Dante in Love

Dante in Love For William Butler Yeats Dante Alighieri was the chief imagination of Christendom For T S Eliot he was of supreme importance both as poet and philosopher Coleridge championed his introduction to an

  • Title: Dante in Love
  • Author: A.N. Wilson
  • ISBN: 9780374134686
  • Page: 278
  • Format: Hardcover
  • For William Butler Yeats, Dante Alighieri was the chief imagination of Christendom For T S Eliot, he was of supreme importance, both as poet and philosopher Coleridge championed his introduction to an English readership Tennyson based his poem Ulysses on lines from the Inferno Byron chastised an Ungrateful Florence for exiling Dante The Divine Comedy resonatesFor William Butler Yeats, Dante Alighieri was the chief imagination of Christendom For T S Eliot, he was of supreme importance, both as poet and philosopher Coleridge championed his introduction to an English readership Tennyson based his poem Ulysses on lines from the Inferno Byron chastised an Ungrateful Florence for exiling Dante The Divine Comedy resonates across five hundred years of our literary canon.In Dante in Love, A N Wilson presents a glittering study of an artist and his world, arguing that without an understanding of medieval Florence, it is impossible to grasp the meaning of Dante s great poem He explains how the Italian states were at that time locked into violent feuds, mirrored in the ferocious competition between the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy He shows how Dante s preoccupations with classical mythology, numerology, and the great Christian philosophers inform every line of the Comedy.Dante in Love also explores the enigma of the man who never wrote about the mother of his children, yet immortalized the mysterious Beatrice whom he barely knew With a biographer s eye for detail and a novelist s comprehension of the creative process, A N Wilson paints a masterful portrait of Dante Alighieri and unlocks one of the seminal works of literature for a new generation of readers.

    One thought on “Dante in Love”

    1. This is one of those books that can open a world for you. I definitely will re-read The Divine Comedy with greater pleasure in the near future. Wilson not only reveals Dante's humanity but also explains the greater meanings of his poetry (yes, even the Paradiso) in a way that is personal and exciting, even sexy at times. I do have a bit of background knowledge of period, but I think it was written to be understandable to the Dante "lay person". Wilson is a highly accomplished scholar and he writ [...]

    2. Wilson’s exploration of Dante’s life is less a biography of the man, there are scant details about the poet’s life anywhere in the book that could not have been picked up elsewhere—as biography no new ground is broken here, but is more a biography of the Commedia and its relationship to the European literary tradition. This isn’t to say A. N. Wilson’s Dante in Love is not worth the reading. In many cases it is a useful introduction to the man, the poem, and their relevance to the lit [...]

    3. I was quite young, under ten I'm sure, when I first met Dante. It was in my mother's copy of The Divine Comedy with engravings by Durer. Those illustrations obviously made a strong impression, because I've been enchanted ever since enchanted but never passed the first several cantos. Wilson's thorough and thoroughly readable examination of Dante, his world, and his Comedy have provided what could prove to be the impetus I need to at last read my mom's book.

    4. A.N. Wilson is not a scholar. He is a self-taught Dante enthusiast, whose work emphasizes the historical context of Dante's Commedia. Unfortunately, it does little to illuminate things within the text. Heavy on the history, superfluous vocabulary, and run-on sentences, Wilson tries to make a name for himself among Dantean scholars by berating the work of those who came before him. There are better works on Dante available, a shame they are not in my library.

    5. I really want to get a copy of the translation everyone used in the 19th century, Carey's Dante, I think. I finished this last month and passed it on to mom, but I guess I forgot to mark it read. A lot of interesting and useful information, but not laid out in a manner I found appealing.3.5 stars, rounding down because I felt like I was slogging through it.

    6. Along with Shakespeare, Dante is the greatest literary figure in the Western tradition. In an awards contest, I'd give Dante the award for the greatest single work, while Shakespeare would receive the award for the greatest lifetime body of work. Such conjectures and contests are always a bit of a silly exercise. Both are great. But Dante, even more than Shakespeare, is daunting. Shakespeare wrote at the end of the Northern Renaissance and therefore helps lay the very foundations of our modernit [...]

    7. “Midway upon the journey of our lifeI found myself within a forest dark,For the straightforward pathway had been lost.”From its famous opening line, Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy can leave readers confused and defeated.What exactly is the midway of life? Is it 20 years, 50 years? Is there some allegorical meaning to it. Thankfully A.N. Wilson’s Dante in Love, sets about explaining this work in a way the lay-reader can understand. In the Middle-Ages it was believed that the average lifesp [...]

    8. The wonderfully paradoxical thing about the best poets is the way they are simultaneously recognizable through their considerable effect on modern culture, and yet often inaccessible due to their distance from it. Homer is rarely far away thanks to the Trojans, those valiant defenders. Shakespeare managed to poeticize a basic infinitive: "to be." But how many people try to open up the Iliad and find themselves lost in medias res with no description of what all of these people are doing and why t [...]

    9. Oddly, I'd say that love is the weakest part of this biography of Dante--Wilson does much better with descriptions of Florence and Rome, explanations of political rivalries, discussions of popular language as opposed to Latin, and much religious symbolism in Dante's work. But he seems very weak on love. He seems to misunderstand "courtly love"; he seems to think Jean de Meun (the writer of the last half of the Roman de la Rose) was gay; he thinks Purgatorio 26 is about homosexual lust, when it i [...]

    10. It has been over thirty years since I first read the Penguin translation by Dorothy Sayers and Barbara Reynolds. It was a fine introduction but while I benefited tremendously from all of the notes and commentary, the critical apparatus ultimately swallowed Dante's poem and left me with the sense that it was a poem that could only be enjoyed by experts. It wasn't until many years later that I realized how wrong I was. If only I had read A.N. Wilson's book after that first encounter! He provides s [...]

    11. For a man who wrote so much about himself, what we know about Dante Aligheri is surprisingly little. He used his life as raw material not so much for straight-forward autobiography but for allegory and mystical poetry. A.N. Wilson, one of our finest biographers, manages to explore the facts and suppositions of Dante's life in a volume that opens up the history of medieval Italy, its politics, religion, and wars. For all those who've struggled with arcane allusions in the Divine Comedy, this book [...]

    12. Wow, did my opinion of that swing wide. As reads go, it bogged down pretty badly at several points. But, I did learn quite a bit about Dante's exile, travel route, reception, and some of the people he influenced.

    13. AN Wilson uses the story of Dante's life to interpret his Divine Comedy. Interesting and accessible, this book gives a good introduction to the political, historical and philosophical context of the time.

    14. Highly readable, contextualizing Dante's "Comedy". Even if you never read Dante, you will come away with an overview of Europe during the decades before and after 1300, the pivotal year that Dante chooses to set his great work, the year he turned 35 and finds himself in that dark wood.

    15. The Dante biography for our age. Wilson strives mightily to make Dante relevant to our post-9/11 age. Not sure he succeeds, but it's an eminently readable literary biography.

    16. An excellent book. A surprisingly easy read for such a complex topic. It has been many years since I read the Comedy but I shall certainly go back and read it again.

    17. 3.5 starsA lot of going around in circles in this one. At times, it felt like the author digressed too far from Dante.

    18. This is fluctuating 3 and 4. I am reading "Purgatory" (Esolen translation) at the moment, so this was a great companion.

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