Discourse or dialogue concerning our language 1

  • 42
  • 3
  • 1
  • English 
Aug 2, 2019 07:47
Discourse or dialogue concerning our language 1

On this discourse, Machiavelli takes a chance to humorously reproach Dante for his idealistic idea on language. Dante thought that language should respond to the poetic needs of the writers as, in his 'de vulgari eloquentia', he had set a number of linguistic proprieties a language should posses in order to be used with success. He established a hierarchy among the Italian vulgar idioms, picking the best forms from each one. Dante thought that the language resulted from his interpolation would be "illustre cardinale aulico e curiale". His ideal was to have a language that could put together the best expressions from the different courts of Italy, purifying it from the sounds that were too regional or vulgar; in doing this he mostly referred to the vary literary traditions of the peninsula.
For Machiavelli, Dante examined well the Italian vernaculars but failed to recognize Florentine language as the one he had chosen Florentine for his writings. His refusal to acknowledge it is due to the unfair treatment that Florence reserved to his 'massimo poeta'. Machiavelli, who had the same problem with own city, scolded him nevertheless: our patria is to be praised even when treats us unfairly as every good comes from it. He will insist with this idea for the whole treatise, remarking the wrong attitude of Dante towards Florence, plus mocking him for his trying to cover the real reasons of his omission which are all personal and sentimental.
The idea we own everything we have to our country is also to be noted as it lays at the foundation of modern politics, resumed and utilized, among others, by Hobbes in his Leviathan.