Exquisite illustrations accompany this captivating meditation on love, beauty and spiritual awakening.
Dante Alighieri called the Vita nuova (‘new life’) his libello, or ‘little book’; multi-faceted, intriguing and absorbing, it is diminutive only in length. Written between 1292 and 1294, it is the first of Dante's major writings and the essential precursor to his Divine Comedy. Elaborately and symbolically patterned, the book purports to contain experiences copied from the poet’s ‘book of memory’. It details the ‘new life’ which dawned when, at the age of nine, he first met Beatrice, one of literature’s most alluring heroines and Dante’s guiding force (though little is known of her life): ‘From that time on’, declares Dante, ‘Love governed my soul.’
Beatrice, who is associated throughout with the number nine, first appears ‘dressed in the most noble of colours, a subdued and decorous crimson’: this Folio edition is bound to match, and crimson forms the palette for the exquisite illustrations by Daniel Egnéus. Printed in two colours, the book presents the Italian text alongside a facing-page translation by Dante scholar Mark Musa, which, as A. N. Wilson writes, captures ‘almost miraculously both the crystalline qualities of Dante’s early verses and the robustness of his Italian prose’. Dante describes Beatrice as ‘one who is through all ages blessed’; 750 years after the author's birth, the Vita nuova still sings today.
Bound in blocked cloth
Set in Dante with Bembo Titling as display
Frontispiece and 9 integrated illustrations
Gilded gold page edges
Printed in 2 colours throughout
9˝ × 5¾˝