A unique treatise by a poet, written for poets, on the art of poetry, LA VITA NUOVA is elaborately and symbolically patterned, consisting of a selection of Dante's early poems, interspersed with his own prose commentary. The poems themselves tell the story of his love for Beatrice, from their first meeting at a May Day party in her father's house, through Dante's sufferings and his attempts to conceal the true object of his devotion by the use of 'screen-loves', to his overwhelming grief ather death, ending with the transformative vision of her in heaven. These are some of the richest love poems in literature and the movement from self-pitying lament to praise for the beloved's beauty and virtue, illustrate the elevating power of love.
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 to a noble but impoverished family. His life was divided by political duties and poetry, the most famous of which - The Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova - was inspired by his meeting with Bice Portinari, whom he called Beatrice. He died in Ravenna in 1321. Before retiring Barbara Reynolds was Lecturer in Italian at Cambridge University. She holds 3 honorary doctorates & has translated Ariosto's Orlando Furioso for Penguin Classics.