no edit summary
====The literary and philosophical works====
[[File: Dante Two.jpg|200px|thumb|left| A statue of Dante in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery]]
The Florentine’s first great work was La Vita Nova (The New Life) which is a series of poems and short prose pieces related to his beloved Beatrice. He also wrote the Banquet a series of longer poems. Dante was also a great prose writer and he wrote the unfinished De vulgar eloquent ("On the Eloquence of Vernacular"), which argued for the development of an Italian literary language. Dante also wrote an important political treatise known as De Monarchia in Latin.
This was a radical work for the time and the Florentine exile argued for a Universal Monarchy and the separation of Church and state. In this treatise, the poet argued against the temporal authority of the Papacy. This was deemed to be heretical by many in the Church and indeed during the Counter-Reformation, this work was banned by the Papacy. Dante’s greatest work and indeed one of the greatest in the Western canon is the Divine Comedy . This is an epic poem that is divided into three parts and is composed of 100 cantos. The Comedy is an imagined account of Dante’s journey in the Christian afterlife. This work is divided into the Inferno which depicts hell, then Purgatorio which details Purgatory and the final section is concerned with Heaven (Paradiso). This is a very allegorical work and the poem represents the soul's journey towards God. In the epic, Dante is guided by the ‘shade’ or spirit of the great Roman poet Virgil <ref>Hede, Jesper. Reading Dante: The Pursuit of Meaning (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2007), p. 114</ref> . The epic is an attempt to demonstrate how humans can become aligned to the love of God, which is seen as the fundamental force in the Universe. The epic made Dante immediately famous and a revered figure even before his death in 1321.
====Dante and the vernacular====