Giordano Bruno and the Philosophy of the Ass

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Yale University Press, 1996 - Pets - 271 pages
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In this highly original study, Nuccio Ordine uses the figure of the ass as a lens through which to focus on the thought and writings of the great Renaissance humanist philosopher Giordano Bruno. The donkey played a prominent role as a symbol in sixteenth-century literature, and the ass and human asininity became a recurring motif in Bruno's writings. Ordine offers the first analysis of Bruno's use of this complex symbol, which encompasses contradictory characteristics ranging from humble and hardworking to ignorant and idle. The result is a deeper understanding of Bruno the philosopher, along with a stronger appreciation of Bruno the literary artist.
Ordine looks especially closely at Bruno's use of the figure of the donkey in his attacks on the theologies of both the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, and in issues that have become modernist concerns. Ordine's analysis sheds light on each of the major themes of Bruno's philosophy: science and knowledge, myth and religion, language and literature.
 

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User Review  - misteraitch - LibraryThing

Subtle and fascinating (if rather recondite) study of the figure of the ass and of asininity in the writings of Giordano Bruno, particularly in the Cabala del cavallo pegaseo. Read full review

Contents

The Ambiguous Space of Asininity
25
From Orion to Chiron Opposing Images of the Religious Cult
96
The Literature of the Ass before Bruno
118
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About the author (1996)

Nuccio Ordine is professor of the theory of literature at the University of Calabria, Cosenza, Italy.

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