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At several junctures in his career, Dante paused to consider what it meant to be a writer. The questions he posed were both simple and wide-ranging: How does language, in particular 'poetic language,' work? Can poetry be translated? What is the relationship between a text and its commentary? Who controls the meaning of a literary work? In Dante and Augustine, Simone Marchesi re-examines these questions in light of the influence that Augustine's reflections on similar issues exerted on Dante's sense of his task as a poet. Examining Dante's life-long dialogue with Augustine from a new point of view, Marchesi goes beyond traditional inquiries to engage more technical questions relating to Dante's evolving ideas on how language, poetry, and interpretation should work. In this engaging literary analysis, Dante emerges as a versatile thinker, committed to a radical defence of poetry and yet always ready to rethink, revise, and rewrite his own positions on matters of linguistics, poetics, and hermeneutics.