Dante (1265–1321) is the greatest of Italian poets, and his Divine Comedy is the finest of all Christian allegories.
To the consternation of his more academic admirers, who believed Latin to be the only proper language for dignified verse, Dante wrote his Comedy in colloquial Italian, wanting it to be a poem for the common reader. Taking two threads of a story that everybody knew and loved – the story of a vision of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, and the story of the lover who has to brave the Underworld to find his lost lady – he combined them into a great allegory of the soul’s search for God. He made it swift, exciting and topical, lavishing upon it all his learning and wit, all his tenderness, humour and enthusiasm, and all his poetry.
In Paradise, which T. S. Eliot among others has found ‘either incomprehensible or intensely exciting’, Dante journeys through the encircling spheres of heaven towards God.
About The Author
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 and belonged to a noble but impoverished family. He followed a normal course of studies, possibly attending university in Bologna, and when he was about twenty he married Gemma Donati, by whom he had several children. He had first met Bice Portinati, whom he called Beatrice, in 1274, and when she died in 1290, he sought distraction by studying philosophy and theology and by writing La Vita Nuova.
During this time he became involved in the strife between the Guelfs and the Ghibellines; he became a prominent White Guelf, and when the Black Guelfs came to power in 1302, Dante, during an absence from Florence, was condemned to exile. He took refuge first in Verona, and after wandering from place to place - as far as Paris and even, some have said, to Oxford - he settled in Ravenna. While there he completed The Divine Comedy, which he began in about 1308. Dante died in Ravenna in 1321.
"The English Dante of choice." -Hugh Kenner "Exactly what we have waited for these years, a Dante with clarity, eloquence, terror, and profoundly moving depths." -Robert Fagles, Princeton University
"A marvel of fidelity to the original, of sobriety, and truly, of inspired poetry." -Henri Peyre, Yale University
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: December 1963
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 13.0 x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.28
Edition Number: 1