Ellerbrock, Karl Philipp

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Karl Philipp
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Florenz : Das Gemeinwesen und das Wort der Dichter

2019, Ellerbrock, Karl Philipp

This paper discusses the fundamental role attributed to language in the 13th and 14th century, taking as an example the name of the city of Florence. For the chronicler Giovanni Villani, the name of Florence in itself expresses the capacity to find a linguistic consensus. Dante, in his analysis of the conflict between the groups of ghibellini and guelfi, refers to this problem, when he questions trust in language as a guarantor for peace. In this light, the Commedia appears as a project for the stabilisation of the trust in the mediative function of the word, in oppostition to violence. Boccaccio in the introduction to his Decameron takes up this reflection of Dante: he describes the plague as a profound linguistic crisis, set against the narration as a constitutional form of the collectivity of mortals. By the example of an anonymous text in the Sala tribunale dell’Arte della Lana in Florence, finally, the particular knowledge about the poem becomes evident, able to reveal and expose such a use of language that threatens the fundamental basis of a community, just like the rhetoric of corruption does. The conclusion evaluates the three analyses with regard to the civilising functions that are attributed to the volgare in the first Italian poetry in the Cities.