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The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies www.hortulus.net Vol. 1, No.

1 January 2005
ISSN #1552-9584

Table of Contents
Letter from the Editor 1 Thanne Have I Gete of Yow Maistrie”: Power and the Subversive Body in Chaucer’s Wife of Bath 2 Author: Laura Alexander
The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales have long fascinated scholars who explore representations of gender, marriage, and power within this canonical work. This article argues that the Wife represents more than a transversal of power in marriage from men to women based on sexual prowess, but rather the Prologue and the Tale can be read as a proposal for a redefinition of marriage and the power distribution within it.

The Music of Dante’s Purgatorio Author: Mimi Stillman

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Dante's Inferno guides the reader along with Dante the pilgrim and Virgil through hell, purgatory, and heaven through parodies of and numerous analogies to music and musical instruments. This article analyses how the various psalms, hymns and songs in Dante's masterpiece offer a musical sub-structure that reflects and reinforces Dante's moral message.

Seeing the World with the Eyes of God: The Vision Implied by the Medieval Icon 22 Author: Clemena Antonova
Icons have the ability to convey a sense of the divine to even the most agnostic of observers. This article sheds light on the transcendental nature of icons by arguing that the spatial construction of iconic images allows the viewer to experience a form of divine vision that transcends the human constraints of time and space. Thus the experience of viewing an icon becomes a transcendental experience in itself.

Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies Dear Readers,

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2005

Welcome to the premiere issue of Hortulus, the new online journal of medieval studies written and published by graduate students. What you are about to explore is a lush garden of interesting and entertaining flora carefully tilled and cultivated by our staff. We have striven to embody the diversity and passion of graduate students from around the globe and are pleased to present an exciting assortment of academic and informative pieces. This issue’s scholarly articles range from literature to painting and music. Laura Alexander investigates the Wife of Bath’s interpretation of female autonomy in “Thanne Have I Gete of Yow Maistrie”; Mimi Stillman explores music’s moral and historical performance in Dante’s Purgatorio; and Clemena Antonova juxtaposes representations of iconic art with theories of divine eternity in “Seeing the World with the Eyes of God.” We hope you will also visit Hortus Amoenus, a section that seeks to entertain and instruct by featuring articles on various and sundry aspects of medievalism. This issue’s contributions will help you improve your Latin, test your knowledge of medieval gardens and herbs, educate you in the art of weaponry, and enhance your appreciation of music. With this publication we intend to open up the world of graduate medieval studies by utilizing the capabilities of the Internet to provide a forum for communication and the exchange of ideas. The flexibility of the Web can help us profit from the knowledge of our comrades-in-books; new influences, like fertile soil, allow the seeds of research and study to blossom. To this end, we encourage you to continue the discussion by posting responses to the articles (“Respond” buttons are available next to each piece), by submitting articles in any discipline yourselves (see the Submissions page), and by joining our staff. Working on this journal has been a terrific experience, but we could not have done it without the help of our many supporters. We are indebted (figuratively speaking) to the Rutgers Graduate Student Association for providing funding. Many thanks to Rick Emmerson of the Medieval Academy of America and Chris Cevasco of Paradox for their gracious assistance with advertising. Recognition is also due to the professors and journalists (too numerous to be listed here) upon whom we have called for advice. And of course I would like to thank the staff and contributors for their hard work in turning this idea into reality. Thank you for taking the time to share Hortulus with us, and happy reading! Hayley Weiner Editor in Chief

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“Thanne Have I Gete of Yow Maistrie”: Power and the Subversive Body in Chaucer’s Wife of Bath
by Laura Alexander The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale expose the often misunderstood relationship between gender, marriage, and power that drives the contentious interplay between the Wife’s authority and experience.1 Critics have characterized her as a reflection of phallocentric values, arguing that she derives her authority exclusively from her extensive sexual and marital experience. And, because the Wife functions in a structured society where the body serves as a primary vehicle for power, readers have suggested that she remains inscribed by the sexual identity she projects.2 Gillian Rudd, among others, argues that “the Wife aligns herself with experience, and thus with the body rather than the intellect; the sexual, not the spiritual,”3 and this view frames the ongoing debate about the nature of experience in the Prologue and Tale as either carnal or scholarly knowledge, not both. The argument over “auctoritee” [authority] and “experience” has traditionally left the Wife’s complex character confined to a world where feminine desire opposes “masculine” reason, a limitation forced by binaries that pit men against women and authority against experience. Recent scholars have disputed this claim, “rehabilitating” the Wife by arguing that, although she participates in a system that engages sexuality as a means of achieving power, she nevertheless disrupts structural positions that leave women physically abused and socially undervalued.4 Her violation of the traditional power structure achieves a gender reversal in the Prologue that permits her to subvert patriarchy and hold stereotypically “masculine” roles even as she uses this system to gain power. At first, she discloses that her knowledge of masculine desire allows her to dominate her husbands, revealing that oppression forces women to market themselves as sexual objects in order to gain autonomy. Her experiences in a patriarchal society allow her to reverse the hierarchy by “buying” her last husband, Jankyn, as she was once “bought” as a young bride; but, as I will argue, it also allows her to extend herself, to free herself from an inherently misogynistic system that uses her even when she “reverses” its pattern. The Wife’s willingness to barter the body suggests only one side of her character, however, and discloses only part of her “experience”; the Tale reveals another side of the Wife that offers another “experience,” one that exposes her intelligence, rhetorical skill, and reason. In the opening lines of the Prologue, the Wife appeals to her marital and sexual experience for authority, but through the hag in her Tale, she derives her authority not only from the body but also from moral virtue and intellectual knowledge. She presents herself as an educated woman in the hag, whose philosophical discourse on gentillesse (nobility) displays her scholarship as she predicates her sermon upon themes from the theologians, poets, and philosophers who influenced Chaucer.5 The Wife’s range of experiences, both carnal and intellectual, informs our view of her character, which defies structures that juxtapose the body against the mind. She exposes the weaknesses of a binary world that forces an inequitable power distribution between the sexes. In www.hortulus.net 2

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addition, she contrasts this world with a utopian one in her Tale that not only permits her to ameliorate the tensions between men and women but also invites a radical alternative to patriarchy: gender equality.6 Thus, the Wife of Bath’s character requires a reading that accommodates her complex use of the body along with the learned mind to establish authority and create identity. I will approach the Wife as both an idealistic and realistic character who recognizes the body as an “instrument” necessary for power, but also as one who seeks a different world, a world less contentious and less strict in its assignment of the gender roles that produce enmity between men and women. If the Wife of Bath offers us anything, it is an early feminist portrait, one that presents characteristics of reason, learning, and open sexuality as rights given to women and to men that should be celebrated rather than silenced. And, while she does not fulfill twenty-first-century feminist goals set by today’s standard, since she obtains at least part of her authority from her body, she does approach earlier feminist goals, set by pioneers such as Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, and Hélène Cixous, of an artistic being who exercises creativity to promote equality.7

I
Typical Aristotelian paradigms shape structural positions for men and women that conform to rigid lines: women typically project darkness and matter, men reason and light. But Chaucer confuses these oppressive categories to reverse power relationships between men and women.8 He poses a humorous but conflicting portrait of female sexuality in the Prologue and the Tale by offering an imaginative version of the Wife through her hag, who masters the rapist-knight morally and intellectually through a rhetorical appeal to virtue. The morality the hag espouses in the Tale appears at odds with the lusty Wife’s concern with managing her husbands, but it is a disparity that redirects attention to a reductive system, one that the Wife redefines in her Tale by proposing a mutual exchange between the hag and the knight, defined not economically but emotionally. The Wife submits herself as a sexual commodity early in the Prologue: “In wyfhode I wol use myn instrument”9 [In marriage I would use my instrument]. But since she desires to “have the power durynge al [her] lyfe / Upon his [her husband’s] propre body” (158–159) [have the power throughout [her] life / Upon his own body], it is his body that she objectifies, so that “whan that hym list com forth” [when he desires to come forth], it is to “paye his dette” (153) [pay his debt] to her sexually. The power she wields participates in the exchange system by which she “wolde selle [her] bele chose” (447) [would sell [her] nice thing], a euphemism for her sexual organs, but this power involves more than an obvious prostitution of the self. The Wife derives this power through her “maistrie” [mastery], i.e. manipulation, of a marital system that, as she claims, serves as the primary vehicle for controlling her husbands, as she “brought it so about by . . . wit” (426). Her wisdom, which she coins as “deceite, wepying, [and] spynning,” [deceit, weeping, [and] spinning] and which “God hath yive / To wommen kyndely, whil that they may lyve” (401–402) [God has given / To women kindly, while they may live] suggests that she lives in a world that could prove fatal to her by the end of her narrative. Sexual knowledge permits the Wife to control, manipulate, and lie, but primarily, in the end, to exist. The Wife’s defense of her www.hortulus.net 3

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“deceite” rests on her survival, and she undertakes another “deceite” not only to save herself but also to master her husband Jankyn. When the Wife meets Jankyn, twenty years her junior, she has already entered what Jacques Lacan defines as the phallus-driven symbolic order as the signified “other,” a term used in this patriarchal economy as an inferior counterpart to men, or “female.” Carolyn Dinshaw suggests that the Wife’s mimesis serves to “reform” this overarching patriarchal discourse; but the Wife not only “reforms” and “reveals” patriarchy, as Dinshaw claims, she also disrupts it by speaking against the silence women are typically forced to maintain, as it is men, not women, who are associated with speech.10 While the Wife does, in fact, reaffirm the symbolic order’s structural patterns in her Prologue, she reverses the positions to thwart established gender roles, signifying Jankyn as the “other,” which she mimics from her early marriages—a reversal she will repeat in her Tale before introducing a different alternative in marriage, one that shuns objectification through the hag and the knight’s mutual surrender. Reality, unlike the fantasy the Wife contrives in her Tale, will not allow such kindly capitulation, and experience teaches the Wife that marriage remains a sexual market tied to an economic one that permits her to “buy” Jankyn in marriage. Anticipating widowhood, the Wife regards Jankyn with the same eyes that once regarded her as a sexual commodity. But instead of a rich, older husband buying a young and beautiful wife, it is the Wife, an older woman who looks for a younger, poorer, and most attractive man, and who delights in marrying him despite his lower socioeconomic status: I seye that in the feeldes walked we, Til trewely we hadde swich daliance, This clerk and I, that of my purveiance I spak to hym and seyde hym how that he, If I were wydewe, sholde wedde me. For certeinly, I sey for no bobance, Yet was I nevere withouten purvience Of mariage, n’of othere thynges eek. (564–571) [I say that in the fields we walked, till truly we had such conversation, this clerk and I, that by my foresight I spoke to him and said if I were widowed, he should wed me. For certainly, I say without boasting, that I was never without provision of marriage, nor without other things also.] Jankyn revolts against the Wife by acting out against her transgression of structural patterns, which places him in an objectified, traditionally feminine position. He invokes misogynist

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writers, including Theophrastus and Jerome, in his “book of wikked wyves” (685) [book of wicked wives] to condemn her rebellion against patriarchy through abusive language. Speech serves as a way for both characters to construct identity and establish authority; it allows the Wife to reject the silence her husband desires from her and prompts Jankyn to reclaim this “stolen” privilege. By breaking silence, the Wife achieves the authority Jankyn recognizes and condemns as wicked because it divests him of power, reversing patriarchal patterns. But it also fulfills the prediction Luce Irigaray makes in This Sex Which is Not One that if the “aim were simply to reverse the order of things . . . history would repeat itself in the long run, would revert to sameness: to phallocratism. It would leave room neither for women’s sexuality, nor for women’s imaginary, nor for women’s language to take (their) place.”11 Even if the Wife performs a masculine role with “auctoritee” and is in danger of “repeating” the same phallocratic structure, she nevertheless performs this role ultimately to challenge its limitation and to satirize its ridiculous formulation, which anticipates the imaginative power she wields through the hag. Though she employs the phallocentric hierarchy in place to achieve her own ends, even at the beginning of her Tale, she moves away from this hierarchy by imagining a different kind of husband, one who learns to listen rather than abuse his intelligent wife. Her story serves as another speech act that allows her to challenge dominant social patterns that punish insurgent wives through violent words and deeds. The Wife’s creativity, then, counteracts patriarchal oppression, which is manifested through the violence enacted against women and which remains as the only power Jankyn exercises over her. Chaucer reinforces this abuse by placing brutal acts against women closely together: Jankyn’s mistreatment of the Wife occurs at the end of her Prologue, and the knight’s rape of an innocent maiden opens her Tale. She counters Jankyn’s reliance on male-authored texts by offering a different version of history in her Prologue: “If wommen hadd writen stories, . . . / They wold han writen of men moore wikkedness” (693, 695) [If women had written stories, . . . / They would have written of men more wickedness]. But in her “storie” [story] the Wife never delivers on her promise to write “of men moore wikkedness.” She presents a completely different vision by presenting a desired state of equitable marital bliss in her Tale, one that counteracts both the violent interplay between Jankyn and the Wife and the Wife’s pragmatic view towards marital and sexual experience in her Prologue. She reorders speech in her Tale to promote this equality and transform the masculine aggression at the beginning of her Tale into “feminine” patience, as the rapist-knight willingly listens to the hag—a characteristic absent in Jankyn’s violent character.

II
In the Prologue, the Wife delivers two seemingly firm conclusions: that she draws solely on the body as a primary source for experience, and that she participates in a system of objectification by devaluing her husband, who responds in violent verbal and physical forms. In Irigaray’s assessment, she promotes “phallocratic” values, leaving Lacan’s phallus-driven signification firmly in place as she role-plays masculine authority. If Chaucer left the Wife without a Tale, we

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could leave the Wife with her phallocratic hierarchy. This hierarchy destabilizes, however, with the introduction of the hag, whose “masculine” rationale reveals the intellectual workings of a highly skilled rhetorician. Whereas the Wife presents sexualized representations or misrepresentations of theological texts, her hag presents a “masculine” discourse that invokes “Senec and othere clerkes” (1184) [Seneca and other clerks] to emphasize a clear sermonic theme: “gentillesse cometh fro God allone” (1162) [nobility comes from God alone]. Unlike the beautiful Dorigen in the Franklin’s Tale or the silent, long-suffering Griselda in the Clerk’s Tale, whose natural beauty mimics her Job-like constancy, the hag’s initial physical ugliness belies her moral virtue. But if any character in the Wife’s Tale has a divine or rational “light,” it is the hag who instructs the “dark” rapist-knight about morality and ethical conduct. Chaucer invests the hag and, by extension, the Wife who “creates” her, not only with carnal knowledge but also with classical scholarship and reason. He imbues her character with traditionally masculine attributes and gives her the knight’s role in the medieval romance. Usually, it is the knight who saves the passive maiden from a distressing situation, but not only does the knight in the Tale fail to uphold chivalric ideals, he actively opposes them, causing rather than preventing a maiden’s distress by raping her; this is his only assertive act in the Tale. Once caught, the Queen strips the knight of power, and he must rely on the hag to save him from the “iren” [iron] of the axe, which will fall lest he discover what women most desire: “sovereynetee” (1038) [sovereignty]. Chaucer blurs gender lines between active masculinity and passive feminine “otherness” with an obvious satiric glance on the romance genre in the Tale that, at first, parallels the reversals he foreshadows in the Prologue. But the reversals are not complete since the hag does not enact violence to affirm her “masculine” power. Rather, she assumes a dominant role as the knight’s only saving agent, and unlike the knight, who remains driven by sexual need, she presents a more fully developed character than the medieval romance typically allows, which emerges in her rhetorical ability. She cites Dante, Seneca, Boethius, and Juvenal to affirm “poverte” (1183) [poverty] as a superior state aligned with “gentil dedes” (1115) [noble deeds], effectively winning the knight’s admiration by securing power through her willingness to share knowledge, which saves him: “I am youre owne love and eek your wyf; / I am she which that saved hath your lyf” (1091–1092) [I am your own love and also your wife; / I am she who has saved your life]. The hag acknowledges her occupation of the traditional “gentil man” [gentleman] or knight’s role in a romance, placing her husband in the traditionally feminine or passive role which he affirms by granting her “sovereynetee” when she asks him to choose his pleasure. She achieves sovereignty not only through her knowledge of his desire, however, but also through her “maistrie” of classical authors, which she employs to reinforce Christian ethics and to persuade the knight to fulfill his obligation: marriage to her, which she effectively accomplishes. He acknowledges her superiority by placing himself under her “wise governance” (1231) [wise governing], granting her power to “chese” (1237) [choose] as “certes” [certainly] he “holde it best” (1238) [holds it best]. The hag agrees to obey her husband and thereby relinquishes her www.hortulus.net 6

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power—power the Wife relishes in her “maistrie” of sexual desire. It would seem that the Wife effects a total reversal of power in the Tale. And yet, the hag humbly affirms that she remains under the knight’s “wille” (1042) [will], capitulating to him as “ . . . she obeyed hym in every thyng / That myghte doon hym plesance of likyng” (1255–1256) [she obeyed him in everything / That might do him pleasure]. Though she gives up her authority, the hag still has the power to transform herself into a beautiful maiden literally and to transform the rapist knight morally. In contrast to any other female in the tales of the Marriage Group, the hag in the Wife of Bath’s Tale not only possesses a supernatural power that May in the Merchant’s Tale, Griselda in the Clerk’s Tale, and Dorigen in the Franklin’s Tale, for example, lack, but more importantly, she possesses an obvious superior ability to argue and reason, winning the knight’s respect. Ultimately, she is his teacher, changing him from a rapist to an honorable knight governed by humility, virtue, and reason. This instructive role signifies another way in which she holds “masculine” power, as men, not women, moralize on spiritual and philosophical truths taken from classical texts and sacred works. Though she ostensibly concedes her power to him, it is with the understanding that he has been altered from a rapist, who by definition takes away a woman’s choice, to a humble husband, able to let a woman choose her fate. She only yields her power when it appears safe for her to do so. Even so, one never forgets that the Wife tells the Tale and that sexual experience shapes the dynamic between husbands and wives. Only the promise of the hag’s metamorphosis into a beautiful, desirable woman prompts the knight to wed her; though, he listens to her wisdom respectfully. Because the hag, like the Wife, understands masculine desire, she returns to the body, which Chaucer fashions as the basis for power between the sexes, even when this power begins to equalize between them before the end of the Tale. Power relies on sexual dominance, and the hag, despite her intellectual exercises and her appeal to the authority of ethics, religion, and philosophy, must also possess a sexual perspicuity that appeals to the baser nature of her husband. Even in her “utopia” the Wife cannot imagine a world not somehow driven by “essential” difference, or a world not predicated on sexual power. She approaches a new definition of marriage that includes mutual respect and sexual equality but falls short of delivering the hag from the gender stereotype that a woman must have beauty and seductive powers to win a husband. The Wife, through her hag, conceives a world beyond patriarchal limitation by allowing her imaginative character to deploy rational logic through a sermonic rhetorical strategy. She returns, however, to the self/other paradigm that constitutes a binary system because this system has fashioned her. The phallocentric values that drive this system configure the material body as the central agent necessary to preserve patriarchy, which the Wife outlines early in the Prologue and returns to at the end of her Tale. Like the Wife, the hag exercises autonomy only through an exclusionary sexual system that inscribes feminine desire because it routes it in a decidedly reductive system of exchange: marriage. The hag triumphs in achieving a transference of power from her husband, who allows her to “gete . . . maistrie” (1236) [obtain . . . mastery] by putting him under her “wise governance,” but her perpetuation of a patriarchal cycle, her desire to wed www.hortulus.net 7

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and bed the knight, who is her obvious moral, spiritual, and intellectual inferior, reinforces the idea that women really want the sexual and social roles given to them, only they want to exert the same economic and sexual power men typically hold. It also reinforces a “masculine” power structure so that, even when the Wife and her hag achieve this “masculine” power, they continue to function as victims of an oppressive system, “miming” it in different ways that emphasize the ultimate dichotomy that separates the narratives: reality versus fantasy. The Wife cannot escape the former, though she attempts to in the latter by attaching other characteristics to the hag that allow her to effect change in the knight and win his esteem for her wisdom. To return to Irigaray’s “proletization” of women “on the exchange market” and the problem of “phallocratism,”12 we see a clear desire to reverse power roles in the Prologue that nevertheless unravels in complex ways in the Tale, despite the triumph of sexual over intellectual power or moral virtue. Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar suggest that the Wife reorders the masculine hierarchy through language, investing it in a way that completely redefines discourse, specifically women’s creativity in language, which is typically characterized as mad.13 I would extend Gilbert and Gubar’s analysis by arguing that the Wife’s creativity not only “redefines language,” it redefines the entire relationship between men and women in her Tale just by introducing equality. Unlike the Prologue, the Tale affords a space where hierarchies begin to disappear between men and women, and language inspires concession rather than contention. The knight, who allows his wife to “cheseth youreself which may be moost plesance, / And moost honour to yow and me also” (1232–1233) [choose yourself which may be most pleasant, / And does most honor to you and me also], submits to his wife. Though the hag replies “Thanne have I gete of yow maistrie” (1236) [than have I gotten of you mastery], they are “no lenger wrothe” (1239) [no longer angry] or no longer in a power struggle, which defines the Wife’s relationship with Jankyn. The fairy tale ending, “And thus they lyve unto hir lyves ende / In parfit joye” (1257–1258) [And thus they lived unto her life’s end / In perfect joy], might suggest that their bliss results from any number of possibilities in the Tale, including the hag’s concession to the knight, his metamorphosis, her ability to bewitch him, or their sexual bliss. But the Wife leaves these paths inconclusive, possibly to reemphasize the fairy tale finish of the romance —the fantasy that invites the reader to choose an ending before reintroducing reality. The Wife could have offered a Tale that corresponds to her gender performance in the Prologue, one where a “knowing,” i.e. older, sexually experienced woman dominates her husband, who might have appeared as an obedient slave, possibly of a lower social status—a husband more like Jankyn. The Wife does not reverse gender roles at the end of her Tale, although the early role reversals between the hag and the knight might have indicated this type of ending, especially given the Wife’s Prologue and quarrelsome relationship with Jankyn. Instead, the Wife problematizes their roles, alternately giving the knight and the hag power throughout the Tale and suggesting that a transformation had occurred in the rapist-knight’s treatment of women. He looks to a woman for wisdom and honors his agreement to marry her— all of which imply a change in the knight since the beginning of the Tale, which may or may not have resulted from the hag’s supernatural influences. Certainly Chaucer intends for his audience www.hortulus.net 8

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to perceive this change as a consequence of some spiritual power, given the hag’s reliance on Christian doctrine, her ability to alter her appearance, and her conversion of the rapist knight, whether by her sermon or her bewitching powers. This otherworldly power, which the hag ostensibly concedes to her husband, remains problematic because it is so inconclusive. She professedly relinquishes power but seems hardly without it if she can so transform her body and the knight, who is made humble by a “lowerclass” wife. Like the Wife, she may fabricate an illusion of “parfit joye” (1246) [perfect joy] with her husband. But even if the hag holds power and in that way seems to dominate her husband, her coercion, supernatural or otherwise, opposes the self-effacing humility she espouses in her Christian sermon: And certes, sire, thogh noon auctoritee Were in no book, ye gentils of honour Seyn that men sholde an oold wight doon favour, And clepe hym fader, for youre gentillesse. (1208–1211) [And certainly, sir, though none of this authority came out of a book, your honorable nobles say that men should do an old creature favor, and call him father, for your nobleness.] Her speech, reflective of the Wife’s appeal to “auctoritee” in the opening lines of her Prologue, suggests that the hag understands the patriarchal mind-set held by the knight, who remains unwilling to sleep with his acknowledged savior, intellectual superior, and physically repulsive wife until she presents him with a better option: a more attractive bedfellow.14 But she turns this speech into one that espouses a democratic conception of nobleness, one that rejects existing social paradigms and introduces a Christian alternative that gives husbands and wives more liberty through their reciprocal renunciations of power. The hag appears as a spiritual guide to the knight, one who introduces what marriage could offer men and women: sexual, spiritual, and emotional “joye,” rather than the “wrothe” engendered by the power struggles that the Wife understands all too well. Indeed, their relationship appears more equitable than any marriage in The Canterbury Tales, one that loosely conforms to a Pauline proscription for marital relations. Paul decrees in Ephesians 5:22–33 that “wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (verse 24), which the hag agrees to do, as “she obeyed hym [her husband] in every thyng” (1255) [she obeyed him in everything]. As an addendum to this prescription, Paul insists that a husband “must love his wife as he loves himself” (verse 33), “just as Christ loved the church” (verse 25), which the knight at least approaches, else his wife would not “thus . . . lyve unto hir lyves ende / In parfit joye” (1257–1258) [thus . . . live unto her life’s end / In perfect joy]. All the avenues that potentially produce the hag and the knight’s “parfit joye”—mutual submission of the wife and the husband, sexual bliss, and the hag’s powers—remain unanswered. But one result of this

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“parfit joye” is conclusive: that there is no animosity, no monetary exchange to mar the knight and the hag’s marriage. It is a joy that the Wife dispels by concluding her utopia with a “prayer” that “Jhesu Crist us sende / Housbandes meeke, yonge, and fressh abedde” (1259–1260) [Jesus Christ send us / Husbands meek, young, and fresh in bed]—reintroducing a world in which men are not as changed as the knight, whether by magic or by their wives’ attributes, into amenable and loving husbands. And though she returns the audience to a patriarchal worldview where she invokes “verray pestilence” (1264) [very pestilence] on husbands who cannot be charmed, or, rather, manipulated, she nevertheless allows her desire for sexual and marital equality to emerge as part of a perspective that does not mimic oppressive relations; rather, it transgresses structural boundaries, at least momentarily.15 She approaches a redefinition of marriage that offers men and women a relationship free from antagonism, if not from binaries, and she proposes a potential vision of a world without patriarchal limitation, where women speak intelligently and win respect not only by their physical attributes, but also by their wisdom and learning. Laura Alexander is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She specializes in British literature of the eighteenth century with a focus on feminist theory, women writers, philosophy, and aesthetics.

Notes
1. In the eighteenth century, for example, the Wife of Bath was at best regarded as a humorous character who expressed Chaucer’s comedic qualities, and at worst as a vulgar character. John Dryden and William Blake regarded her as one of Chaucer’s most inferior creations. Alexander Pope, in fact, adapts the Wife’s Prologue for an imaginative translation, “The Wife of Bath Her Prologue,” in 1713 by augmenting Chaucer’s lines to create a misogynist portrait of women that prefigures The Rape of the Lock and “Of the Characters of Women” in his Moral Essays, 2. Whereas Chaucer’s version presents a more sympathetic view of women as victims of a masculine-dominated society in lines 248–270, Pope portrays them as victims of their own wiles and madness: “If poor (you say) she drains her Husband’s Purse; / If rich, she keeps her Priest, or something worse; / If highly born, intolerably vain; / Vapours and Pride by turns possess her Brain: / Now gayly Mad, now sow’rly Splenatick, / Freakish when well, and fretful when she’s Sick. / If fair, then Chast she cannot long abide, / By pressing Youth attack’d on ev’ry side. / If foul, her Wealth the lusty Lover lures, / Or else her Wit some Fool-Gallant procures, / Or else she Dances with becoming Grace, / Or Shape excuses the Defects of Face. / There swims no Goose so gray, but, soon or late, / She finds some honest Gander for her Mate” (l86–99). Pope’s caricature of the Wife has persisted over time despite the evidence Chaucer offers in her Prologue and through the hag that counteracts antifeminist themes. For the full poem with notes on eighteenth-century views of Chaucer, Pope’s additions and adaptations of the Wife’s Prologue in The Canterbury Tales, and an analysis of these changes, see Geoffrey Tillotson’s introduction and Pope’s poem in the Twickenham edition of The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems (London: Metheun; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961), pp. 3–12 and 55–78. 2. W. F. Bolton, “The Wife of Bath: Narrator as Victim,” in Gender and Literary Voice, ed. Janet M. Todd (New York and London: Holmes and Meier, 1980), pp. 54–65, in fact, suggests that the Wife “is digressive, self-centered, inconsistent, apparently incapable of a well-formed narrative or attractive characters of her own creation.” While Bolton argues that Chaucer “depicted the traumata of woman’s

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status in sexist society . . . in Alis’ narrative failings,” p. 54, he nevertheless regards the Wife and her Tale as part of a “ruined imagination,” p. 64, despite his concession that in the Wife of Bath’s Tale Chaucer presents women as morally equivalent with men. 3. Gillian Rudd, The Complete Critical Guide to Geoffrey Chaucer (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 120. 4. The Wife combines sexual knowledge with intellectual “maistrie” over her husbands, which, as Norman Klassen suggests, reveals her to be a “self-conscious narrator.” The Wife projects selfconsciousness not only to expose how “knowledge and love” operate between the sexes, however, but also to reveal that her “maistrie” proceeds as much from her intellectual capabilities as her body—a theme she articulates more clearly though the hag in her Tale. See the analysis in Norman Klassen, Chaucer on Love, Knowledge and Sight (Cambridge, Engl.: D. S. Brewer; Rochester, N.Y.: Boydell & Brewer, 1995), pp. 202–205. 5. Chaucer reveals a number of his sources through his characters and relies heavily on them to create the Wife of Bath, a character Arthur Lindley argues as “absent” because she is almost wholly formed from other classical sources, including Seneca’s moral epistles and Ovid’s Art of Love. For further information on Chaucer’s sources for the Wife and her hag, see Arthur Lindley, “‘Vanysshed Was This Daunce, He Nyste Where’: Alisoun’s Absence in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale,” English Literary History 59 (1992), 1–21. 6. Despite feminists’ challenges to traditional readings of the Wife, negative views of her continue to persist. Elaine Traherne, for example, argues from a sociolinguistic standpoint that the Wife has no authority in either the Prologue or her Tale: “any pretense that Chaucer allows . . . is undermined conclusively by Chaucer’s stereotypical and perceptibly inferior forms of women’s speech recorded and employed by him.” See Elaine Traherne, “The Stereotype Confirmed? Chaucer’s Wife of Bath,” in Writing Gender and Genre in Medieval Literature: Approaches to Old and Middle English Texts, ed. Elaine Traherne (Cambridge, Engl.: D. S. Brewer, 2002), pp. 93–115. Lee Patterson supports this reading; he claims that “the Wife has no rhetorical strategy at all . . . she speaks, apparently, only that we may know her.” See Lee Patterson, “‘For the Wyves Love of Bathe’: Feminine Rhetoric and Poetic Resolution in the Roman de la Rose and the Canterbury Tales,” Speculum 58 (1983), 656–695, at p. 658. 7. Since Simone de Beauvoir’s declaration in The Second Sex (New York: Knopf, 1952) that women are autonomous beings created separately but treated unequally by men throughout time, modern French and Anglo-American feminists have sought equality in, if not a complete rejection of, the dominant patriarchal structures in place. Recent theoretical trends in feminist theory have largely rejected the French feminist ideas proposed by Hélène Cixous in her essay “The Laugh of the Medusa” and Luce Irigaray in her essay “This Sex Which is Not One,” based on their reliance, like de Beauvoir and even earlier feminists, on an essential difference between men and women. These “second wave” feminists argue for tolerance, equality, and a rejection of Sigmund Freud’s model of woman as medusa who inspires hate contrived by fear of castration. Feminine writing, a literary mode Cixous proposes in her essay, expresses woman’s many variations, which she argues must express themselves, since the suppression of woman can only lead to a death of her many selves, and worse, perhaps, a life of perpetual silence and loss of self, which she constructs similarly to Gayatri Spivak’s oppressed subaltern female. See Hélène Cixous, “The Laugh of the Medusa,” in New French Feminisms: An Anthology, ed. Elaine Marks and Isabel Courtivron (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press,1980), pp. 245–51, reprinted in The Routledge Language and Cultural Theory Reader, ed. Lucy Burke, Tony Crowley, and Alan Girvin (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 161–66; and Luce Irigaray, “This Sex Which is Not One,” trans. C. Reeder, in Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism, ed. Robyn R. Warhol and Diane

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8. Barrie Ruth Straus has demonstrated that the Wife’s importance lies in her exposure of “who may speak and who may not, and on what authority . . . [I]n the process, the Wife will show the problem of women’s place in phallocentric discourse.” Straus regards the division between “auctoritee” and “experience” as the framing binary that constricts women’s language in society. She summarizes the corpus of literary criticism that denigrates the Wife as a body driven by fear of what the Wife does, exposes, and achieves in her language, which she argues “threatens the loss of our professional tool . . . the life of literary criticism. For this reason she has been condemned and labelled criminal and mad.” For further information on patriarchy and women’s language in Chaucer, specifically the Wife of Bath’s speech, see Barrie Ruth Straus, “The Subversive Discourse of the Wife of Bath: Phallocentric Discourse and the Imprisonment of Criticism,” English Literary History 55 (1988), 527–554, at pp. 529 and 550. 9. Geoffrey Chaucer, Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale, line 149, in The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson, 3rd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987), pp. 105–122, at p. 107. All quotations of the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale are from this edition. Subsequent citations will be given in the text with line number(s) in parentheses. 10. See Carolyn Dinshaw, Chaucer’s Sexual Poetics (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989), pp. 113–132. 11. Luce Irigaray, “This Sex” (see n. 7 above), pp. 363–69, at p. 369. 12. Ibid, p. 369. 13. Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, “Sexual Linguistics: Gender, Language, Sexuality,” New Literary History 16 (1985), 515–543. 14. Brian Stone offers an interesting interpretation of how the women who appear in the Tale are “all images of . . . the Wife of Bath.” For further analysis of the “democratic, ideas from Dante” that the hag invokes in her sermon to the knight, see Brian Stone, Chaucer (London: Penguin, 1989), pp. 84–91, at p. 91. 15. Mary Carruthers suggests that the Wife achieves “a mutually nourished marital bond” in the Prologue because she effectively becomes a “capitalist entrepreneur.” In Carruthers’ analysis of the material benefits gained by the Wife, she points out that the wealth the Wife accumulates allows her economic independence, which fosters a power reversal that transgresses traditional husband-wife relationships. See Mary Carruthers, “The Wife of Bath and the Painting of Lions,” PMLA 94 (1979), 209–222, at pp. 209– 10.

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The Music of Dante’s Purgatorio
by Mimi Stillman Dante’s Commedia resonates with music and sound. Beginning in the Inferno, Dante creates an atmosphere of striking cacophony. There is no real music in the Inferno, just parodies of liturgical hymns and distorted analogies to musical instruments whose infernal dissonance emphasizes the immorality of the region. In the third cantica, Paradiso, Dante journeys through heaven accompanied by the music of the spheres, a mysterious cosmic as well as musical phenomenon. The middle cantica of the Commedia, Purgatorio, is the central part of Dante the pilgrim’s and Virgil’s journey from Inferno to Paradiso. It is the musical bridge between the “anti-music” of Inferno and the celestial music of Paradiso. The music running throughout Purgatorio reinforces the penitential nature of this cantica. Here there are two kinds of music: psalms and hymns voiced by choirs of penitent souls, and troubadour song; both reflect Dante’s moral message. Despite the prevalence of music throughout the text, no comprehensive study of the music of Dante’s Commedia exists that draws on recent scholarship on both the literary aspects of Dante and on current work in trecento musicology. This is surprising because studying the music of the Commedia is fruitful in a number of ways: as another level on which to probe the depths of meaning of Dante’s masterwork; to reveal the philosophical and metaphysical underpinnings of his musical thought in relation to Christian and Classical authorities; and as a valuable insight into the music and performance practices of fourteenth-century Italy. The Commedia has a lot to tell us about the growth of polyphony, a momentous development in the history of music. Northern Italy in Dante’s time was a center for cross-cultural musical influences and for the birth of a new style of more complex polyphonic music called the Ars Nova. Before delving into Purgatorio itself, let us first examine the role of music in Dante’s life before he wrote the Commedia. In his impressive study of Dante’s Commedia and Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Michele Croese divides Dante’s musical education into two stages. The first corresponds to the author’s early years, in which he gained experience making music and working with musicians; the second treats a later stage in which he explored the theory and philosophy of music.1 The first stage includes the practical musical training Dante received as part of his highborn class. Music was a staple pastime for Dante and his circle of poets writing in the dolce stil novo (sweet new style).2 In this elegant, leisurely world described by Dante in his Vita nuova and by Boccaccio in the Decameron, aristocrats and intellectuals gathered to read poetry, perform music, and dance. In his Trattatello in laude di Dante, Boccaccio records that the young Dante played, sang, and composed skillfully: Sommamente si dillettò in suoni e in canti nella sua giovanezza, e a ciascuno che a que’ tempi era ottimo cantatore o sonatore fu amico e ebbe sua usanza; e assai cose da questo diletto tirato compose, le quali di piacevole e mastrevole nota a questi cotali facea rivestire.3 [In his youth he derived great pleasure from music and songs. He also cherished the friendship and company of www.hortulus.net 13

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all the best singers and musicians of his day. Drawn on by this delight, he composed many lyrics which were then embellished by pleasant and masterful melodies.4 Dante’s philosophy of music developed during a period of reading and studying that began after the death of Beatrice in June 1290. In his Convivio, Dante writes that in his search for consolation after Beatrice’s death he found a new love in Lady Philosophy. To seek her out, he went to “the schools of the religious orders and to the disputations held by the philosophers”5 at the convent schools, or studia, in Florence.6 During this period of study Dante encountered the texts that would bring his musical knowledge from the practical into the theoretical realm. The philosophers most influential in Dante’s musical thought were Plato, Aristotle, and Boethius. By synthesizing elements of their philosophy, Dante developed a comprehensive philosophy of music. Dante makes reference in the Commedia to Plato’s Timaeus, the only Platonic dialogue widely available in the Middle Ages. In Timaeus, Plato advances his concept of the World-Soul, which is a unity divided into harmonic intervals.7 In his De institutione musica (Fundamentals of music), Boethius explicitly agrees with Plato’s concept of the harmony of the universe, arguing that “the soul of the universe was joined together according to musical concord.”8 Plato also gives a detailed account of the divisions of the monochord, a one-stringed instrument used by the Greeks to discover the mathematical ratios that produce the musical intervals of the overtone series. This conception of music in terms of numbers and ratios is fundamental to the thought of Pythagoras, and later Boethius. The close connection between music and mathematics was retained in medieval thought, and both music and arithmetic were part of the quadrivium of the artes mathematicae. Throughout the Middle Ages, writers of treatises on the musical scale based their tuning systems on Pythagorean ratios, and as early as the thirteenth century, musical rhythm was defined by highly mathematical modes that emphasized the perfection of the number three.9 The significance of the number three is obvious in the Commedia—terza rima, the three cantiche—and the number is also important in Dante’s conception of music in the Commedia through its reflection of Boethius’s division of music into three types. The three Boethian categories of music are musica mundana (cosmic music, the harmony of heaven and the planets), musica humana (pertaining to the union of body and soul), and musica instrumentalis (music produced by the voice and instruments: what we call music today).10 This tripartite division of music was standard in the musical thought of the Middle Ages, perpetuated in the writings of music theorists throughout the period.11 Musicologist Nino Pirrotta identifies each of the three categories of music in the Commedia: the troubadour song in Purgatorio is the worldly musica instrumentalis; the shades sing psalms and hymns to “tune” their souls and thus reach musica humana; and the celestial “armonia” of Paradiso ascends to musica mundana, the music of the spheres.12 For his fundamental notions about the purpose of music in the Commedia, Dante seems to have adopted Aristotle’s philosophy from Politics, which states that music has the power to affect the morality of society. Dante combined this principle with the thought of early Christian thinkers who incorporated classical ideas about music into a Christian context. Like Augustine, Cassiodorus, and Isidore of Seville, Dante viewed music as a servant of religion, capable of inspiring virtue and divine thoughts in the faithful. Thus, in the Commedia,

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he presents a coherent and comprehensive philosophy of music that is inextricably linked to his moral philosophy.13 An instance of music occurs in Purgatorio, in canto 2, that sets up the role and purpose of music for the whole cantica. Dante’s encounter with his friend Casella the musician is one of the most moving passages in Purgatorio. Little is known about Casella, except that he might have been born in Pistoia and probably set Dante’s poems to music. When Dante the pilgrim recognizes Casella in the crowd of spirits that has just debarked at the shore of Purgatory, he rushes to embrace him, but three times his arms return to his chest as he perceives the incorporeality of the shades in Purgatory. After this failed embrace, Dante asks his friend to regale him with one of the love songs which used to calm him, explaining that after his journey through the Inferno his soul is in need of solace. The song Casella sings, Amor che ne la mente mi ragiona14 (Love that discourses to me in my mind), is the second canzone from Dante’s Convivio. The word used by the author to describe Casella’s song, dolcezza (sweetness), is one of the terms he will use most often to describe the lovely sounds of music in Purgatorio. Indeed, the music was so sweet and beautiful that Dante, Virgil, and all the listening shades stood completely transfixed. Cato reprimands the assembled company: “Che è ciò, spiriti lenti? / qual negligenza, quale stare è questo? / Correte al monte a spogliarvi lo scoglio ch’esser non lascia a voi Dio manifesto” [What have we here, you laggard spirits? / What negligence, what lingering is this? / Quick, to the mountain to cast off the slough that will not let you see God show Himself!].15 Cato’s rebuke is the subject of much scholarly debate, but it is likely that it signifies Dante’s turning (conversion) from Lady Philosophy, his “amore” in the canzone, to the more spiritual goal of divine love.16 Cato makes it undeniably clear that the way to Heaven is not by idling around listening to a love song, no matter how sweet. But another kind of music does indeed purify the soul and speed one’s progress to Paradise—biblical songs of praise and penitence. Dante uses music explicitly to underscore the contrast between Purgatory and Hell. In the Inferno, the shades don’t just speak; they utter cries, moans, sobs, and shouts of pain and anguish that are suited to the contrapassi in each circle. Dante employs a rich vocabulary of specific vocal sound, like gridi, sospiri, pianti, alti guai (shouts, sighs, wails, high shrieks). Through its reflection of the evil and irrationality of Hell, Dante’s infernal cacophony is consistent with his discussion of the nature of good and evil. The souls in Purgatory all know that they will eventually ascend to heaven; they have hope and faith while their counterparts below are trapped in eternal agony. In Purgatory, spirits endure their punishments with prayer and song rather than cries of pain, and their music is always sweet. Dante describes the singing of the hymn Beati pauperes spiritu (Blessed are the poor in spirit) as so sweet that he cannot describe it in words: “Ahi quanto son diverse quelle foci / da l’infernali! Ché quivi per canti / s’entra, e là giù per lamenti feroci” [How different were these entryways from those / of Hell! For here it is with song one enters / down there, it is with savage lamentations] (12.112–114). Music not only enriches the plot, it also encloses the action in a religious framework. The protagonist’s journey through Purgatory takes place during three days, from dawn on Easter www.hortulus.net 15

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Sunday in the year 1300 to noon on the following Wednesday. Dante often chooses liturgical music that corresponds to specific services of the Divine Office to mark time. Then he makes the text of those songs reinforce the meaning of the action with his characteristically multivalent symbolism. In the Valley of the Rulers who repented late because of negligence, the kings sit singing Salve Regina, a hymn to the Virgin Mary from the eleventh or twelfth century. This hymn was typically sung after Vespers, the evening service, which fits with the timing of Dante and Virgil’s arrival at the valley at sunset.17 The text is a prayer for pity for those in the lagrimarum valle (Valley of Tears), which is also appropriate to its performance in the valley where the kings atone (7.82–84). A little later, while Dante and Virgil are still in the valley, the spirits sing Te lucis ante, from the hymn for Compline, Te lucis ante terminum (Before the end of light). The text is a prayer to God for safety from wicked dreams and spiritual corruption while sleeping, and thus foreshadows Dante’s dream that night, which is the first of three significant dreams in Purgatorio. As with Casella’s song, Dante notes the sweetness of the singing, such that “I was made to move beyond my mind” [che fece me a me uscir di mente] (8.15). When Dante passes through the gate between ante-Purgatory and the first terrace, he hears the hymn of praise Te Deum laudamus (We praise you O God) (9.139–141). This hymn was part of the liturgy at Matins, the Night Office, on Sundays and feasts. As a hymn of Thanksgiving, its performance here is in keeping with Dante’s crossing of this major threshold in the ascent to Purgatory. Throughout Purgatorio, choirs of shades in each tier sing passages from psalms and hymns that Dante chose for their capacity to help the souls expiate their specific sins. For example, the souls who were killed by violence and saved from damnation by late repentance sing the Miserere from Psalm 50 (5.22–24).18 This penitential prayer for God’s mercy is fitting because they must have died without last rites.19 The prideful are bent under the weight of heavy stones; they are literally brought low to repent for their lack of humility on earth. Dante reinforces the importance of humility by having them sing Beati pauperes spiritu, the first Beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5.3 (12.109–111). Dante employs hymns, like this one, based on the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount to mark the transitions between terraces in Purgatory and to reinforce the repentance for each sin. As Dante and Virgil climb past the second terrace, where the envious are punished by having their eyes sewn shut, they hear behind them Beati misericordes (Blessed are the merciful), from the fifth Beatitude. Far from being merciful, the envious, like Sapia the Sienese, wished others ill. Similarly, the travelers hear Beati pacifici (Blessed are the peacemakers), from the seventh Beatitude, as they leave the terrace where the wrathful are blinded by heavy smoke. This smoke is a metaphor for the clouds of anger they had once unleashed (17.67–69). To return to the other kind of music in Purgatorio, that of the troubadours, it is important to note that Casella’s song is the only explicit example of troubadour music in this cantica. The fact that Dante assigned a poet and a troubadour to the terrace of the lustful in canto 26 suggests an interesting attitude toward this type of music. Here we find Guido Guinizzelli, whom Dante acknowledges as “il padre mio,” his poetic father and the originator of the dolce stil novo, and www.hortulus.net 16

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the troubadour Arnaut Daniel, whom Guido praises as the finest of vernacular poets. Dante’s choice of words for Arnaut’s disappearance back into the fire is significant: “Poi s’ascose nel foco che li affina” [Then, in the fire that refines, he hid] (26.148). Affinare means “to refine,” but also “to tune”—a pun with deeper meaning because here it is the musician’s soul that needs tuning. Dante’s treatment of troubadours and their sins throughout the Commedia provides a general lesson about the proper uses of art. Bertran de Born ends up in Hell not only for splitting Henry II from his son, but for using politicized art—the sirventes—to do so. Arnaut is in Purgatory for writing love poetry that was lustful and immoral, although not divisive to society. Looking ahead (or up!) at Paradiso, the troubadour Folquet de Marseilles is in Heaven because in life he chose God over earthly values by becoming a bishop. This may signal an evolution in Dante’s thought from the De vulgari eloquentia, in which he discusses some of these poets on their poetic merits, to the Commedia, in which he makes moral judgments about them.20 While scholars routinely point out the penitential purpose of the liturgical music in Purgatorio, they tend not to question how the hymns and psalms were sung. Dante’s descriptions of the singing itself, though lamentably brief, are detailed enough to allow for the conclusion that all three styles of medieval psalmody (direct, antiphonal, and responsorial) are heard in Purgatorio.21 In direct psalmody, all of the verses of the text were sung straight through with no textual additions. The very first psalm heard in Purgatorio, In exitu Israel de Aegypto(When Israel went out of Egypt), Psalm 113 is sung by 100 souls as they arrive by boat in Purgatory: “cantavan tutti insieme ad una voce” [all of those spirits sang as if with one voice] (2.47). With one voice literally means in unison. Dante quotes just the first line of the psalm and notes that they sang the rest. This description of a unison performance of the psalm from beginning to end is an example of direct psalmody. This moment in Purgatorio can be seen to evoke Dante’s musical world in another way. By the thirteenth century, a genre of music became established in Italy called the lauda—a devotional song performed by lay brotherhoods. The fraternities grew out of the religious fervor encouraged by the mendicant orders, and by the time of Dante’s birth these confraternities were being founded specifically to perform the repertoire, and were known as laudesi. Perhaps Dante intended the souls in canto 2 as a hybrid ensemble rooted in the music of his time—liturgical music sung by a lay laudesi.22 The other two styles of psalmody, antiphonal and responsorial, were used more frequently than direct psalmody in Dante’s period. In antiphonal psalmody, the verses of the psalm were sung alternately by two halves of the choir, often interspersed with a short additional verse with a contrasting melody called an antiphon.23 In canto 5, Dante records that the Miserere was sung “a verso a verso” (5.24). There are two schools of interpretation of this verse among English translators. One version takes the literal route: “verse by verse.”24 The other alludes to some form of alternation of the verses.25 The first interpretation, however, does not make sense in a musical context. Verses were almost always sung consecutively, so Dante would have no need to point that out, and he was not prone to redundancy. A verso might alternatively be read as a pun with avverso, meaning “against” or “opposing.” This in turn might suggest that Miserere was performed with two choirs, singing www.hortulus.net 17

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alternating verses in accordance with antiphonal chant practice. Given the prevalence of antiphonal liturgical singing in Dante’s time, it is highly likely that this style of psalmody is depicted in Purgatorio canto 5. In the final canto of Purgatorio, the women singing Psalm 79 do so “alternando / or tre or quattro dolce salmodia, / le donne incominciaro, e lagrimando” [Weeping, the women then began—now three, / now four, alternately—to psalm gently, / “Deus venerunt gentes . . .”] (33.1–3). These lines strongly suggest another example of antiphonal psalmody.26 In responsorial psalmody, the text of the psalm was sung solo, usually by a celebrant, with ensemble responses from the chorus or congregation after each verse.27 Dante’s description of Te lucis ante is explicit enough to conclude that he was recording the use of responsorial psalmody. In canto 8’s Valley of the Rulers, Dante describes a soul who begins singing alone with palms together and eyes uplifted to the east, soon to be joined by the other spirits singing “per tutto ‘inno intero” [through all of that hymn] (8.17). The fact that the simpler style of direct psalmody appears early in Purgatorio, with the more complex styles occurring later in the cantica, reinforces the idea that Dante constructed a musical evolution parallel to the spiritual journey. The protagonist’s arrival at the Earthly Paradise in canto 28 is a major turning point in the narrative of his journey, and it also ushers in a new atmosphere in music and sound. Foreshadowing the effulgence of song in Paradiso, the characters begin to sing whenever they are not speaking. The virtuous Matilda, who guides Dante as he enters the Earthly Paradise, sings with “dolce suono” [sweet/gentle sound] (28.40) as she picks flowers on the bank of the river Lethe. Here, Dante’s music is filled with gladness and celebration, as in Psalm 93 “Delectasti” [made me glad] (28.79). Matilda sings Psalm 32, Beati quorum tecta sunt peccata (Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered) like “an enamored woman” (29.1–4). In the most striking example, Dante choreographs the heavenly procession with music and dance. Matilda exhorts Dante to listen and look; he hears “dolce suon” and sees bright light. Dante makes this connection between aural and visual perception a major feature throughout Paradiso. All the music in Purgatorio is monophonic, meaning it contains one melodic line with no harmonization. Polyphonic music contains more than one line and has harmony. Dante saves polyphony for Paradiso, in which he describes multi-voice textures in the music of the spheres, to set heavenly music apart from all that precedes it in the Commedia. As Dante the pilgrim approaches the summit of the Mount of Purgatory, Dante the poet hints at the indescribably heavenly music that is to come. During his immersion in the river Lethe, in an evocation of the rite of baptism, Dante hears “Asperges me” [Cleanse/purify me] sung. These words from Psalm 51 were sung in church during the symbolic cleansing of the congregation with holy water. Dante writes that the music was sung “sì dolcemente” [so sweetly] that he cannot remember, nor transcribe it. This remark is of the utmost significance in light of the musical developments in Dante’s time. By the mid-fourteenth century, a new kind of polyphonic music had been born in the courts and city-states of northern Italy, the region in which Dante lived in exile. This style, collectively called the Ars Nova, was comprised of musical genres such as the madrigal, the caccia, and the www.hortulus.net 18

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ballata.28 It was known for its complex polyphony of up to four voices, while until the midfourteenth century we only know of two-voice Italian polyphony. For a listener like Dante, accustomed to two-voice polyphony, more voices would certainly have been difficult to write down. This presents the tantalizing possibility that the new style of polyphony reached Dante’s ears in embryonic form. If this is the case, it is possible that the music of the spheres in Paradiso is grounded in the actual music of the early fourteenth century. Music is more than an interesting feature of Purgatorio; it plays a central role. Dante positions a musician and a troubadour at center stage in his narrative, uses liturgical songs to situate his story within a framework of time, establishes the singing of these songs as the means to achieve spiritual purification, and provides clues to the music of his own time. A reading of Purgatorio attuned to these clues, especially in regard to the styles of psalmody and the birth of polyphony, sheds light on the poet’s musical world. By weaving these various strands into a hierarchy of musica instrumentalis, musica humana, and musica mundana, Dante places his philosophy of music at the service of his moral thesis. With such a vivid description of sound and a nuanced portrayal of vocal and instrumental performances, Dante commands his readers to listen carefully to the music of Purgatorio. Mimi Stillman, M.A., is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Pennsylvania. Her interests include early modern Europe, cultural and music history, and East-West contact.

Notes
1. Michele Croese, La Commedia come partitura bachiana: Osservazioni sul cielo del sole e sul Sanctus della Messa in si minore (Pisa: ETS, 2001), pp. 40–41. 2. The dolce stil novo was an Italian style of lyric poetry that developed in Tuscany and Bologna in the generation before Dante. 3. Quoted in La Musica nel Tempo di Dante, ed. Luigi Pestalozza (Verona: Unicopli, 1986), p. 130. 4. Giovanni Boccaccio, The Life of Dante (Trattatello in laude di Dante), trans. Vincenzo zin Bollettino (New York: Garland, 1990), p. 32. 5. Dante Alighieri, Convivio 2.12, trans. Richard Lansing, p. 14. 6. See Charles T. Davis, “Education in Dante’s Florence,” Speculum 40 (1965), 415–35 for more information on Dante’s time at the Florentine studia. Davis provides a very valuable account of the books contained in their libraries that Dante may have read. 7. Plato, Timaeus 35, trans. Francis M. Cornford (New York: Liberal Arts, 1959), p. 25. 8. Boethius, Fundamentals of Music 1.1, trans. Calvin M. Bower, ed. Claude V. Palisca (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), p. 2. Boethius’s De institutione musica, written in the early sixth century, is a compilation of Greek sources including Ptolemy’s Harmonics and a treatise by Nicomachus; see Donald

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Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca, A History of Western Music, 5th ed. (New York: Norton, 1996), pp. 26– 7. 9. Willi Apel, “Mathematics and Music in the Middle-Ages,” in his Medieval Music: Collected Articles and Reviews (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GMBH, 1986), pp. 135–65. 10. Boethius’s categories and their wide acceptance show the remarkable centrality of music in medieval thought. What we call music today was only the bottom third of the definitions of musica: “music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it even if we so desired. For this reason the power of the intellect ought to be summoned, so that this art, innate through nature, may also be mastered, comprehended through knowledge.” See Boethius, Fundamentals of Music 1.1.8, trans. Bower. 11. For more information on the role of the Boethian musical categories in medieval music theory, see Grout and Palisca, A History of Western Music, 53–55; and Richard H. Hoppin, Medieval Music (New York: Norton, 1978), pp. 20–2. 12. Nino Pirrotta, Music and Culture in Italy from the Middle Ages to the Baroque: A Collection of Essays (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984), p. 21. 13. The moral and religious meaning of music in the Commedia is particularly apparent in Inferno, canto 30, where Dante likens the counterfeiter Master Adam’s swollen body to a lute. Denise Heilbronn explores the highly symbolic, Christological significance of this parallel in “Master Adam and the FatBellied Lute (Inf. XXX),” Dante Studies 101 (1983), 51–65. 14. Listen to Amor che ne la mente mi ragiona by Peire Cardenals. The musical selections referenced were heard as part of my presentation of this paper at the Brown University Medieval Graduate Student Conference, October 2, 2004. 15. Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio 2.120–23, trans. Allen Mandelbaum (New York: Bantam, 1984). All Italian and English quotations of Dante’s Purgatorio are from this edition. Subsequent citations will be given in the text with the canto and line number(s) in parentheses. 16. See John Freccero, “Casella’s Song: Purgatorio II.112,” in Dante: The Poetics of Conversion (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1986), pp. 186–94; Teodolinda Barolini, Dante’s Poets: Textuality and Truth in the Commedia (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1984), pp. 31–40; and Robert Hollander, “Purgatorio II: Cato’s Rebuke and Dante’s Scoglio,” Italica 52 (Autumn, 1975), 348– 63. 17. Salve Regina was one of the most important Marian antiphons, chants composed to celebrate the growing cult of the Virgin in the period. Ave maria, Regina coeli, and Alma redemptoris mater are other examples of these pieces that are characterized by their one-octave range and relative ornateness. See Gabriela Ilnitchi, “Music in the Liturgy,” in The Liturgy of the Medieval Church, ed. Thomas J. Heffernan and E. Ann Matter (Kalamazoo, Mich.: Medieval Institute, 2001), pp. 645–71. 18. [Psalm numbering follows the Vulgate numbering system—Eds.] 19. Allen Mandelbaum, notes to Purgatorio (New York: Bantam, 1982), p. 327. 20. Dante Alighieri, De vulgari eloquentia 2.2.9. Dante considers military skill, love, and righteousness to be the noblest pursuits, and mentions whom he considers to be the most illustrious vernacular poets for

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each theme—Bertran de Born for war, Arnaut Daniel for love, and Gerhard de Borneilh for righteousness. Also see Marianne Shapiro, De Vulgari Eloquentia: Dante’s Book of Exile (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990). 21. For more information on the three styles of medieval psalmody, see Hoppin, Medieval Music, pp. 80– 1. 22. Giulio Cattin, Music of the Middle Ages 1, trans. Steven Botterill (Cambridge, Engl.: Cambridge University Press, 1984), pp. 145–52. 23. Sometimes the full choir would alternate with a half-choir, or the cantor would begin the antiphon and be joined by the choir after the first words. Antiphonal psalmody may have originated in the Syrian church. There are more antiphons than any other type of chant. Musically they range from older, simpler versions to later examples with complex rhythm and florid melodies. See Grout and Palisca, A History of Western Music, 44–8; and Hoppin, Medieval Music, 80–3. 24. Dante translators who interpret the performance of Miserere as “verse by verse” without specifying alternation include Reverend John Wesley Thomas (1862); Charles Eliot Norton (1892); Henry Johnson (1915); Jefferson Butler Fletcher (1931); Charles S. Singleton (1973); Kenneth Mackenzie (1979); Allen Mandelbaum (1982); W. S. Merwin (2000); and Anthony Esolen (2003). 25. The translators who specify alternating verses include Henry Francis Cary (1916); John D. Sinclair (1939); Carlyle-Wicksteed (1944); John Ciardi (1957); Mark Musa (1981); and C. H. Sisson (1993). 26. Deus venerunt gentes, Psalm 78, is sung by seven women who represent the Theological and Cardinal Virtues after the episode of the giant and the whore. Mandelbaum interprets this psalm of lamentation for the destruction of the temple as a metaphor for the fallen state of the Church. Mandelbaum, notes to Purgatorio, 404. 27. This ancient style is a legacy of Jewish cantorial practices in the synagogue. See Hoppin, Medieval Music, pp. 80–1. 28. For examples of Ars Nova compositions in modern notation, see Nino Pirrotta, The Music of Fourteenth Century Italy (Amsterdam: American Institute of Musicology, 1954).

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Seeing the World with the Eyes of God: The Vision Implied by the Medieval Icon1
by Clemena Antonova In his book Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages Umberto Eco says that “they [the Medievals] saw the world with the eyes of God.”2 I would like to suggest one way in which this statement is true: iconic art contains “supplementary planes” which, by describing multiple surfaces of an object simultaneously, allow the viewer to imitate divine vision. The principle of the pictorial construction of the icon proposed by Pavel Florensky (1885–1937) can be connected to the concept of simultaneity, which evolves from the theological doctrine of timeless eternity. In other words, an analogy can be drawn between the spatial construction of iconic images and the manner in which a timelessly eternal, simultaneously existing God would “see” the world and objects in it. In the context of this interpretation I prefer to use the term “simultaneous planes” henceforth in place of Florensky’s “supplementary planes.” Florensky’s concept illuminates an artistic phenomenon and may be based on knowledge of the “multiple planes” of Cubist art.3 This theory also reflects Florensky’s theological training; as a priest and religious philosopher,4 he could very well be identifying himself with a line of theological thought concerned with the problem of divine eternity and its implications. The relationship between theology and iconography that is examined herein has been discussed by both medieval authors and contemporary scholars. One of the most well-known debates is the Iconoclast Controversy in Byzantium (726–787 and 814–843 A.D.), which was predicated on the belief in the theological significance of the sacred image.5 The idea that there is a deep connection between theological notions and images has prompted many modern scholars to consider concepts such as “theology through the arts” and “theology through colour.”6 These ideas seem to imply that theological notions can be suggested through artistic means. Yet to my knowledge, no one has discussed the way in which the construction of pictorial space in the icon can actually implicate—though not directly impart—theological beliefs. This article will attempt to make a first step in this direction by reconstructing and developing some of the implications of Florensky’s notion of “simultaneous planes,” which the author himself left in a fragmentary form.

Florensky’s Simultaneous Planes
Florensky draws attention to the “simultaneous planes” of ancient Russian images in section 1 of his essay on “Reverse Perspective.”7 He initially implies that the principle of the simultaneous representation of different planes of the same image in the picture, regardless of whether the corresponding planes in the represented objects could be seen from a single viewpoint or not, is the fundamental feature of the organization of iconic space. Later on,8 Florensky reverts to the traditional view, still widely regarded, that holds that iconic space reverses or inverses the laws of linear perspective (hence the term “reverse”/“inverse perspective”).9 This view, however, www.hortulus.net 22

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seems unsatisfactory because it implies that medieval iconographers had concerns which in fact came into existence only during the Renaissance.10 Florensky’s initial definition of “simultaneous planes,” therefore, is appealing because it draws attention away from claims of optical illusionism and towards wider conceptual frameworks which were relevant at the time.

Images
According to Florensky, “the icon often shows parts and surfaces which cannot be seen simultaneously.”11 This phenomenon is most noticeable in treatments of architecture. The lateral sides of buildings in Byzantine and ancient Russian art are frequently represented frontally. Thus, in figure 1, there are two staircases leading to two entrances of the building. We have to read the image carefully to realize that the staircases are on opposite sides of the building. The banisters on the right-hand side are actually placed at an oblique angle, but the entrance itself gives the false impression of a frontal view. The same principle holds true of the depictions of other objects. For example, a typical representation of the Bible would show three or four sides of the book on the same picture plane. Of greater interest, perhaps, is the treatment of more complicated forms, such as the human face. The inclusion of profile views alongside frontal ones on the same picture plane produces a typical facial type common to holy figures. The almost triangular-shaped face of Christ or the saints could be derived from adding up the planes Fig. 1. The House of Egron, King of Moab. in the upper part of the face, where Twelfth century.Vatican Octateuch, Biblioteca Apostolica 12 the frontal plane features aspects of Vaticana, MS Vat.gr.746. profile views. The forehead therefore becomes disproportionately wide. As Florensky points out, the treatment of the face in which the forehead is seen alongside the temple and ears causes the planes of the face to appear “as if [they are] spread out on the surface of the icon”13 (fig. 2). Not only are “additional surfaces” of the object represented—i.e., ones that should not be there according to the laws of normal vision at a single moment in time—but they are frequently, as Florensky notices, www.hortulus.net 23

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emphasized by means of colour. These “additional” / “supplementary” / “simultaneous” surfaces are often painted in strikingly bright colours that capture the attention.14 Florensky points out another curious aspect of these iconic images: the tendency of parallel lines “in reverse perspective” to diverge.15 This technique is important because it allows objects and/or their parts to grow larger the further away they are from the viewer. Of course, this is the opposite effect of that which occurs in linear perspective and natural vision. Once an iconic image is seen in this light—as an amalgamation of several aspects of an image on the same picture plane—it is possible to question how the reorganization of space affects time inside the composition. That there is a temporal dimension becomes clear when we Fig. 2. St. Nicolas (Nikola Ugodnik). consider that “reverse perspective” is Fragment from a fresco antinaturalistic because objects do not by Dionisii. Ferapontov Monastery, appear like that to human vision at a single 1500 - 1502. moment in time. It is impossible to see different planes of an object simultaneously; each plane must be experienced separately and consecutively. In other words, this spatial construction depends on a mobile vision that takes place in time. The image seems to convey simultaneity because it implies a vision to which all aspects of objects can appear at the same time, or all at once. This vision would be comparable, in principle, to that of a timelessly eternal God to whom all moments in time exist simultaneously and who, therefore, should be able to “see” all points in space simultaneously as well.

In or Outside of Time? The Doctrine of a Timeless and Simultaneously Existing God
Florensky’s simultaneous planes thus pose the problem of determining what, exactly, is divine vision. It is a question intimately connected to that of divine nature, which is itself no small

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subject. The problem I propose to address is a highly controversial matter in theology and the philosophy of religion, namely God’s eternity. How do we understand eternity: as lack of time and thus opposed to time, or as time everlasting and so pertaining to time? The debate on this issue has been polarized around two major camps: the “timeless” one, which holds that God exists completely outside time, and the “everlasting” one, according to which divine eternity can be explained in temporal terms.16 The former position can be regarded as traditional in that it held sway in western theology until approximately the thirteenth century. It was first questioned in the West by Duns Scotus (ca. 1265–1308)17 and has attracted opponents throughout the centuries.18 Conversely, eastern orthodoxy seems to have upheld the traditional view. In spite of its initial popularity, there is a serious problem posed by the “timeless” view. A seemingly insurmountable difficulty arises when we set out to describe phenomena that exist beyond the human realm, because language is devised to conceptualize the phenomena of our world. In particular, how can we speak of or understand timelessness when language is filled with terms loaded with temporal meaning? One way of dealing with this problem is to try to infuse words that connote time with additional nontemporal meanings. For example, in the Timaeus, Plato describes the soul as “prior” and “older” than the body not in terms of precedence in time but in terms of excellence. Aristotle uses a similar procedure with respect to “prior” and “posterior” in several of his works.19 It remains arguable to what extent this approach works satisfactorily in specific cases. The problems of terminology and conceptualization become especially relevant with regard to the notion of simultaneity, as all of the major proponents of the “everlasting” view claim. Philosophy and theology have tended to define timelessness in terms of simultaneity, which means that a being outside time experiences the past, the present, and the future simultaneously. Parmenides (ca. 510–450 B.C.), who has been attributed with the discovery of the notion of eternity, proposed this idea himself.20 His poem The Way of Truth no longer exists in the original, but a version can be re-created by assembling quotations found in other authors. Richard Sorabji offers the following translation: “Nor was it ever, nor will it be, it now is all together, one, continuous.”21 Plato (ca. 427–348 B.C.) may or may not have been influenced by Parmenides, but he describes eternity in somewhat similar terms: “These all [months, days, and years; past or future existence] are parts of time, and was or will be are forms of time that have come to be. Such notions we unthinkingly but incorrectly apply to everlasting being. For we say that it was and is and will be, but according to the true account only is is appropriately said of it.”22 In other words, what we call “simultaneity” has been described as “all together” in an eternal present, without past or future. Yet Parmenides’ and Plato’s philosophies have given rise to alternative views which differ from a “timeless” interpretation. Parmenides’ poem has frequently been referred to in support of the “everlasting” view.23 Plato’s well-known phrase that time is “the moving image of eternity”24 can also be understood to imply duration and everlastingness in time, which upholds the www.hortulus.net 25

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“everlasting” view. The problem, ultimately, is a result of the difficulty of escaping from the temporal connotations of “simultaneity.” After all, “all together” is an “all together” in time as well. Plotinus (ca. 205–270 A.D.) was well aware of this problem and seems to have made a special effort to insist on the importance of avoiding the idea of temporality in the understanding of timelessness. According to Plotinus, the essence of time is not motion, as Aristotle taught. Its essential characteristic is duration: “Would it, then, be sound to define Time as the Life of the Soul in movement as it passes from one stage of act or experience to another? Yes; . . .”25 Eternity, on the other hand, is totally devoid of duration; it “does not depend upon any quantity (such as installments of time) but subsists ‘before’26 quantity” (3.7.6) In short, time and eternity are opposed: the former is extended (it has a beginning, a middle and an end) while the latter cannot be extended (3.7.2). Time belongs to the realm of becoming, and eternity belongs to the realm of being. Therefore, Plotinus says, “we must not muddle together Being and Non-Being, time and eternity, not even everlasting time with the eternal” (1.5.7 lines 20–31). As eternity lacks any kind of duration, it can be defined as “a Life changelessly motionless and ever holding the Universal content in actual presence; not this now and now that other, but always all; . . . all remains identical within itself, knowing nothing of change, for ever in a Now . . .” (3.7.3). And further, again following from the lack of temporal duration, “there is no first or last in this Principle [eternity], if existence is its most authentic possession and its very self.” “Existence” in the passage is explained as being used “in the sense that its existence is Essence or Life” (3.7.6 lines 23–36). As Sorabji notices, “always” receives a similarly non-temporal connotation.27 It is Plotinus’s concept of an eternal “now” coexistent with all earthly “nows” that forms the core of the traditional notion of eternity that, via Augustine (354–430 A.D.) and Boethius (ca. 480– 525 A.D.), left its stamp on the entire course of Christian thought. St. Augustine follows Plotinus faithfully,28 and Boethius’ classical definition of eternity owes him a debt as well. In The Consolation of Philosophy 5.6. Boethius defines eternity as that which includes and possesses the whole fullness of illimitable life at once and is such that nothing future is absent from it and nothing past has flowed away . . . and of this it is necessary both that being in full possession of itself it be always present to itself and that it have the infinity of mobile time present to it.29 According to Alan Padgett, with Boethius “we find a clear definition, an explicit distinction of terms, and the use of doctrine to solve a perplexing theological problem.”30 This, however, hardly seems to be the case, as the meaning of the passage has been the subject of many heated debates in contemporary scholarship.31 The problem has largely focused on the interpretation of “all at once” or, in other words, on the interpretation of simultaneity. Boethius’ influence is evident in almost every major medieval writer who tackles the problem of time and eternity, but like Parmenides and Plato, his teachings are interpreted in various ways. Later medieval authors seem to have understood Boethius largely in terms of timelessness. In the Proslogion, Anselm (1033–1109) states that:

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Or is it true that nothing of your eternity passes away, so that it is not now; and that nothing of it is destined to be, as if it were not yet? You were not, then, yesterday, nor will you be tomorrow; but yesterday and today and tomorrow you are; or, rather, neither yesterday nor today nor tomorrow you are; but simply, you are, outside all time. For yesterday and today and tomorrow have no existence, except in time;32 Anselm’s belief that God’s eternity is “timeless” is based on God’s greatness—“For nothing contains you, but you contain all”33 —and simplicity, for he is indivisible. Almost one hundred fifty years after Anselm’s death, Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1225–1274) explicitly states in the Summa theologica his indebtedness to Boethius’ definition.34 Aquinas’ argument asserts that God is simple,35 consequently he is changeless, from which it could be concluded that he is timeless, since time is the measure of change. The idea that God is timeless means that he coexists with all the modes of time—past, present, and future. The argument over the temporal condition of God seems to have solidified over time. While Parmenides and Plato can be and have been interpreted to mean both “everlastingness” and “timelessness,” later authors like Anselm and Aquinas give less ground for such oscillation. Although conceptual difficulties persist, it is much clearer that Anselm and Aquinas mean “eternity” in a “timeless” sense.36

Divine Vision: Transcendence of Time and Space
How would a timelessly eternal and simultaneously existing God “see” the world? Although medieval theology does not dwell specifically on this problem, it touches upon it within the larger context of discussions of divine nature. Thus, to illustrate his position on divine timelessness St. John of Damascus (ca. 675–ca. 749 A.D.) says: “[He sees distinctly] with His divine, all-seeing, and immaterial eye all things at once, both present and past and future, before they come to pass.”37 Several important ideas are conveyed by St. John’s statement. First, divine vision is timeless, and by implication simultaneous. It perceives “all things at once,” without distinction between past, present, and future. This is exactly how visual perception that takes place out of time should be expected to function, if one follows the doctrine of divine timelessness. Secondly, it appears that divine vision is not vision at all in the strict sense of the word. Just as with “simultaneity” and related notions, the words we use for convenience’s sake are taken out of their usual context, so their meaning becomes fundamentally different. John of Damascus takes care to distinguish “God’s eye” from the common connotation of “eye” and thus of “vision.” The divine “eye” is “all-seeing” but also “immaterial” and therefore fundamentally unlike a human eye. If divine vision is so different from human vision, how can we find common ground between them? One possible answer to this question is provided by iconic art, understood in the sense proposed here. The principle of “simultaneous planes” of the icon can be interpreted as a tool that offers the viewer the possibility to experience, to some degree at least, “divine vision.” This

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experience, in a sense, lifts the viewer out of time and space, since a divine vision beyond time is beyond space as well. The linking of time and space may be a modern concept, but it does not preclude that the theological doctrine of timelessness implies existence out of space as one of the characteristics of God. The primary feature of existence outside of space, however, is the lack of a point of view. A human viewer, grounded in space and time, would be required to move in order to see all the various aspects of an object (or, alternately, movement of part of the object would be required). To a timeless God who holds no particular point of view, all aspects of objects would appear “all together,” “all at once,” i.e. simultaneously. It is in this sense that I propose that divine vision perceives objects very much according to the principle of iconic simultaneous planes.

Conclusion
I have brought attention herein to the structural analogy that exists between the doctrine of divine timelessness and the principle of the simultaneous representation of different planes of objects in iconic art. I am not claiming that the theological doctrine of timeless eternity directly informed iconographic artistic practice. It is unlikely that either icon painters or their audiences were versed in a highly complicated theological concept that, as we can see, still baffles specialists. Rather, my thesis is that the phenomenon of the simultaneous planes of the icon provides a visual structural analogue to the concept of timeless eternity and simultaneity. Although there is no question of direct influence, Martin Kemp’s concept of “structural intuition” can be applied to show how these two principles complement each other. Kemp’s “structural intuition” defines structures that “are both those of intuitive processes themselves and those of external features whose structures are being intuited.”38 The principle of iconic simultaneous planes can suggest ways of handling space and time which could prove an invaluable alternative to the methods proposed by a doctrine which, as I discussed, theology and philosophy have failed to explain satisfactorily. Ultimately, this paper has tried to shed light on the common claim that the icon is, in some manner, a “transcendental” form of art. According to the interpretation proposed here, this is so, but not in the typical sense. Sacred images are not “transcendental” in the sense of “unrealistic.” They are “transcendental” in the sense that they presuppose a divine vision that is timeless and simultaneous and therefore transcends human vision, which is of course grounded in time and space. According to this view, the icon “lifts” the viewer out of his human time and into a timeless reality. In this way the viewer is able to imitate, to some degree at least, divine vision and see the world with the “eyes” of God. Clemena Antonova is a D. Phil. student in the History of Art at Oxford University. She is working on aspects of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and is especially interested in the relationship between art and theology as well as in questions of aesthetics and the philosophy of art.

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Notes
1. I thank Prof. R. Swinburne (Oxford University) for discussing the theological implications of the following text with me. I am also grateful to Prof. S. Pattison (Cardiff University) for his useful suggestions and comments. 2. Umberto Eco, Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages, trans. Hugh Bredin (New Haven, Conn. and London: Yale University Press, 1986), p. 118; originally published as “Sviluppo dell’estetica medievale,” in Momenti e problemi di storia dell’estetica (Milan: Marzorati, 1959). 3. Arthur Miller, Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time and the Beauty That Causes Havoc (New York: Basic, 2001), p. 106. Florensky’s paper was prepared in 1919. Picasso had already produced Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). 4. While still relatively unknown in the West, in the Russian-speaking world Florensky is largely seen as “the greatest religious thinker and seer” of the first half of the twentieth century. See Viktor Bychkov, The Aesthetic Face of Being: Art in the Theology of Pavel Florensky (Crestwood, N.Y: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1993), p. 93. 5. The critical literature on the Iconoclast Controversy is voluminous. There is a useful outline in Jas Elsner, “Image and Iconoclasm in Byzantium,” Art History 11, no. 4 (1988), 477–81. For an important recent study see Charles Barber, Figure and Likeness: On the Limits of Representation in Byzantine Iconoclasm (Princeton, N.J. and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002). 6. Among the important works in this field are Nicholas Wolterstorff, Art in Action: Toward a Christian Aesthetic (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1980); Robin Jensen, Understanding Early Christian Art (London: Routledge, 2000); and Barber, Figure and Likeness. 7. This essay was read in 1921 and first published in 1967. 8. Particularly in sections 13–14. 9. Florensky borrowed the term from Oscar Wulff; see Oscar Wulff, “Die umgekehrten Perspektive und die Niedersicht,” in Kunstwissenschaftliche Beiträge A. Schmarsow demodmet (Leipzig, 1907). 10. The discovery of linear, Renaissance perspective has been attributed to Filippo Brunelleschi. Martin Kemp fixes the time of Brunelesschi’s construction somewhere before 1413. See Martin Kemp, The Science of Art (New Haven, Conn. and London: Yale University Press, 1990). The problems posed by the term and concept of “reverse perspective” are addressed in Martin Kemp and Clemena Antonova, “Reverse Perspective: Historical Fallacies and an Alternative View,” in The Visual Mind II, ed. Michele Emmer (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, forthcoming), pp. 499–539. 11. Pavel Florensky, “Reverse Perspective” in Beyond Vision: Essays on the Perception of Art, ed. N. Misler, trans. Wendy Salmond (London: Reaktion, 2002), p. 201. 12. This figure is from Lev Zhegin, Iazik zhivopisnogo proizvedenia: uslovnost drevnego iskusstva (The language of the work of art: conventionality of ancient art) (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1970). Zhegin’s book, of which there is still no English translation, provides what is probably the most useful visual analysis of Florensky’s theoretical positions. 13. Florensky, “Reverse Perspective,” p. 201.

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14. Ibid., p. 203. The function of colour is an interesting and lengthy subject that is too large to be treated here. I mention it in this paper because it is important as a means of emphasizing the construction of space. 15. Ibid., pp. 201–2. 16. The most important proponents of the “timeless” view in contemporary scholarship are Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann, “Eternity,” Journal of Philosophy 78, no. 8 (1981), 429–58; Paul Helm, Eternal God: God without Time (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988); and Brian Leftow, Time and Eternity (Ithaca, N.Y. and London: Cornell University Press, 1991). Major proponents of the “eternal” view include Nicholas Wolterstorff, “God Everlasting,” in God and the Good: Essays in Honour of Henry Stob, ed. C. Orlebeke and L. Smedes (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1975); Richard Swinburne, The Coherence of Theism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977); and Stephen Davis, Logic and the Nature of God (London: Macmillan, 1982).

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17. Alan Padgett, God, Eternity and the Nature of Time (Basingstoke, Hampshire, Engl.: Macmillan Academic and Professional, 1991), p. 53. On thirteenth-century notions of eternity, see Richard Dale, “Time and Eternity in the Thirteenth Century,” Journal of the History of Ideas 49, no. 1 (1988), 27–45. Dale does not discuss Duns Scotus, but concentrates on authors mostly from the previous generation who tried to tackle the difficulty of relating the eternal and the temporal. 18. According to Padgett, it was Hegel who “set the stage for the modern discussion of divine eternity”; Padgett, God, Eternity, p. 53. 19. See references to particular works by Aristotle in Richard Sorabji, Time, Creation, and the Continuum: Theories in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press; London: Duckworth, 1983), p. 114. 20. Ibid., p. 41. 21. Ibid., p. 99. 22. Plato, Timaeus 37E, trans. Benjamin Jowett, in The Collected Dialogues of Plato, ed. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns, Bollinger Series 71 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1989), p. 1167. 23. Sorabji, Time, Creation, p. 103. Sorabji outlines eight interpretations of Parmenides, some of which could be easily seen as supporting the “everlasting” view of eternity. 24. Plato, Timeaus 37D, trans. Jowett. 25. Plotinus, Enneads 3.7.11, in The Enneads, trans. Stephen MacKenna, rev. B. S. Page , 4th rev. ed. (New York: Pantheon; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), p. 234. All subsequent quotations from the Enneads are from this edition and will be cited in the text in parentheses. 26. The quotation marks are mine, as “before” should not be understood in its usual sense. 27. Sorabji, Time, Creation, p. 112. As Sorabji mentions, it is interesting that Origen employs “always” in exactly the same fashion in First Principles 1.3.4. 28. Actually, according to Padgett on the problem of eternity, “there is little [in St. Augustine’s doctrine] which cannot find a parallel in Plotinus”; Padgett, God, Eternity, p. 43. 29. Translation from Stump and Kretzmann, ”Eternity” (see n. 15 above), p. 430. 30. Padgett, God, Eternity, p. 46. 31. See especially the debate between Stump and Kretzmann versus Fitzgerald: Stump and Kretzmann, “Eternity,” pp. 429–58; and Paul Fitzgerald, “Stump and Kretzmann on Time and Eternity,” Journal of Philosophy 82, no. 5 (1985), 260–69. 32. Anselm, Proslogion chap. 19, in St. Anselm: Basic Writings, trans. S. N. Deane, 2nd ed. (La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 1962), p. 71. [The English in this translation has been modernized—Eds.] 33. Ibid.

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34. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica 1, q. 10. 35. Ibid., 1a, q. 9, a. 1.

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36. Consider, for instance, Anthony Kenny’s inept remark: “But, on St. Thomas’s view, my typing of this paper is simultaneous with the whole of eternity. Again on this view, the great fire of Rome is simultaneous with the whole of eternity. Therefore, while I type these very words, Nero fiddles heartlessly on.” Anthony Kenny, The God of the Philosophers (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), pp. 38– 39. 37.John of Damascus, “The Orthodox Faith,” in Writings, trans. Frederic H. Chase, Jr., Fathers of the Church 37 (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1958), p. 204. 38. Martin Kemp, Visualizations: The Nature Book of Art and Science (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 1.

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