Cover of Fiore and the Detto d'Amore, The

Fiore and the Detto d'Amore, The

A Late-Thirteenth-Century Italian Translation of the Roman de la Rose Attributable to Dante Alighieri

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University of Notre Dame Press


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This is the first English translation of Il Fiore, the late-thirteenth-century narrative poem in 232 sonnets based on the Old French Roman de la Rose, and the Detto d'Amore, a free-wheeling version of many Ovidian precepts of love in 240 rhymed couplets. The elaborate allegory of the Fiore presents the complex workings of love, understood primarily as carnal passion, in the human psyche through the use of personifications of a wide array of characters who engage in various social (and bellic) interactions. There are personifications of social stereotypes and attitudes, mythological figures, abstract qualities, psychological and physical states, and personality traits. The Detto d'Amore includes features of the perennial controversy between proponents of the pleasures of erotic passion and those who counsel pursuit of the sublime joys found solely in the exercise of reason. The incomplete poem also contains a conventionalized-and idealized-description of the physical traits of the lady, as well as a portrait of the perfect courtly lover. The importance of these two works lies in part in their possible attribution to the great Florentine poet Dante Alighieri. But even if Dante is not the author, the Fiore is a valuable witness to the literary taste and cultural concerns of medieval Italy and to matters of poetic influence and reception among different literary traditions.

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