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John Took provides an accessible and entirely original view of one of the most important poets and thinkers in all of Western literature, Dante Alighieri.
Dante is the poet that everyone knows of yet also knows little about. And yet he was probably the most important and powerful poet that the Western world has ever produced. There are many translations of his work in English, but of Dante himself, most people only know about his love object Beatrice, that he was exiled from Florence and that he wrote The Divine Comedy--but maybe little else.
In his Intelligent Person's Guide, Professor John Took introduces the reader to the principle themes of Dante's work: the polarities of existence, time and eternity, freedom and destiny, individuality and existence, the multiplicity of human loving. It is by self-confrontation and self-transcendence that we come to understand our human journey through hell, purgatory and on to paradise. These ostensibly somewhat complex ideas are here explained by John Took with pellucid clarity. In the course of this book we are caught up by the imaginative excitement in this study of a poetic genius which we cannot fail to be drawn into ourselves, and to find infectious.