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Dante Alighieri Biography & Facts

Dante Alighieri (Italian: [ˈdante aliˈɡjɛːri]; c. 1265 – September 14, 1321), most likely baptized Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri and often referred to as Dante (English: , US: ), was an Italian poet, writer, and philosopher. His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa (modern Italian: Commedia) and later christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio, is widely considered one of the most important poems of the Middle Ages and the greatest literary work in the Italian language.Dante is known for establishing the use of the vernacular in literature at a time when most poetry was written in Latin, which was accessible only to educated readers. His De vulgari eloquentia (On Eloquence in the Vernacular) was one of the first scholarly defenses of the vernacular. His use of the Florentine dialect for works such as The New Life (1295) and Divine Comedy helped establish the modern-day standardized Italian language. By writing his poem in the Italian vernacular rather than in Latin, Dante influenced the course of literary development, making Italian the literary language in western Europe for several centuries. His work set a precedent that important Italian writers such as Petrarch and Boccaccio would later follow. Dante was instrumental in establishing the literature of Italy, and is considered to be among the country's national poets and the Western world's greatest literary icons. His depictions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven provided inspiration for the larger body of Western art and literature. He influenced English writers such as Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, and Alfred Tennyson, among many others. In addition, the first use of the interlocking three-line rhyme scheme, or the terza rima, is attributed to him. He is described as the "father" of the Italian language, and in Italy he is often referred to as il Sommo Poeta ("the Supreme Poet"). Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio are also called the tre corone ("three crowns") of Italian literature. Early life Dante was born in Florence, Republic of Florence, in what is now Italy. The exact date of his birth is unknown, although it is believed to be around 1265. This can be deduced from autobiographic allusions in the Divine Comedy. Its first section, the Inferno, begins, "Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita" ("Midway upon the journey of our life"), implying that Dante was around 35 years old, since the average lifespan according to the Bible (Psalm 89:10, Vulgate) is 70 years; and since his imaginary travel to the netherworld took place in 1300, he was most probably born around 1265. Some verses of the Paradiso section of the Divine Comedy also provide a possible clue that he was born under the sign of Gemini: "As I revolved with the eternal twins, I saw revealed, from hills to river outlets, the threshing-floor that makes us so ferocious" (XXII  151–154). In 1265, the sun was in Gemini between approximately May 11 and June 11 (Julian calendar).Dante claimed that his family descended from the ancient Romans (Inferno, XV, 76), but the earliest relative he could mention by name was Cacciaguida degli Elisei (Paradiso, XV, 135), born no earlier than about 1100. Dante's father, Alighiero di Bellincione, was a White Guelph who suffered no reprisals after the Ghibellines won the Battle of Montaperti in the middle of the 13th century. This suggests that Alighiero or his family may have enjoyed some protective prestige and status, although some suggest that the politically inactive Alighiero was of such low standing that he was not considered worth exiling.Dante's family was loyal to the Guelphs, a political alliance that supported the Papacy and that was involved in complex opposition to the Ghibellines, who were backed by the Holy Roman Emperor. The poet's mother was Bella, probably a member of the Abati family. She died when Dante was not yet ten years old. His father Alighiero soon married again, to Lapa di Chiarissimo Cialuffi. It is uncertain whether he really married her, since widowers were socially limited in such matters, but she definitely bore him two children, Dante's half-brother Francesco and half-sister Tana (Gaetana). Dante said he first met Beatrice Portinari, daughter of Folco Portinari, when he was nine (she was eight), and he claimed to have fallen in love with her "at first sight", apparently without even talking with her. When he was 12, however, he was promised in marriage to Gemma di Manetto Donati, daughter of Manetto Donati, member of the powerful Donati family. Contracting marriages for children at such an early age was quite common and involved a formal ceremony, including contracts signed before a notary. Dante claimed to have seen Beatrice again frequently after he turned 18, exchanging greetings with her in the streets of Florence, though he never knew her well.Years after his marriage to Gemma, he claims to have met Beatrice again; he wrote several sonnets to Beatrice but never mentioned Gemma in any of his poems. He refers to other Donati relations, notably Forese and Piccarda, in his Divine Comedy. The exact date of his marriage is not known; the only certain information is that, before his exile in 1301, he had fathered three children with Gemma (Pietro, Jacopo and Antonia).Dante fought with the Guelph cavalry at the Battle of Campaldino (June 11, 1289). This victory brought about a reformation of the Florentine constitution. To take part in public life, one had to enroll in one of the city's many commercial or artisan guilds, so Dante entered the Physicians' and Apothecaries' Guild. His name is occasionally recorded as speaking or voting in the councils of the republic. Many minutes from such meetings between 1298–1300 were lost, so the extent of his participation is uncertain. Education and poetry Not much is known about Dante's education; he presumably studied at home or in a chapter school attached to a church or monastery in Florence. It is known that he studied Tuscan poetry and that he admired the compositions of the Bolognese poet Guido Guinizelli—in Purgatorio XXVI he characterized him as his "father"—at a time when the Sicilian School (Scuola poetica Siciliana), a cultural group from Sicily, was becoming known in Tuscany. He also discovered the Provençal poetry of the troubadours, such as Arnaut Daniel, and the Latin writers of classical antiquity, including Cicero, Ovid and especially Virgil.Dante's interactions with Beatrice set an example of so-called courtly love, a phenomenon developed in French and Provençal poetry of prior centuries. Dante's experience of such love was typical, but his expression of it was unique. It was in the name of this love that Dante left his imprint on the dolce stil nuovo ("sweet new style", a term that Dante himself coined), and he would join other contemporary poets and writers in exploring never-before-emphasized aspects of love (Amore). Love for Beatrice (as Petrarch would express for Laura somewhat differently) would be his reason for writing poe.... Discover the Dante Alighieri popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Dante Alighieri books.

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  • Inferno synopsis, comments


    Dante & Allen Mandelbaum

    In this superb translation with an introduction and commentary by Allen Mandelbaum, all of Dante's vivid imagesthe earthly, sublime, intellectual, demonic, ecstaticare rendered ...

  • Works of Dante Alighieri with Complete Divine Comedy synopsis, comments

    Works of Dante Alighieri with Complete Divine Comedy

    Dante Alighieri

    The Delphi Poets Series offers readers the works of literature's finest poets, with superior formatting. This volume presents the works of world poet Dante Alighieri, with beautifu...

  • Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    Dante Alighieri

    Elizabeth Greenwood

    Dante Alighieri, the medieval Italian lyric poet, has long been the province of rightwing scholars with conservative standards. However, recently, an English conservative prime min...

  • The Divine Comedy synopsis, comments

    The Divine Comedy

    Dante Alighieri

    Long narrative poem originally titled Commedia (about 1555 printed as La divina commedia) written about 131014 by Dante. The work is divided into three major sectionsInferno, Purga...

  • Why Dante Matters synopsis, comments

    Why Dante Matters

    John Took

    John Took provides an entirely original view of one of the most important poets and thinkers in all of Western literature, Dante Alighieri. The year 2021 marks the 700th anniversa...

  • The Inferno of Dante synopsis, comments

    The Inferno of Dante

    Dante & Robert Pinsky

    The Inferno of Dante: A New Verse Translation, Bilingual EditionThis widely praised version of Dante's masterpiece, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Harold Morton...

  • Lettera a Ruggero Bonghi intorno al libro De Vulgari Eloquio di Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    Lettera a Ruggero Bonghi intorno al libro De Vulgari Eloquio di Dante Alighieri

    Alessandro Manzoni

    Lettera a Ruggero Bonghi intorno al libro De Vulgari Eloquio di Dante Alighieri Alessandro Manzoni, scrittore, poeta e drammaturgo italiano (17851873) Questo libro elettronico pres...

  • The Dante Club synopsis, comments

    The Dante Club

    Matthew Pearl

    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Before The Dante Chamber, there was The Dante Club: “an ingenious thriller that . . . brings Dante Alighieri’s Inferno to vivid, even unsettling life.”Th...

  • The Portable Dante synopsis, comments

    The Portable Dante

    Dante Alighieri & Mark Musa

    The famed Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s two masterworksThe Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuovain one volumeA Penguin ClassicAs a philosopher, he wedded classical methods of inquiry to...

  • Works of Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    Works of Dante Alighieri

    Dante Alighieri

    This collection was designed for optimal navigation on iPad and other electronic devices. The collection is complimented by an author biography.Table of Contents: The Divine Comedy...

  • DANTE ALIGHIERI synopsis, comments


    Suzana Yolanda Machado Cánovas, Sueli Maria de Regino & Kelio Junior Santana Borges

    Como um prisma, este livro sobre a obra de Dante Alighieri pode ser apreendido de diferentes perspectivas: é sobre literatura, sobre leitura e crítica, sobre paixão e generosidade,...

  • Rest in Pieces synopsis, comments

    Rest in Pieces

    Bess Lovejoy

    A “marvelously macabre” (Kirkus Reviews) history of the bizarre afterlives of corpses of the celebrated and notorious dead.For some of the most influential figures in history, deat...

  • DANTE ALIGHIERI synopsis, comments


    Sara Marconi

    Quando pensiamo agli eroi, ci vengono in mente creature straordinarie con poteri magici e un mantello svolazzante sulle spalle. Ma esistono anche eroi in carne e ossa, umani come ...

  • The Divine Comedy synopsis, comments

    The Divine Comedy

    Dante Alighieri & John Ciardi

    The authoritative translations of The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradisotogether in one volume.Belonging in the immortal company of the great works of literature, Dante Alig...

  • Dante Alighieri e Carlo V synopsis, comments

    Dante Alighieri e Carlo V

    Santino Spartà

    Iter Mundi. Collana diretta da Santino Spartà Santino Spartà ha unito i saggi di due grandissimi personaggi: Dante Alighieri per la poesia e Carlo V per la politica. Del primo ha ...

  • The Inferno synopsis, comments

    The Inferno

    Dante Alighieri, John Ciardi & Archibald T. MacAllister

    Belonging in the immortal company of the works of Homer, Virgil, Milton, and Shakespeare, Dante Alighieri’s poetic masterpiece is a visionary journey that takes readers through the...

  • Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    Dante Alighieri


    Dive deep into the story of Dante Alighieri's life anywhere you go: on a plane, on a mountain, in a canoe, under a tree. Or grab a flashlight and read Shmoop under the covers. Shmo...

  • The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

    Dante Alighieri & Robert M. Durling

    This first volume of Robert Durling's new translation of The Divine Comedy brings a new power and accuracy to the rendering of Dante's extraordinary vision of Hell, with all its te...

  • The Purgatorio synopsis, comments

    The Purgatorio

    Dante Alighieri, John Ciardi & Archibald T. MacAllister

    In The Purgatorio, Dante describes his journey to the renunciation of sin, accepting his suffering in preparation for his coming into the presence of God. This brilliant translatio...

  • The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

    Robert M. Durling & Ronald L. Martinez

    In the early 1300s, Dante Alighieri set out to write the three volumes which make the up The Divine Comedy. Purgatorio is the second volume in this set and opens with Dante the poe...

  • Dante in Love synopsis, comments

    Dante in Love

    A. N. Wilson

    For William Butler Yeats, Dante Alighieri was "the chief imagination of Christendom." For T. S. Eliot, he was of supreme importance, both as poet and philosopher. Coleridge champio...

  • The Florentines synopsis, comments

    The Florentines

    Paul Strathern

    A sweeping and magisterial fourhundredyear history of both the city and the people who gave birth to the Renaissance.Between the birth of Dante in 1265 and the death of G...

  • The Dante Chamber synopsis, comments

    The Dante Chamber

    Matthew Pearl

    Memories, fears, the fog of nightmares...Five years after a series of Danteinspired killings stunned Boston, a politician is found in a London park with his neck crushed by an enor...

  • Meditations on the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    Meditations on the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

    A. S. Kline

    Authored by A. S. Kline  In these meditations on Dante's Divine Comedy the author provides a companion volume to his translation of the great work itself, guiding the reader ...

  • The Inferno synopsis, comments

    The Inferno

    Dante, Robert Hollander & Jean Hollander

    The epic grandeur of Dante’s masterpiece has inspired readers for 700 years, and has entered the human imagination. But the further we move from the late medieval world of Dante, t...

  • The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

    Dante Alighieri & Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    This volume, published in 1893, is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s translation of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, the Italian poet and philosopher of the fourteenth century. Thi...

  • Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    Dante Alighieri

    Paolo Pellegrini

    Il convenzionale intreccio della figura pubblica e privata di Dante con la sua opera e il contesto storico e culturale dell'Italia tra Due e Trecento ha favorito in passato non poc...

  • Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    Dante Alighieri

    Passerino Editore

    Dante Alighieri è considerato il padre della lingua italiana per aver portato il volgare (derivato dal latino, e a esso contrapposto), ad altissimi livelli attraverso le sue opere,...

  • The Inferno of Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    The Inferno of Dante Alighieri

    Seth Zimmerman

    THE INFERNO OF DANTE ALIGHIERI TRANSLATED IN TRIPLERHYME WITH AN INTRODUCTION, NOTES AND COMMENTARY This vigorous translation of the Inferno, the first part of Dante's Divine Come...

  • Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    Dante Alighieri

    Pierre Larousse

    Avec internet, nous avons tous oublié qu'un homme exceptionnel, Pierre LAROUSSE, a écrit, des biographies fabuleuses. Il est grand temps de lui rendre justice et de mettre à dispos...

  • Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    Dante Alighieri

    Paget Toynbee

    One of the most frequently cited texts on Dante's life and writings, this invaluable study illuminates the Divine Comedy as well as the great Florentine poet's other works. Author ...

  • The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

    Robert M. Durling & Ronald L. Martinez

    Robert Durling's spirited new prose translation of the Paradiso completes his masterful rendering of the Divine Comedy. Durling's earlier translations of the Inferno and the Purgat...

  • La Divina Commedia di Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    La Divina Commedia di Dante Alighieri

    Dante Alighieri

    La Divina Comedìa è un poema allegorico di Dante Alighieri, scritto in terzine incatenate di endecasillabi in lingua volgare fiorentina. Il poema è diviso in tre parti, chiamate &#...

  • I delitti della Medusa synopsis, comments

    I delitti della Medusa

    Giulio Leoni

    Firenze, 1300. In una notte di metà luglio il priore Dante Alighieri viene chiamato in tutta fretta dal bargello della città e condotto sul luogo di un orrendo delitto. Nel nuovo P...

  • Giovanni Pascoli. Antologia synopsis, comments

    Giovanni Pascoli. Antologia

    Alberto Casadei

    Per tornare a leggere Pascoli in tutte le sfaccettature di poeta del suo tempo e insieme moderno e attuale, è indispensabile pensare una nuova antologia che accompagni il lettore a...

  • The Collected Works of Dante Alighieri synopsis, comments

    The Collected Works of Dante Alighieri

    Dante Alighieri

    This comprehensive eBook presents the significant works of this famous and brilliant writer in one ebook 3800 pages easytoread and easytonavigate: Various Versions of The Divine...