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The Divine Comedy (Italian: La Divina Commedia) is an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem's imaginative and allegorical vision of the Christian afterlife is a culmination of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church. It helped establish the Tuscan dialect in which it is written as the Italian standard. It is divided into three parts, the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

On the surface the poem describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven; but at a deeper level it represents allegorically the soul's journey towards God. At this deeper level, Dante draws on medieval Christian theology and philosophy, especially the teachings of Thomas Aquinas. At the surface level, the poem is understood to be fictional.

Originally the work was simply titled Commedia and was later christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio. The first printed edition to add the word divine to the title was that of the Venetian humanist Lodovico Dolce, published in 1555 by Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari.

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Books, Poetry, Dante, The Divine Comedy, Medieval Poetry


Author:  Dante Alighieri
Genre:  Epic Poetry, Classic Literature, Religious Allegory
Format:  Epic Poem
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review by . August 08, 2010
This was required reading for a graduate course in medieval history. Norton edition has great articles to help explain the work and is a great translation. Dante Alighieri's (1265-1321) "Devine Comedy" weaved together aspects of biblical and classical Greek literary traditions to produce one of the most important works of not only medieval literature, but also one of the great literary works of Western civilization. The full impact of this 14,000-line poem divided into 100 cantos …
Quick Tip by . August 26, 2010
Dante was absolutely breathtaking for the journey he took us on, the poetic style he chose, and the symmetry and structure of his creation. Before 'Narnia' and 'Lord of the Rings' came 'The Divine Comedy'!
review by . September 21, 2003
The Divine Comedy was written in the 14th century proximate  to the year 1313. The work traverses the reigns of Pope Clement  and Pope John the 22nd. Dante attempts to answer the question  "What happens when we die?" Through the character of Beatrice,  the author takes us through the regions of the underworld  both purgatory and hell in preparation for the glory of heaven.  This is literature of the highest quality in terms of  the …
Michelino's painting of Dante and his poem.
The Divine Comedy
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