Dante Alighieri, Il Fiore (the Flower)

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Rediscovered in a manuscript of the Roman de la Rose in 1881, the Fiore comprises a cycle of 232 sonnets tracing the adventures, misfortunes, and triumph of the lover in his pursuit of the rose, all this representing a version of the archetypal text of Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, and preserving in full the brilliance of the original in its ample recourse to irony and parody. The ‘internal signature’ of the poem straightaway gave rise to speculation as to the possibility of the poem’s belonging to Dante. The present edition, which reproduces the now received text of Gianfranco Contini, offers in parallel to this a diplomatic transcription of the sole MS in which the poem survives (Montpellier, Bibliothèque universitaire H438), as well as a lively English translation and three sets of critical and historical apparatus (ecdotic, literary and historical, and interpretative). The detailed introduction provides an account of the historical and linguistic aspects of the text as well as a discussion of its meaning and significance responsive to developments in the sphere of Rose criticism proper. There is a full, up-to-date bibliography, glossary, table of references from the Fiore to the canonical Dante, and specialised rhetorical and technical index.


“More important, in terms of its contribution to Italian studies, are the erudition and discernment which Dr. Took brings to the detailed commentary accompanying each sonnet. Particularly valuable is the second element of this commentary, comprising a rich discussion of the textual and ideological features and affinities of the sonnet in question. In it, Dr. Took demonstrates a complete command of the complex philosophical, theological and literary issues raised. In addition, through this discussion he makes, indirectly and with moderation, a convincing case for Dante’s authorship. I have no doubt that this very erudite edition is an important contribution to Dante studies.” – Conor Fahy, Emeritus Professor of Italian, University of London

“The most distinctive, and novel, feature of this new edition is the diplomatic transcription of the Montpellier manuscript (our unique source for the Fiore) alongside the authoritative text established by Contini. Specialists will assuredly welcome this – indeed it is a response to a declared need of the scholarly community. Yet Took provides us with a great deal more. His splendid English translation of each sonnet – faultlessly accurate, eminently readable and inventively vivacious – is a fine achievement in itself….This exciting work of magisterial erudition and penetration will be essential reading for many mediaeval scholars: Dante specialists certainly, but also anyone interest in the Rose, and indeed all serious students of mediaeval vernacular poetry.” – Dr. S. C. D. Bemrose, University of Exeter

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface, Abbreviations
Il Fiore
Bibliography; Glossary
References to the Canonical Dante
Technical Index; General Index

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