A Medieval Open Work

The First Meditation of Guigo II

In: Poetica
Rafael Simian Instituto de Filosofía, Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades Universidad de los Andes Santiago de Chile Chile

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Guigo II is commonly known and praised among specialists of Western mysticism for his Scala claustralium, a work that presents a spiritual program for cloistered monks. His Meditations, on the other hand, have usually been relegated to the margin of attention. The First Meditation, in particular, is generally regarded as a minor piece. The paper argues, however, that a new approach can make better sense of the First Meditation, while also enabling us to recognize its specific function and value. Seen from this new perspective, Guigo’s purpose with the text is to train and exercise his readers’ minds according to the spiritual program laid out in the Scala. The paper shows that the First Meditation realizes that goal, surprisingly, by having the same essential features that Umberto Eco found in the ‘open works’ of the Western avant-garde.

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