Procedimenti scolastici e linee di pensiero nell’opera di Giovanni Boccaccio
Di Franza, Concetta
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The aim of the research is to investigate the consistency and meaning of the logical-dialectical processes emerging in the wider context of rhetorical means in the works of Giovanni Boccaccio. In these works, dialectical schemes sometimes take the more complex structure of quaestio disputata, that is used by the author for narrative, but also for his literary statement. The thesis is divided into three parts. The first part examines the intellectual background of the author. In the cultural context of the late Middle Ages, the quaestio disputata has an important role; by using the disputatio form, a good number of medieval authors show how the disputatio leaves the narrow university milieu, and reaches the literary context. A possible reason for the reception of the quaestio disputata within the literary context can be identified in the rediscovery of the similarities of late medieval dialectic and rhetoric, since both are “sciences of the probable”, and therefore aim at persuading rather than at demonstrating. A second reason can be found in the dramatic nature of philosophical disputatio, a veritable tournament fought with the weapons of the mind. The second part of the paper studies Boccaccio's works, where scholastic language and mental processes are widely diffused, a phenomenon that can be explained by the intermingling of philosophical and literary models. Nevertheless, it should also be noticed that the disputatio adopted by Boccaccio is reinforced by his return to its scholastic sources. Those texts were not unknown to a writer who was in touch with the scholars of the court of King Roberto in Naples, studied canon law, read and loved Dante’s works and was acquainted with Aristotle, Boethius, the Platonic Tradition and Thomas Aquinas. The presence of scholastic language and techniques lead us to evaluate their narrative role in Boccaccio’s literary production, their nature of prospective tools allowing the game of viewpoints. Secondly, the work examines the meaning the dialectic quaestio has in Boccaccio’s writings, where sometimes a quaestio opposing two possible positions has the task of seeking the “truth”. Boccaccian use of disputatio hides a subtle literary strategy that both seems to give the reader the option of choice, and/or the author to take his position and direct the reading. The third part of the thesis focuses on the late works of Boccaccio, such as the Genealogie deorum gentilium. Now the interest of the writer moves to the philosophy and erudition, but in these books we still find the model of quaestio disputata, in a simplified form of the responsio ad obiectiones. Seen as a whole, Boccaccio’s production uses with continuity the scholastic method; the author considers the disputatio a powerful instrument of the search after truth, but adapts it, both in theory and in practice, to the needs of the literature.