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Book Review

Benedict Flynn

Naxos Audiobooks NA122312

A Life of Dante

Read by John Shrapnel
Naxos Audiobooks NA122312 79m DDD
ISBN 9626342234
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Dante's life is shrouded in mystery and assumptions, obviously due to the fact that historians in medieval Italy were not always so exact in record keeping. Still, Flynn manages to squeeze an 80-minute narrative that positively bubbles in atmosphere and erudition, one marvels at his deep sense of the dramatic.

The story thus begins with a colourful account of Dante's final journey to Ravenna, atmospherically (albeit rather gloomily) read by John Shrapnel. The story develops further into the warring factions of 13th-century Italy and the main works are also mentioned in great detail. It is also intriguing to note the rather heavy involvement of Dante in local politics that eventually led to his banishment from Florence. The mystery of the erstwhile Beatrice is also given some colour and it does appear that it was probably just mere fantasy. Shrapnel is a dramatic and persuasive guide through the dark tunnels of 13th-century Italy and the music is characteristically well matched.

Naxos Audiobooks NA122312 Original Release

If you, (like me) have been bowled over by the three volumes of 'La Divina Commedia', then this CD will obviously be essential to the Dante audiobook collection.

Copyright © 2002 by Gerald Fenech.

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