Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825-1898) was a poet and novelist, born in Zürich, Switzerland. Meyer was preeminently the artist among German novelists; his style is polished and finely balanced; his scenes are delineated with infinite care, and his subjects always have a certain inner harmony with the spirit of the author's own time. In "The Monk's Marriage" Meyer reached the highest development of the "frame-story." It has been universally admired for the genius and audacity of its invention, for its artistic elaboration, and for the wonderful pen-portrait of Dante, "the wanderer through Hell," whose personality dominates the whole story as he narrates it. This introduction of Dante was a bold stroke, justified only by success. The plot of the tale itself is based upon an account (in Machiavelli's "History of Florence") of a family feud which began the bitter factional strife of the Guelfs and Ghibellines in Florence. The frame is a masterpiece, generally more admired than the story. The tale is characteristically Italian, with its sudden changes of fortune, the breathless development of the plot, the volcanic outburst of passion. The plot, one of the few in Meyer's works in which love is the dominant note, is well developed and told with consummate art. The language is noticeable for its stately dignity, such as befits the character of the narrator, the great Dante. The story has one of "those murderous finales which are Meyer's delight," as Gottfried Keller once wrote to Theodor Storm. And yet, The "Monk's Marriage" ranks as one of the best, if not the best, of Meyer's Novellen.