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6 Writing after Copernicus: Epistemology and Poetics in Giordano Bruno’s Ash Wednesday Supper

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Chapter Summary

Giordano Bruno's reception of Copernicus in the Ash Wednesday Supper has been discussed mainly with regard to his cosmology. This chapter argues that Bruno gives at least as much emphasis to the epistemological implications of Copernicus's theory as to the latter's astronomical and cosmological affirmations. Thus, Bruno also discusses the psychological causes that inhibit the full acceptance of the Copernican system and exposes an entire theory of knowledge. The chapter analyses Bruno's epistemological reflections by taking into consideration his works on artificial memory. This interpretation eventually presents a new understanding of the literary structure of the Ash Wednesday Supper which is interpreted as a textual device aiming to purify the reader's soul from the fantastic ideas of old philosophy and at the same time to implant the 'new phantasm' of Bruno's thought.

Keywords: Ash Wednesday Supper; Copernican system; Copernicus's theory; cosmological issues; epistemological issues; Giordano Bruno



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