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Wordly Wise

The Semiotics of Discourse in Dante’s "Commedia</I>


Raffaele de Benedictis

In Wordly Wise: The Semiotics of Discourse in Dante’s Commedia, Raffaele De Benedictis proposes a new critical method in the study of the Divine Comedy and Dante’s minor works. It systematically and comprehensively addresses the discursive aspect of Dante’s works and focuses mainly on the reader, who, along with the author and the text, contributes to the making of discursive paths and discourse-generating functions through the act of reading. This work allows the reader to become acquainted with how meaning is generated and whether it is granted legitimacy in the text. Also, in a system of signification, sign function and sign production are not limited to the properties of the mind but are the result of working interactively with the properties of discourse, which provide directionality for the reader’s enunciation(s) in action.


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De Benedict_Toc.indd 7 30/11/11 5:43 PM viii wordly wise 3.3 Linguistic Deception in the Convivio 68 3.4 Linguistic Paradox Between Lie and Truth 76 Chapter Four Dante’s Epistola a Can Grande: Allegory, Discourse, and their Semiotic Implications 4.1 Semiotic Parallelism Between the Allegory of the Poets and the Allegory of the Theologians 86 4.2 Figural, Typological, and Allegorical Modes of Signifying 96 4.3 Discourse in Dante’s Allegory 117 Chapter Five The Semiotics of Discourse in the Commedia 5.1 The Semiotics of Discourse in the Commedia and the Role of the Reader 123 5.2 Notion and Instances of Ratio Difficilis /Difficillima in the Commedia 140 5.3 Abduction 147 5.4 The Linguistic Challenge in the Inferno and the Semiotic Subtext 151 5.5 Poetry, The Medium to Transcendental Signification and its Semiotic Process 159 5.6 Paradox and the Semiotic Challenge of Specular Reflections in the Paradiso 187 5.7 The Production of New Ontologies for Ineffable Signification 190 5.8 Signification and Existential Phenomenology in the Paradiso 192 5.9 Transcendental Knowledge and Nominal Essence in the Paradiso 197 5.10 Discourse and the Semiotic Conditions of Actio and Passio 200 5.11 Performativity and Improvisation in Discourse 206 5.12 Metaphoric, Allegoric, and Symbolic Modes as a Path to Transcendental Signification in the Paradiso 209 Chapter Six Conclusions 225 Glossary of Theoretical Terms and Expressions 229 References 239 Index 249 De Benedict_Toc.indd 8 30/11/11 5:43 PM

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