This book, by one of Italy s most important and original contemporary philosophers, represents a broad, general, and ambitious undertaking nothing less than an attempt to rethink the nature of poetic language and to rearticulate relationships among theology, poetry, and philosophy in a tradition of literature initiated by Dante. The author presents literature as a set of formal or linguistic genres that discuss or develop theological issues at a certain distance from the discourse of theology. This distance begins to appear in Virgil and Ovid, but it becomes decisive in Dante and in his decision to write in the vernacular. His vernacular Italian reaches back through classical allusion to the Latin that was in his day the language of theology, but it does so with a difference. It is no accident that in the Commedia Virgil is Dante s guide.