La Vita Nuova, or "The New Life," is a work of literature written by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri in the 13th century. It is a collection of poems and prose that chronicle the early life of Dante and his tumultuous love affair with a woman named Beatrice.
The work is divided into 33 chapters, each of which focuses on a specific event or emotion in Dante's life. The first chapter introduces Beatrice, who is described as the embodiment of divine grace and beauty. Throughout the rest of the work, Dante grapples with his feelings for Beatrice and the challenges that their relationship presents.
One of the central themes of La Vita Nuova is the transformative power of love. Dante's love for Beatrice inspires him to strive for a higher and more virtuous life, and it ultimately leads him to a deeper understanding of himself and the world around him.
In addition to its themes of love and personal growth, La Vita Nuova also explores the nature of art and creativity. Dante frequently reflects on the role of poetry and other forms of artistic expression in his life, and he uses these reflections to explore the relationship between the artist and their work.
La Vita Nuova is an important work of literature that has had a lasting impact on the literary world. Its themes of love, personal growth, and the role of art in the human experience continue to resonate with readers to this day. It is a testament to the enduring power of Dante's poetry and the enduring appeal of his writing.
La Vita Nuova — Dante Alighieri
And so the sweetest lord who ruled over me through the virtue of my most graceful lady appeared in my imagination like a traveller simply dressed, in coarse cloth. I concealed myself by means of this woman for a number of years and months. In the second I say why it goes above, that is, who makes it rise. And I seemed to see women walking along with their hair all loose, crying as they went, in extraordinary pain. And little being with me my lord, watching the way it came from, I saw lady Joan and lady Bice coming towards the spot I was, one wonder past another wonder. In the fourth, again naming the addressees of my poem, I state my reason for addressing them. You can help us out by revising, improving and updating thissection.
Now, in terms of the first beginning, this sonnet has three parts. And after having thought about her for a while, I went back to thinking about my incapacitated life; and seeing how fleeting it was, even when it was healthy, I started to weep over such misery. Likewise a man whom women can admire. Under that heading I find written the words that it is my intention to copy into this little book: and if not all, at least their essence. And so I say that I still intend to resolve and clarify this ambiguity in an even obscurer section of this little book. This sonnet is in two parts.
True, among the words that reveal the occasion for this sonnet some are obscure—for example when I say that Love kills all my spirits, while the visual ones remain alive although outside their organs. This is why, because of the excessive gossip which portrayed me as dissolute, that most gracious of women, who was the enemy of depravity and the queen of every virtue, passing by in a certain part of the city, refused me her wonderful greeting, source of all my bliss. Sighing in anguish while I cry my ache consumes my heart whenever I abscond, such as would pain whoever overheard. Her bearing is so noble and sincere, people can hardly call to mind her ways before they sigh in reveries of love. You see that this is a fresh breath of Love, an inspiration that brings the desires of love before us, and arises from a place so gracious as the eyes of the woman who has shown such mercy toward us.
Then I had to prop myself, surreptitiously, against one of the pictures that ran around the walls of this house; and fearing that someone might have noticed my shaking, I raised my eyes, and looking around at the women, among them I saw that most gracious of creatures, Beatrice. And the first one who started to write poetry in the vernacular started to do so because he wanted to make his words comprehensible to women, who found it difficult to follow Latin verses. So that, wanting to ensure that such wicked desire and vain temptation appeared completely wiped out, in order that the poems I had written earlier could not lead to any doubt, I planned to compose a sonnet in which I would include the gist of this prose account. The chapters containing poems consist of three parts: the semi-autobiographical narrative, the lyric that resulted from those circumstances, and brief structural outline of the lyric. Al netto del suo capolavoro, infatti, Dante è stato soprattutto uomo del suo tempo: attaccato alla sua città, partecipe della sua vita politica e sociale, ed un letterato attento alle novità culturali. I tell you that on exactly the ninth day, when I was in so much pain it was almost intolerable, a thought about my lady came over me. And it was marvelous how utterly full of joy he seemed.
It seemed that he was overjoyed in keeping my heart in hand, his arms a gentle bed for someone draped in silk—my lady sleeping. And, in short, I had soon made her my defense to such an extent that too many people were talking about it indiscreetly—a fact that often troubled me. Then, reflecting on what had happened, I realized that this vision had appeared to me in the ninth hour of the day. This sonnet can be divided into four parts. So that, if it be pleasing to Him who is that for which all things live, and if my life is long enough, I hope to say things about her that have never been said about any woman.
And when she meets somebody who is fit to see and feel her power to generate— how she restores the paradisal state— he yields, forgives old hurt, surrenders it. Retrieved 15 June 2020. So, inasmuch as your secret is, in fact, somewhat known to her because it has been in use so long, I want you to compose a poem in which you discuss the hold that I have on you because of her, and how you were hers from the start, ever since your childhood. They said that the woman I mentioned to you on the road of sighs was being treated by you in an unseemly manner; and so this most gracious of women, who is against all unseemliness, refused to greet you, fearing you were inclined to be unseemly. It happened that, as I was traveling along a road beside which flowed a brook of clear water, I was seized by an impulse to compose a poem. The bulk of what follows this autobiographical recollection of the two brief instances of contact with Beatrice which were to weigh upon his life as the entirety of their physical interaction is a series of visions that her memory seeds within his fertile mind. E poco stando meco il mio segnore, Guardando in quella parte onde venia, Io vidi monna Vanna e monna Bice Venire inver lo loco là 'v'io era, L'una appresso de l'altra miriviglia; E sì come la mente mi ridice, Amor mi disse: "Quell'è Primavera, E quell'ha nome Amor, sì mi somiglia.
The third says how, once he had been with me like this a little while, I saw and heard certain things. I wrote two sonnets. Out of her eyes, whichever way she starts to move them, issue spirits hot with love, wounding the eyes of those whose gazes move on her, and passing straightway to their hearts. For it would be shameful for one who wrote poetry dressed up with figures or rhetorical color not to know how to strip his words of such dress, upon being asked to do so, showing their true sense. This sonnet has three parts. I divide this into two parts.
In the first part I offer my greetings and ask for a response; in the second part I indicate what ought to be responded to. And when I considered the way they all had in common—the one they agreed on, in other words—it was a highly hostile one from my point of view: namely, to invoke Mercy and entrust myself into her arms. His love for Beatrice is beyond the language of mere conversation. Except that his journey stops short of her actual destination. He who does not deserve grace may no more hope to have her company.
La vita nova di Dante Alighieri: trama, struttura e analisi
And realizing that he was simply talking about the blessed one, I told him that I would do as he requested. Retrieved June 8, 2020. Retrieved 16 September 2015. In the first I say how by means of her power she ennobles all that she sees, in other words that she brings Love forth in potentiality where it is not; in the second I say how she transforms Love into act in the hearts of all those she sees; in the third I say what she then brings about by means of her power within those hearts. And inasmuch as, in keeping with the customs of the city mentioned earlier, women with women and men with men come together on such sad occasions, many women gathered where this Beatrice was weeping pitifully; so that I, seeing several women coming back from her house, heard them talking about this most gracious of women and how she was grieving. A cominciare dalla forma letteraria scelta da Dante, quella del prosimetro, in cui parti poetiche e parti in prosa si alternano armonicamente nel corpo completo del testo.
And it is worth noting that there are three separate terms for people who travel to honor the Supreme Being: they are called palmers if they travel to the Holy Land, where they often carry the palm; they are called pilgrims if they travel to the home of Galicia, since the tomb of Saint James was farther from his homeland than that of any other apostle; they are called romers if they travel to Rome—the place where those I am calling pilgrims were headed. Only the name "Beatrice" is used, because that was both her actual name and her symbolic name as the conferrer of blessing. The hour at which her so sweet greeting welcomed me was exactly the ninth of that day, and because it was the first time that her words deigned to come to my ears, I found such sweetness that I left the crowd as if intoxicated, and I returned to the solitude of my own room, and fell to thinking of this most gracious one. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. How is she become a widow, she that was great among the nations! Retrieved 27 February 2021.