Dante’s Convivio, Book 1: Metaphor, Exile, Epochē

  • Laurence E. Hooper
  • MLN, January 2012, Johns Hopkins University Press
  • DOI: 10.1353/mln.2012.0152

Metaphor, Exile, and Epochē in Convivio 1

What is it about?

My essay focuses on the importance of metaphor in the first book of Dante's Convivio. By examining closely the many metaphors of Convivio 1 and their relation to its "content," I show that Dante's work draws together a variety of disciplines to emphasize its author's subjectivity. Dante's metaphors do not offer a final intellectual or philosophical demonstration but rather encourage a suspension of judgment that replicates for the reader the alienation of exile from which Dante writes.

Why is it important?

The Convivio is usually read as a philosophical work, with little attention paid to its form or rhetoric. But the very title Convivio, which means "Banquet," echoes, not the philosophers, but Bolognese rhetoricians who would give their treatises a metaphorical title that would extend into the introductory chapters. Once we appreciate that Dante's approach is multi-disciplinary, the novel literary and subjective qualities of the Convivio become much clearer.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Laurence E. Hooper