Leading scholar Albert Russell Ascoli traces the metamorphosis of Dante Alighieri - mir Florentine aristocrat, political activist and exile, amateur philosopher and theologian, and daring experimental poet - into Dante, author of the Divine Comedy and perhaps the most self-consciously 'authoritative' cultural figure in the Western can. The text offers a comprehensive introduction to Dante's evolving, transformative relationship to medieval ideas of authorship and authority from the early Vita Nuova through the unfinished treatises, The Banquet and On Vernacular Eloquence, to the works of his maturity, Monarchy and the Divine Comedy. Ascoli reveals how Dante anticipates modern tions of personalized, creative authorship and the phemen of 'Renaissance self-fashioning'. Unusually, the book examines Dante's career as a whole offering an important point of access t only to the Dantean oeuvre, but also to the history and theory of authorship in the larger Italian and European tradition.
Albert Russell Ascoli is Gladys Arata Terrill Distinguished Professor in the Department of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.