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Old 01-02-2014, 10:39 AM   #1
GeorgeH
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Eliot, Charles W. (editor): Harvard Classics Volume 20 V1.0 2 Jan 2014

The Harvard Classics Volume 20 (Alighieri) Published 1909

Edited by Charles W Eliot LL D. (March 20, 1834 - August 22, 1926)

Durante degli Alighieri, simply referred to as Dante (c. 1265–1321), was a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa and later called Divina by Boccaccio, is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.

In Italy he is known as il Sommo Poeta ("the Supreme Poet") or just il Poeta. He, 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 (Italian: Divina Commedia) is an epic poem written between c. 1308 and Dante's death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem's imaginative and allegorical vision of the afterlife is a culmination of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church. It helped establish the Tuscan dialect, in which it is written, as the standardized Italian language. It is divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

On the surface, the poem describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven; but at a deeper level, it represents allegorically the soul's journey towards God. At this deeper level, Dante draws on medieval Christian theology and philosophy, especially Thomistic philosophy and the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Consequently, the Divine Comedy has been called "the Summa in verse".

The work was originally simply titled Comedìa and was later christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio. The first printed edition to add the word divine to the title was that of the Venetian humanist Lodovico Dolce, published in 1555 by Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari.

This version, translated by British author Henry Francis Cary (6 December 1772 - 14 August 1844), is in blank verse and includes over 1,000 footnotes.

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