The Earliest Lives of Dante (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Earliest Lives of Dante

These lives of Dante were written, one within fifty, the other within a hundred and twenty-five years, after the poet's death. Boccaccio was acquainted with at least four persons who, as we have reason to believe, knew Dante in the ?esh, and he could draw his information from them as well as from popular tradition. Bruni, on the other hand, who, as he himself says, supplements the work of his predecessor, derives the bulk of his matter from public documents and let ters of Dante, which are not now extant. The value, then, Of their works lies in their nearness to authoritative sources. No other documents Of anything like equal importance as regards the life of Dante have come down to us. Our knowledge of the poet as he moved among men is almost wholly derived from these two lives and from his own works.

The facts here presented are not all Of equal significance or trustworthiness. The dream of the poet's mother, the presumed unhappiness Of his marriage, the charge made against him of great licentiousness in youth and manhood, the dates here given of his works, the loss and recovery Of the last thirteen cantos of the C ommedia, have no evidence in their favor other than that which is here presented. But the main features Of his life: the time and place of his birth, his liberal education, his life-long love of Beatrice on earth and in the spirit, his marriage to Gemma Donati, his rise to the highest places in the government of Florence, his banishment and twenty years of exile, and the date and manner of his death, these things, I repeat, we know to be true.

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Publisher -

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Author(s) - Giovanni Boccaccio


Published Date -

ISBN - 9780266192503

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Page Count - 106

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