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ITALIAN-STUDIES  December 1998

ITALIAN-STUDIES December 1998

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Subject:

Re: Consolatio's commentaries

From:

Umberto Taccheri <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 15 Dec 1998 08:45:46 -0500 (EST)

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

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TEXT/PLAIN (245 lines)

Dear Otfried,
	thank you for your wonderfully generous reply. To answer to your 
question, in my dissertation I am arguing that Boethius' mythological 
poems (3M12 on Orpheus, 4M3 on Ulysses and Cyrce, 4M7 on Hercules) are 
the (distant) subtexts for Dante's purgatorial dreams -- an idea which 
I presented at the AAIS convention in Chicago, and will present in 
Kalamazoo this May -- so the dreams and surroundings are the main focus 
of my study, but of course the whole of Boethius in Dante can be of 
relevance. That's why I left my query as open as possible. Maybe this 
provides more ammunitions...?
	With regard to your message: I didn't know about Trivet's dedicatory 
letter, nor to his writing at least part of the commentary in Florence. 
This is one more element pointing to his commentary as by far the most 
probable source for Dante's confrontation with the _CP_ after the _Vita 
Nuova_, the only other possibilities so far being William of Conches, 
and, remotely possible, Tolomeo Asinari, whom too you mention.     This 
is of course good news for me, as it means that I don't need to order 
any more microfilms for the strictly Boethian end of the problem, 
unless other courageous (after your intervention) list members have 
something to add ... ?? 
Vielen Dank,

Umberto

Umberto Taccheri
[log in to unmask]


On Tue, 15 Dec 1998, Otfried Lieberknecht wrote:

> Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 03:13:38 +0100
> From: Otfried Lieberknecht <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask], [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Consolatio's commentaries
> 
> >Does anyone on this list know of new or old literature,  (besides 
> >P.Chistoni and Courcelle) dealing with Dante's knowledge/use of 
> >commentaries on the _Consolatio Philosophiae_ ? 
> >Any informations on what commentaries were present or did someone else 
> >use in Italy from let's say mid 13th cent.? 
> >Every bit of input is welcome. 
> 
> Dear Umberto,
> 
> If somewhat lengthy bits can do: Courcelle's chapter "Les commentaires des
> XIVe et XVe sie\cles" (from 1939, again in _La Consolation de Philosophie
> dans la tradition litte/raire_, Paris 1967, p.317ss.) already points out
> the general importance (in terms of early and wide diffusion) of Nicholas
> Trevet's commentary, quoted in Italy as early as 1307 by Tholomaeus de
> Asinariis, professor of law in Asti (Courcelle p.320s. and p.318 n.4), see
> also Roberto Weiss, "Notes on the Popularity of the Writings of Nicholas
> Trevet, OP, in Italy during the first half of the Fourteenth Century",
> _Dominican Studies_ 1 (1948), p.261-265, and Ruth J. Dean, "Cultural
> Relatios in the Middle Ages: Nicholas Trevet and Nicholas of Prato",
> _Studies in Philology_ 45 (1948), p.541-564. Courcelle's critical
> assessement of the quality of this commentary is another matter that can be
> taken lightly because Courcelle was drawing on Jourdain but had not really
> studied the commentary himself (and was anyway not really the scholar whom
> we should expect to give us always reliable orientation about the
> intellectual history of the 13th/14th centuries). 
> 
> Courcelle, Weiss, and Dean were not yet aware of the discovery made and
> published only later by Ruth J. Dean, "The Dedication of Nicholas Trevet's
> Commentary on Boethius", _Studies in Philology_ 63,5 (1966), p.593-603, who
> found in one of the copies of Trevet's commentary in the Biblioteca
> Ambrosiana (A 58 inf.) a dedicatory letter according to which Trevet had
> written his commentary in eight weeks during a stay in Florence, on request
> of a former teacher and now 'senior friend' in Pisa with name Paulus and
> who was probably a Dominican like Trevet himself and had only spurred
> Trevet to fulfill an older promise. The interpretation of this letter,
> namely the way how it describes the circumstances of the composition of the
> commentary, presents some problems, on which see Brian S. Donaghey,
> "Nicholas Trevet's Use of King Alfred's Translation of Boethius, and the
> Dating of his Commentary", in Alastair J. Minnis (ed.), _The Medieval
> Boethius: Studies in the Vernacular Tradition of 'De Consolatione
> Philosophiae', Cambridge: Brewer, 1987, p.1-31. If we accept Donaghey's
> interpretation (and I myself have not studied the problem sufficiently well
> to dare to disagree with him), Trevet must have prepared his commentary in
> England and only finished or revised and copied his draft during his stay
> in Florence (an assumption which both for internal and exteranl reasons in
> fact seems far more likely than the alternative possibility that he wrote a
> first redaction in Florence and revised it afterwards in England), which
> does not exclude the possibility of further revisions after his return to
> England. His stay in Florence cannot be dated with certainty, but may have
> occured in 1298 (Donaghey p.10, giving a highly hypothetical date), and it
> seems that "the bulk of his commentary can be dated well before 1300" (ibd.).
> 
> Dante himself states that he began to read the _Consolatio_ "alquanto
> tempo" after the death of Beatrice (thus after 8 June 1290), "quello non
> conosciuto da molti libro di Boezio, nel quale, cattivo e discacciato ,
> consolato s'avea" (Cv II.xii.2), finding there not only consolation, but
> also -- as well as in Cicero's _De amicitia_ -- the philosophical
> inspiration which then prompted him to visit the "scuole delli religiosi"
> and "disputazioni delli filosofanti" for a period of ca. 30 months (Cv
> II.ii.5-7). His description excludes that he used a vernacular translation
> (on the much understudied Italian volgarizzamenti of Boethius see Carlo
> Milanesi, _Il Boezio e l'Arrighetto. Volgarizzamenti del buon secolo,
> riveduti su' codici fiorentini_, Firenze 1864, p.LXXIXXss., still
> indispensable; Salvatore Battaglia, _Il Boezio e l'Arrighetto nelle
> versioni del Trecento_, Torino: U.T.E.T, 1929; R. A. Dwyer, "Bonaventura da
> Demena, Sicilian Translator of Boethius", _French Studies_ 28,2 (1974),
> p.129-133; Helmuth-Wilhelm Heinz, _Grazia di Meo, Il libro di Boec,io de
> chonsolazione (1343)_, Frankfurt am Main et al.: Lang, 1984 (= EHS IX.12);
> Gianfelice Peron, "Cultura e pubblico del Boe\ce franco-italiano (Paris,
> B.N. ms. fr. 821)", in Gu"nter Holtus et al. [eds.], _Testi, cotesti e
> contesti del franco-italiano: In memoriam Alberto Limentani_, Tu"bingen:
> Niemeyer, 1989, p.143-160; Anna Maria Babbi,_'Consolatio Philosophiae_: una
> versione veneta_, Milano: FrancoAngeli, 1995) and also does not suggest
> that he used a commentary right from the start, because he stresses that
> his understanding in the beginning was based only on his knowledge of Latin
> and on his own ingegno ("v'entrai tanto entro, quanto l'arte di gramatica
> ch'io avea e un poco di mio ingegno potea fare"). But it seems likely that,
> moving on to a more indepth study in the Mendicant schools at Florence (or
> maybe afterwards in Bologna and more certainly during the time of his
> exile), he came to know also commentaries. Trevet's commentary was probably
> not yet available in the Florentine Mendicant schools when Dante attended
> them, but is nevertheless a very good candidate to have served him as a
> source (or to have influenced him indirectly) in the Convivio and the
> Commedia. As regards vernacular tradition, you might want to consider also
> French influence in Italy in Dante's time (see Noel Harold Kaylor, _The
> Medieval 'Consolation of Philosophy': An Annotated Bibliography_, New York:
> Garland, 1992 (= Garland Medieval Bibliographies, 7)).
> 
> Dante may well have known more than one commentary or a compilation drawing
> on various traditions, not to mention the possibility that his
> understanding of passages in the _Consolatio_ may have been informed by
> commentary traditions of other works not directly related to the
> _Consolatio_ but adducing and explaining parallels from this work (this is
> one of the points of an unpublished paper given by Bodo Guthmu"ller at the
> 2nd International Dante Seminar in Ascona, in June 1997, who discusses D's
> understanding of the myth of Circe in the context of Ovid, Cicero,
> Boethius, and lines Dante up with the interpretation of Boethius given by
> Arnulf of Orleans in his gloss to Ovid; publication in preparation by
> Michelangelo Picone). Margherita De Bonfils Templer, for instance, in her
> article "La donna gentile del 'Convivio' e il boeziano mito d'Orfeo",
> _Dante Studies_ 101 (1983, i.e. 1987), p.123-144, believes to have found
> irrefutable evidence that Dante in his Convivio depends on the commentary
> of William of Conches, which seems not a priori impossible (also because
> most commentaries of this time, including Trevet's, were largely indebted
> either directly or indirectly to William's gloss), although on other
> occasions I have found it difficult to share her convictions regarding
> Dante's platonizing sources. I myself do not know of a conclusive study,
> and find it generally difficult to accept conclusions which are not based
> on a thorough study of Dante's adoptions in the context of the manuscript
> and mostly unpublished commentaries and glosses of his time.
> 
> To give you some more bibliographic pointers (publications post-Courcelle):
> 
> ALFONSI Luigi
>    Dante e la Consolatio philosophiae di Boezio. Como: Mar-
>    zorati, 1944 (= Studi di lingua e di letteratura italiana,
>    4), 41 pp.
> GROPPI Felicina
>    Dante traduttore, 2a ed. notevolmente accresciuta, Roma:
>    Tip. poliglotta Vaticana, Editrice "Orbis catholicus" Her-
>    der, 1962, esp. p.130ss., p.179
> DRONKE Peter
>    Boethius, Alanus und Dante. In: Romanische Forschungen 78
>    (1966), p.119-125
> TATEO Francesco
>    Una reminiscenza da Boezio nel Paradiso dantesco. In:
>    L'Alighieri 9 (1968), p.59-65
> TATEO Francesco
>    Art. "Boezio, Severino", Enciclopedia dantesca,  I (1970), 
>    p.654-658
> GUALTIERI Angelo
>    Lady Philosophy in Boethius and Dante. In: Comparative
>    Literature 23 (1971), p.141-150
> TATEO Francesco
>    Questioni di poetica dantesca. Bari: Adriatica, 1972 (= Bib-
>    lioteca di critica e letteratura, 9), p.201-216: Il "punto"
>    della visione e una reminiscenza da Boezio.
> DE BONFILS TEMPLER Margherita
>    La fonte boeziana dell'"Ego tanquam..." e il significato di
>    visione sul contesto della Vita Nuova. In: *Atti dell'Isti-
>    tuto veneto di scienze, lettere ed arti, Classe di scienze
>    morali, storiche e filologiche, Memorie, 131 (1972-73),
>    p.437-461 (abbreviated reprint in ead., Itinerario di Amore,
>    Chapel Hill 1973)
> FENZI Enrico
>    Boezio e Jean de Meun. Filosofia e Ragione nelle rime alle-
>    goriche di Dante. In: Studi di filologia e letteratura 2-3
>    (1975), p.9-69
> SCUDERI Ermanno
>    Boezio e Brunetto "maestri" di Dante. In: *Studi su Dante,
>    a cura di E. Scuderi, Catania 1979, p.53-61
> D'ANDREA Antonio
>    La struttura della Vita Nuova: le divisioni delle rime.
>    In: Yearbook of Italian Studies 4 (1980), p.13-40, again
>    in id., Il nome della storia: studi e ricerche di storia
>    letteratura, Napoli: Liguori, 1982
> BOMMARITO Domenico
>    Dalla Consolatio di Boezio alla Commedia di Dante:
>    L''iter' strutturale verso la 'conoscenza vera' della
>    tradizione protrettica. In: L'Alighieri 24,2 (1983),
>    p.12-28
>    [Bommarito has also published a dissertation on this 
>    topic, but I seem to have misplaced the precise reference]
> BOMMARITO Domenico
>    Il mito di Ulisse e la sua allegorizzazione in Boezio e Dan-
>    te. Ulisse e il tema dell''homo insipiens'. In: Forum Itali-
>    cum 17,1 (1983), p.64-81
> CHIARENZA Marguerite Mills
>    Boethian Themes in Dante's Reading of Virgil. In:
>    Stanford Italian Review 3,1 (1983), p.25-35
> SCOTT John Alfred
>    Dante, Boezio e l'enigma di Rifeo (Par. XX). In: Studi 
>    danteschi (1989), p.187-192
> IANNUCCI Amilcare A.
>    Casella's Song and Tuning of the Soul. In: Thought: A Review
>    of Culture and Idea, an. 65, no. 256 (March 1990), p.27-46,
>    it. s.t. Musica e ordine nella Divina Commedia (Purgato-
>    rio II), in: *Studi americani su Dante, ed. Gian Carlo
>    Alessio / Robert Hollander, Milano: FrancoAngeli, 1989,
>    p.87-111
> MEZZADROLI Giuseppina
>    Dante, Boezio e le sirene. In: Lingua e stile 25,1
>    (1990), p.25-56
> CHIAMENTI Massimiliano
>    Dante Alighieri traduttore. Firenze: Le Lettere, 1995
>    (= Quaderni degli studi danteschi, 10), index p.256 
>    s.v. Boethius
> 
> If you could let us know which particular problem or passage(s) you are
> interested in it might be easier for us to come up with specific references.
> 
> Best,
> 
>   Otfried
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Otfried Lieberknecht, Schoeneberger Str. 11, D-12163 Berlin
> phone & fax: ++49 +30 8516675, E-mail: [log in to unmask]
>   Homepage for Dante Studies: 
> http://members.aol.com/lieberk/welcome.html
>   Listowner of Italian-Studies:
> http://www.mailbase.ac.uk/lists/italian-studies/
>   Listowner of Medieval-Religion:
> http://www.mailbase.ac.uk/lists/medieval-religion/
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> 


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