About the book (from Wikipedia):
La Vita Nuova or Vita Nova (English: The New Life) is a text by Dante Alighieri in 1295. 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 Italian, rather than Latin; with Dante’s other works, it helped to establish the Tuscan dialect in which it is written as the Italian standard.
The prose creates the illusion of narrative continuity between the poems; it is Dante’s way of reconstructing himself and his art in terms of his evolving sense of the limitations of courtly love (the system of ritualized love and art that Dante and his poet-friends inherited from the Provençal poets, the Sicilian poets of the court of Frederick II, and the Tuscan poets before them). Sometime in his twenties, Dante decided to try to write love poetry that was less centered on the self and more aimed at love as such: he intended to elevate courtly love poetry, many of its tropes and its language, into sacred love poetry. Beatrice for Dante was the embodiment of this kind of love—transparent to the Absolute, inspiring the integration of desire aroused by beauty with the longing of the soul for divine splendor.