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Framing, Parataxis, and the Poetics of Exemplarity in Petrus Alfonsi’s Disciplina Clericalis

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Critics have seen the structure of Petrus Alfonsi’s Disciplina clericalis (c. 1110) as either entirely haphazard or consistently framed. I will argue that its distinct structure emerges from a balance of framed and paratactic relationships. When viewed in this way, the dialogic exemplum sequence—or framed series of tales told in a conversation—becomes one of the most significant structural units in the work. Having identified that unit, I demonstrate its value for the exemplary poetics at work in Disciplina clericalis by analyzing the longest dialogic exemplum sequence in the text. Petrus uses the delicate balance between framing and parataxis to situate a sophisticated theory of exemplarity that analyzes representation and emphasizes the importance of interpreting moralized tales.

Affiliations: 1: English Department, Davidson CollegeDavidson, nc 28035USAford026@gmail.com

10.1163/15700674-12342182
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/content/journals/10.1163/15700674-12342182
2015-03-27
2018-04-23

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