Richard Wu's Reviews > Dante: De Vulgari Eloquentia

Dante by Dante Alighieri
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As one with little love for the provincial dialect of the American Midwest—and this bears explanation, so picture a people who pronounce coupon “Q”-pon (like cute) instead of KOO-pon as it’s supposed to be, while saying not “Q”-gur but the right KOO-gur for cougar (such inconsistency), and try not to roll your eyes; once an upstart Chicago consultant corrected my “concierge,” insisting it was “con-see-AIR” (can you imagine any human who deserves to live life less...)—I was pleased to see this tract was written by a Florentine with whom I have in common certain things:
Along with these I will mention the people of Treviso, who, like those of Brescia and their neighbours, abbreviate their words by pronouncing consonantal u as f, saying ‘nof’ for ‘nove’ and ‘vif’ for ‘vivo.’ This I denounce as the height of barbarism. [p.35]
And that’s just the start. Our author proceeds to combine his piercing value judgments from on sky with the earthy building blocks of form to delineate a complete hierarchy of poetics—and there is nothing so erotic as the capacity to distinguish. In fact, so confident is Dante in his taste that he’s unafraid to contradict God’s ostensible Scripture—deducing it was Adam, not Eve, who first spoke, that his first word was “God,” that he spake it the instant he was born, that Hebrew was Man’s original tongue—to make the data fit his jigsaw, which seems to require much qualification, albeit what I consider his surest assertions take, notably, none:
Yet further, among the products of human ingenuity, the noblest are those that most fully exploit the technical possibilities of the art. [p.55]
These things besides, another of our shared character traits is a tendency to leave projects unfinished…

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Reading Progress

August 4, 2018 – Started Reading
August 4, 2018 – Finished Reading
August 5, 2018 – Shelved

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