Boccaccio's Naked Muse: Eros, Culture, and the Mythopoeic Imagination [NOOK Book]

Overview

Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) experimented with such a wide variety of genres that critics have tended to focus more on the differences among his works than on their underlying similarities. However, a more comprehensive examination of his corpus reveals that concealed beneath this striking diversity of subject and genre there is a coherent mythology, a virtual catalogue of innovative myths designed to more accurately reflect his cultural experience and better address the needs...

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Boccaccio's Naked Muse: Eros, Culture, and the Mythopoeic Imagination

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Overview

Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) experimented with such a wide variety of genres that critics have tended to focus more on the differences among his works than on their underlying similarities. However, a more comprehensive examination of his corpus reveals that concealed beneath this striking diversity of subject and genre there is a coherent mythology, a virtual catalogue of innovative myths designed to more accurately reflect his cultural experience and better address the needs of his age.



Exploring the most significant of these myths, Boccaccio's Naked Muse presents a writer who cast himself as the apostle of a new humanistic faith, one that would honour God by exalting his creation. Tobias Foster Gittes argues that Boccaccio did not simply reproduce Golden Age schemes in his works. Rather, he subtly altered and adapted them in order to produce a model of human beatitude more suited to his conviction that cultural achievement and human dignity are indissolubly linked. Gittes critiques common conceptions of Boccaccio's passivity, or his readiness to speak dismissively of his own work and to cast himself as a victim of vicious critics. Instead, Gittes shows that Boccaccio deliberately assumed this posture of passivity to align himself with a series of martyrs who, like him, had willingly suffered torments in the interest of cultural advancement.



By venturing outside the Decameron to the Latin works, and outside the usual textual and intertextual readings of Boccaccio to more broadly cultural and anthropological material, Boccaccio's Naked Muse offers fresh insights on this hugely significant literary figure and his lifelong campaign to transform mythological traditions into a gift for all humanity.

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Editorial Reviews

Jason M. Houston
Gittes's study of Boccaccio offers the most comprehensive and convincing account of Boccaccio in recent years. The book is often delightful to read. Gittes peppers his prose with brief but lucid insights as well as humor that had me chuckling while reading.
From the Publisher
Gittes's study of Boccaccio offers the most comprehensive and convincing account of Boccaccio in recent years. The book is often delightful to read. Gittes peppers his prose with brief but lucid insights as well as humor that had me chuckling while reading.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442691438
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 4/5/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 370
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Tobias Foster Gittes is an assistant professor in the Liberal Ars College at Concordia University.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

A Note on the Translations

Introduction

1 Universal Myths of Origin: Boccaccio and the Golden Age Motif



The Classical Golden Age Traditions
Boccaccio’s Elegiac Primitivism
Boccaccio’s Rationalistic Reevaluation of the Golden Age
The Escape to Paradise

2 Local Myths of Origin: The Birth of the City and the Self



Physical Restoration: The Fertile Loam of Tuscany
Political Restoration and Miscegenation: Ex Pluribus Unum
Boccaccio’s Fruitful Bastardy

3 The Myth of a New Beginning: Boccaccio’s Palingenetic Paradise



Tabula Rasa and Saïtic Seed: The Effacement and Replacement of Knowledge
The Restoration of Knowledge: The Poet as Pedagogical Pimp
Nel Cospetto degli Uomini: The Prophylactic Peep-show of Decameron VI

4 The Myth of Historical Foresight: Babel and Beyond



On the Shoulders of (Blasphemous) Giants: The Limits of Knowledge
Through the Literary Looking-glass: The Textual Monument as Mirror

Notes

Works Consulted

Index

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