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A touch more on “L’aiuola che ci fa tanto feroci”

Now that I have a bit more time. (A touch more on…)

It is the succinct way that it expresses the consequences of finitude, the internal thrashing within the limits, in a brevity that itself makes almost a moral judgment upon the kinds of finitudes are best, those brief but open condensations. The line itself is but a patch, a spot, a space, but it opens up and under.

Here is the Princeton Dante Page, if you want to see its context.

There is of course the translational heritage that reads “aiuola” as the “threshing floor”, a small round floor where the wheat and the chaff are separated (a meaning which Davidson makes elegant use of in an argument about language). Despite the arguments cited in the last post, it is possible that Dante has the threshing floor in mind as he looks down upon the disc of the earth, and it contributes to the intensity of the image.

(How the dynamics of a hydraulic image is sometimes linked to the topographical…but perhaps misleadingly so.)

What really what holds the power of the line is the sense that the aiuola, the very smallness of the topos, makes us fierce. There is a germanial intensity within the finite. This does not lead to platitudes about the Infinite, but rather to an attention to connectivity, the way that bounds that hold us, work to constitute us, also can beleaguer through excessive recursivity and self-reference.

The small space that makes us all so fierce, which threshes us out, which gives us amplitude. It is interesting that such a thought can be put in to so few words…

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