By Alberto Manguel
Manguel chooses as his publications a variety of writers who sparked his mind's eye. He dedicates each one bankruptcy to a unmarried philosopher, scientist, artist, or different determine who established in a clean means the right way to ask “Why?” prime us via a whole gallery of inquisitives, between them Thomas Aquinas, David Hume, Lewis Carroll, Rachel Carson, Socrates, and, most significantly, Dante, Manguel affirms how deeply attached our interest is to the readings that almost all astonish us, and the way necessary to the hovering of our personal imaginations.
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28 Barely ten years after Hume’s Treatise, Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert began in France the publication of their Encyclopédie. ” The encyclopédistes translated what for Dante were questions of causality, dependent on divine wisdom, into questions of functionality, dependent on human experience. Hume’s proposed examination of the “discovery of truth” meant, for someone like Jaucourt, understanding how things worked in practical, even mechanical terms. Dante was interested in the impulse of curiosity itself, the process of questioning that led us to an affirmation of our identity as human beings, necessarily drawn to the Supreme Good.
5. How Do We Question? 6. What Is Language? 7. Who Am I? 8. What Are We Doing Here? 9. Where Is Our Place? 10. How Are We Different? 11. What Is an Animal? 12. What Are the Consequences of Our Actions? 13. What Can We Possess? 14. How Can We Put Things in Order? 15. What Comes Next? 16. Why Do Things Happen? 17. What Is True? Notes Acknowledgments Index Curiosity Virgil explains to Dante that Beatrice sent him to show Dante the right path. Woodcut illustrating Canto II of the Inferno, printed in 1487 with commentary by Cristoforo Landino.
Dante, voracious reader, would have also been familiar with Cicero’s Scipio’s Dream and its description of the celestial spheres, as well as with the otherworldly incidents in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Christian eschatology would have provided him with several more accounts. 9 Other journeys and visions appear in such best-selling pious compendia as Jacop de Voragine’s Golden Legend and the anonymous Lives of the Fathers; in the imaginary Irish travel narratives of Saint Brendan, Saint Patrick, and King Tungdal; in the mystic visions of Peter Damian, Richard de Saint-Victoire, and Gioachim de Fiore; and in certain Islamic Otherworld chronicles, such as the Andalucian Libro della Scala (Book of the Ladder), which tells of Muhammad’s ascent to heaven.