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Reviews195 with filmic discourse, and his often intuitive capacity to comprehend how cinema addresses desire, the unconscious, the body. The chapter makes for arduous reading, but the reward comes in the rigor with which Greene then approaches the myths and eroticism of the eight feature films Pasolini produced during the last ten years of his life. Paradoxically, they include some of his most successful commercial cinema, like The Decameron, as well as the bleak and forbidding Salò. Greene notes that Pasolini's "embrace of the 'danger spots' [Foucault] of sexuality and politics had always rendered him a figure of controversy" (p. 173). They were the fundamental features of an oppositional discourse that led him to the extremism ofSalò, and its repellent cruelties. But in her treatment of the most heretical aspects of Pasolini's cinema (a theme, incidentally, that she does not emphasize enough, despite her subtitle) Naomi Greene forces controversy into the background by listening sharply to the "radical and prophetic " (p. 223) voice that speaks through these films. Hearing that voice sends us back to this challenging cinema with renewed interest and many new questions . Skidmore CollegeJohn Anzalone Medieval Literary Theory and Criticism, c. 1100-c. 1375: The Commentary Tradition, edited by A. J. Minnis and A. B. Scott, with the assistance of David Wallace; xvi & 538 pp. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988, $145.00. Many literary criticism textbooks either ignore or devalue the Middle Ages. For example, TL· Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends, edited by David H. Richter (1989), skips from Plotinus to Dante, devoting only seven of almost 1 ,500 pages to two medieval representatives, Dante and Boccaccio. Even when earlier medieval texts are included, anthologies often focus narrowly. The selections from Hugh of Saint-Victor and Aquinas (following selections from Augustine) in Literary Criticism and T^ry: The Greeks to tL· Present, edited by Robert Con Davis and Laurie Finke (1989), for instance, overemphasize the "four-fold allegorical method," thus perpetuating a caricature of medieval hermeneutic theory. Luckily, 1988 saw the publication oftwo impressive collections of translations which may help remedy this situation. The first volume of The Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts, edited by Norman Kretz- 196Philosophy and Literature mann and Eleonore Stump, includes investigations of logic and the philosophy of language ranging from Boethius (early 6th century) to Boethius of Dacia (late 13th century). Other less technical, yet crucial, materials are translated, often for the first time, in the book under review, Medieval Literary Theory and Criticism, c. 1100—c. 1375. The anthology's ten chapters are arranged both by chronology and topic. The first two exemplify medieval understanding of classical auctors, including standard introductions (accesus) by grammarians and Conrad of Hirsau's Dialogue on theAuthors, which establishes the canon ofschool texts. The third chapter focuses on the better-known theory ofscriptural allegory (Hugh ofSaint-Victor, Peter Abelard, and Peter Lombard). More interesting are the two chapters on "Poetic Fiction and Truth" (including William of Conches and Arnulf of Orl éans) and "The Dionysian Imagination" (Thomas Gallus and Robert Grosseteste ). As the editors note, these texts often "found philosophy in poetry and poetry in philosophy" (p. 122). The next three chapters reflect an increasingly sophisticated scholastic approach to ancient texts, evident in a new emphasis on the literal sense ofScripture (chapter 6), in the Latin translation ofAverroes's "Middle Commentary" on Aristotle's Poetics by Hermann the German (chapter 7), and in fourteenth-century interpretations of Boethius, Seneca, and Ovid (chapter 8). The final two chapters are devoted to criticism by Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio and to the early reception of the Commedia. Rather than including selections from the better-known artes (the rhetorical "arts" of poetry, preaching, and letter writing—some of which are already available in translation), the anthology is restricted to the "commentary tradition ," seeking to achieve coherence by tracing commentary on specific authors (especially Ovid and Boethius) and arguments on related issues (such as the truth status of fictional narrative or the relation of poetry to philosophy and theology). A general introduction as well as the sometimes extensive discussions prefacing each chapter provide the beginnings of a very helpful history of this particular strand of medieval interpretation, which...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 195-196
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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