Dante and the Sense of Transgression: 'The Trespass of the Sign'

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A&C Black, Nov 22, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 192 pages
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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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Contents

Preface
Introduction
Dantes Implication in the Transgressiveness He Condemns
Language and Beyond
The Linguistic Turn of Transgression in the Paradiso
At the Limitsof Language orReading Dante through Blanchot 4 The StepNot Beyond
The Neuter Nothing Except Nuance
Forgetting and the Limits of Experience Letargo and the Argo 7 Speech The Vision that is NonVision
Authority and Powerlessness Kenosis
Necessary Transgression Human versus Transcendent Authority
Dante and the Popes
Against the Emperor?
Inevitable Transgression along a Horizontal Axis
Heterodox Dante and Christianity
Transgression and Transcendence
An Inherently Transgressive Religion?

Writing The Essential Experience
Beatrice and Eurydice
Blanchots Dark Gaze and the Experience of Literature as Transgression
Negative Theology and the Space of Literature Order Beyond Order
Transgression and the Sacred in Bataille and Foucault
Transgressionas the Path to God theAuthority of Inner Experience 21 Transcendence and the Sense of Transgression
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About the author (2012)

William Franke is Professor of Comparative Literature and Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University, USA. He is an Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Fellow, a previous Fulbright University of Salzburg Distinguished Chair in Intercultural Theology and his published books include Dante's Interpretive Journey and Poetry and Apocalypse: Theological Disclosures of Poetic Language.

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