Considered the finest poet that Italy has ever produced, Dante is also celebrated as a major influence on western European culture. His masterpiece, (1306-21; ) is universally known as one of the greatest poems in world literature. Divided into three sections—the the and the —The Divine Comedy presents an encyclopedic overview of the mores, attitudes, beliefs, philosophies, and aspirations, as well as the material aspects of the medieval world. More than a summa of medieval life, however, Dante's poem is a superb work of fiction with poignant dramatic episodes and unforgettable characters. The eminent poet and essayist Jorge Luis Borges has recognized the relevance of The Divine Comedy for modern readers, asserting that it “is a book that everyone ought to read. Not to do so is to deprive oneself of the greatest gift that literature can give us; to submit to a strange asceticism.”
- "Dante." Gale Online Encyclopedia, Gale, 2017. Literature Resource Center.
Homer is traditionally accepted as the author of the and the the two greatest epics of European literature. The poems celebrate the values of ancient Greek civilization, incorporating many ancient myths and folk motifs and examining such themes as heroism, fate, honor, loyalty, and justice. Admired over the centuries for the artistic mastery they demonstrate, the Iliad and the Odyssey have exerted a profound influence on all later Western poetry and have served as the primary models for subsequent epics. Although critics continue to debate questions of the authorship and textual integrity of the two poems, they unanimously praise the universality, lucid narrative style, and vast imaginative scope of these works.
- "Homer." Gale Online Encyclopedia, Gale, 2017. Literature Resource Center.