Nicholas Havely examines the connections between Dante, the Franciscans and the Papacy as they appear in the Commedia, and presents the poem as one concerned with an often dramatic confrontation between authority and idealism in the church. Havely draws on a wide range of literary, historical and art historical sources relating to the controversy about Franciscan poverty during the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. He argues that the Spiritual Franciscans’ strict interpretations of evangelical poverty provided the poet with a means of addressing the state of the contemporary Papacy and of imagining the renewal of the church. He also explores the origins and afterlife of the debate about this form of poverty and Dante’s contribution to it. This study will appeal to scholars interested in medieval religious and intellectual history, as well as to readers of Dante’s poem and other medieval visionary and political writing.