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by Edmund G. Gardner
Professor Robert Langdon, in Dan Brown’s thriller, tells his Harvard class, “My friends, it is impossible to overstate the influence of Dante Alighieri’s work. Throughout all of history, with the sole exception perhaps of Holy Scripture, no single work of writing, art, music, or literature has inspired more tributes, imitations, variations and annotations than The Divine Comedy. Edmund Gardner was one of the great Dante scholars of his time and an astute guide to the background to Dan Brown’s adventures with Dante.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Edmund Garret Gardner was seen as one of England’s greatest Dante scholars. Aside from publishing voluminously on Dante, he also penned a series of travel guides to Italian cities published by J. M. Dent. The British Academy awards the Edmund G. Gardner Memorial Prize in Italian Studies every five years, in honor of his accomplishments.