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Vernacular EloquenceWhat Speech Can Bring to Writing$
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Peter Elbow

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199782505

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199782505.001.0001

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Dante’s Vulgar Eloquence

Vernacular Eloquence

Peter Elbow

Oxford University Press

This section examines how a local spoken language that was derided for writing—the “vulgar” vernacular employed by Dante in The Divine Comedy—could be used for writing of the highest seriousness and quality. It also considers how such a language could eventually become accceptable for writing. It includes two chapters that explore some of the problems with the existing culture of proper literacy and its hostility to speech, as well as the expected emergence of a new culture of vernacular literacy that will welcome speech—and multiple spoken languages—for writing.

Keywords:   spoken language, writing, vulgar vernacular, Dante, The Divine Comedy, literacy, speech, vernacular literacy

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