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Aug 21, 2019 09:43

Recently, Susan Meld Shell drew attention on Machiavelli`s "Dialogo o Discorso sopra la lingua" clarifying the reasons for which it needs to be considered authentic and using it to understand Machiavelli theoretical point of view on language.
According to her, Machiavelli is the first political thinker to realize that "political and literary power do not always coincide in modern times".
During the Renaissance, language and politics became autonomous and diverging forces; the use of a cultured or historically relevant language was not politically relevant anymore.
John Najemy investigates Machiavelli'use of language from the starting point of his epistolary with his long time friend, Vettori. Both experienced anxiety towards the impossibility for language to grasp reality and felt the gap between their theoretical speculation and the curse of events.
On the "Dialogue on the language" Machiavelli briefly analyzes the matter posing questions more than solving the questions; nevertheless the subject clearly deeply drew the interests of his speculation. He was intrigued by the language functioning and internal proprieties and tried to come up with few short definitions and rules on how it works; which -in passing- are in line with our contemporary knowledge on the topic.
Ascoli and Capodivacca, look after aesthetic questions revolving around his poetry.
They put the satyric poem "L`Asino" under scrutiny, arguing for the autonomy of his literary endeavors; which does not second the common opinion of a derivation of his literary works from the political ones.
They track back Machiavelli`s influences and explain the metaphoric richness of his writing with a consideration on creativeness freedom present in the political treatise 'The Prince". Besides the clearness of the definitions, he was interested in the visual representation of his ideas and thoughts; his efforts go towards both a scientific and artistic language.
Continuing our review on the major critical work on Machiavelli we have Larry Peterman, who analyzes the difference between "the Prince" and the other political works. The starting point is the same of many of his colleagues, meaning the linguistic frustration discussed above that Machiavelli felt and he shared with Vettori in his private correspondence. He contextualizes the writing of "The Dialogue" with the reception of Dante "De Vulgari Eloquentia" in the literary circle of Orto Oricellari,
and criticizes Machiavelli`s anti-humanistic pretenses on the scientificity of his own language.