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The Paradiso (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – October 6, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The English Dante of choice."--Hugh Kenner.

"Exactly what we have waited for these years, a Dante with clarity, eloquence, terror, and profoundly moving depths."--Robert Fagles, Princeton University.

"Tough and supple, tender and violent . . . vigorous, vernacular . . . Mandelbaum's Dante will stand high among modern translations."--The Christian Science Monitor

"Lovers of the English language will be delighted by this eloquently accomplished enterprise."
--Book Review Digest


From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Signet Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451531418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451531414
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #621,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 17, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a whole, Dante's COMEDY (a title later amended by the Church to DIVINE COMEDY) is arguably the greatest work in the history of World Literature. As an artist, his only competitor might well be Shakespeare. Despite all that, I will confess that the PARADISE is not a terribly easy book to read. INFERNO in particular but also PURGATORY is filled with a host of extraordinary scenes with unquestionable universal appeal. The highpoints of INFERNO have become part of the intellectual furniture of Western literature, not least because one reads it with rapt attention and a sense that one is dealing almost with a contemporary rather than a person writing seven hundred years ago. PURGATORY lacks some of this universal appeal, but nonetheless features a host of marvelous moments and extremely human details.

Unlike INFERNO and PURGATORY, however, PARADISE is rather narrower and specialized in its appeal. It is not merely that it assumes that the reader is a devout Catholic; one must be a devout Catholic of the early 14th century, sharing completely the view of the universe accepted at that time. I think I have an unusually complete understanding of the cosmological views of the late medieval period, but while this meant I was able to read this work with some familiarity of the details, it also guaranteed that much of my interest was merely academic.

There is an expression that "You do not judge Dante; Dante judges you." This is undoubtedly true, but it it definitely true that this final book is going to strain the interest of most readers, even if you know enough about the intellectual worldview behind his work. In fairness to Dante, the work was nearly impossible to pull off. That he managed to do so nonetheless is nothing short of a minor miracle.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dante's Divina Comedia marks one of the highest points in literature. I have spent many of my happiest hours with it and shall do so again. This marks a very good translation of the masterpiece and opens itself easily to the reader who is willing to just sit down and "be" with the work.
While full appreciation takes effort, just being in the presence of such beauty is itself a form of grace. By the time one gets to "the love that moves the sun and the other stars," one is oneself totally moved.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By EMAN NEP on February 1, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Travel to the most light-forbidden spot on Earth.

Wait for night to fall. . .

Look up at the sky. . .

and count the stars.

That's how many stars I'd give John Ciardi's wonderful translation of Dante's Paradiso (indeed, the whole trilogy, but especially this)!

When reading this book it's almost impossible I'd say to not feel the same sense of awe as Dante does as he beholds the splendors of Heaven. This book makes you feel uplifted, upbeat, almost as if you're being catapulted through the Heavens right alongside Dante himself.

Of course, to get the full effect from reading this book you have to understand most of what goes on. And that is where the John Ciardi translation really shines. Just as Beatrice is Dante's guide, so is John Ciardi your guide through Heaven.

The Divine Comedy was written in the 1300's and how many people can honestly say that they understand Italian politics and history from that time period? Maybe Umberto Eco does (of "The Name of the Rose" fame), but that's a huge minority. But fear not, for every Canto opens with a short summary of what is about to be revealed next to Dante. One need not worry about this summary spoiling the story, either, as there really are no plot twists in The Paradiso. Although I have to admit that the last scene involving Dante and Beatrice was a bit shocking (to Dante, too) and even managed to form a few tears in my eyes.

After the summary there is the Canto itself and what I like most about this is how everything rhymes (ABA ABA, etc.) and still is rather easy to read. This text is uninterrupted, which is great if you happen to be an advanced reader of Dante and don't want to stumble into little numbers next to words referring you to footnotes all the time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jameson P Porter on May 12, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I won't go into detail on how amazing Dante's Divine Comedy is or how fantastic a job John Ciardi does with this translation since that has been handled well by the other reviewers. The only reason why I have knocked off some stars is due to the deficiencies present in the Kindle edition. If you are not considering the Kindle Edition, read no further. These are:

1. There are no line numbers at each tercet. The notes at the end of each Canto are fantastic, but they all reference the text itself by specific line numbers. This makes it difficult to go back to the text after reading an interesting note or vice versa.

2. There are no links to the notes within the text. This isn't a huge deal, but given there are no line numbers, it would have been nice to have a footnote hyperlink within the text and notes to jump back and forth between them.

3. There are many misspelled/incorrect words. It looks like the publisher merely ran a print copy of this book through a piece of OCR software and nobody bothered to read through it! Probably 3-4 times per Canto, I come across a word that is obviously the wrong word or misspelled in either the summary, poem, or notes. I have a print copy of this edition as well, and these are definitely mistakes. Most of the time you can quickly figure out what it's supposed to be by context, but not always. This is just sloppy on the part of the publisher and a complete travesty given the greatness of the work itself and the fantastic translation.
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