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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Dante. (search)
e and his subject, and full of passages written as purely as if they had been of the time of Ariosto and Tasso. Essai sur les moeurs, Oeuvres, Tome XVII. pp. 371, 372. It is curious to see this antipathetic fascination which Dante exercised over a nature so opposite to his own. At the beginning of this century Chateaubriand speaks of Dante with vague commendation, evidently from a very superficial acquaintance, and that only with the Inferno, probably from Rivarol's version. Genie du Christianisme, Cap. IV. Since then there have been four or five French versions in prose or verse, including one by Lamennais. But the austerity of Dante will not condescend to the conventional elegance which makes the charm of French, and the most virile of poets cannot be adequately rendered in the most feminine of languages. Yet in the works of Fauriel, Ozanam, Ampere, and Villemain, France has given a greater impulse to the study of Dante than any other country except Germany. Into Germany