Guide to Literary Terms

Start Your Free Trial

Download Guide to Literary Terms Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Canto

Canto - one of the main or larger divisions of a long poem. It is also used to denote a singing or chanting section of a poem, or a subdivision of an epic or narrative (comparable to a chapter in a novel).

The word is taken from the Italian, which originally took it from the Latin cantus, meaning “song.”

Dante’s The Divine Comedy is divided into cantos.