Unlike many recent "companions" that seek to rewrite and revise traditional scholarship--e.g., The Cambridge Companion to Dostoevskii, ed. by W.J. Leatherborrow (CH, Mar'03, 40-3897)--the second edition of the present title (first ed., 2003) remains a bastion of authoritative scholarship and sound criticism. Jacoff (Wellesley College) adds to the original 14 essays (all of which have been updated) three new contributions. The essays center on five principal areas of Dante scholarship: Dante's early works and their relationship to the Divine Comedy; vernacular and classical literary antecedents of Dante's poetry; theological and biblical influences; historical and political dimensions of the works; and reception history. The volume opens with Giuseppe Mazzotta's brilliantly concise and decisive "Life of Dante," as useful a brief introduction to the subject as can be imagined, and it features introductory essays on each of the three canticles of the Comedy, offering insightful readings of important textual practices and critical background information. In keeping with the breadth of Dante scholarship and the limited format of the series, most of the essays include suggested further reading, and an entire section provides information about translations, Web sites, secondary works, and various other aids to the study of Dante and his world.