Excerpt from The Gallery of Portraits, Vol. 1: With Memoirs Dante Alighieri, the true founder of Italian literature, was born at Florence a.d. 1265, of a family of some note. The name of Dante, by which he is generally known, often mistaken for that of his family, is a mere contraction of his Christian name Durante. Yet an infant when his father died, that heavy loss was lightened by the judicious solicitude with which his mother superintended his education. She entrusted him to the care of Brunetto Latini, a man of great repute as a poet as well as a philosopher; and he soon made so rapid a pro gress, both in science and literature, as might justify the most sanguine hopes of his future eminence.
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