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A Gondolier of Dogmatic Fallacies

By Deane, J. Greg

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Book Id: WPLBN0100303398
Format Type: PDF (eBook)
File Size: 1.17 MB.
Reproduction Date: 1/28/2021

Title: A Gondolier of Dogmatic Fallacies  
Author: Deane, J. Greg
Language: English
Subject: Fiction, Drama and Literature, 17th Century Venetian Society
Collections: Adventure, Authors Community
Publication Date:
Publisher: Gutenberg
Member Page: JGregDeane


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Deane, J. G. (2021). A Gondolier of Dogmatic Fallacies. Retrieved from

Agitalancia has no time for consistency or determined outcomes, at least those planned by human mortals. He frequently calls on saints and philosophers to support his own views, though to do so he is usually obliged to mangle or invert the meanings of the words he quotes. An example of his manipulation of philosophers occurs when he cites Epicurus: Recall the teachings of Epicurus, the philosopher whose reasoning is least tarnished by error,” directed Gregorio. “The first principles of the universe are atoms and empty space ; everything else is merely thought to exist. The worlds are unlimited ; they come into being and perish. Nothing can come into being from that which is not nor pass away into that which is not. Further, the atoms are unlimited in size and number, and they are borne along in the whole universe in a vortex, and thereby generate all composite things: fire, water, air, earth; for even these are conglomerations of given atoms. And it is because of their solidity that these atoms are impassive and unalterable. The sun and the moon have been composed of such smooth and spherical masses made up of atoms, and so also the soul, which is identical with reason. We see by virtue of the impact of images upon our eyes. But what we see in one moment is gone in the next. Once it leaves our memories it is gone for ever.” He is an anti-hero who can justify his own depravity and hedonism not only to his followers but to the world around him by pointing to the flux and inconstancy of all things, even in the opinions of saints and thinkers he appears to admire.

Mr. Deane's novel is an insightful study into the wonders of the autistic superman, a craven anti-hero who is an endearing, self-contained scoundrel, a constant contradiction who is truthful even when he lies, though he has no time for constancy. He lives for the annihilation of every moment, having no concern for fidelity or loyalty or the conservation of any social contract. He is a supreme villain who is ubiquitously loved and admired, until there is a suspicion bruited about by an unrequited lover that he is virtuous. Mr. Deane's ingenious creation, Gregorio il Glorioso Codardo Agitalancia, is a hilarious inversion of the heroic stereotype, glorious for his amorality and his poetic creativity. Identified as a high functioning autistic at an early age he was banished by his family who thereby denied themselves a claim to his renown reflected in his fame as a scientist, a sorcerer and magician all in one; that there would be brazen statues in his likeness throughout the Mediterranean uttering his verses and sing his praises; that there would be philtres and curing chalices emblazoned with his name found in hundreds of cathedrals, churches and chapels. Architectural projects built in his name would be found in every town and city and in many villages. However, there was a good likelihood his family would be embarrassed by his distinctive garb, which they would see as marking him out for his eccentricity rather than his creativity or superior abilities: a purple robe, tied with a golden girdle. He wore bronze slippers on his feet and a wreath of laurel crowned his head. However, thanks to the spiritual support Gregorio Agitalancia finds in self-sufficient solipsism, erotic promiscuity, inveterate, rabelaisian drunkenness, and the demiurge that drives him on to fulfil himself as a divinely inspired wordsmith, he is untroubled by the disregard and despite of his family and others whom his peculiarities disturb. Mr. Deane's paradoxical anti-hero, Gregorio Agitalancia, is a magnificent failure despite his contrary and antisocial successes. He is a thinker he seeks to flee the servitude of popularity. He becomes a philosophical thinker, expecting that the world will desert him, in keeping with the teaching of Nicholas Malebranche. He hopes that pedantic erudition will free him from the importunity of the multitudes that hear him talk rationally, but instead his eccentricity becomes a magnet to those who cannot understand him but like to think they do, though in the end they condemn him as a saint and call for his crucifixion. The poetic irony of such an outcry, reminding the reader of the mob's demand to Pontius Pilate for the execution of Christ, is all the more poignant given Agitalancia's willingness to cite saints in support of his mentoring of mendacity. The perverse hilarity of his interpretation of St. Thomas Aquinas' doctrine regarding truth, outrageously travestied by Agitalancia: “truth is posterior to understanding, certitude being possible without a divine light. If we understand something we can decide whether we use it to deceive or guide benignly those with whom we deal. But it is a sin against chicane to refrain from abusing the trust of a dupe.” Though Agitalancia may alarm and amuse Mr. Deane's reader, he is an inspiration to his own disciples like Guglielmo who tells his own rabbi, with spontaneous if culpable honesty, “You are the wisest of mountebanks, Gregorio, so far as I am able to identify a wise man”. Far from believing this is the best of all possible worlds created by Leibniz's omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God, Gregorio Agitalancia remains convinced that he could regenerate a better world, or at least a better Venice by mandating chicanery and charlatanism rather than pretending to condemn behaviours that are inevitable.

As he spoke he beheld a light in the heavens and a glitter of lamps, but nothing else. His hearers were amazed at what had occurred. His usual caution left him and he walked out into the storm. When he returned, he was wearing a purple robe, tied with a golden girdle. He wore bronze slippers on his feet and a wreath of laurel crowned his head. He found there was a general consternation regarding his whereabouts. He bade them take no further trouble, for things beyond expectation had happened to him, and it was their duty to sacrifice to him since he was now a god. He comforted them, saying, “The storm may continue and destroy all of you, but I will not be harmed. There is no need for any of you to be worried. There is no reason to worry about yourselves if I am safe.” "We cannot guard against god-sent catastrophes," said Celinda piously. "That would be blasphemy. If Gregorio were the one and only god we could give thanks. He would be too frightened to antagonise his worshippers. He would never visit us with catastrophes."

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Gregorio Agitalancia and his admiring acolytes consider the virtues of cowardice and seek alternatives to danger. Guglielmo loses his oar but finds Rosa who ultimately proves more troublesome than a lost oar. 12 Chapter Two: Giustina considers the value of heroism, the relative benefits of heroic cowards and poetic poltroons in the putative bowels of the Trinity, whether the Trinity shares a bowel or each person has its own bowel. The company on the gondola discuss the relative merits of vulgar and noble love and the proximity of fresh corpses to lovers. Arriving in Venice, Guglielmo meets Betto, and they consider the value of memory in exploiting the sick and dying. 58 Chapter Three: Gregorio Agitalancia is required for a more onerous task than battle, though he is willing to courteously believe it is less onerous. Panfilo Cateruzzi offers Gregorio two illicit, acceptable commissions. 82 Chapter Four: The arrival of the Doge's niece, Paolina and her lover, Rambaldo causes much toing and froing across water. Caterina is condemned and then pardoned owing to her useful, criminal connections. A storm brews and Gregorio is inundated with uninvited guests, some of whom are tempting. 119 Chapter Five: Gregorio finds himself an attractive focus but fears the vengeance of cuckolds. His numerous guests discuss the horrors of platonic love and of erotic celibacy, the delights of sadism and masochism, and the importance of warped, romantic paradigms. 147 Chapter Six: Gregorio avoids interfering in a vendetta but has less success evading amorous entanglements. Leonello loses his sword in the depths of the canal. Rambaldo is lured to Burano where he has the opportunity to meet Minetta on the road. 168 Chapter Seven: Gregorio discusses his role in life and the type of god he would like to be. Astolfo alarms Gregorio when he admits to an interest in being a good man. Perino comes to admire Gregorio as much as do Astolfo and Guglielmo. Gregorio is relieved that the ladies at Mazorbo were robbed when he was not there to protect them. He is discomfited when Alberta leaves tear stains on his shirt. Gregorio is inadvertently placed in the position of protector. Alberta is imperiously coy. 181 Chapter Eight: Owing to Panfilo's timidity and avarice, Gregorio and his party must move from Mazorbo to Chioggia. Giorgio strives to understand whether an interesting life or death is preferable. Stolen jewels recovered not without duplicity. Gregorio battles reeds. Avenues for love traversed with ladders. The company draws parallels between fornication and stoicism. Giustina finds seaweed in her nose. Cavaliers leave to pillage lawless rioters. 215 Chapter Nine: Gregorio receives various correspondence, and dismisses certain summons. He profits through the crimes of the jewel thieves, but is unable to enjoy the favours of those he allures, grovelling fetchingly in muck for a purse. 281 Chapter Ten: Lodovica brings further complications, having escaped from the lover with whom she had absconded. Celinda is mistaken for Alberta and requests Gregorio to search for jewels where he can see nothing of value. Euphemia seeks solace from Ferrante but he is lost in stertorous repose. Together, Lodovica and Euphemia cause Gregorio to question his stamina. 305 Chapter Eleven: Gregorio regains some independence but only transiently; he banishes his guests but is obliged to send Astolfo into the streets to find others. Father Bertoldo Aquinas performs two weddings at a discount. Gregorio discourses on the flaws of women and the constitution of a good wife. Speculation whether Gregorio should become God or Doge or both. Laureta and the arsenalotti arrest Gregorio. 336 Chapter Twelve: Gregorio's companions enjoy the novelty of incarceration, with song, dance, wine and pies. Thinking them unbecoming, the Doge releases them, after witnessing intimacies at length. Laureta uses poetry to torture Gregorio for the sake of love. The Doge pardons Gregorio and implies he will succeed him. Cilia earns a zecchino from Gregorio. 376 Chapter Thirteen: Doge Bertuccio Valier stages a ball to mark relief from the war and the plague. Gregorio Agitalancia refuses to be confused with a common gigolo. Bettina's leather breeches make a contrast with her cowering lapdog. Laureta makes a shocking announcement regarding saintliness, but a previous decision by the Doge prevents Venice being saved from a horrid prospect. Astolfo's trust is betrayed. Guglielmo feels so violated. 403


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