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Erich Auerbachs Dante: Poet of the Secular World is an inspiring introduction to one of worlds greatest poets as well as a brilliantly argued and still provocative essay in the history of ideas. Here Auerbach, thought by many to be the greatest of twentieth-century scholar-critics, makes the seemingly paradoxical claim that it is in the poetry of Dante, supreme among religious poets, and above all in the stanzas of his Divine Comedy, that the secular world of the modern novel ?rst took imaginative form. Auerbachs study of Dante, a precursor and necessary complement to Mimesis, his magisterial overview of realism in Western literature, illuminates both the overall structure and the individual detail of Dantes work, showing it to be an extraordinary synthesis of the sensuous and the conceptual, the particular and the universal, that rede?ned notions of human character and fate and opened the way into modernity.
I. Historical Introduction; The Idea of Man in Literature
II. Dante's Early Poetry
III. The Subject of the "Comedy"
IV. The Structure of the "Comedy"
V. The Presentation
VI. The Survival and Transformation of Dante's Vision of Reality