A Vision of Hell The Inferno of Dante Translated into English Tierce Rhyme Rhyme (Hardcover)
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Little is known of Dante's early life. He was born into a noble but not wealthy Florentine family; "Dante" may be a contraction of "Durante," his mother's family. He studied rhetoric in Bologna and was generally well-educated--a friend of Guido Cavalcanti and the "stilnovisti" (new style) group of poets that tried to incorporate the latest findings in science and philosophy into their work. As he recounted in his "Vita Nuova" (1292), he fell in love with 8-year-old Beatrice Portinari when he was 9, and, though she married someone else, she was his lifelong inspiration not only in "Vita Nuova" but in the "Divine Comedy", as the woman who conducts him to Paradise. Dante himself went through an arranged marriage with Gemma Donati, about which, though several children were born, he wrote not one word. He was active in political life: He fought with the Guelphs against the Ghibellines in 1289, was ambassador to San Gimignano, and finally was elected as one of six priors in Florence--a very high office. He was deeply embroiled in the Guelph-Ghibelline conflict and in the internal quarrels of the Guelph factions, including estrangement from Cavalcanti, whom he was instrumental in having banished. (Cavalcanti died in exile.) Dante was finally banished himself when a rival came to power, and spent the last 20 years of his life in exile, trying always to find a way to return to Florence. He died of malaria after a diplomatic mission to Venice in 1321. As a poet, Dante was inspired by the courtly love tradition of the French troubadours, and also by classical poets and philosophers such as Virgil and Aristotle.