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Dante: The Poet, the Political Thinker, the Man (2006)
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"Dante is one of the towering figures in world literature, and yet many riddles and questions about his life and work persist. In the first full-length biography of him in more than twenty years, Barbara Reynolds offers remarkable discoveries and unlocks previously hidden secrets. For instance, a fundamental enigma has tantalised readers of the Commedia for seven centuries. Who was the leader prophesied by Virgil and Beatrice to bring peace to the world? Many attempts have been made to identify him, but none has seemed conclusive - until now. As well as proposing a solution to the famous prophecies, this biography contains a new idea in every chapter." "Dr. Reynolds' research suggests: that Beatrice, Dante's great love, was not who most scholars think she was; that Dante may have smoked cannabis to reach new heights of creativity; that Dante was a talented public speaker who created a new form of poetic art, holding his audiences spellbound. But above all, Dr. Reynolds views Dante as one of the greatest radicals of all time. His aim was not to preach an interesting parable about punishments for sin and rewards for virtue. It was to use poetry to change the politics of the age, and unite Europe around the secular authority of an Emperor. To promote this idea, which dominated his writings from his exile onwards, Dante combined it with a dramatic presentation of the Christian belief in Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Vividly told in the first person, with a colour and immediacy derived from the pop art of street narrators - now made to seem respectable by its use of classical predecessors like Virgil - this extraordinary journey through the three realms was always profoundly political in intent." "Dante here comes alive as never before: irate, opinionated, settling scores - a man of mutifaceted gifts and extraordinary genius, whose role as an interpreter of world history makes him more than ever relevant to the new millennium."--BOOK JACKET.
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