Definition of canto in English:



  • One of the sections into which certain long poems are divided.

    • ‘The rich allegorical description of the island throughout the first five cantos of the poem offers, in itself, a harsh invective against prevailing Stuart policy.’
    • ‘Furthermore, Dante's work is divided into three canticles (the Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise) and each canticle is then divided into thirty-three cantos.’
    • ‘Of her thousands of unpublished writings, including a novel and cantos commemorating John Brown, some fifty remain.’
    • ‘The commission, all 100 cantos of the poem illustrated on sheepskin parchment for what was probably intended as a kind of luxury book, was never completed.’
    • ‘This singular indebtedness is registered canto after canto, as both pilgrim and poet quite literally follow in Virgil's beloved footsteps.’
    • ‘Structurally, I divided the film into ten cantos.’
    • ‘And still we have not touched on Byron's greatest works, the four cantos of ‘Childe Harold's Pilgrimage,’ and the unending epic impromptu, Don Juan.’
    • ‘The Commedia's last allusion to Virgil occurs as late as the final canto, when the poet marks the dissolution of his own powers in the face of God's reality.’
    • ‘One intention of this article is to analyse the Russian cantos in Don Juan and to test the validity of Gilenson's claim about the extent to which Byron was aware of Russian history.’
    • ‘This scene comes from the final canto of the 6,000-line poem, but although it is clearly the epic's climactic moment, its intra-familial violence cannot be allowed to remain its final statement.’
    • ‘The book is divided into six cantos, describing the plan of the city, the monuments and the technological marvels of those days.’
    • ‘The Messiah had been conceived as a prose epic, on the model of Fenelon's Telemaque, and the earliest cantos were drafted in lyrical prose.’
    • ‘In the last canto, it transpires that the louse had tumbled down from his own wig.’
    • ‘Each section of Lip Service corresponds to a canto in the Paradiso, the last of which matches up with the last two sections of Andrews's poem - Primum Mobile 9 and 10.’
    • ‘In 1758 he published The Highlander, a heroic poem in six cantos.’
    • ‘Executed on large sheets of sheepskin parchment, each extraordinarily delicate ink line drawing illustrates one canto or section of Dante's poem.’
    • ‘He describes his play as an oratorio in 11 cantos, in reference to Dante's Divine Comedy and its depiction of hell.’
    • ‘I used the form of multiple cantos because I wanted a fragmented structure that suggests the difficulties in capturing the complexity of Angola.’
    • ‘This couplet, which appears by itself rather than as the conclusion of a longer passage, forms the final two lines of the second canto.’
    • ‘The poem itself, in 10 cantos, is a series of images of migration of the warrior hero along the Mongolian trade routes on horseback.’
    citation, quote, reference, mention, allusion, excerpt, extract, selection, passage, line, cutting, clip, clipping, snippet, reading, section, piece, part, fragment, portion, paragraph, verse, stanza, sentence, phrase
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Late 16th century: from Italian, literally ‘song’, from Latin cantus.