La Vita Nuova
Dante's sequence of poems tells the story of his passion for Beatrice, the beautiful sister of one of his closest friends, transformed through his writing into the symbol of a love that was both spiritual and romantic. Vita Nuova begins with the moment Dante first glimpses Beatrice in her childhood, follows him through unrequited passion and ends with his profound grief over the loss of his love. Interspersing exquisite verse with Dante's own commentary analysing the structure and origins of each poem, Vita Nuova offers a unique insight into the poet's art and skill. And, by introducing personal experience into the strict formalism of medieval love poetry, it marked a turning point in European literature. Barbara Reynolds's translation is remarkable for its lucidity and faithfulness to the original. In her new introduction she examines the ways in which Dante broke with poetic conventions of his day and analyses his early poetry within the context of his life. This revised edition also contains notes, a chronology and an index of first lines. --Penguin Books.