Contents Index

Dante Alghieri

The poet Dante was born in Florence in 1265, but in the bitter factionalism of that city was banished in 1301 on pain of death if he ever returned. He seems to have wandered from city to city in Italy before settling at the court of Cangrande della Scala in Verona around 1314, where he completed the first two parts of his Divine Comedy, the Inferno and Purgatorio, and began work on his Paradiso, dedicating the latter to Cangrande. Thereafter, around 1318 he moved to Ravenna, under the patronage of Guido da Polenta. He died there in 1321.

Although both the Shelleys, upon their move to Italy, became deeply acquainted with The Divine Comedy in the original Italian, it is probable that at this point Mary Shelley depended upon the English translation of the Inferno by Henry Frances Cary (1805). She alludes to this work with pointed and highly knowledgeable reference three times in Frankenstein. For these instances, and their contexts, consult the following passages and notes: