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Who Was Dante Alighieri;What Did He Do?


Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), was famous Italian poet of middle ages.The life of Dante Alighieri is closely linked to the events of Florentine political life. At its birth, Florence was about to become the most powerful city in central Italy.  Dante and his work are closely linked to the events of life : the meeting and the premature death of Beatrice, the political misfortune of exile from Florence.

Silent Features of Dante Alighieri Work.

The most salient feature of the poet’s youth and early manhood is certainly the story of his love of the mystic Beatrice. The whole story is told in the Vila Noma in an allegorical and poetical manner. Beatrice has generally been identified with Beatrice, the daughter of Falco Portinari, a wealthy Florentine. Shc married Simone del Bardi, a rich and noble banker. It is probable that D. did not declare his love, and that they did not meet many times.

There are still some, however, who hold that Beatrice was no real s woman, but a mystically exalted ideal of s womanhood. In the Vita Nuova D. tells us that already at the age of 18 he had learnt ‘the art of f saying words in rhyme’, but he shows no e originality before his sonnet written to Beatrice y every heart which the sweet pain doth move’). He was immediately recognised (1283)  as a new poet, and received many answers to this  sonnet, including one from the most famous was lyrist of the day, Guido Cavalcanti, henceforth s to be the first of his friends.

Boccaccio tells us r that from 1283 to 1289 Dante was engaged in study, e but there is nothing to mark the outward course X of his life. The lyrics of the Vita Nuova bear e witness to his growing maturity in art, while the s prose narrative shows his acquaintance with the s Lat. writers. He was probably engaged in the military campaigns of 1288 and 1289, for Leonardo Bruni tells us that he took a promi-nent part in the battle of Campaldino (11 June). This was the crowning triumph of Florentine arms, and the city was given up to great rejoicing.

It is not easy to get a definite idea of Dante’s life during the ten years which followed this event. He seems to have taken refuge in philosophic studies. The poignant reproaches which Beatrice addresses to him when me meets her on Lethe’s banks seem to tell us of a serious falling away at this period. Some moral aberration and sensual passion must have called him for a while from the light of reason and the beauty of righteous-ness. Tonto gift cadde,’so low he fell’ (Purgatorio, xxx, 136). He became friendly with Corso di Simone Conati, a turbulent and ambitious citizen, and with his brother Forese, a sensual man of pleasure.

In sev. sonnets Guido Caval-canti rebukes his friend for his altered mode of life, while some of Dante’s own sonnets seem to show that sev. women crossed his path. Some time before 129713. married Gemma di Manetto Donati, but the marriage does not seem to have been entirely happy. Gemma bore him 4 children, but she did not share his exile, and was still living in 1332. In 1295, the first year of Boniface VIII’s pontificate, D. entered the troublous seas of political life. On 23 Jan 1296.

Dante collected all his early lyrics in a prose narrative, so in the Cot:chi:on, or Banquet, he attempts to collect fourteen of his later canzoni, with a prose commentary to the glory of his mystical lady, Philosophy. The work, however, was left incom-plete. The first of the Lat. works is the De Monarehia, an attempt to solve the burning medieval question of the relations of Church and stale, of spiritual and temporal authority. It is divided into three books, and has been described as ‘the most purely ideal of political works ever written’.

The De Vulgari Eloquentia is unfinished. It deals with the search for the highest form of the vernacular, and with the application of the vulgar tongue to poetry. Ten Lat. letters are also extant and ascribed to the divine poet, but only that to Henry VII, emperor of Germany, is universally accepted as genuine. The eclogues, two delightful pastoral poems in Lat. hexameters, belong to the closing period of D.’s life, when he was engaged on the Paradiso.

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