In this Very Short Introduction, Peter Hainsworth and David Robey take a different approach to Dante, by examining the main themes and issues that run through all of his work, ranging from autobiography, to understanding God and the order of the universe. In doing so, they highlight what has made Dante a vital point of reference for modern writers and readers, both inside and outside Italy. They emphasize the distinctive and dynamic interplay in Dante's writing between argument, ideas, and analysis on the one hand, and poetic imagination on the other. Dante was highly concerned with the political and intellectual issues of his time, demonstrated most powerfully in his notorious work, The Divine Comedy. Tracing the tension between the medieval and modern aspects, Hainsworth and Robey provide a clear insight into the meaning of this masterpiece of world literature. They highlight key figures and episodes in the poem, bringing out the originality and power of Dante's writing to help readers understand the problems that Dante wanted his audience to confront but often left up to the reader to resolve. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.