Download PDF by Richard Flanagan: And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?


By Richard Flanagan

The amassed brief items of nonfiction from one in all Australia's top novelists. 'And what do you do, Mr Faulkner?' requested Clark Gable after being brought to William Faulkner at a celebration. 'I write,' spoke back Faulkner. 'And what do you do, Mr Gable?' amassed the following for the 1st time are the superior of Richard Flanagan's wide-ranging, free-wheeling writings on every thing from directing movie and writing novels to a close to deadly kayak journey; from baking bread to bushfires to paintings to battle; from Kosovar refugees at the run to Jorge Luis Borges to his celebrated essay at the rape of Tasmania's forests, credited as a key to halting Gunns' billion buck pulp mill. gleaming, relocating and constantly impressive, this is often exhilarating studying from certainly one of Australia's top writers.

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But Ita­ lian can justly claim superiority over the others, not so much for the relative merit of being close to Latin at least in having si for sic, or for the still very grave (but, we could interject, undemonstrable) consideration of its close­ ness to the patterns of a rational philosophical grammar (gramatica comunis — De v. e. ). This epithet of subtilis must be added to dulcis as a conclusive designation DANTE AND THE ARS GRAMMATICA 39 of the novelty and value of the Stilnuovo, in Dante's mind.

Finds that Dante aimed at a vulgare illustre that would combine universalitas and naturalitas, as the Adamitic language had once done, but Latin was no longer doing. I feel rather inclined to believe that the "universality" of Italian could only be, if anything, a vague and relative notion, quite remote from the rigor implied in modistic speculation. Precisely in the use of technical terms that seem to derive from the "radical" or Averroistic Aristotelianism of Boethius of Dacia and Siger of Brabant one can see the distance which effectively separates Dante from DANTE AND THE ARS GRAMMATICA 37 them.

It was to be, he realized, an act of poetry, but a kind of poetic work never seen before, for which he would have to 28 ALDO SCAGLIONE invent the language, the metrical form, the genre, and much of the cultural background. For that there was need of a new grammar, a grammar of a language never seen, not a given style, a dialect, or Latin, and not even the volgare illustre. The Aeneid could, and did, give him an inspiration through the dynamic moral allegory of Aeneas's journey through life and, in Book 6, the underworld.

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And What Do You Do, Mr Gable? by Richard Flanagan

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