The New Life
The New Life (1294) is a work of verse and prose by Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Composed in the prosimetrum style, The New Life explores the popular medieval theme of courtly love. Made up of alternating commentaries, sonnets, and canzoni, the work is an essential expression of Dante’s poetic gift, and a foundational work for the dolce stil novo literary movement to which Dante was a central figure. Written in the Tuscan vernacular, the poem was influential in establishing a standardized Italian language.
Compiled and published following the death of Beatrice Portinari, whom Dante loved from the age of nine when he saw her on the streets of Florence, The New Life translates his personal grief into a moving and universally recognizable work on the nature of love. Dante, who believed that romantic love could lead to a development of the soul, subsequently bringing one to the love of God—a concept central to The Divine Comedy—divided his work into prose commentaries and poems in verse, a popular style known as prosimetrum. Despite this debt to tradition, however, Dante wrote The New Life in the Tuscan vernacular as opposed to Latin, making his work more accessible to readers. Autobiographical in nature, The New Life portrays Dante coming to terms with his grief, praising the deceased Beatrice, and turning friends and acquaintances into figures populating his poems. From sorrow to salvation, Dante finds the light of God through the darkness of death, testifying to the transformative power of love while proving beyond any doubt the power of a transformative poetry.
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Dante Alighieri’s The New Life is a classic of Italian literature reimagined for modern readers.