The Lyrical Poems of Dante Alighieri (1845) (1st ed)


The Lyrical Poems of Dante Alighieri (1845) (1st ed)


First English edition published in book form, of poems from Dante’s The New Life and the lesser-known The Banquet and the Canzonieri.

Title: The Lyrical Poems of Dante Alighieri; Including The Poems of The Vita Nuova and Convito

Author: Dante, Charles Lyell (trans)

Publisher: William Smith, London, 1845. First edition.

Condition: Half-leather, marbled boards. Good. Slight rubbing to leather, sticker and ex-libris plate to marbled endpapers. Some foxing, neat annotations to a few blank pages (every other page is blank, as printed). A thin book, app 9″ by 6″.

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About Vita Nuova (from Wikipedia):

La Vita Nuova is a text by Dante Alighieri published in 1294. It is an expression of the medieval genre of courtly love in a prosimetrum style, a combination of both prose and verse. Besides its content, it is notable for being written in Tuscan vernacular, rather than Latin; with Dante’s other works, it helped to establish the Tuscan dialect as the basis for the Italian language.

About Il Convito (Convivio) (from Wikipedia):

Convivio (The Banquet)is a work written by Dante Alighieri roughly between 1304 and 1307. This unfinished work of Dante consists of four trattati, or “books”: a prefatory one, plus three books that each include a canzone (long lyrical poem) and a prose allegorical interpretation or commentary of the poem that goes off in multiple thematic directions.

The Convivio is a major stage of development for Dante, very different from the visionary world of the Vita nuova (although like the earlier work it too is a medium for the author’s evolving sense of artistic vocation and philosophical-spiritual quest). This difference is reflected in how the two works use the prosimetrum format: in the Vita Nova there is a complex interrelation and intertwining between the prose and the poetry, while in the Convivio large blocks of prose have an autonomous existence apart from the poems; the content of the poetry is not amplified or edited in the prose so much as commented upon prosaically, to serve as points of departure for the various subjects that the Convivio discusses. Dante himself tells us that the prose of the Convivio is “temperate and virile,” in contrast to the “fervid and passionate” prose of the Vita Nova; and that while the approach to this in the work of his youth was “like dreaming” the Convivio approaches it subjects soberly and wide awake, often modeling its style on Scholastic authors.