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The Medieval ReviewAs a teaching tool and guide for beginning readers, there is much to praise here. . . . Indeed, Raffa has a talent for concise, lucid exposition, which serves him very well in this book, and his mastery of the vast historical,
poetic, and theological material that he condenses down to a manageable size for beginning readers is impressive and, as far as this reviewer could determine, largely accurate. . . . [Danteworlds] is written as a guide, explicitly working with the experience of the first-time reader in mind so that it succeeds in providing enough information for the first time reader to make sense of Dante's poem without either providing one, 'definitive' interpretation or taking the reader away from the poem to be lost in commentary and scholarship. Throughout, Raffa finds ways to provide context and clues that encourage the reader to return to Dante's poem for a fresh look. The book, therefore, is not only useful for first-time readers, but also for those who regularly teach the Comedy to such readers. I, for one, have made a number of notes concerning new approaches to take and new questions to ask the next time I teach the Inferno in a general education course, and I anticipate recommending this guide both to students in that course looking for further help and to friends outside of the academy who are determined to read for themselves one of world literature's greatest poems.
— V. S. Benfall