 09 / olson . pdf 56 The latter part of the full title of the Decameron – – rial voice vis – à – vis the Decameron evokes a multiplicity of contexts propo sed by Inferno V : Dant – tory, courtly love and the roles of texts and readers. 11 Proem, and at its very end, after the Conclusion of the Author, the Decame ron counsel for women in love or as an admonishment towards women not to – pretation of Paolo and Francesca in his Esposizioni sopra la Comedia di Dante for a possible response to that question. Since Boccaccio himself ex – culpates Francesca from any blame in her alleged adulterous act in his lengthy, novella – like commentary in Esposizioni V , claiming that she had been deceived by her father in marrying the ugly Gianciotto, it could be as – sumed that Boccaccio would ascribe blame as well to agents other than blame with Love in her Inf. V .106). After all, Boccaccio would later write to Mainardo Cavalcanti that the Decameron should not fall into the hands of the women of his household, given the corrupting power of his novelle ( Episto la Paolo and Francesca in the Esposizioni reads as a novella , then his letter to Mainardo, I suggest, betrays his belief that in composing the Decameron Inferno V . Reading the Decameron to sway hearts and silence reason, but most importantly as the text which Dante did not write, casts Boccaccio as a writer armed with the ingegno required to narrate the remnants of the Commedia historian and storyteller, produces a novella – like biography or a collection of novelle . 12 Where Dante states 11 The bibliography to Inferno V tale of Paolo and Francesca in the Esposizioni nd Francesca da Rimini: Realpolitik, Romance and Gender . Filocolo and in the Esposizioni Filocolo and the Esposizioni . for Boccaccio in Menocal 178 202. 12 exempla , o anche in molti fabliaux , la determinazione storica o sociologica dei personaggi manca o è trat –
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Heliotropia 8 – 9 ( 2011 – 12 ) http://www.heliotropia.org http://www.heliotropia.org/0 8 – 09 / olson . pdf 58 Latin and Romance vernaculars in establishing literary primacy was not yet concluded. 17 Even if, as early as the thirteenth century in Italy, th ere ex isted a public of literates who could read and write, and who could read Petrucci affirms 18 ), the vernacular was not yet an illustrious literary lan – guage. It was soon advanced as one, however, by various authors , with th e De vulgari eloquentia. Thus the growth of vernacular literacy in Italian accompanied the forging of a vernacular Italian literary canon. Dante himself acknowledged the audience of th – Convivio , and implicitly in the ver – nacular language of the Commedia. In Literary Language and Its Public in Late Latin Antiquity and in the Middle Ages , Erich Auerbach cites this passage f rom the Convivio 19 : per malvagia disusanza del mondo hanno lasciata la litteratura [in Latin] femmine, che sono molti e molte in questa lingua, volgari, e non letterati. (I.ix . 5 ) Dante chose to write in the vernacular because of the alleged demise of Latin literature, but also, as he affirms in a previous passage in the Con – vivio have served many to the same extent. Indeed, one of the possible projects of the unfinished Convivio (though this is much more the guiding princi – ple of the De vulgari eloquentia ) can be read as a defense of compositions accidentali, 20 humanists endorsing Latin as the language of what Leonardo Bruni would later call the studia hum anitatis . See Robins 112. 17 did they seriously take up the struggle with Latin; and not until the sixteenth century, with its vernacular humanism and the related classi cism of the academies, was the struggle finally decided in their favor (Auerbach 272 ) . 18 See Petrucci 178. The connection of this public with a burgeoning mercantile society has been made before; see also Cardini. 19 See Auerbach 297. 20 See Boli . F or a dis Convivio , see Arduini.
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Heliotropia 8 – 9 ( 2011 – 12 ) http://www.heliotropia.org http://www.heliotropia.org/0 8 – 09 / olson . pdf 59 – nacular can also b Convivio (I.x.5). 21 Contrary to that declaration, in the Esposizioni Boccaccio claims that the Florentine poet wished to compose the Co mmedia in Latin. In speak – ing to an audience of 3), he confronts the in the vernacular by inventing a false beginning for the Commedia in Latin. Citing an event for which there is no material evidence, he recounts how Dante switched to the vernacular to appeal to the intellect of current lords: Cominciò il presente libro in versi latini, così: Ultima regna canam fluvido contermina mundo, spiritibus que lata patent, que premia solvunt pro meritis cuicunque suis etc. E già era alquanti proceduto avanti, quando gli parve da mutare stilo; e il – sofici essere del tutto abandonati – lenti uomini, li quali solevano onorare e rendere famosi i poeti e le loro opere: e però, veggendo quasi abandonato Virgilio e gli altri, o essere o lavo – rio dovere adivenire, e per conseguente non seguirnegli quello per che alla fatica si sommettea. Di che gli parve dovere il suo poema fare con – no libro voglia vedere e esso sia in latino, tantosto il fanno trasformare in volgare; donde prese argomento che, se vulgare fosse il suo poema, egli piacerebbe, dove in latino sarebbe schi – fato. ( Accessus, 75 77) ween the endorsement of hu – manist ideals, founded upon a traditional education in Latin (for whom literacy meant Latin literacy, the reading of Vergil, etc . – sion to write in the vernacular. 22 Aeneid , was abandoned by lords, princes and excellent men, then Dante would not 21 See Auerbach 310 12. 22 See Padoan 35 43.
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Heliotropia 8 – 9 ( 2011 – 12 ) http://www.heliotropia.org http://www.heliotropia.org/0 8 – 09 / olson . pdf 60 subject his poem to the same fate; he chose the vernacular as the language of poetry a literary language that would bring him fame. 23 As noted by Padoan, this is not the first instance in which Boccaccio himself – Esposizioni XV. 96), Trattatello in laude di Dante read (between 1351 and 1355). What was once inquiry takes the skeptical tone of doubt in the later Esposizioni . Addition ally, the acknowledged functions and audiences for vernacular compositions differ. The first redaction of the Trattatello (191) e agli altri writes, Dante accomplishes something original by composing in the ver – nacular, and also shows its beauty and his art in t hat achievement. This redaction continues by pointing out, as does the Esposizioni , that the lib – eral arts were abandoned by lords and other important men, and also in – Commedia . In contrast, Boc – caccio states he re that Dante did not complete the Commedia in Latin be – cause it would have been like putting bread to the mouths of nursing in – bocca di coloro che ancora il latte suggano, in istil ricominciò la sua opera e perseguilla in volgare , Trat .  192 ). Composing in the maternal vernacular, the language defined by Dante in the De vul – gari eloquentia locutione m asserimus quam sine omni regula nutricem imitante accipi – – The second redaction of the Trattatello ideo logical shift to the Esposizioni . 24 Absent is the affirmation that the ver – 23 Aeneid would be in the text of the Commedia mamma / fummi, e fummi nutrice, po – m Purg . 21.97 99). 24 For a comprehensive treatment of the ideological and rhetorical challenges that Boccac – cio faced in confronting the task of the Esposizioni , see Papio ( 3 37 ) who analyzes the disappointment in failing to enlighten the masses to the theological and philosophical truths of the poem. See also Padoan 45 70.
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Heliotropia 8 – 9 ( 2011 – 12 ) http://www.heliotropia.org http://www.heliotropia.org/0 8 – 09 / olson . pdf 61 nacular had a broader audience; absent as well is the description of the originality of writing in the vernacular. The current state of the liberal studies as abandoned by princes and lords is foregrounded, together with the Commedia Instead, the vernacular poem has two new functions: first, it inspires the unlearned to study, and se – ì to: che , se ingegni sé ac – quistò in brevissimo tempo grandissima fama, e maravigliosam ente onorò il fiorentino idioma ( Trat .  130). By the time of the Espo sizioni , how – ever, Boccaccio has adopted the language of humanist disdain for those unlearned in Latin. 25 Composing in the vernacular was an unsuccessful strategy, Boccaccio asserts later in the Esposizioni ; it risked oblivion for the Commedia . The works o f Petrarch enjoyed an opposite fortuna because they had spread to those places where Latin literature was known. Here Boccaccio locates the poor reception of the Commedia in the fact that the poem was hidden by 26 Inferno issimo citta – dino e venerabile uomo e mio maestro e padre, messer Francesco < Pe - trarca > , con la dottrina poetica riempiuta ogni parte, dove la lettera la – tina è conosciuta, della sua maravigliosa e splendida fama e messo il nome suo nelle bocche, non dico o eccelente uomo in iscienzia? Non il presente nostro autore, la luce del cui valore è per alquanto tempo stata nascosa sotto la caligine del volgar materno , è cominciato da grandissimi litterati ad essere disiderato e ad aver caro? ( Esposizioni XV . 96, emphasis mine) ing appreciation 25 Padoan agli ideali umanisti, per il tono più deciso con il quale esalta la lingua latina e sottolinea In Boccaccio, Esposizioni 774n8 9) . 26 – carmen volui [t] futuris / quid metrum vulgare 9 ). See Gilson 45 47 , Eisner and Houston, esp. 92 99.
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