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Inferno: The Divine Comedy, Volume 1 (Galaxy Books) [Paperback]

Dante Alighieri , John D. Sinclair
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 31, 1961 0195004124 978-0195004120 New Ed
An invaluable source of pleasure to those English readers who wish to read this great medieval classic with true understanding, Sinclair's three-volume prose translation of Dante's Divine Comedy provides both the original Italian text and the Sinclair translation, arranged on facing pages, and commentaries, appearing after each canto, which serve as brilliant examples of genuine literary criticism.

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Inferno: The Divine Comedy, Volume 1 (Galaxy Books) + The Divine Comedy: Volume 2: Purgatorio (Galaxy Books) + The Divine Comedy: Volume 3: Paradiso (Galaxy Books)
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Editorial Reviews


"Solid text, useful notes."--Sahron Ann Jaeger, University of Pennsylvania

"Sinclair's commentary shows his complete awareness of the extraordinary beauty of Dante's lines...and is remarkable for its concentration on the poem as an expression of Dante's own spiritual history. There is hardly a single beauty of detail to which he does not draw attention with an apt remark on its particular significance."--Times Literary Supplement

"I have adopted it. It is a good translation, the prose appears more accessible to undergraduates. The side-by-side Italian/English is very helpful, and the notes at the end of each canto are excellent."--Helen Regueiro Elam, SUNY - Albany

"It's convenient to have The Comedy in one volume. Good translation and notes. More economical for students."--Reverand James Collins, Holy Family College

"The introduction gives essential biographical and historical background and a discussion of the form of the poem, and the extensive notes contain new material."--Manuscripta

About the Author

Dante Alighieri (c. 1265-1321) was an Italian Florentine poet.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (December 31, 1961)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195004124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195004120
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dante Translation Difficulties January 16, 2001
By A Customer
Dante's Comedy is one of the three or four must-reads if you want to gain an understanding of mediaeval thought & culture. The problem is that Dante's Italian--because of the rhyme scheme & stanza structure--is simply not translatable into English. Our language does not have enough rhymes avilable to use the same pattern as Dante, or anything like it. Many have tried--Longfellow, Sayers, Pinsky--& all have failed to some extent or other. Sinclair's prose translation tries to show you what Dante says, without trying to imitate his poetic structure.This, unfortunately, may be the best & only way to get a good feeling for the content & meaning of this remarkable work. Highly recommended--but if you're really interested in pursuing this further, try to learn some Italian.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sinclair's Prose Translation February 7, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read John Ciardi's terza rima translation of the Inferno and, let me tell ya, it does not compare favorably to John D. Sinclair's masterful prose rendition. Sinclair doesn't have to contrive any awkward rhymes or make any stilted arrangements because he is more or less translating it word by word. Therefore, the prose is muscular yet eloquent, allowing for a great range of flexibility. I can't recommend this one highly enough. The only reason I bought this translation in the first place is because Harold Bloom (Western Canon) touts it as the best rendition into English, and, my goodness, he was spot on! As a great added bonus, at the end of almost every canto, Sinclair helps illuminate and clarify the text through lucid commentary. He tersely but effectively enlightens the reader concerning all of the contemporary references to Dante's time and place, including many of those whom Dante was acquainted with and much more (e.g., mythological allusions, Medieval theology, etc.). Essentially, one doesn't even need to be truly conversant in Greek and Roman mythology or Christian Theology to fully comprehend this uncanny work, thanks wholly to Sinclair's annotations and notes. If you're bogged down due to the myriad translations, fret no more! Sinclair will guide you into the stinking maw of Dante's Hell, and you'll think it's absolutely torture to stop reading once you've begun!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars La Commedia in English. February 10, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anxious to read my first English translation of Dante's poem I feared I would miss the joy of reading it in my native language so I searched for a book congaing both texts. This was just what I needed!

Although not always literal (understandably) I feel this text does a great job at capturing the essence of Dante's work.

Grazie mille.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
La Commedia Divina is one of the cornerstones in litterature, and Sinclair's translation is, hands down, STILL the Primus Inter Pares of English translations of Dante Alighieri's work of genious. Sinclair's translation is based on even older source-material than Giorgio Petrocchi, but instead of trying to "get artistic" with Dante's original Terza Rima's, he stick to easily understood prose backed up with lots of elaborate notes, invaluable in understanding Dante's work fully.
Be sure to get the "Purgatorio" and "Paradisio" volumes too; they are equally essential.
"The divine comedy" is such a grand piece of work that it deserves to be read in different translations, but for God's sake, make the Sinclair version one of them... ...A good alternative is the Mark Musa translation.
Another good idea is to get the book "The Dore Illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy", because, to me at least, the imagery of Doré has become an integral part in fully appreciating the medieval way of thinking, portraited in Dante's Comedy.
"La Commedia Divina" has had such an impact on me, that I at some point actually considered learning Italian to get the full splendour out of Dante's poetry... ...Well, there's still time...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent & Best resource May 3, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This published version includes not only the best translation of Dante's first book in his Divine Comedy, but also includes Dante's original Italian text. And both languages are aligned by line number within each chapter. Fun to read, especially if you know a little Italian or a little Latin. This is my favorite version.
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Books on Related Topics (learn more)
The Inferno of Dante by Dante Alighieri
The Divine Comedy by Allen Mandelbaum
Purgatorio by Robert M. Durling

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