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Abstract

This paper examines the poetics and musicality of three canzoni of Dante’s Vita Nuova and explores how four fundamental musical elements produce specific meanings while evoking a desired emotion in the reader. “Donne ch’avete intelletto d’amore,” the first canzone of the Vita Nuova, initiates Dante’s poetry of praise as it contributes to the elation of the first third of the work. The two later canzoni, “Donna pietosa” and “Li occhi dolenti,” however, transition the Vita Nuova to a more somber and finally grief-stricken piece. Analysis of the musical elements of these three poems demonstrates how Dante effectively communicates his emotions through his poetry and creates fundamental links between himself and his reader.

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