A History of Italian Literature

Cover of book A History of Italian Literature
Categories: Nonfiction

Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: Caterina Benincas


a, was not unworthy of the devout admiration and devotion she has received. Springing from an humble family, the force of her own genius and her exalted piety raised her above crowned heads. Her letters to clergy, rondottieri, popes and kings were so powerful, that she was recognized as an ambassadress and mediator in the political crises of that stormy period. The Florentines chose her as their ambassadress to Pope Gregory XI. by whom they had been excommunicated. Thoroughly successful in this mission, she was the only person in all Europe who could persuade Gregory XI to leave Avignon and return to Rome! Urban VI appointed her ambassadress to Joanna I of Naples. The Italians possess 383 Letters from the pen of this remarkable woman, and from the specimens that I have read it is easy to see that she possessed wonderful endowments both of mind and heart. All Art Students are, of course, familiar with the glorious paintings which represent St. Catherine of Siena. That of Fra Bartolomeo in the Louvre is peculiarly beautiful. Dante, the "Hero of Thought' Part I. ? The Inferno. If Dante "felt exalted in his own being" when, on the "green-enameled plain" surrounding Dis, he was permitted to hold intercourse with the great poets of antiquity, how much more must we feel our exaltation when we find ourselves in the august presence of the great Dante! Preeminently the poet of exalted thought and feeling, in journeying with him we are compelled to realize the dignity of our own being; and however humble our sphere of thought may have been hitherto, we are henceforth lifted up to the contemplation of life's sublimest mysteries. Dante's hold upon the centuries is to be accounted for by the consummate skill with which he depicts man as a free, that is, a moral agent;...

A History of Italian Literature
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