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Dante: His Times and His Work   By: (1844-1910)

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DANTE HIS TIMES AND HIS WORK

THE PURGATORY OF DANTE. Edited, with Translation and Notes, by A. J. BUTLER, M.A. Crown 8vo. 12 s. 6 d.

THE PARADISE OF DANTE. By the same. Crown 8vo. 12 s. 6 d.

THE HELL OF DANTE. By the same. Crown 8vo. 12 s. 6 d.

A COMPANION TO DANTE. By Professor SCARTAZZINI. Translated by A. J. BUTLER, M.A. Crown 8vo. 10 s. 6 d.

THE PURGATORY OF DANTE. Translated by C. LANCELOT SHADWELL, M.A. Crown 8vo. 10 s. net.

THE EARTHLY PARADISE OF DANTE. Translated by the same. Crown 8vo. 5 s. net.

READINGS ON DANTE. By the Hon. WILLIAM WARREN VERNON, M.A.

THE PURGATORIO. With Introduction by Dean CHURCH. 2 vols. Crown 8vo. 24 s.

THE INFERNO. With Introduction by Rev. E. MOORE, D.D. 2 vols. Crown 8vo. 30 s.

THE PARADISO. With Introduction by the Bishop of RIPON. 2 vols. Crown 8vo. 21 s.

DANTE, AND OTHER ESSAYS. By R. W. CHURCH. Globe 8vo. 5 s.

LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.

DANTE HIS TIMES AND HIS WORK

BY

ARTHUR JOHN BUTLER, M.A.

LATE FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

~London~ MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1902

All rights reserved

PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, LONDON AND BECCLES.

PREFACE

This little book is mainly compounded of papers which appeared, part in the Monthly Packet , and part in the Magazine of the Home Reading Union. It will be seen, therefore, that it is not intended for those whom Italians call "Dantists," but for students at an early stage of their studies. To the former class there will be nothing in the book that is not already familiar except where they happen to find mistakes, from which, in so extensive a field for blundering as Dante affords, I cannot hope to have kept it free. In the domain of history alone fresh facts are constantly rewarding the indefatigable research of German and Italian scholars a research of which only the most highly specialised specialist can possibly keep abreast. Even since the following pages were for the most part in print, we have had Professor Villari's Two Centuries of Florentine History , correcting in many particulars the chroniclers on whom the Dante student has been wont to rely. This book should most emphatically be added to those named in the appendix as essential to the study of our author.

In connection with some of the remarks in the opening chapter, Professor Butcher's Essay on The Dawn of Romanticism in Greek Poetry should be noticed. I do not think that the accomplished author's view is incompatible with mine; though I admit that I had not taken much account of the Greek writers whom we call "post classical." But it is to be noted, as bearing on the question raised in the second footnote on p. 9, that most or all of the writers whom he cites were either Asiatics or nearly touched by Asiatic influences.

I have made some attempt to deal in a concise way with two subjects which have not, I think, hitherto been handled in English books on Dante, other than translations. One of these is the development of the Guelf and Ghibeline struggle from a rivalry between two German houses to a partisan warfare which rent Italy for generations. I am quite aware that I have merely touched the surface of the subject, which seems to me to contain in it the essence of all political philosophy, with special features such as could only exist in a country which, like Italy, had, after giving the law to the civilised world, been unable to consolidate itself into a nation like the other nations of Europe. I have, I find, even omitted to notice what seem to have been the ruling aims of at any rate the honest partisans on either side: unity, that of the Ghibelines; independence, that of the Guelfs. Nor have I drawn attention to a remarkable trait in Dante's own character, which, so far as I know, has never been discussed I mean his apparent disregard of the "lower classes... Continue reading book >>




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