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Politically-committed writing and mystical lyricism in Jacopone da Todi: Plange la Eclesia.

The last decade of the 13th century was a particularly tumultuous one. Approximately five months after his election to office, on the 13th of December 1294, Pope Celestine V resigned. The cardinais subsequently elected Cardinal Benedetto Gaetani, Boniface VIII, as the new pontiff. Just days later he proceeded to abrogate a large number of his precursor's acts. Amongst these were certain laws which had protected the Spirituales of the Franciscan order (as well as their ideal of "holy poverty") from persecution (mostly by the Conventuales): a conflict which had arisen after the death of Saint Bonaventure in 1274. An outspoken opponent of austere religious orders and an openly corrupt man, the actions of the simoniacal Boniface VIII inflamed the verbal fury of Jacopone da Todi, a Franciscan friar associated with the Spirituales. (2) Ina laud entitled: O papa Bonifazio, molt'ai iocato al mondo, Jacopone had no reservations in condemning this novello Anti-Christ:

L. 83 Lucifero novello a ssedere en papato, lengua de blasfemaa, ch'el mondo ai 'nvenenato 52

[New Lucifer on the papal throne /blasphemous tongue that has poisoned the world]

Such fervor led to defiance and action. Jacopone allied himself with the Colonna clan--questionable types themselves--but nonetheless collaborators. On May 10, 1297 he adhered to the Longhezza Manifesto, along with the Cardinais Pietro and Jacopo Colonna, questioning the conclave that had elected Boniface VIII, principe de" nuovi Farisei. The pope's reaction was swift. Within weeks Boniface had excommunicated the Cardinais Colonna and on the 14th of December 1297 called for a crusade against these new heretics. All who participated were granted one hundred days of indulgences and a complete pardon of all sins. Jacopone entrenched himself in the Colonna fortress in Palestrina, along with other Celestine hermits, and even managed to hold off the attacking forces for over a year. Overcome and defeated, the rebels were stripped of their Franciscan habits and Jacopone was imprisoned in an underground cell in the monastery of San Fortunato in Todi. These were the circumstances in which he composed his lauds: perhaps the most underrated examples of prison literature in the Italian literary tradition. Confined, he wrote in Que farai, fra' Iacovone?:

L.53 Questa schera e sbarattata, la vergogna e conculcata;

Iacovon la sua mainata curr'el campo a confalone.

[This formation is scattered, shame scorned, and Jacopone, along with his troops (masnada) raises the standard on the battle field.]

On October 11 1303 Boniface VIII passed away. A new pope, Benedetto XI, although ambiguous in his relationship with the Franciscan spiritual movement, did revoke the order of excommunication against the Colonnas and their partisans. The doors of the convent-prison opened and Jacopone was freed. The following summer, 1304 (July), Benedetto XI mysteriously died, perhaps by poison. Jacopone, on the other hand, survived two anda half years, probably in a Franciscan convent around Todi. He died in 1306-about the same time that Dante Alighieri was writing his Inferno.

The lauds, a highly versatile poetic form, served two functions. As liturgical hymns (3) they were often dictated by Jacopone himself and meant to instruct on matters relating to theological doctrine, in vulgari pro consolatione et profectu novitiorum et proficentium et perfectorum in vita evangelica qui dicitur in terra via Crucis (Novati 47). Secondly, sung throughout the streets and piazzas of northern and central Italy, the lauds were meant to be re-enacted (as a sort of primitive archetype to the melodrama) as "performance art" (lauda dramatica) for the uneducated masses (Canettieri 27-28). The themes varied and some acquired specific political overtones. In short, Jacopone's lauds often had very little in common with the laudari of the confraternite. This novita (since lauds were usually associated with penitence and spiritual renewal or Passion sequences) quickly transformed Jacopone da Todi, bizzocco pazzo, into perhaps the most explosive figure to live at the time of Dante's exile. (4)

Many of these lauds were influenced both linguistically and thematically by biblical texts (and the exegetical tradition that accompanied these texts) for, as is generally known, a cultural or mental image becomes especially relevant (and even more for the Medieval person, homo theologicus) when founded on a biblical precedent. (5) The exegetical tradition associated with the Song of Songs was especially fertile. (6) More specifically, writings associated with the Cistercian exegetical tradition were well received in Italy during Jacopone's period. This is because the Cistercian movement propagated itself throughout Italy and was consequential socially, economically and artistically (Penco 265-7). (7) This relationship was especially true with regards to the Spirituales in that they received, interpreted and re-utilized the Cistercian's most important writer, Bernard of Clairvaux, "as a figure of cultural resonance, rather than merely exploiting his writings as a treasure trove filled with nuggets of doctrine and argumentative ammunition [...] if there was one factor that linked the disparate perceptions of Bernard in late medieval culture--contemplative, Mariologist, ecclesiastical reformer, theologian of grace--it was the recognition of his uniquely efficacious use of language, especially in his preaching" (Botterill 35, 41).

A relationship between the exegetical tradition on the Song of Songs and politically-committed writing had had some currency before Jacopone's time. If we turn to the many volumes of the Patrologia Latina (8)--more precisely to Honorius Augustodunensis's commentary on the "Song of Songs" (12th century)--we can read his interpretation of the poem (2,8;10) Vox dilecti roei [...] Surge, propera, amica mea ... (The voice of my beloved! ... [My beloved speaks and says to me:] "Arise, my love, my fair one"):

Et nota [...] quia videlicet omnia tempora tempus habent, et oportet spirituales tempore pacis in contemplatione quiescere, tempore vero persecutionis vel haeresis contra hostes Dei praedicando, dictando pugnare (P.L. 172:0389C).

There exists a time when it is deemed necessary (oportet) to rest (quiescere) in contemplation (in contemplatione). Likewise, there is a time when the oppressive force of persecution or heretical doctrine can be felt. It is at this precise moment that one ought to rise and speak out and fight (pugnare) against the enemies of God (contra hostes Dei). Scholarly work on Jacopone's library has revealed that indeed he probably had access to the writings of the great Latin fathers and the scholastic works of Bernard, Anselm, Richard of St. Victor, Bonaventure, Tomas Aquinas, the Pseudo-Dionysius and even the Commentary on the Apocalypse of Joachim (Mignini 523-530). These subtle disquisitions on Scripture were undoubtedly favorably received and assimilated into Jacopone's poetry.

The method

A reading of these lauds within this context seeks to reconstruct the situations in which the biblical genre and its exegetical tradition were received ar a specific historical moment. The aesthetic process has the user reflect on the text, intervene and reproduce. Essentially, I have memorized the laud and consulted the biblical and exegetical texts for an appropriate correspondence (intertextual and/or interdiscursive). In this article I propose to:

1. Consider the laud Plange la Eclesia, a political-religious invective, and its relationship with the late Medieval Latin exegetical tradition.

2. More specifically, I intend to reveal the displacement of a sermon by Saint Bernard in Cantica Canticorum into the theological-political structure of the text at hand.

3. Finally, as a conclusion of sorts: to what extent does Plange la Eclesia fit into Iacopone's canon--what Franco Mancini defined as a "raccolta di sermones" (Laude 352)?

Plange la Eclesia is a text which can be probably dated to the period between Cardinal Benedetto Gaetani's election as Pope Boniface VIII in December 1294 and resistance at Palestrina. It is a laud written as a sermon (9) in which Jacopone not only criticizes the Church but also those hierarchical members responsible for leading the flock astray. The metrical structure is that of a double quinary (or verses composed of tive syllables) hinged in quatrains. The rhyme structure (aaax) follows that of ballads (lauda-ballata) contained in the "laudario Urbinate" edited by Bettarini. Here is the text, as is presented to us by Mancini (95-97) and translated by Serge and Elizabeth Hughes (171-2):
Plange la Eclesia,     plange e dolora:       The Church weeps, weeps
sente fortura          de pessemo stato. 2    and laments, In torment
                                              to have sunk so low.

"O nobelissima         mamma, ehe plagni?     "O gentlest, kindest
Mustre the senti       dolur' molto magni:    Mother, Why do you
ennarran el modo       perche tanto lagni,    weep? I can see Your
the si duro planto     fai esmesurato." 6     anguish is past all
                                              measure; Tell me, why
                                              do your tears know no
                                              end?"

"Figlio, eo si         ch'e' me n'aio         "I weep, my son, in my
plango, veiome morto   anvito, pat'e          bereavement--Gone
figh, fratelli,        marito; neputi ho      father and spouse,
onne meo amico         esmarrito, e preso     Brothers, sons and
                       e legato. 10           their children all
                                              lost, And my every
                                              friend captured and
                                              bound.

So' circundata         de figli bastardi:     "Bastard sons,
en onne mea pugna      se mustra codardi;     cowardly in battle,
Li mei ligitimi,       espade ne dardi,       Surround me on every
to for coraio          non n'era mutato. 14   side--How utterly unlike
                                              my true sons,
                                              Undaunted
                                              by sword or arrow!

Li mei ligitimi        era 'n concorda:       "My sons were of one
veio bastardi          plin de descorda;      accord; These are
la gente enfedele      me clama la lorda      always at odds. It is
per to rio essemplo    the o semenato. 18     because of their
                                              scandalous lives That
                                              infidels call me 'the
                                              whore.'

Veio esbannita         la povertate,          "Their one concern is
null'e the cure        se no 'n degnetate;    for ecclesiastical
Li mei ligitimi        enn asperetate,        office; They have sent
tutto to monno         lo' fo conculcato.     Poverty into exile.
                       22                     How utterly unlike my
                                              true sons, Who armed
                                              with austerity scorned
                                              the world!

Auro et argento        s'b rebannito,         "My bastard sons have
fatt'o inimici         con for Bran convito,  made many enennies
onne bon use           da loro e fugito:      By letting gold and
donne el meo planto    con granne eiulato.    silver back into their
                       26                     lives And setting their
                                              opulent tables; They
                                              have lost all virtues
                                              and all respect.

O' so' li patri        plini de fede?         "Where are the Fathers,
Null'e the cure        morir om me vede.      strong with faith,
                                              And those ready to lay
                                              down their lives in
                                              its name?

La Tepedeza            m'a preso et occide,   I am slain by the
e 'l meo dolore        non n'e corrottato.    lukewarm, With no one
                       30                     to intone the dirge for
                                              me.

O' so' li profeti      plin' de speranza?     "Where are the Prophets,
Null'b the cure        en mea vedovanza.      rich in hope? I stand
Presonzione            pres'a baldanza,       abandoned in my
tutto to mondo         po' llei s'e           widowhood; All around
                       rizzato. 34            me arrogance has become
                                              brazen And its
                                              followers grow and grow.

O' so' l'appostoli     plin' de fervore?      "Where are the
Null'e the cure        en meo dolore:         Apostles, filled with
oscito m'& 'scuntra    to Proprio Amore,      fervor? I have none to
e is non veio          the i sia              comfort me in my
                       contrastato. 38        suffering. Self-love
                                              attacks me from every
                                              side, And I see no
                                              defenders in sight.

O' so' li martori      plin' de fortezza?     "Where now is the
Non e chi cure         en mea vedovezza.      fortitude of the
Oscita m'b'scuntra     1'Ascevelezza          martyres? I stand a
e'1 meo fervore        si a annichilato. 42   widow alone. Easeful
                                              life has taken up arms
                                              against me, And fervor
                                              has been undone.

O' so' li prelati      iusti e fervente,      "Where are the just and
the la for vita        sanava la gente?       zealous priests Whose
Oscit'b la Pompa,      grossura potente,      lives were balm for ill
e si nobel ordene      m'o maculato. 46       mankind? Pomp and
                                              haughty pride have come
                                              forth And stained the
                                              noble sacerdotal office.

O' so' li dotturi      plin de prudenza?      "Where are the Doctors
Multi ne veio          saliti en escienza,    and their prudence?
ma la for vita         non m'& a              Many I see raised
dato m'o calcia        convegnenza, ch'el     high by knowledge, But
                       cor nib acorato.50     their lives do not pay
                                              me homage. They have
                                              cast me aside and
                                              wounded my heart.

O reliusi              en temperamento,       "O austere religious,
granne de vui          avi' placemento !      The great joy I once
Or vo cercanno         onne convento,         took in you! Now I go
poehi ne trovo         en cui sia             from monastery to
                       consolato. 54          monastery, But find few
                                              to console me.

O pace amara,          co' m'ai si            "The wounds you have
                       afflitta!              inflicted on me, O
                                              bitter peace!

Mentr'e' fui en        stetti deritta.        While battles raged I
pugna, si Or to        m'a morta e            stood erect, But now
reposo                 sconfitta,             ease and repose have
                                              taken their toll.

el blando dracone      si m'a envenenato.     The demon of
                       58                     drunkenness has poisened
                                              me.

Null'e che venga       al meo corrotto,       Christ has died in each
en ciaschun stato      si m'e Cristo morto.   of these stations, And
O vita mea,            speranza e deporto,    no one comes to grieve
en onne coraio         to veio affocato!"     with me. O my life, my
                       62                     hope and my joy, I see
                                              you smothered in every
                                              heart!"


The exegetical writings in Cantica likewise proved extraordinarily malleable for politically engaged discourse. In 1135, a time when the Church was divided by a schism which had led to the election of Anacletus II as antipope, Bernard of Clairvaux began to write a series of sermons (never completed) on the "Song of Songs." At the time of his death in 1153 they numbered 86. In his thirty-third sermon Bernard bases his exegetical analysis on the verse 1,7: Indica mihi ubi pascas ubi cubes in meridie (Tell me, [you whom my soul loves], where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon). At this point Bernard explores concepts which the inquisitive soul ought to dwell on as it investigates the ineffable. Here, the bridegroom is accompanied by philosophers that guide him. The scene, however, is disturbed by the presence of heretics, an obstacle towards an otherwise spiritually constructive moment. These same temptations also imprison Boniface VIII's Eclesia which represents, after all, the body of Christ.

Plange la Eclesia is a planctus in which the main voice is represented by a Church imprisoned by corruption and scandal. It is that of a Church surrounded by bastard children in dissent amongst themselves and gluttonous in their ways. This rustic yet powerful voice is one of lament. The description of the state of affairs (voiced by the Church) is then counterbalanced (at approximately half-way through the text) with a series of cries by the grieving nobelissima mamma. Here Jacopone makes use of a rhetorical device usually associated with the Latin sermon tradition: ubi sunt, as the main character of the laud, the Eclesia, yearns for the faith of the Fathers, the hope of the prophets, the fervor of the apostles, the fortitude of the martyrs and the justice and prudence of the Church's prelates and doctors. This is the Eclesia imprisoned by Boniface VIII.

The exegetical tradition on the Song of Songs (and especially the Cistercian one) was most likely viewed favorably by the Franciscan spirituals. The evidence available even suggests a rather intimate relationship not only with these texts but also with the more subtle and technical aspects of theological discourse in general. This is exemplified in the opening verses of Plange la Eclesia:
Plange la Eclesia,          plange e dolora:
sente fortura               de pessemo stato.               2
"O nobelissima              mamma, che plagni?

Mustre che senti            dolur' molto magni:
ennarran' el modo           perche tanto lagni,
che si duro planto          fai esmesurato."                6


In this laud the pianto and dolur of the Eclesia are characterized as being senza misura. Two terms: '1 modo and esmesurato are utilized by Jacopone effectively to produce meaning; narrare (to tell, to relate) the reasons for such immeasurable suffering is difficult, almost impossible, and can only lead to infinite tears. These key words are both related, according to Lino Pertile, to the Latin modus: a common semantic denominator in both religious and secular literary texts. The technical term misura was present in both secular and religious literary works as a key motif in the writer's conceptualization of love. Furthermore, the term was employed in a technical manner by Jacopone to express the grieving laments of the main character in his laud, the personified Church. All of these themes are present (following Segre: a livello intertestuale/interdiscorsivo) in the thirty-third sermon written by Bernard in Cantica Canticorum over a century before in strikingly similar circumstances.

Nunc vero quem ejiciet, aut a quo abscondet se? Omnes amici, et omnes inimici; omnes necessarii, et omnes adversarii; omnes domestici, et nulli pacifici; omnes proximi, et omnes quae sua sunt quaerunt. Ministri Christi sunt, et serviunt Antichristo. Honorati incedunt de bonis Domini, qui domino honorem non deferunt. Inde is quem quotidie vides meretricius nitor, histrionicus habitus, regius apparatus. Inde aurum in frenis, in sellis et calcaribus, et plus calcaria quam altaria fulgent. Inde splendidae mensae et cibis, et scyphis; inde commessationes et ebrietates; inde cithara, et lyra, et tibia; inde redundantia torcularia, et promptuaria plena, eructantia ex hoc in illud, Inde dolia pigmentaria, inde referta marsupia. Pro hujusmodi volunt esse et sunt eclesiarum praepositi, decani, archidiaconi, episcopi, archiepiscopi. Nec enim haec merito cedunt, sed negotio illi, quod perambulat in tenebris (P.L. 183 1393 A).

Olim predictum est, et nunc tempus impletionis advenit: Ecce in pace amaritudo mea amarissima (Is.38, 17). Amara prius in nece martyrum, amarior post in conflictu haereticorum, amarissima nunc in moribus domesticorum. Non fugare, non fugere eos potest; ita invaluerunt, et multiplicati sunt super numerum. Intestina et insanabilis est plaga Eclesiae; et ideo in pace amaritudo ejus amarissima. Sed in qua pace? Et pax est, et non est pax. Pax a paganis, et pax ab haereticis; sed

non profecto a filiis. Vox plangentis in tempore isto: Filios enutrivi et exaltavi, ipsi autem spreverunt me (Is. 1,2). Spreverunt et maculaverunt me a turpi vita, a turpi quaestu, a turpi commercio, a negotio denique perambulante in tenebris. Superest ut jam de medio fiat daemonium meridianum ad seducendos si qui in Christo residui sunt, adhuc permanentes in simplicitate sua, Siquidem absorbuit fluvios sapientium, et torrentes potentium, et habet fiduciam ut Jordanis influat in os ejus (Job XL, 18), id est simplices et humiles qui sunt in Eclesia (P.L. 183 1393 B).

[But now truly, who is to be thrown out or rather hide ourselves from whom? All are friends and ali are enemies; all are intimate friends and all are adversaries; all belong to the same family and none are peacemakers; all are near relatives and all seek their own interests. They are ministers of Christ and they serve the anti-Christ. They walk, adorned with God's goods but to God they do not render honor. From here, that which you see every day: the elegance of the courtesans, the garments of the stage-players, the regal pomp. From here you see the gold in the reins, in the saddles and in the spurs: indeed these spurs glisten more than the altars. From here you see the splendid dining tables for the food and for the goblets; from here you see the gluttons and the drunkeness, from here the stringed instrument, the lyre and the flute; from here you see the overflowing presses and the full storerooms, bursting forth with this and with that. And then, the sweet-smelling winecasks and the overflowing purses. For these things they want to be, and they are, prefects of the churches, deacons and archdeacons, bishops and archbishops. Nor are these offices obtained by merit but by means of that plague (hypocrisy) which wanders in the darkness.]

[It was once predicted and now the time has come in which these things have come to completion: Behold for peace I had great bitterness (Is. 38, 17). Bitter before the killing of the martyrs, more bitter afterwards in the conflict with the heretics, most bitter now in the customs of the family-members. It is not possible to put them to flight, not possible to flee: and so they gained strength and so they multiplied infinitely. The wound of the Church is interior and incurable and so in peace her bitterness is most bitter. But in what peace? Peace it is and it is not peace. Peace with regards to the pagans and peace with regards to the heretics but not from the children. The voice of the Church today is one that cries: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me (Is. 1,2). They have despised me and defiled me with their foul life, their foul profits, their foul commerce, in short with that plague (hypocrisy) which wanders in the darkness. The only thing left is the coming of the noonday demon to seduce, if any are left, Christ's faithful, which have remained in their simplicity. This demon has, in fact, already absorbed the rivers of the serpents and the torrents of the powerful and he has faith that the Jordan may run into his mouth (Job XL, 18), that is the humble and the simple people that are in the Church.]

The Church, made flesh, is wounded and weeps ata time of crisis (Vox plangentis in tempore isto: plange la Eclesia, plange e dolora). Both Bernard and Jacopone chose a similar tone:

Bernard

Intestina et insanabilis est plaga Eclesiae; et ideo in pace amaritudo ejus amarissima [...] Vox plangentis in tempore isto: Filios enutrivi et exaltavi, ipsi autem spreverunt me (Is. 1,2)

Jacopone

Plange la Eclesia, plange e dolora: sente fortura de pessemo stato. 2

[...]

O pace amara, co' m'ai si afflitta! 55

Both texts (a livello interdiscorsivo) underscore the inner strife amongst the "family and friends" (omnes ...: omne ...) of the Church:
Bernard                           Jacopone:

Nunc vero quem ejiciet, aut a     Figlio, eo si       ch'e' me n'aio
quo abscondet se? Omnes           plango veiome       anvito, pat'e
amici, et omnes inimici; omnes    morto figli,        marito; neputi
necessarii, et omnes adversa-     fratelli, onne      ho esmarrito, e
rii; omnes domestici, et nulli    meo amico           preso e legato.
pacifici; omnes proximi, et                           10
omnes quae sua sunt quae-         So' circundata      de figli
runt. [... ] Sed in qua pace? Et  en onne mea pugna   bastardi: se
pax est, et non est pax. Pax a    Li mei ligitimi,    mustra codardi;
paganis, et pax ab haereticis;    lo lor coraio       espade ne dardi,
sed non profecto a filiis.                            non n'era mutato.
                                                      14


The corruption of the Church is internal. The texts present verbal signs which facilitate textual interpretation and allow us to insert Jacopone's laud in a specific literary tradition. Bernard and Jacopone insist on the presence of the Antichrist (daemonium meridianum: el blando dracone) which has poisoned the Church anda general sense of hopelessness.

Bernard

Superest ut jam de medio fiat daemonium meridianum ad seducendos si qui in Christo residui sunt, adhuc permanentes in simplicitate sua, Siquidem absorbuit fluvios sapientium, et torrentes potentium, et habet fiduciam ut ]ordanis influat in os ejus (Job XL, 18), id est simplices et humiles qui sunt in Eclesia.

Jacopone

Or lo reposo m'a morta e sconfitta, el blando dracone si m'a envenenato 58 Null'e che venga al meo corrotto, en ciaschun stato si m'e Cristo morto. O vita mea, speranza e deporto, enonne coraio te veio affocato!" 62

In the planctus we also see concrete signs (aurum; splendidae mensae et cibis ...: auro ed argento ... gran convito) of the Church's corruption. Jacopone's poetry, however, is much more vibrant and makes its impact in a concise form. This gives the text a certain sense of "urgency" as a text written to be performed:

Bernard

Honorati incedunt de bonis Domini, qui domino honorem non deferunt. Inde is quem quotidie vides meretricius nitor, histrionicus habitus, regius apparatus. Inde aurum in frenis, in sellis et calcaribus, et plus calcaria quam altaria fulgent. Inde splendidae mensae et tibis, et scyphis; inde commessationes et ebrietates; inde cithara, et lyra, et tibia; inde redundantia torcularia, et promptuaria plena, eructantia ex hoc in illud, Inde dolia pigmentaria, inde referta marsupia.

Jacopone

Auro et argento s'o rebannito, fatt'o inimici con lor gran convito, onne bon uso da loro e fugito: donne el meo planto cun granne eiulato. 26

It is noteworthy that Jacopone employs a rhetorical device typical of the Latin sermon tradition, ubi sunt ("O' so) as he names the ministers of Christ now "imprisoned" and serving the Antichrist (el blando dracone) just as Bernard names the ministers of the Church serving the Antichrist.

Bernard

Ministri Christi sunt, et serviunt Antichristo [...] Pro hujusmodi volunt esse et sunt eclesiarum praepositi, decani, archidiaconi, episcopi, archiepiscopi [...] Amara prius in nece martyrum, amarior post in conflictu haereticorum, amarissima nunc in moribus domesticorum.

Jacopone

O' so li patri...

O' so i proferi...

O' so l'appostoli...

O' so gli martiri...

O' so i prelati...

O' so i dotturi...

Finally, at lines 45-46 the verses are also intimately linked, by means of the word maculato to the sermon written by Bernard (maculaverunt me: m'omaculato).

Bernard

Spreverunt et maculaverunt me a turpi vita, a turpi quaestu, a turpi commercio, a negotio denique perambulante in tenebris

Jacopone

Oscit'e la Pompa, grossura potente, e si nobel ordene m'omaculato. 46

The thematic / inter-textual correspondence seeks to illustrate the manner in which Jacopone chooses to displace and relocate the Latin exegetical text in a laud. Images of war, of spiritual anguish, political exile and imprisonment characterize the poet's corpus. These metaphors, of a military sort, often depict the Franciscan Spirituals as a militia at war. The poet's campaign, however, undoubtedly inspired by his training (as a notaio) in the legal field, chooses to rely on the written word rather than the sword. Jacopone's lauds, albeit profoundly personal, polemic and doctrinal, were meant to be fully used as ideological "ammunition" by his Franciscan brethren. What is extraordinary in our example is that Jacopone positively receives a theologically oriented text and then redeploys it as a political-theological manifesto, (10)

A final note of caution: The Middle Ages represented a time, as Pertile states in his aforementioned study, when intellectual property was not protected under modern copywriting laws. Scholars, poets, exegetes, court jesters, troubadours, historians and friars (just to name a few) had no reservations in performing systematic acts of plagiarism and "re-use" as they wrote. Ina sense, we can conclude by restating that in the Middle Ages very little was invented: a computer-aided search on the hundreds of volumes of the Patrologia Latina can confirm this. And yet the previous paragraphs can allow us to elaborate on the way in which these lauds were created (poesis) by means of an interdisciplinary study that considers aspects of the poetry of Jacopone da Todi intimately and vibrantly linked to the sermon-tradition. (11) The evidence presented here does seem to shed light on a very clear link between two texts that belong to opposite ends of the literary spectrum: the exegetical tradition on the "Song of Songs"--an erotically charged love poem--and Jacopone's laud, a political invective against a corrupt Church. Such was the extraordinary adaptability of the imaginary sequences present in the Canticum Canticorum.

WORKS CITED

Beltrami, P. La metrica italiana. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1991.

Bettarini, R. Jacopone e il laudario Urbinate, Firenze: Sansoni, 1969.

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ANTONIO MORENA

SUNY Stony Brook

NOTES

(1) I have consulted the following editions: Jacopone da Todi. Laude Trattato e Detti. Ed. Franca Ageno. Florence: Le Monnier. 1953; Jacopone da Todi. Laude. Ed. Franco Mancini. Bari: Laterza. 1974. Ali references to Jacopone's texts are taken from the Mancini edition. Ali translations are mine except where noted.

(2) For a complete and recent biography of the life of Jacopone (as well as the most recent bibliographical references), see: Convegno su Jacopone poeta: Jacopone poeta: atti del Convegno di studi (Todi, 10-11 Settembre 2005). Ed. Franco Suitner. Roma: Bulzoni. 2007; Alessandro Vettori. Poets of divine love. New York: Fordham University Press. 2004; Franco Suitner. Jacopone da Todi. Rome: Universale Donzelli. 1999; George T. Peck. The Fool of God. The University of Alabama Press. 1980. See also: M. Casella, "Jacopone da Todi," in Enciclopedia Italiana, XXVIII (1923). 636; M. L. Egerton Castle. "A vindication of Jacopone da Todi," in English historical Review, 135 (1920). 220-31; E. D'Ascoli. Il misticismo nei canti spirituali di fra Jacopone da Todi. Recanati, 1925; L. Russo. "Jacopone da Todi, mistico-poeta," in Ritratti e disegni storici, s. III, Bari 1951, p. 36-68; G. Bertoni. "Jacopone da Todi," in Storia letteraria d'Italia. Il Duecento, Milano 1930, p. 201ss; G. Parodi, "Il giullare di Dio," in Lingua e letteratura, ed. G. Folena, Venezia 1957, pp. 142-52 ; M. Vinai. "Jacopone e S. Bonaventura," in Cultura Neolatina, I (1941); N.Sapegno. Disegno storico della letteratura italiana. Firenze 1959; Silvestro Nessi. "Lo stato attuale della critica iacoponica," Atti dei convegno storico iacoponico. Ed. Enrico Menesto (Spoleto 1992) 37-42; V. Louise Katainen. "Jacopone da Todi, Poet and Mystic: A review of the History of the Criticism" in Mystics Quarterly 22 (2): 46-57 1996 June.

(3) Beltrami explains (with reference to Franco Mancini, "Lauda," in Dizionario Critico della Letteratura Italiana, li, pp. 364-8) that the laud "non e di per se una forma metrica, ma un inno paraliturgico, che puo utilizzare un'ampia varieta di forme metriche" (Pietro Beltrami. La metrica italiana. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1991.89).

(4) In 1958 Sapegno spoke of Jacopone as a "potente personalita" in his Disegno storico della letteratura italiana. Firenze, 1959.28. See also: P. Canettieri. Jacopone da Todi e la poesia religiosa del Duecento. Milan: Rizzoli, 2001.

(5) See: L'immaginario medievale. Ed. J. Le Goff. Roma-Bari: Laterza. 1988, xv.

(6) See, for example: A. Montani, "La lauda Omo che vol parlare" in Jacopone poeta, Ed. Franco Suitner, Roma: Bulzoni, 2007. 248-250.

(7) Botterhill: "This apparent fusion of related, but essentially different, ideals may well have inspired a new synthesis in perceptions of Bernard, as the official Cistercian line laid down in the Vita prima, the orthodox Franciscanism of a Bonaventure, and the radical symbolic interpretations of a Joachim of Fiore (to cite only three possible positions on the spectrum) combined to create a richer and more complex image, indebited as much to Franciscan as to Cistercian spirituality and devotion. At any rate, the image retained a central place in early Trecento Italian culture, where it was refracted, as we have seen, through a multiplicity of intellectual interests, personal commitments, textual forms, and social institutions" in S. Botterill. Dante and the mystical tradition. Bernard of Clairvaux in the 'Commedia." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. 63.

(8) From now on: P.L. (Patrologia Latina, ed. J. P. Migne, Paris, Garnier,

various volumes, 1841-).

(9) See also: Lucia Battaglia Ricci, "Sermoni in forma di laude" in Jacopone poeta. Roma: Bulzoni Editore. 2007. Ricci does not mention the laud considered here. The laud will, in a future study, be considered in relation to two other lauds: Iesu Cristo se lamenta de la Eclesia romana and Que farai, fra'lacovone?

(10) "It is also sometimes useful to see preaching as a sort of distillation of some aspects of society, especially if one pictures society as saturated with thoughts and values [...] sermons are in a sense 'representative' of society" (David D'Avray, "Method in the study of medieval sermons" in Modern questions about Medieval sermons, Spoleto: Centro italiano di Studi sull'Alto Medioevo, 1994, p. 7). In a sense, one of my premises here is to identify "le forme che il letterario di volta in volta assume, e di individuare le modalita del riconoscimento di certi testi come letterari ele procedure del loro trattamento nella societa" (E Brioschi-C. Di Girolamo, Elementi di teoria letteraria. Milano: Principato, 1984. p. 69).

(11) "E utile potrebbe altresi essere--ora che la riflessione critica e storica sulla produzione letteraria medievale si e arricchita di un pio ricco armamentario tecnico e cultura|e anche grazie a studi interdisciplinari quali quelli dedicati a indagare le relazioni tra omiletica e letteratura o tra letteratura, arte figurativa e arte della memoria--tornare a riflettere sulle procedure utilizzate dallo scrittore per costruire un testo che, come e ben presente alla tradizione critica, si offre ai lettori come vibrante, plurima, espressione dell'io e, al contempo, come una 'raccolta di sermoni' [...] brani di ' "teologia versificata" ad impostazione propriamente didascalica,' o vibranti prediche morali" (L. Battaglia Ricci, "Sermoni in forma di laude" in Jacopone poeta. Roma: Bulzoni, 2007. 14)
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