Dante and the Sense of Transgression: 'The Trespass of the Sign'
In Dante and the Sense of Transgression, William Franke combines literary-critical analysis with philosophical and theological reflection to cast new light on Dante's poetic vision. Conversely, Dante's medieval masterpiece becomes our guide to rethinking some of the most pressing issues of contemporary theory.
Beyond suggestive archetypes like Adam and Ulysses that hint at an obsession with transgression beneath Dante's overt suppression of it, there is another and a prior sense in which transgression emerges as Dante's essential and ultimate gesture. His work as a poet culminates in the Paradiso in a transcendence of language towards a purely ineffable, mystical experience beyond verbal expression. Yet Dante conveys this experience, nevertheless, in and through language and specifically through the transgression of language, violating its normally representational and referential functions. Paradiso's dramatic sky-scapes and unparalleled textual performances stage a deconstruction of the sign that is analyzed philosophically in the light of Blanchot, Levinas, Derrida, Barthes, and Bataille, as transgressing and transfiguring the very sense of sense.
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Part 1 Language and Beyond
Part 2 Authority and Powerlessness Kenosis
Part 3 Transgression and Transcendence
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absolute apophatic apophatic theology approach authority Beatrice becomes c’est canto Christian Commedia contemporary culture Dante Dante’s Paradiso Dante’s poem Dante’s vision deconstruction deﬁnable deﬁned deﬁnition diﬂferent Dionysius the Areopagite Divine Comedy divine vision Eckhart Emmanuel Levinas entretien especially essence Eurydice express ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnal vision ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁnite ﬁrst forgetting Foucault gaze Georges Bataille God’s heaven human immanence impossible Incarnation ineffable ineﬂfability inﬁnite inner experience interpretation journey Kevin Hart L’entretien inﬁni L’espace Levinas Levinas’s limits linguistic literature manifest Maurice Blanchot Mazzotta medieval Meister Eckhart memory metaphors metaphysical mystical negation negative theology neuter non-experience nuance object ofthe opens origin Orpheus Orpheus’s paradox Paris passion philosophy poem’s poet poetic language poetry postmodern precisely present prophetic Purgatorio radical realized reﬂection relation representation revelation sacred sacriﬁce signiﬁcance speciﬁcally tradition transcendence transgression transhumanization truth turns ultimate understanding University Press unknowing Uzzah whole word writing