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James Russell Lowell, Among my books 1 1 Browse Search
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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Dante. (search)
in; but this seems too general a statement, for, according to Foscolo, Dante, Vol. IV. p. 116. it was the commentary of Landino and Vellutello, and a few verses in the Inferno and Paradiso, which were condemned. The first French translation was that of Grangier, 1596, but the study of Dante struck no root there till the present century. Rivarol, who translated the Inferno in 1783, was the first Frenchman who divined the wonderful force and vitality of the Commedia. Ste. Beuve, Causeries du Lundi, Tome XI. p. 169. The expressions of Voltaire represent very well the average opinion of cultivated persons in respect of Dante in the middle of the eighteenth century. He says: The Italians call him divine; but it is a hidden divinity; few people understand his oracles. He has commentators, which, perhaps, is another reason for his not being understood. His reputation will go on increasing, because scarce anybody reads him. Dict. Phil., art. Dante. To Father Bettinelli he write