La Vita Nuova; Dante's Definition of True Love

1340 words 6 pages
La Vita Nuova; Dante’s

Definition of True Love
Liberal Studies 323/ALH3 Art, Literature & Humanism

Samantha Ritchie 07/15/12

La Vita Nuova; Dante’s Definition of True Love
La Vita Nuova is a collection of poems by Dante about an unconventional love story. Dante expresses his Love for a woman named Beatrice but his definition of love is not of courtly or romantic love. To Dante, the meaning of true love in La Vita Nuova is God.

On the surface, the Love Dante feels for Beatrice seems like it could be romantic or courtly love because they are defined as being an intense feeling of deep connection. However, his love is not derived from sexual desires, or lust for Beatrice and his Love is not reciprocated. He never portrays
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Beatrice is associated with the number nine throughout La Vita Nuova; which is significant because the square root of nine is three; and the Holy Trinity is associated with the number three suggesting she herself is Holy. Dante described it this way, ".....therefore, if three is the sole factor of nine, and the sole factor of miracles is three, that is, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, who are three and one, then this lady was accompanied by the number nine to convey that she was a nine, that is, a miracle, of which the root, that is, of the miracle, is nothing other than the miraculous Trinity itself." (XIX, 20). However, Beatrice is not the only connection to the number nine in La Vita Nuova; the structure also relates to nine. Barbara Reynold’s, the translator of La Vita Nuova, explained it well in her introduction, The thirty-one poems are placed in the following sequence: 10 short poems, 1 canzone, 10 short poems. The mid-point of this series is the second canzone. With its supporting eight short poems, four proceeding, four following, it is the centre of a central group of nine. This central group is flanked by two integers, which are in turn flanked by two tens, thus: 10 + 1 + 9 + 1 + 10.” The fact that Dante compares Beatrice to the Holy Trinity and the arrangement indicates that he was devout; an element evident throughout La Vita Nuova. “The doctrine of the Trinity made


Christian writers eager to look for patterns of three