In quella parte del libro de la mia memoria, dinanzi a la quale poco si potrebbe leggere, si trova una rubrica la quale dice: Incipit vita nova. Sotto la quale rubrica io trovo scritte le parole le quali è mio intendimento d'asemplare in questo libello; e se non tutte, almeno la loro sentenzia.
In that part of the book of my memory before which little can be read, there is a heading, which says: ‘Incipit vita nova: Here begins the new life’. Under that heading I find written the words that it is my intention to copy into this little book: and if not all, at least their essence. tr. by A.S. Kline
Dante's most accessible work, La Vita Nuova is a slim volume of 42 short chapters that is part romance, part poet's manual, and part philosophical meditation. The title means "The New Life". Our young author becomes infatuated with the wonderful Beatrice. In each chapter, after the events are recounted, he is inspired to write a sonnet. We then are given the sonnet he was inspired to write, followed by a close analysis of the merits and techniques of the work.
The plot of this "novel" was concocted as a framework for the presentation of the poems he had already written, and is, allegedly, loosely autobiographical. His love for Beatrice grows stronger and stronger, even after she dies, and begins to resemble that of God for his creation. Beatrice later appears in the "Divina Commedia", to guide him through heaven.
The number "9" makes many appearances in this work.
A copyrighted English translation by A.S. Kline is available at http://www.tonykline.free-online.co.uk/TheNewLife.htm.
The original Italian is, of course, long since public domain, and is available through http://www.greatdante.net/texts.htm and many other places.
Please /msg me if these links become rotten