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About the book
  • Published: 31 August 2003
  • ISBN: 9780142437544
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 704
  • RRP: $39.99

The Portable Dante


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'Midway along the journey of life I woke to find myself in a dark wood. . .'
As a philosopher, he wedded classical methods of inquiry to a Christian faith. As an autobiographer, he looked unsparingly at his own failures to depict universal moral struggles. As a visionary, he dared draw maps of Hell, with Purgatory and Paradise, and populate all three realms with recognizable human beings. As a passionate lover, he became a poet of bereavement and renunciation. As all of these things, Dante Alighieri paved the way for modern literature, while creating verse and prose that remain unparalleled for formal elegance, intellectual depth, and emotional grandeur.
The Portable Dante captures the scope and fire of Dante's genius as thoroughly as any single volume can. It contains complete verse translations of Dante's two masterworks, The Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova; plus a bibliography, notes, and an introduction by the eminent scholar and translator Mark Musa.

  • Pub date: 31 August 2003
  • ISBN: 9780142437544
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 704
  • RRP: $39.99

About the Author

Dante Alighieri

Date: 2013-08-06
Dante, or Durante deli Alighieri, was born in Florence, Italy, circa 1265. His family was connected with the Guelph political alliance, supporters of the Papacy. His mother died before Dante’s tenth birthday. Dante himself was betrothed to Gemma di Manetto Donati when he was aged only 12. The pair went on to marry, but Dante’s true love was for Beatrice Portinari, who would inspire much of his poetry. Dante and Gemma had several children.
Dante was a member of Florence’s Apothecaries’ Guild, though he did not practice as a pharmacist. Allied to the White Guelphs, with whom he fought against the vanquishing Black Guelphs, he was eventually condemned to perpetual exile from Florence. He went first to Verona and then to Liguria. There is speculation that he travelled more widely, including to Paris and Oxford, although this has not been verified.
During his time of exile Dante conceived and wrote the three poems which form The Divine Comedy. He died in 1321, aged 56, of suspected malaria. He was buried in Ravenna, Italy, where a tomb was later erected in his name.

Stephen Wyatt is a playwright and dramatist with extensive experience in stage, radio and television.

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.

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