I mentioned Teodolinda Barolini's Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture here on the blog the other day (I'll be digging into this weekend coming, it looks fab), but I failed to note that Peter Hawkins' Dante: A Brief History is just out from Blackwell. Hawkins is well known for Dante's Testaments: Essays in Scriptural Imagination which I hear very good things about but haven't yet read, so this should be worth chasing down. Its been a good year for Dante titles, hasn't it? Another I still have to read is Barbara Reynolds's Dante: The Poet, the Political Thinker, the Man.

Readers Comments

  1. Michael Richards Thursday 23 November 2006

    Could I also add "Gladstone and Dante: Victorian Statesman, Medieval Poet" by Anne Isba, published by the Boydell Press on behalf of the Royal Historical Society? Apparently when he first read the Commedia, at the age of twenty-four, William Gladstone was to consider Dante one of the major influences in his life and indeed identified himself strongly with the poet.

  2. which is your most recommended companion to the comedy (maybe steve will be so kind and answer this too)? i might turn this year into my dante year after all..

    plus, any other 'musts' written on Dante would be greatly appriciated.

    (i read, after your recommendation, Helen Vendler's book on the shakespearean sonnets, which was wonderful).


  3. Hi Noam,

    The new Durling/Martinez translation of the first two books has excellent background, notes and essays in each volume, so they're ideal as companions.

    As for secondary texts, I haven't read a huge amount but the two that stand out are :
    John Freccero's Dante: the poetics of conversion, and Teodolina Barolini's The Undivine Comedy.

    I hope that helps.

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