Sinitic (kanbun) and Latin have functioned as lingua francas̶or more precisely “ scripta franca ” ̶of the intelligentsia in East Asia and Western Europe, respectively, until the modern times. Long before Sinitic and Latin had lost their importance, vernacular languages started to be used for literary production, with the result of an enduring situation of diglossia in almost every country. When vernacular literature reached maturity, its legitimacy as “ language of culture ” started to be questioned, and various attempt were made with the aim to demonstrate its value. This paper focuses on two of the most symbolic moments of the history of literature in Japan and Italy, namely the compilation of the Kokin wakash◓ (905) and Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) ’ s literary activity. Through the direct comparison between the Kokinshu ’ s Sinitic preface (Manajo) and Dante ’ s treatise in Latin De vulgari eloquentia, the paper demonstrates the existence of a similar discourse on literature aimed at the self-legitimation of their authors ’ artistic view, with the emplicit evaluation of Kokinshu and Dante ’ s poetic style. The paper discusses three rhetorical strategies of legitimation adopted by the two works: the demonstration of the naturalness of vernacular compared to Sinitic and Latin; the reconstruction of an history of vernacular language and literature; and the “ heritagization ” of the past, namely the creative appropriation of style and poems from the great authors of the past canonized as models and direct inspirators of the new vernacular poetry by Kokinshu ’ s compilators and Dante.

The Legitimation and Heritagization of Vernacular through Kanbun and Latin ̶ A Comparison of Kokinshū ’s Sinitic Preface and Dante’s De Vulgari Eloquentia

gerlini e
2020

Abstract

Sinitic (kanbun) and Latin have functioned as lingua francas̶or more precisely “ scripta franca ” ̶of the intelligentsia in East Asia and Western Europe, respectively, until the modern times. Long before Sinitic and Latin had lost their importance, vernacular languages started to be used for literary production, with the result of an enduring situation of diglossia in almost every country. When vernacular literature reached maturity, its legitimacy as “ language of culture ” started to be questioned, and various attempt were made with the aim to demonstrate its value. This paper focuses on two of the most symbolic moments of the history of literature in Japan and Italy, namely the compilation of the Kokin wakash◓ (905) and Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) ’ s literary activity. Through the direct comparison between the Kokinshu ’ s Sinitic preface (Manajo) and Dante ’ s treatise in Latin De vulgari eloquentia, the paper demonstrates the existence of a similar discourse on literature aimed at the self-legitimation of their authors ’ artistic view, with the emplicit evaluation of Kokinshu and Dante ’ s poetic style. The paper discusses three rhetorical strategies of legitimation adopted by the two works: the demonstration of the naturalness of vernacular compared to Sinitic and Latin; the reconstruction of an history of vernacular language and literature; and the “ heritagization ” of the past, namely the creative appropriation of style and poems from the great authors of the past canonized as models and direct inspirators of the new vernacular poetry by Kokinshu ’ s compilators and Dante.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3730985
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