Dante is one of the towering figures of European literature, yet there remain a surprising number of questions about his life and works; Who was the leader that would bring peace to the world, as Virgil and Beatrice prophesied in the Commedia? Who was Beatrice, really? Was De Vulgari Eloquentia truly a treatise on the art of writing? Did he need a medicinal muse? Dante scholar and translator Barbara Reynolds contends the master used cannabis to soar to greater creative heights.
Besides proposing a solution to the famous prophecies, this lively, engaging, and elegantly written biography contains a provocative new idea in virtually every chapter, offering alternative interpretations of his work. Drawing from an impressive array of sources, Reynolds provides a comprehensive analysis of the poet, placing him within the context of his culture and society to deepen our understanding of a complicated man who was irritable, opinionated, and vengeful—and an extraordinary genius.