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The Divine Comedy by Dante – Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy by Dante – The Divine Comedy (Italian: Divina Commedia [diˈvina komˈmɛdja]) is a long narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320, a year before his death in 1321. It is widely considered to be the preeminent work in Italian literature[1] and one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem’s imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church by the 14th century. It helped establish the Tuscan language, in which it is written, as the standardized Italian language. It is divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

The narrative describes Dante’s travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise or Heaven, while allegorically the poem represents the soul’s journey towards God.[5] Dante draws on medieval Christian theology and philosophy, especially Thomistic philosophy and the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Consequently, the Divine Comedy has been called “the Summa in verse”.

The work was originally simply titled Comedìa and the word Divina was added by Giovanni Boccaccio. The first printed edition to add the word divina to the title was that of the Venetian humanist Lodovico Dolce,[8] published in 1555 by Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari.

Editorial Reviews

«The Divine Comedy» is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature.

About the Author

Dante Alighieri (c. 1265-1321)was an Italian poet, writer, and political thinker. After studying at the University of Bologna, he married and had four children. Dante was exiled from his hometown of Florence in 1302 due to his political leanings, finally settling in the city of Ravenna in 1307, when he began writing The Divine Comedy.

John Lotherington has written widely on Renaissance literature and history, including co-authored surveys of sixteenth-century Europe, Years of Renewal, and sixteenth-century England, The Tudor Years. He is at present a Program Director at the Salzburg Global Seminar.

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