Dante's Theory of Signs and the Warping of Language

Moriarty, Brian, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Ochs, Peter, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

This dissertation explores Dante’s theory of signs, or semiotics, through a close reading of his various written works. Recent scholarship has revealed Dante’s broad knowledge of medieval semiotics by identifying his use of a variety of semiotic terms in his writings. As others scholars have shown, Dante references semiotic terminology and images used by medieval exegetes at key dramatic turns in the Commedia. This important scholarship describing Dante’s strategic use of medieval semiotic nomenclature signals his knowledge of medieval exegetical tradition and its influence on his thought and poetry. Dante, however, does not only appropriate the semiotic tradition of the exegetes, he also contributes to it. The development of a clear understanding of Dante’s own theory of signs and his unique contribution to semiotics is the new knowledge this dissertation provides.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Dante studies, poetry, semiotics, medieval theology, Augustine, Bonaventure
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