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Modelli scolastici nel Boccaccio napoletano


Scholastic Schemes in Boccaccio's Neapolitan Works

The aim of this article is to investigate the consistency and meaning of the logical-dialectical processes emerging in the wider context of rhetorical means in the works written by Boccaccio in Naples and immediately after his return to Florence. In these works, dialectical schemes sometimes take the more complex structure of quaestio disputata. 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. In Boccaccio's works, 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 Robert the Wise 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 leads us to evaluate their narrative role in Boccaccio’s literary production, their nature of prospective tools allowing the game of viewpoints. In Boccaccio’s writings, 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, and deserves to be analyzed more deeply.


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