By Kristina M. Olson
In Courtesy misplaced, Kristina M. Olson analyses the literary influence of the social, political, and monetary differences of the fourteenth century via an exploration of Dante’s literary and political effect on Boccaccio. The ebook finds how Boccaccio rewrote the earlier during the lens of the Commedia, torn among nostalgia for elite households in decline and the necessity to advertise morality and magnanimity in the Florentine Republic.
By interpreting the passages in Boccaccio’s Decameron, De casibus, and Esposizioni during which the writer rewrites moments in Florentine and Italian background that had additionally seemed in Dante’s Commedia, Olson illuminates the ways that Boccaccio expressed his deep ambivalence in the direction of the political and social adjustments of his period. She illustrates this via an research of Dante’s and Boccaccio’s remedies of the belief of courtesy, or cortesia, in an period whilst the chivalry of the declining aristocracy used to be being supplanted via the civility of the emerging service provider classes.
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Extra info for Courtesy Lost: Dante, Boccaccio, and the Literature of History (Toronto Italian Studies)
That Romanized “buon tempo antico” differs from another lost golden age, that of the times of cortesia, which can be located for Dante in Florence before the times of Guiglielmo Borsiere (Inf. 16), and in Lombardy, before Frederick II’s death in 1250 (Purg. 115–20). Dante will also benefit from “la cortesia del gran Lombardo,” Bartolomeo della Scala (Par. 71) in the future, so though Dante might lament the absence of cortesia in Inferno 16 and Purgatorio 16, as well as in the Convivio, the pilgrim will have direct experience of cortesia, as hospitality, in the future.
In the thirteenth century, as the Italian elite gradually grew more distant from its origins as a warrior aristocracy, this new courtly culture in Italy fed upon chivalric epic and romance, which inspired a rhetoric of knighthood that legitimized violence. In Florence, the acts of violence committed both within and between elite families, as well as against the popolo, the non-elite guildsmen and merchants, marked the mid-thirteenth-century history of Guelph and Ghibelline struggle and the period of civil war between the Black and White Guelph factions at the turn of the fourteenth century.
The temporary glories sought in the name of greed spell the end of Florence’s greatness. More than the death of an idea of courtly behaviour, the lament for cortesia now reads as the lament for the city of Dante. Reading Boccaccio’s biography and his biography of Dante in terms of his reception of Dante’s Commedia and the vision of Florentine and Italian history described therein reveals these convergences. Boccaccio’s nostalgic accounts of his life in the Angevin court of King Robert of Naples resonate with his reception of the topos of cortesia from Dante’s poem.
Courtesy Lost: Dante, Boccaccio, and the Literature of History (Toronto Italian Studies) by Kristina M. Olson