TitleDio ed io
NamePesce, Roberto (author), Vettori, Alessandro (chair), Marsh, David (internal member), Sanguineti White, Laura (internal member), Ciabattoni, Francesco (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Self in literature,
Francis, of Assisi, Saint, 1182-1226. Testamentum,
Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321. Convivio,
Petrarca, Francesco, 1304-1374. Epistola ad posteros
DescriptionThis dissertation explores the representations of the Self in the Middle Ages through the analysis of literary works produced in Italy. Differentiating autobiography from autobiographism, I analyze the prose works of three authors whose “I” demanded to find expression in a written form in the first person. I thus consider their texts as proto-autobiographical writing. I focus my attention on Francis of Assisi‟s Testamentum, which represents the self as a public confession; Dante‟s Convivio, where the author imposes an imagine and a forma of himself on his readers, creating an ideal poet; and Petrarca‟s Posteritati, a depiction of the poets‟s life recounted through his shortcomings and sins. I also briefly analyze the Vita nova and the Secretum, but these works have less direct bearing on my argument. The first chapter begins with an introduction to the genre of autobiography and establishes my theoretical framework. In particular, I engage Misch, Gusdorf, Zink, Foucault, Olney, Lejeune, Starobinsky, Guglielminetti, and Ferrucci. My subsequent chapters consider each of the aforementioned works individually, drawing particular attention to the autobiographical markers (auto, bio, and graphē) that characterize the genre. Starting from a specific point identified as a conversion, all of these authors trace their lives by representing their ideal self, and hiding any controversial aspect of their existence. Through my research, I offer different interpretations of this reticence, and on the minimal circulation of these texts, suggesting an historical and anthropological hypothesis. Ultimately, I am in agreement with Gusdorf‟s notion that autobiography was born from a religious impetus in which the believer, in colloquium with the divine, discovers the possibility and the necessity of making the self the center of one‟s spiritual experience. I argue, however, that while Gusdorf dates the beginning of this practice as the 16th century my research indicates that this phenomenon begins to appear at the beginning of the 13th century because of the creation of Purgatory and the imposition of the annual confession. Seeking God in his own soul, the individual measures and creates a space for his own consciousness. In my analysis, the concept of the self begins here, in the autumn of the Middle Ages.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Roberto Pesce
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.