The Sacred Poem

Dante’s Commedia
Theology as Poetry
Edited by Vittorio Montemaggi and Matthew Treherne
University of Notre Dame Press, $40, 400 pp.

T.S. Eliot wrote that “Dante and Shakespeare divide the modern world between them; there is no third.” I think Eliot got the order right, and not only chronologically. If the two poets divide the world between them, then the part of the world that belongs to Shakespeare—roughly, all that we can know about ourselves in this life—is finally smaller than the part that belongs to Dante, which also includes, at least imaginatively, what we learn about ourselves in the life to come.


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About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.