Like the Vita nova, the Convivio, composed in exile between 1304-7, takes the form of a series of commentaries on Dante's own poetry. Yet, in its content, it is a very different sort of work from the Vita nova. The poems commented upon are largely concerned with love; but they are interpreted allegorically as being about the nature of philosophy, and about sophisticated philosophical questions.
The Convivio may best be seen as a philosophical treatise. It is written in Italian so that even those who are not educated in Latin could take part in (to use Dante's expression) the 'banquet of knowledge'. The treatise was left unfinished by Dante: only four of the intended fifteen books were actually written.
© Vittorio Montemaggi, Matthew Treherne, Abi Rowson