The New Life
by Dante Alighieri, translated from the classical Italian and with an introduction by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, preface by Michael Palmer
The New Life is the masterpiece of Dante Alighieri’s youth, an account of his love for Beatrice, the girl who was to become his lifelong muse, and of her tragic early death. An allegory of the soul’s crisis and growth, combining prose and poetry, narrative and meditation, dreams and songs and prayers, this work of crystalline beauty and fascinating complexity has long taken its place as one of the supreme revelations in the literature of love.
Published here in the beautiful translation by the nineteenth-century English poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The New Life is an inspired poetic re-creation comparable to Edward FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and a classic in its own right.
Rossetti made a remarkable translation of the Vita Nuova, in some places improving (or at least enriching) the original. He was indubitably the man ‘sent,’ or ‘chosen,’ for that particular job.
[Rossetti’s translation is] the fruit of countless hours of brooding over Italian painting, Italian images, Italian sounds and thoughts.