Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Dante's Poetry of the Donati

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Dante's Poetry of the Donati

Article excerpt

P. Boitani, Dante's Poetry of the Donati, ed. J. Lin don, The Barlow Lecture on Dante delivered at University College London, 17-18 March 2005 , Society for Italian Studies, Occasional Papers 7 (Leeds: Man ey Publishing, 2007). ? + 5 5 pp ISBN 978-0-9525901-7-0. £10.00. The history of the Donati family epitomizes the tumultuously violent factional life of Italian politics and society between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when interfamily vendettas led to century-long divisions and civil war, personal animosity turned into assassinations, and exile, confiscation, and destruction of family properties were not unforeseeable outcomes of holding a public office, as Dante knew only too welL His first-hand knowledge of Florentine political volatility, as well as the role of family allegiances and values, emerges in the somewhat extraordinary attention dedicated to individual members of the Donati, to whom Dante was personally related through his wife Gemma. Piero Boitani's take on the story fruitfully merges the historical and the literary by focusing on the three Donati siblings contemporaneous with Dante, Corso, Forese, and Piccarda. Each of them tells a unique tale of political, poetic, and religious fervour, whose treatment by Dante becomes the point of origin of a complex interplay between private and public lives, poetry and politics, classical literature and medieval devotion. …

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