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CANTO XXXVI

 

 

 

 Monna Vanna

Apart from the welcome given to or withheld from a fine performance, it seems to me that the vogue of Guido’s canzone, Donna mi Prega, was due to causes not instantly apparent to the modern reader. I mean that it shows traces of a tone of thought no longer considered dangerous, but that may have appeared about as soothing to the Florentine of A.D. 1290 as conversation about Tom Paine, Marx, Lenin and Bucharin would to-day in a Methodist bankers’ board meeting in Memphis Tenn.

The teaching of Aristotle had been banned in the University of Paris in 1213. This prejudice had been worn down during the century, but Guido shows, I think, no regard for anyone's prejudice. We may trace his ideas to Averroes, Avicenna; he does not definitely proclaim any heresy, but he shows leanings toward not only the proof by reason, but toward the proof by experiment. I do not think that he swallowed Aquinas. It may be impossible to prove that he had heard of Roger Bacon, but the whole canzone is easier to undestand if we suppose, or at least one finds, a considerable interest in the speculation, that he had read Grosseteste on the Generation of Light.

Ezra Pound. “Cavalcanti.” Literary Essays 149.

 

RELATED CANTOS

CANTO VI

CANTO XXII

CANTO XXIX