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La Vita Nuova Hardcover – August 9, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Cervigni and Vasta have reedited and translated Dante's autobiography under the influence of Paul Ricoeur's theories of temporality and narrative. They delete the chapter and paragraph divisions of Michele Barbi's standard Italian edition in order to shift the focus from the visual assumptions of our contemporary print culture to the oral assumptions of the medieval manuscript culture. The new edition of the Italian is faced with a serviceable translation. In addition to a lucid and informative introduction and appendixes on editorial matters, this version includes a concordance. While this is an important contribution for Dante specialists, the modern translations of Mark Musa (1973) and Barbara Reynolds (1969) remain the versions of choice for students and general readers.?T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, Ga.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Graceful, readable, and just--David Slavitt's translation is a delicate and surprising achievement. This is another triumph for Slavitt, and a treat for the rest of us. (Henry Taylor)

Some translators have been too academic, draining the vigor and wonder from this work but Slavitt's version stays true to the spirit...Considering all the books today about finding one's center in our crazy, image-driven culture, then, La Vita Nuova--especially in Slavitt's version--couldn't be more relevant. (Nick Owchar Los Angeles Times 2010-09-12)

The Vita Nuova, Dante's first major work of certain attribution, is an original and sophisticated creation, too often cast aside as little more than a youthful prologue to the Divine Comedy...This handsome English edition of the Vita Nuova is translated by David R. Slavitt and prefaced by an engaging essay by Seth Lerer...Freed from the customary shackles of academic apparatus, the poetic quality of its lyrics freshly reinstated, the Vita Nuova's signature hybrid texture is here elegantly conveyed. (Tristan Kay Times Literary Supplement 2010-10-29)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; First English Edition edition (September 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674050932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674050938
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,297,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has read Dante's legendary "Divine Comedy" will know of his passion for a woman named Beatrice, who was his tour guide through heaven.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg, as "La Vita Nuova (The New Life)" shows in detail. This exquisite little book describes Dante's passion for Beatrice, and the emotional rollercoaster he went through as a result. This is Dante's unsung, more intimate masterpiece.

"La Vita Nuova" is a series of poems and anecdotes centering around the life-changing love of Dante for a young woman named Beatrice. The two first met when they were young children, of about eight. Dante instantly fell in love with her, but didn't really interact with her for several years.

Over the years, Dante's almost supernatural love only increased in intensity, and he poured out his feelings (grief, adoration, fear) into several poems and sonnets. During an illness, he has a vision about mortality, himself, and his beloved Beatrice ("One day, inevitably, even your most gracious Beatrice must die"). Beatrice died at the age of twenty-four, and Dante committed himself to the memory of his muse.

It would be a hard task to find another book overflowing with such incredible love and passion as "La Vita Nuova"; it's probably the most romantic book I have ever seen. Dante's feelings might seem creepy or stalkerish by modern standards, because Dante and Beatrice were never romantically involved. In fact, both of them married other people. But at the time, courtly love was considered the best, purest kind there is, and Dante's emotions are a perfect example of this.
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By A Customer on March 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I first read the Divine Comedy a few years ago and it was an overwhelming experience. Recently I reread it, this time after reading La Vita Nuova, and with that--and a few years experience--it was richer. But after reading this earlier work it was also tempting to think he wrote The Greatest Poem in History because of an unrequited crush. Hmmm, now the real Beatrice is a footnote (albeit a lengthy one) to the life of Italy's Poet. La Vita Nuova will probably seem strange to most modern readers. It's a hushed and idealized appreciation of Dante's great love. The narrative has some sublime moments and a few of the poems are truly great, but it has dull spots too and sometimes seems too much like an exercise. Still, it's Dante and a necessary read for anyone truly interested in the Comedy.
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Format: Paperback
Genuine romance and passion is missing from most books, either fiction or nonfiction, and I don't think I've ever come across both in such quantity as there is in "La Vita Nuova" ("The New Life"), the unsung masterpiece of poet Dante Alighieri, author of the classic Divina Comedia.
"La Vita Nuova" is a series of poems and anecdotes centering around the life-changing love of Dante for a young woman named Beatrice. The two first met when they were young children, of about eight. Dante instantly fell in love with her, but didn't really interact with her for several years. Over the years, Dante's almost supernatural love only increased in intensity, and he poured out his feelings (grief, adoration, fear) into several poems and sonnets. During an illness, he has a vision about mortality, himself, and his beloved Beatrice ("One day, inevitably, even your most gracious Beatrice must die"). Beatrice died at the age of twenty-four, and Dante committed himself to the memory of his muse.
It would be a hard task to find another book overflowing with such incredible love and passion as "La Vita Nuova"; it's probably the most romantic book I have ever seen. It's brief and only includes one part of Dante's life overall, but it's a truly unique love story. Dante and Beatrice were never romantically involved. In fact, both of them married other people.
But Dante's love for Beatrice shows itself to be more than infatuation or crush, because it never wanes -- in fact, it grows even stronger, including Love manifested as a nobleman in one of Dante's dreams. There is no element of physicality to the passion in "La Vita Nuova"; Dante talks about how beautiful Beatrice is, but that's only a sidenote.
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone who thinks that humans are rational creatures has probably never been in love or witnessed somebody else helplessly encased in its ineffable throes. Once in it, bizarre things happen and the mind acts in ways that acrobatically defy logic. The object of affection may even overtly possess hideously unflattering qualities, but nonetheless the obsession persists. Friends and family murmur about the often embarrassing or ridiculous behavioral changes in their once normal companion. Others may give suspicious sidelong glances towards the afflicted. Some have used the analogy of insanity to describe the feeling and, for those with direct experience, this probably seems perfectly reasonable. Whatever psychological and physiological needs underlie this condition, few will deny its debilitating power.

This wonderfully dreadful condition has apparently existed for centuries. One piece of evidence appears in Dante Alighieri's little book "La Vita Nuova" from 1295. Whether its story of passionate infatuation that turns into painful excruciating love counts as biographical, fictional or semi-fictional, or even semi-autobiographical, remains largely speculatory. The object of Dante's intense affection in the book, Beatrice Portinari, did actually exist and she did pass away in 1290 at age 24. Her tomb still stands at Santa Margherita de'Cerchi church in Florence. "La Vita Nuova" appeared five years later and so the possibility definitely exists that Dante really did feel the overwhelming and all consuming desire he relates so convincingly. That Beatrice later appears as a guide in Dante's magnum opus, the Divine Comedy, adds further credibility to the claim. Regardless, this earlier and far shorter work doesn't qualify as a comedy.
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