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Dante AlighieriMay/June c.1265 - September 14, 1321
Part 10 of 13: Eclogues, De Aqua et Terra & Letters
Boccaccio mentions in his life of Dante that he wrote two eclogues in Latin in answer to Johannes de Virgilio, who invited him to come from Ravenna to Bologna and compose a great work in the Latin language. The most interesting passage in the work is that in the first poem, where he expresses his hope that when he has finished the three parts of his great poem his grey hairs may be crowned with laurel on the banks of the Arno. Although the Latin of these poems is superior to that of his prose works, we may feel thankful that Dante composed the great work of his life in his own vernacular. The versification, however, is good, and there are pleasant touches of gentle humour. The Eclogues have been edited by Messrs Wicksteed and Gardiner (Dante and Giovanni del Virgilio, London, 1902).
De aqua et terra
Dante's reputation has passed through many vicissitudes, and much trouble has been spent by critics in comparing him with other poets of established fame. Read and commented upon with more admiration than intelligence in the Italian universities in the generation immediately succeeding his death, his name became obscured as the sun of the Renaissance rose higher towards its meridian. In the 16th century he was held inferior to Petrarch; in the 17th and first half of the 18th he was almost universally neglected. His fame is now fully vindicated. Translations and commentaries issue from every press in Europe and America, and many studies for separate points are appearing every year.
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
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