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1 The Memoirs of the Oratory As a narrative text.

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1 1 The Memoirs of the Oratory As a narrative text

2 2 Don Boscos writing 1 DB as a writer is moderate, essential, clear and effective DB as a writer is moderate, essential, clear and effective He demonstrates a command of narrative writing He demonstrates a command of narrative writing He is more immediate and to the point in recounting facts often spoken of viva voce and in talking of dreams full of details He is more immediate and to the point in recounting facts often spoken of viva voce and in talking of dreams full of details

3 3 Don Boscos writing 2 His dialogues are fluent His dialogues are fluent At times the dialogue highlights pastoral and educational attitudes dear to him At times the dialogue highlights pastoral and educational attitudes dear to him At other times he is apologetic: he shows things or argues with things passionately At other times he is apologetic: he shows things or argues with things passionately At other times he is intimate and spiritual At other times he is intimate and spiritual While at other times he is ordinary, popular While at other times he is ordinary, popular Clear ability, refined over long period, to compose, Clear ability, refined over long period, to compose,

4 4 Don Boscos writing 3 In scenes where he presents a typology of characters threaded with caricature the writing is very effective In scenes where he presents a typology of characters threaded with caricature the writing is very effective He puts together tiny but complete tales of adventure He puts together tiny but complete tales of adventure Tonal variety and shades of meaning Tonal variety and shades of meaning All in function of a narrative plan with great symbolic, practical intensity All in function of a narrative plan with great symbolic, practical intensity

5 5 Structure of the text 1 Narrative order: Narrative order: Events are not imagined Events are not imagined DB needed to work on a range of memories, events, emotions, sensations experienced over different periods DB needed to work on a range of memories, events, emotions, sensations experienced over different periods And he needed to order them according to a certain order: their reference to the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales And he needed to order them according to a certain order: their reference to the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales

6 6 Structure of the text 2 Surface structure Surface structure (chronology as organising principle) (chronology as organising principle) Spatial structure Spatial structure (geography as organising principle) (geography as organising principle) Deep structure Deep structure (inner organising principle) (inner organising principle)

7 7 Structure of the text 3 The surface structure (declared in the introduction) is sub-divided into Decades The surface structure (declared in the introduction) is sub-divided into Decades Ten years of early childhood Ten years of early childhood Chapters, within these decades, highlight: Chapters, within these decades, highlight: The characters formational journey on the one hand The characters formational journey on the one hand The progressive appearance and shaping of elements which make up the Oratory The progressive appearance and shaping of elements which make up the Oratory

8 8 Structure of the text 4 Spatial Spatial structure DB DB attributes particular value to places and settings where his oratorian vocation developed: These are points on a symbolic map The The variety and succession of places becomes an important organising principle for the narrative: values values linked with spaces Change Change of place: pilgrimage pilgrimage towards the promised land of the Oratory

9 9 Structure of the text 5 The The deep structure (beneath the surface) Is Is made up of: DBs DBs value systems Beliefs Beliefs Mental Mental framework (mentality, culture) Emerges Emerges free, beyond any formal division Behind Behind it all there is DB the man, with his entire inner universe

10 10 Structure of the text 6 This deep element (very much alive in the MO) gives the document intense polysemic value and makes it most precious for us This deep element (very much alive in the MO) gives the document intense polysemic value and makes it most precious for us The various organisational structures enrich the overall scene with its glimpses and multi-faceted views, with tones and shades of meaning which attrracts a range of readers with different interests The various organisational structures enrich the overall scene with its glimpses and multi-faceted views, with tones and shades of meaning which attrracts a range of readers with different interests

11 11 Levels of interpretation 1 Ideal readers DB had in mind: Ideal readers DB had in mind: Salesians of the 70s of the 19 th century Salesians of the 70s of the 19 th century with well-defined mental features with well-defined mental features equipped with a bagful of tools for interpretation identical to his own, equipped with a bagful of tools for interpretation identical to his own, a kind of spirituality typical for his setting a kind of spirituality typical for his setting a theological and pedagogical terminology with meanings different to our own a theological and pedagogical terminology with meanings different to our own

12 12 Levels of interpretation 2 The interpretation of the MO and full understanding of the authors intentions requires: The interpretation of the MO and full understanding of the authors intentions requires: A certain preparation A certain preparation An historical acclimatisation An historical acclimatisation An appropriate lexicon and encyclopaedia An appropriate lexicon and encyclopaedia


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