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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Dante. (search)
nizes himself. This, and what Villani says of his refining the Tuscan idiom (for so we understand his farli scorti in bene parlare Though he himself preferred French, and wrote his Tresor in that language for two reasons, la una perche noi siano in Francia, e la altra perched la parlatura francesca é piu dilettevolee piu comunench 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, Franceyet both man and poem continue not only to be misunderstood popularly, but also by such as should know better. Witte, Wegele, and Ruth in German, and Ozanam in French, have rendered ignorance of Dante inexcusable among men of culture. That those who confined their studies to the Commedia should have interpreted it variously is