DANTE AND HIS WORLD by Thomas Caldecot Chubb


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This book is a colossal work of scholarly and personal adoration. It took twenty years to write; the translations from Dante are all Chubb's renditions; the amount of factual material about Europe, Italy, the papacy, Florentine politics, and Dante's own life is staggering. There are contemporary accounts, historical and literary arguments from the experts, thumbnail histories and cultural sketches, dissections of Dante's work to capture his thought, and of course, sleuth-work through the writings to reconstruct the poet's life. But Chubb has tried to be Joyce, and the method is an appalling failure. All this information is intertwined with rhetorical questions, exclamations of praise, poetic wanderings, simplistic renderings of what Dante must have felt. Page after page rambles through one-and two-sentence paragraphs, down lists of phrases, around and around Chubb's questions and answers. Whom is he talking to? This book may be a treasure, indeed a whole ""world"" of information about Dante and his time, but as writing--for any audience but Chubb himself--it is chaos.

Publisher: Little, Brown