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“Our Brother Dante”: Dantesque Reappropriations in Italian America

“Our Brother Dante”: Dantesque Reappropriations in Italian America “OUR BROTHER DANTE” DANTESQUE REAPPROPRIATIONS IN ITALIAN AMERICA Martino Marazzi Quasi–Italian-American There is something to be said about the presence of Dante in Italian- American letters and culture. And just saying that “something,” saying that it is there and it is worthy of a critical discourse, might prove to fulfill a significant part of the overall meaning of Dante among Americans of Italian descent. In fact, Dante’s position within Italian America is so obvious, and even in some way so predictable, that it is quite simply not very much considered. It is as if it is so taken for granted—especially by educated people and scholars—that it goes unnoticed, which is a telltale paradox. This unconscious strategy of effacement seems an introjection of the much wider removal expe- rienced by Italian Americans both in the United States and in Italy. It functions—Dante’s removal, or bracketing—as a homeopathic remedy that stimulates and readies the larger Italian-American social body for its comfortable marginality. But this is made possible by the fact that Dante as a whole—his texts, his figura, the aura of his authority—has had a long history in North America, to the point that, as a cultural pawnbroker, he has acquired http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Mediaevalia State University of New York Press

“Our Brother Dante”: Dantesque Reappropriations in Italian America

Mediaevalia , Volume 38 – Dec 28, 2017

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Publisher
State University of New York Press
Copyright
Copyright © State University of New York Press
ISSN
2161-8046

Abstract

“OUR BROTHER DANTE” DANTESQUE REAPPROPRIATIONS IN ITALIAN AMERICA Martino Marazzi Quasi–Italian-American There is something to be said about the presence of Dante in Italian- American letters and culture. And just saying that “something,” saying that it is there and it is worthy of a critical discourse, might prove to fulfill a significant part of the overall meaning of Dante among Americans of Italian descent. In fact, Dante’s position within Italian America is so obvious, and even in some way so predictable, that it is quite simply not very much considered. It is as if it is so taken for granted—especially by educated people and scholars—that it goes unnoticed, which is a telltale paradox. This unconscious strategy of effacement seems an introjection of the much wider removal expe- rienced by Italian Americans both in the United States and in Italy. It functions—Dante’s removal, or bracketing—as a homeopathic remedy that stimulates and readies the larger Italian-American social body for its comfortable marginality. But this is made possible by the fact that Dante as a whole—his texts, his figura, the aura of his authority—has had a long history in North America, to the point that, as a cultural pawnbroker, he has acquired

Journal

MediaevaliaState University of New York Press

Published: Dec 28, 2017

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