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julianmeynell

Julian Meynell's Books

I like Books.

Dante's Vita Nuova

Vita Nuova - Dante Alighieri, Mark Musa

This is a little book of poems, mostly sonnets with surrounding explanatory text.  The text tells of Dante's love for Beatrice and the poems mark this evolution ending in the intention to honour her in a way no poet has done, which of course will turn out to be the Paradiso.  Dante is very much being Dante and combines the earthy with the heavenly, reality with the luminous.  His view of love is so romantic and other worldly that it comes across as almost pathological although he was of course putting forward the dominant medieval view of love.

 

This strange eccentric book is however full of some of the most achingly beautiful love poems of all time.  Dante was by any stretch of the imagination a genius and is by far the best writer of the middle ages.  Its so very beautiful that it confirms Dante as my favorite poet and is undoubtedly a masterpiece.  The translation by Mark Musa that I read is lovely.