Friday, September 14, 2007

The Divine Comedy

He was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. His monumental epic, The Divine Comedy, took readers through an allegorical journey through hell, purgatory, and paradise. Over six centuries ago today, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) passed away, but his work continues to endure, intriguing students of classical world literature and influencing works of art around the world.

To learn more about this Italian poet and his influential works, check out the Literature Resource Center:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select “Literature & Books,” then “Literature Resource Center.”

3. In the search box, enter “Dante.”

4. Select “Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)” to read an introductory overview of Dante’s life and classical works. Explore various aspects of his life and works by selecting the tabs along the top of the screen.

The Literature Resource Center, a complete literature reference database, contains biographical profiles of writers and criticism of major literary works in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, history, journalism, and more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting introduction to Dante Alighieri and his works. The Divine Comedy is a remarkably enduring literary work. We reference it all the time, even though we may not be aware of it, when we talk about the Ninth Circle of Hell or say Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate. Or rather, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
Which brings up another amazing point. In a time when serious literature was supposed to be in Latin or Greek, Dante defined convention and intentionally wrote La Divina Commedia in a written form that was a mixture of various regional dialects, predominately the Tuscan dialect in Northern Italy and the Sicilian dialect in Southern Italy. The success of La Commedia propelled this mixture to serve as the standard written language for the country.

Thus, in addition to being "an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker", as your blog entry noted, Dante can also be credited with being the Father of the Modern Italian Language.

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