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OF DANTE

BY

CHARLES ALLEN DINSMORE

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Ghe Rwerside Press

BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY

The Riverside Press, Cambridge

COPYRIGHT, 1903, BY CHARLES A. DINSMORE

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Published September, 1903

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WHOSE LOVE FOR DANTE
BEGINNING IN EARLY YEARS AND CONTINUING THROUGH
A LONG LIFE HAS BORNE FRUIT IN INVALUABLE
STUDIES AND TRANSLATIONS AND IN AN

UNFAILING COURTESY TOWARD

THOSE HAVING A LIKE

ENTHUSIASM

190569

PREFACE

DANTE lived in an age so different from our own that in order thoroughly to appreciate him much supplementary reading is necessary. One must know the time in which he lived, its fierce political contentions, its glowing religious ideals, and its conceptions of the structure of the universe. Yet one does not progress far in his reading without meeting constant references to certain original documents, such as the early lives of Dante and the letter to Can Grande. He will also learn that while he can profitably pass by the bulk of what has been written interpretative of Dante, there are essays so comprehensive and of such rare insight that they have become classics. These no lover of the poet should fail to read. Much of this indispensable collateral reading is inaccessible to those not living near large Dante collections. It is the threefold purpose of this book to present in a serviceable form the knowledge essential to the understanding of the poet as stated by the best authorities, the original documents most commonly quoted, and those interpretations which most clearly reveal the significance and greatness of Dante's work. It thus occupies a field of its own and in no way competes with the many

excellent handbooks already at the disposal of the reader. Many will fail to find here what may seem to them indispensable. Dante presents so many interesting points of approach that only an ambitious encyclopædia could contain all that every reader might wish to find. Many Dante scholars have been consulted, and no two have agreed on what should go

into the book. What one considered of great value another thought unimportant. The editor also begs to remind his reader that this volume makes no pretense of entering upon

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