Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was born in Florence to a prominent family and trained
as a pharmacist. He fought in the Battle of Campaldino and was active in the internecine
Florentine politics of the time, which resulted in his exile. During this time, he
began writing Commedia, which he finished shortly before his death in Ravenna.
Burton Raffel is a translator, a poet, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Arts
and Humanities and emeritus professor of English at the University of Louisiana at
Lafayette. His most recent translations are the Modern Library edition of Geoffrey
Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and the Penguin edition of the Poema de mío Cid.
He has translated the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, most of Horace's poems, and Rabelais's
Gargantua and Pantagruel.