At the first meeting of our Italian Book Club, we’ll be talking about the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri.
As, even in translation, it’s quite hard to understand all the references in his most famous work, the Divine Comedy, we’ll be reading an introductory book first:
Peter Hainsworth & David Robey’s Dante: A Very Short Introduction
It’s only about 100 pages, and opens, rather wonderfully, by quoting some of the most famous lines of the Divine Comedy, enough to inspire us all:
“You were not made to live like brute beasts,
but to pursue virtue and knowledge. ”
The authors, David Robey and Peter Hainsworth, both professors of Italian literature based at Oxford University, have kindly agreed to join us and give a brief talk about the Florentine poet. As some have observed, just as Dante needed Virgil to show him around, so modern readers may also need someone to show them the ropes. The good news is that this means that even if you don’t get a chance to read their book, you’ll be able to learn a lot and participate in the discussion.
For those seeking further reading, David Robey has advised us that Prue Shaw’s Reading Dante is also an excellent introductory book about the great Italian poet.