Why should you read Dante’s “Divine Comedy”? - Sheila Marie Orfano
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Dante Alighieri was a famed Italian poet, writer, political thinker, and scholar of philosophy and theology in the Late Middle Ages. Born in Florence in 1265, he was heavily involved in Florentine politics and outspokenly critical of practices he deemed corrupt within the Catholic Church. This is apparent in his most celebrated work, a three-part epic poem called the Divine Comedy.
In addition to the Divine Comedy and other poetry, Dante wrote treatises on politics, such as De Monarchia, and philosophical compositions, like Convivio. He is also well-known for his unrequited love of Beatrice Portinari, which inspired many of his poems. Arguably, the most notable feature of his work was his novel use of the vernacular, instead of Latin, in his writing. For this, he is considered to be the father of Italian language.
In 1302, Dante was exiled from Florence by an opposing political party. He never set foot in his beloved city again, dying in Ravenna, Italy, in 1321. His legacy lives on in classic and contemporary art and culture.
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