Dante

Dante

3.88 (9 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Describes the events that shaped Dante's life and the ideas that shaped his poetry, including courtly love, the conflict between Church and state, and divine influence in human livesshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 110 pages
  • 127 x 193.04 x 10.16mm | 136.08g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0192875043
  • 9780192875044

Review Text

An informative, well-organized but slightly perverse review of Dante's work, stressing the thought and not the poetry. As a medieval historian, Holmes has every reason to focus on Dante's Neo-Platonism, his political theories, his attitude towards courtly love, etc. - but not in a general introduction, most of whose readers will be looking for ways to heighten their appreciation of the Divine Comedy. Still, newcomers to Dante should find this a handy guide. Holmes begins with the "invention" of Beatrice, which he views as perhaps the poet's supreme imaginative triumph, fusing eroticism and spirituality. The point is certainly debatable - given his angle of approach Holmes necessarily does scant justice to Dante's at least equally great achievement in creating the idiom of the Commedia, with its unique earthy sublimity; but here and elsewhere Holmes argues persuasively. He discusses such basic and unavoidable topics as Dante's cosmology, the four levels of interpretation, the quarrels between Guelfs and Ghibellines (and between Black and White Guelfs) with exemplary clarity and cogency. And he neatly summarizes both the Convivio and the Monarchia, tracing the development of Dante's notion of the dual powers of church and empire. The chapters on the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso are all, despite the unfortunate lack of diagrams or maps in the first two, quite helpful. The otherwise excellent short bibliography omits for some reason the bilingual edition of the Comedy by J. Sinclair, which anyone whose Italian is less than fluent would probably find the most convenient. As far as it goes, though, an extremely good job. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

9 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 33% (3)
4 33% (3)
3 22% (2)
2 11% (1)
1 0% (0)
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