The second act in Dante's three-part epic poem, The Purgatorio is set on an island in the southern ocean. On Mount Purgatory, the narrator encounters penitents who endure their sufferings and speak of their time on Earth. Finally reaching the summit, before rising to heaven, he enters the Earthly Paradise, where he is movingly reunited with his lost love, Beatrice.
The second volume of Dante's epic, printed with the original Italian and Robin Kirkpatrick's sublime translation
Climbing out of Hell, Dante in the Purgatorio reaches an island set in the southern ocean. This is Mount Purgatory, where he encounters the penitents who heroically endure their sufferings and speak of their time on Earth. Strange and fresh at every turn, Dante's narrative evokes the mountain landscape in terms of intense physical sensation, right up to the summit. There, before rising to heaven, he enters the Earthly Paradise, where he is movingly reunited with his lost love, Beatrice. This gloriously vivid portrayal of the search for redemption transformed the traditional conception of Purgatory and affirmed the dignity of human will and compassion.
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Dante Alighieri was born in 1265. Considered Italy's greatest poet, this scion of a Florentine family mastered in the art of lyric poetry at an early age. His first major work is La Vita Nuova
(1292) which is a tribute to Beatrice Portinari, the great love of his life. Married to Gemma Donatic, Dante's political activism resulted in his being exiled from Florence to eventually settle in Ravenna. It is believed that The Divine Comedy
—comprised of three canticles, The Inferno, The Purgatorio
, and The Paradiso
—was written between 1308 and 1320. Dante Alighieri died in 1321.
Robin Kirkpatrick is a widely published Dante scholar. He is fellow of Robinson College and professor of Italian and English literature at Cambridge University.
"Kirkpatrick brings a more nuanced sense of the Italian and a more mediated appreciation of the poem's construction than nearly all of his competitors."
-The Times (London)
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