East/West: A Cultural Unity that is Perceived no Longer

Giovanni M. D'Erme


The notion of “Europe” is geographically and culturally controversial. While of Greek origins, this unsteady concept also has other progenitors, unwilling to recognize any “external” contributions to their own culture. One of these progenitors is Denis de Rougemont’s L’Amour et l’Occident, whose “Protestant” approach to the problems posed by the sudden emergence of Troubadour poetry is just as fanciful and untenable as the “Catholic” one.

The Troubadour passion, indeed, is a sort of gnostic fever to be seen in a much bigger context than the “Cis-Dardanellian” Europe. If we compare the works of the Troubadours and Dante, for instance, we find unsurprising similarities – if little known – but when a likeness of this sort appears to connect Dante to the Persian Hafez, poet of the fourteenth century, it is quite staggering: the resemblance lies not only in general concepts, but in rhetorical images and the wording too. This paper provides evidence of these and other literary contacts between “Europe” and “Asia”. The sense of alienation we purport to feel when encountering Asian cultures appears, in fact, to be a rather recent affair.



Europa; Asia; Medioevo; Letteratura; Gnosi

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/278

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-17489

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