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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Naxos Audio Books; Unabridged edition (February 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626343184
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626343180
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,280,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The Divine Comedy is a complete scale of the depths and heights of human emotion," wrote T.S. Eliot."The last canto of the Paradiso is to my thinking the highest point that poetry has ever reached or ever can reach."

The Divine Comedy stands as one of the towering creations of world literature, and its climactic section, the Paradiso, is perhaps the most ambitious poetic attempt ever made to represent the merging of individual destiny with universal order.Having passed through Hell and Purgatory, Dante is led by his beloved Beatrice to the upper sphere of Paradise, wherein lie the sublime truths of Divine will and eternal salvation, to at last experience a rapturous vision of God.

"A spectacular achievement," said poet and critic Archibald MacLeish of John Ciardi's version of Dante's masterpiece."A text with the clarity and sobriety of a first-rate prose translation which at the same time suggests in powerful and unmistakable ways the run and rhythm of the great original." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torch-bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Christopher W. Coffman on January 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I haven't read Esolen's Inferno, but his translation of Purgatory was superb--not just the translation itself but the notes, which I'm fairly certain Esolen wrote. After translating the Inferno, the Purgatory, and then the Paradise, Esolen was stimulated to write a magnificent interpretative introduction to the Paradise which is one of the best pieces I've ever read on Dante.

Esolen's Introduction to the Paradise ranks with Erich Auerbach's essays on Dante in Mimesis and Scenes from the Drama of European Literature, and I prefer it to T. S. Eliot's famous essay on Dante; it is a classic. Esolen's introduction to the Paradise in this edition is alone worth the price of the book, and I would characterise it as a must-read for anyone interested in Dante and his Comedy.

As with the previous volumes of the Comedy, in the Paradise Esolen again proves himself to be a sensitive and judicious translator, and the notes are again excellent.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. R. Knuffke on September 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want epic storytelling and great poetry - this is the real thing! And the Anthony Esolen translation is the best by far. Highly recommended! Paradise (Modern Library Classics)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Paradise, Dante's taken on an impossible task: describing the indescribable. Even St. Paul found it impossible to recount his mystical experience of heaven. The Inferno and Purgatory read like journeys onto which theological and philosophical points are appended. Paradise reads more like a theological treatise onto which a journey is appended. Dante's vision of Paradise is deeply poetic, thoughtful, theological, and thought-provoking. Dante's description of the fall of the angels (and Esolen's notes thereon) are particularly insightful.

Dante (the poet not the character in the poem) spends much effort on what constitutes a just ruler and on the relationship between Church and state. Never does he discuss the joy in heaven over the repentant sinner. Nor does he present the saints he meets as active intercessors for those on earth, though in canto xviii Dante the character does ask the heavenly army to pray for those led astray by a corrupt pope, and later (xxxii) he asks Beatrice to pray for him. In the final canto St. Bernard intercedes for Dante, begging the intercession of the Blessed Virgin that Dante may behold the beatific vision. But all those folks on earth who beg the saints to pray for them? I didn't notice any saint responding to the entreaties of those on earth, or indeed, even acknowledging that he heard their prayers.

I did not find Dore's illustrations of much value in my appreciation of Paradise, unlike with the Inferno and Purgatory. I thought the final cantos of Paradise were the volume's strongest. Esolen's Introduction and his notes are very good aids.

I've read (and reviewed on Amazon) Esolen's translations of the three books of the Divine Comedy. He's to be complimented on these highly readable and reasonably priced books.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The introduction to this book is comprehensive and thoughtful. Anthony Esolen writes beautifully and does a great job of explaining the framework of Dante's Paradise. The notes are extremely helpful, too, though I think I would have preferred footnotes to end notes, as I had to keep flipping to the back. It was a minor distraction, however, and I never would have begun to appreciate Dante's poetry without Esolen's notes.

If anybody is interested in more, the author is preparing a series of instructional CD's for the entire Divine Comedy. As of this writing , only the CD's on the Inferno are available, but I'm eagerly awaiting the rest of the series because I think Esolen has a great way of explaining things.
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