Links to images:
The dialogue between Marcabru and Ugo Catola reminded me of the conversation between Denis Diderot and Rameau's nephew in Diderot's work 1761 work Rameau's Nephew and D'Alembert's Dream. Apart from its content, this dialogue is quintessentially French Enlightenment for its element of spectacle. As Diderot and Rameau's nephew spar in a battle of wits over materialism, deism, and more, the crowd in the Regency Café can listen, contribute, and become part of the conversation. The spectacle becomes an interactive two-way street between performer and audience. At times, it even blurs the distinction between the two. However, the power of spectacle is hardly restricted to 18th-century Paris. The dialogue between Marcarbru and Catola becomes a spectator sport, with each side offering up its own interpretation of love. The audience is invoked in this competition, implicitly pushed to mediate between these two troubadours. The three images here capture the power of spectacle within the context of dialogue and debate. The first image comes from the cover of Rameau's Nephew and D'Alembert's Dream (Penguin edition); the second is a sketch of the Café Procope in Paris, a hub for philosophes in 18th-century Paris, and the very embodiment of public dialogue; and the third is Raphael's "School of Athens," in La Stella de Signatura in the Vatican. The third image draws from the references to ancient, classical, and late classical figures in Marcabru and Catola's dialogue, such as Samson (line 14, Goldin) and Ovid (line 37, Goldin). The "School of Athens" also captures the spirit of intellectual debate and the networks between different entities (i.e. mathematicians, philosophers, etc.), coming together to create a spectacle of the life of the mind.