An authoritative and comprehensive intellectual biography of the author of the Divine ComedyFor all that has been written about the author of the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) remains the best guide to his own life and work. Dante's writings are therefore never far away in this authoritative and comprehensive intellectual biography
Available for the first time in paperback, this essential resource presents a systematic introduction to Dante's life and works, his cultural context and intellectual legacy. The only such work available in English, this Encyclopedia: brings together contemporary theories on Dante, summarizing them in clear and vivid prose provides in-depth discussions of the Divine Comedy, looking at title and form, moral structure, allegory and realism, manuscript tradition, and also taking account of the various editions of the work over the centuries contains numerous entries on Dante's other important writings and on the major subjects covered within them addresses connections between Dante and philosophy, theology, poetics, art, psychology, science, and music as well as critical perspective across the ages, from Dante's first critics to the present.
Giovanni Boccaccio is one of the most influential writers in the western tradition, yet his first literary work, Diana's Hunt, has never been translated into English, and the Italian text has long been out of print. Anthony K. Cassell and Victoria Kirkham redeem Boccaccio's early effort in this dual-language edition, with an extensive introduction and commentary, that goes far beyond assuring its accessibility. The plot of Diana's Hunt is simple enough: the narrator observes the goddess Diana convening a band of Neapolitan court ladies to hunt in a wood. After slaying an impressive number of beasts, the huntresses are incited to rebellion against Diana by the fairest of their number. They invoke the goddess Venus, who transforms the beasts into young men ready to be faithful to her. As a final twist, the narrator himself, who we now learn was actually a stag all along, undergoes a similar transformation and is offered to the fairest lady. Cassell and Kirkham have revised the Italian text of Caccia di Diana, drawing from the six extant manuscripts of the original work. Their critical interpretation of the poem redefines the ground on which we evaluate the merits of Diana's Hunt and points to ways in which it looks forward to Boccaccio's later work. The poem emerges as an allegory of the struggle in the soul before Christian baptism and entrance into the active life of virtue. This theme will be central in the early fictions, such as the Filocolo and Ameto, and will be parodied and reversed in the later Elegy of Madonna Fiammetta and Corbaccio. The editors offer a readable translation, extensive notes, and a glossary of female historical characters that will prove invaluable to students and scholars of medieval and Renaissance literature, women's studies, and art history.
Claude Lefort, one of the most prominent political philosophers of the twentieth century, reads Dante’s Monarchia and demonstrates the surprising relevance of this radical fourteenth-century treatise defending the necessity of a universal monarchy independent from the Church. Written to accompany a new French translation of Dante’s treatise in 1993 and appearing here for the first time in English, Lefort’s essay exemplifies his signature method of taking political philosophy in new directions by reframing key works from the history of political thought. Dante’s Monarchia was attacked early on by the Church, burned as heretical in 1329, and remained on the Vatican’s index of prohibited works until 1881. With trenchant insight and his characteristic attention to detail, Lefort pursues the often hidden influence of Dante’s long suppressed treatise on the politics and political thought of subsequent centuries. He also challenges us to explore its still unrealized potential by disentangling Dante’s notion of universal sovereignty from its historical links to imperialism and nationalism. Drawing out the provocation of Dante’s treatise for contemporary debates, Lefort’s essay presents readers of Dante with a remarkably fresh account of an oft-neglected yet crucial part of the author’s oeuvre. In her extensive interpretive essay, Judith Revel submits Lefort’s encounter with Dante to a transformative mis/reading and shows the importance of Dante’s text for Lefort’s conception of political philosophy. She carefully reconstructs its radical legacy, all too frequently reduced to a postmarxist turn or even mistaken for an affirmation of liberal democracy. The two essays are accompanied by a note from their translator, Jennifer Rushworth, and a preface by Christiane Frey.