Dante Alighieri: Convivio [Banquet]

(2513 words)
  • John Took (University College London)

The Convivio, belonging to the first phase of his exile in 1302 and probably to the years 1304-1307, is Dante's great middle period work, its greatness lying in the courage with which it squares up to the catastrophe of exile, in the generosity with which it sets out a philosophical banquet for those "many men and women in this language of ours burdened by domestic and civic care" (I.ix.5 and I.i.4), and in the love with which it fashions from the young vernacular a language equal in point both of expressive power and of beauty to the task in hand, to the composition of a spiritual vade mecum for those immersed in the active life. Its greatness lies, too, in its transparency both to the passion and to the …

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Took, John. "Convivio". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 February 2014
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16060, accessed 30 June 2015.]