Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
This book consists of both Dante's Italian and Rossetti's English translation. This volume contains a biography and copious introductory notes.
La Vita Nuova or Vita Nova (English: The New Life) is a text written by Dante Alighieri in 1295. It is an expression of the medieval genre of courtly love in a prosimetrum style, a combination of both prose and verse. Besides its content, it is notable for being written in Italian, rather than Latin; with Dante's other works, it helped to establish the Tuscan dialect in which it is written as the Italian standard.
The prose creates the illusion of narrative continuity between the poems; it is Dante's way of reconstructing himself and his art in terms of his evolving sense of the limitations of courtly love (the system of ritualized love and art that Dante and his poet-friends inherited from the Provençal poets, the Sicilian poets of the court of Frederick II, and the Tuscan poets before them).
Sometime in his twenties, Dante decided to try to write love poetry that was less centered on the self and more aimed at love as such: he intended to elevate "courtly" love poetry, many of its tropes and its language, into "sacred" love poetry. Beatrice for Dante was the embodiment of this kind of love--transparent to the Absolute, inspiring the integration of desire aroused by beauty with the longing of the soul for divine splendor.
Referred to by Dante as his libello, or "little book", The New Life is the first of two collections of verse written by Dante in his life; the other being the Convivio. La Vita Nuova is a prosimetrum, as is the Convivio, meaning that it is a piece which is made up of both verse and prose, in the vein of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy.
Dante used each prosimetrum as a means for combining poems written over periods of roughly ten years; La Vita Nuova contains his works from before 1283 to roughly 1293, whereas the Convivio contains his works from 1294 until the time of Divine Comedy.
La Vita Nuova contains 42 brief chapters (31 for Guglielmo Gorni) with commentaries on 25 sonnets, one ballata, and four canzoni; one canzone is left unfinished, interrupted by the death of Beatrice Portinari, Dante's lifelong love.
Dante's two-part commentaries explain each poem, placing them within the context of his life. The chapters containing poems consist of three parts: the semi-autobiographical narrative, the lyric that resulted from those circumstances, and brief structural outline of the lyric. The poems present a frame story, recounting Dante's love of Beatrice from his first sight of her (when he was nine and she eight) all the way to his mourning after her death, and his determination to write of her "that which has never been written of any woman."
Each separate section of commentary further refines Dante's concept of romantic love as the initial step in a spiritual development that results in the capacity for divine love (see courtly love). Dante's unusual approach to his piece—drawing upon personal events and experience, addressing the readers, and writing in Italian rather than Latin—marked a turning point in European poetry, when many writers abandoned highly stylized forms of writing for a simpler style.
Dante wanted to collect and publish the lyrics dealing with his love for Beatrice, explaining the autobiographical context of its composition and pointing out the expository structure of each lyric as an aid to careful reading. Though the result is a landmark in the development of emotional autobiography (the most important advance since Saint Augustine's Confessions in the 5th century), like all medieval literature it is far removed from the modern autobiographical impulse. However, Dante and his audience were interested in the emotions of courtly love and how they develop, how they are expressed in verse, how they reveal the permanent intellectual truths of the divinely created world and how love can confer blessing on the soul.
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||16 MB|
|Note:||This product may take a few minutes to download.|
About the Author
In Italy he is known as il Sommo Poeta ("the Supreme Poet") or just il Poeta. Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio are also known as "the three fountains" or "the three crowns". Dante is also called the "Father of the Italian language".
The Divine Comedy describes Dante's journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso), guided first by the Roman poet Virgil and then by Beatrice, the subject of his love and of another of his works, La Vita Nuova. While the vision of Hell, the Inferno, is vivid for modern readers, the theological niceties presented in the other books require a certain amount of patience and knowledge to appreciate. Purgatorio, the most lyrical and human of the three, also has the most poets in it; Paradiso, the most heavily theological, has the most beautiful and ecstatic mystic passages in which Dante tries to describe what he confesses he is unable to convey.
Dante, poised between the mountain of purgatory and the city of Florence, displays the famous incipit Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita in a detail of Domenico di Michelino's painting, Florence 1465.
By its serious purpose, its literary stature and the range—both stylistically and in subject matter—of its content, the Comedy soon became a cornerstone in the evolution of Italian as an established literary language. Dante was more aware than most earlier Italian writers of the variety of Italian dialects and of the need to create a literature beyond the limits of Latin writing at the time, and a unified literary language; in that sense he is a forerunner of the renaissance with its effort to create vernacular literature in competition with earlier classical writers. Dante's in-depth knowledge (within the realms of the time) of Roman antiquity and his evident admiration for some aspects of pagan Rome also point forward to the 15th century.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews