Alighieri (1265-1321) is one of the most revered poets of the Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, written in the common language of Florence, Italy, is a masterpiece of Catholic philosophy and poetry. His earlier work, Vita Nuova, describes Dante's idealized youthful love for a Florentine woman named Beatrice. Eliot calls Dante the most "universal'' of poets because his poetry has "peculiar lucidity'' (a clear and transparent beauty) and his philosophy has the benefit of a united cultural belief (influenced by St. Thomas Aquinas). Born in 1265 and raised in Florence, Dante was exiled in 1301 because of fighting between political factions in the Guelph family.
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) was the most important religious philosopher of medieval Europe. By reconciling Aristotelian philosophy and Christian theology in Summa theologica, he created the extremely influential system of thought apparent in the work of Dante Alighieri.
Archer (1856-1924) was an important critic who argued that modern plays were much more appropriate for the stage than earlier works and should be performed more often. Eliot argues with this view throughout section VII.
Arnold (1822-1888) was one of the most important critics and advocates for"culture'' (arts and humanities, particularly literature) in Victorian England. Champion of...
(The entire section is 1786 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Selected Essays, 1917-1932 Characters. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!