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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Dante. (search)
hat breadth which comes only of thorough knowledge and sympathy. But German scholarship and constructive criticism, through Witte, Kopisch, Wegele, Ruth, and others, have been of pre-eminent service in deepening the understanding and facilitating the study of the poet. In England the first recognition of Dante is by Chaucer in the Hugelin of Pisa of the Monkes Tale, It is worth notice, as a proof of Chaucer's critical judgment, that he calls Dante the great poet of Itaille, while in the Clerke's Tale he speaks of Petrarch as a worthy clerk, as the laureat poete (alluding to the somewhat sentimental ceremony at Rome), and says that his Rhetorike sweete Enlumined all Itaille of poetry. and an imitation of the opening verses of the third canto of the Inferno (Assembly of Foules). In 1417 Giovanni da Serravalle, bishop of Fermo, completed a Latin prose translation of the Commedia, a copy of which, as he made it at the request of two English bishops whom he met at the council of Co