Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Il Dante Di Ozanam E Altri Saggi

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Il Dante Di Ozanam E Altri Saggi

Article excerpt

Mariraquo; Scotti, // Danle d'i Ozanam e altri saggi, Saggi di 'Fettere Italianc' 57 (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2002). iv + 154 pp. ISBN 88-222-5074-5. euro13.00.

The four essays making up this elegantly written and, as is the way with Olschki, elegantly presented volume reflect faithfully its author's twofold concern both with the Commedia in itself and with its reading and reception in the Enlightenment and early Romantic period. First, then, comes a meditation on the life and works of the polymath Frederic Oxanam focusing primarily on his Dante et la philosophie au treizieme siecle (Paris, 1839) and on its sense of Dante's centrality both to medieval and to contemporary theological sensibility, though quite as intriguing as the text itself is the apparent ease with which Oxanam moves in the field, not only of letters, but of philosophy, history, and law. His erudition, in short, is astonishing, but - and this, ultimately, is what matters about his Dante volume - it is an erudition sensitive to the novelty of the proposition in Dante, to its transformation by way of imaginative energy into something quite other than the theologically commonplace or unexceptional. In this sense, Ozanam emerges as a genuinely significant reader of the text, as one attuned, not merely to matters of cultural circumstance, but to the novelty of the undertaking in Dante and to the special character of the theological discourse it represents. Nicely sensitive too, though in a different set of circumstances and in relation to a temperament quite other than Ozanam's, is the second essay on Maxxini, whose passionate reading of Dante is skilfully contextualizcd by Scotti in terms of the leading literary and philosophical spirits of his age (Vico and Foscolo, for example) as well as of its Risorgimento background. …

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