One of the most frequently cited texts on Dante's life and writings, this invaluable study illuminates the Divine Comedy as well as the great Florentine poet's other works. Author Paget Toynbee was the most influential Dantean scholar of his era, and this, his most widely known work, presents an exceptional account of one of the pivotal thinkers of the early Italian Renaissance. Toynbee's meticulous attention to detail and clear analysis offer a concise account of Dante's world. Besides being a valuable reference for scholars, the book also serves as a gateway to the past for anyone interested in history or literature. Toynbee's study opens with historical background on thirteenth-century Florence, which comes alive with the rivalry between the two political parties, the Guelfs and the Ghibellines. It traces the poet's birth and ancestry; his youth, education, and military service; and his private and public life, from his condemnation and exile to his death and subsequent fame. Anecdotes about Dante's personality and character by Boccaccio and other contemporaries enliven the book, which concludes with an exploration of the Vita Nuova, the Convivio, and the Divine Comedy, as well as Dante's Latin works.