The Poet, the Political Thinker, the Man

480pp 2006 LIST PRICE: £37.00 B510



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Before leading us through those infamous gates of hell, Reynolds is too experienced a guide not to provide us with the necessary footwear, knee-pads, rope, helmet with halogen lamp, and everything else we’ll need to fully examine the devils and she-wolves, the giants and demons, serpents, sorcerers, ditches, rings, castles, cornices, boiling rivers, bubbling pitch, shuddering mountains and all the diseased, eviscerated, headless, burning, freezing, rotting, bleeding, wailing souls within. Her instruction on Dante’s early life, his political education and exile, the workings of his La Vita Nuova and Il Convivio, his lecturing style, love of pageantry and masques, his studied invention of the terza rima – not to mention, of course, the most important carabiner of our climb, the death of his first love, Beatrice – all come to our aid at some point or another in Reynold’s tour of the Commedia.

Reynolds Dante in all its wisdom and clarity, is in the beg-steal-or-borrow class, indispensable. SPECTATOR