The Divine Comedy, completed around 1320, is a supreme work of the imagination None of Dante's other works, nor even all of his other works taken together, can rival the Comedy. How did the Florentine exile come to create this masterpiece? What steps in his development can explain the making of this extraordinary poem? In this book, a preeminent Dante scholar turns to the poet's body of works - the only real biography of Dante that we have - to illuminate these questions. Through an exposition of Dante's other writings, Robert Hollander provides a concise intellectual biography of the writer whom many consider the greatest narrative poet of the modern era. Hollander writes for those who have already encountered the Comedy, suggesting to these readers how Dante's other works relate to the great poem and inviting them to reread the Comedy with new interest and understanding.