The Divine Comedy and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $29.95
  • Save: $8.52 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 16 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it Tuesday, April 22? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Medium wrinkle / bend on front cover.
Add to Cart
Trade in your item
Get a $6.08
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

The Divine Comedy Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0871404480 ISBN-10: 0871404486 Edition: 1st

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$21.43
$18.37 $15.45 $25.00

Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student



Frequently Bought Together

The Divine Comedy + Cultural Cohesion: The Essential Essays + Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts
Price for all three: $50.81

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Liveright; 1 edition (April 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871404486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871404480
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 3.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Critic extraordinaire James (Cultural Amnesia, 2007) is also a poet (Opal Sunset: Selected Poems, 2008), and he has been working his way to this daring project ever since he was in Florence in the mid-1960s while studying at Cambridge, as he explains in his rousing introduction. His companion, whom he would soon marry, the future Dante scholar Prudence Shaw, revealed to him the “great secret of Dante’s masterpiece,” the fact that it possesses both “interior intensity” and propulsion. How, James wondered, could a translator re-create this dynamic? Deciding that Dante’s terza rima is too strained in English, he uses robust, rollicking quatrains. He also avoids footnotes, which so rudely interrupt the flow and drama of this defining classic, by working necessary explanations into the poem itself. James’ revitalizing translation allows this endlessly analyzed, epic, archetypal “journey to salvation” to once again stride, whirl, blaze, and sing. Anyone heretofore reluctant to pick up The Divine Comedy will discover that James’ bold, earthy, rhythmic and rhyming, all-the-way live English translation fulsomely and brilliantly liberates the profound humanity of Dante’s timeless masterpiece. --Donna Seaman

Review

“Clive James's translation of The Divine Comedy is a remarkable achievement: not a scowling marble Dante of sublime set pieces but a living, breathing poet shifting restlessly through a dizzying succession of moods, perceptions and passions.  Under James's uncanny touch, seven long centuries drop away, and the great poem is startlingly fresh and new.” (Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University, author of The Swerve)

“This is the translation that many of us had abandoned all hope of finding. Clive James's version is the only one that conveys Dante’s variety, depth, subtlety, vigor, wit, clarity, mystery and awe in rhymed English stanzas that convey the music of Dante’s triple rhymes. This book lets Dante’s genius shine through as it never did before in English verse, and is a reminder that James’s poetry has always been his finest work.” (Edward Mendelson, Columbia University)

“A vigorous, poetic paraphrase of the Comedy.” (Library Journal)

“Daring… Deciding that Dante’s terza rima is too strained in English, he uses robust, rollicking quatrains… James’ revitalizing translation allows this endlessly analyzed, epic, archetypal ‘journey to salvation’ to once again stride, whirl, blaze, and sing. Anyone heretofore reluctant to pick up The Divine Comedy will discover that James’ bold, earthy, rhythmic and rhyming, all-the-way live English translation fulsomely and brilliantly liberates the profound humanity of Dante’s timeless masterpiece.” (Booklist)

“Do we really need yet another translation of Dante’s world-famous journey through the three parts of the Catholic afterlife? We might, if the translator is both as eminent, and as skillful, as Clive James… It is a wonder to see the light cast by the whole.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Seeking to preserve Dante’s ‘infinitely variable rhythmic pulse,’ James makes an inspired metrical choice… The greatest virtue of James’s translation is his gift for infusing poetry in the least likely places… James’s austere volume achieves something remarkable: It lets Dante’s poetry shine in all its brilliance.” (Joseph Luzzi - New York Times Book Review)

“James gives us something sublime: a new way of reading a classic work. James' version is not merely a mirrored word, but a transfigured word. As such, it will no doubt enter the essential Dante canon, and remain there for years to come.” (Earl Pike - Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“A translation for readers who are culturally engaged, willing to follow lengthy narratives, and curious about free will and the soul. A Dante for fans of Mad Men?” (Camila Domonoske - NPR.org)

“Hugely enjoyable… James allows us a valuable new glimpse into a supremely imaginative mind at work when thought and faith remained indivisible—before God, too, was forced from Paradise.” (Tom Bissell - Harper's)

“Perfect for the Don Drapers in your life.” (Megan O’Grady - Vogue.com)

“An extraordinary verse-rendering—the fruit of many years’ work—of Dante’s The Divine Comedy…he [James] has not only tackled this Everest of translation, but has scrambled to the summit in triumph.” (Robert McCrum - The Guardian)

“As with [Seamus] Heaney, the telling choices in his diction are discreet in themselves, but overwhelming in their impact—.James has translated the meaning along with the words, so that his Divine Comedy is, for the twenty-first century English speaker, something very close to reading Dante in 1317.” (Deirdre Serjeantson - Dublin Review of Books)

“The poem flows magnificently…the speeches are magnificent …. As for the later books, I know of no English versions that come near James's…easily the best introduction to Dante for the general reader.” (Peter Goldsworthy - The Australian)

“James's Divine Comedy… is an impassioned, impressive, sometimes dazzling piece of work…. James has written a remarkable contemporary version of Dante—stately, colloquial, full of movement and fire and light…. [It] is a remarkable tour de force—brave, sparkling, encyclopedic and with a tremendous forward momentum as it traverses the vast space of life and death and eternity.” (Peter Craven - Sydney Morning Herald)

“An outstanding achievement…. He restores the sense of drama, the colours and the music of Dante's vision….. Clive James has now given us a translation worthy of this and any other time, and a great piece of literature in its own right.” (Robert Fox - London Evening Standard)

Customer Reviews

This Dante begs to be read aloud.
Charlus
Translating the words is the relatively easy part; the impossible part is translating the sound of Italian.
Cleveland Moffett
In hindsight I might have picked this up in print instead of as an electronic book.
Miguel A. Nunez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Tad Davis on April 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've read The Divine Comedy several times, in different translations, but I have always found Paradise a slog. I'm happy to report that Clive James has made even this abstract exploration of light and doctrine (and, I might add, occasionally smug self-righteousness on Dante's part) a fascinating journey. James has chosen an unusual verse form - quatrains, with an abab rhyme scheme - to translate this, but it works well: it moves quickly and smoothly, each line pulling you forward to the next. I'm sure the labor was intensive, but most of the time the word order, the rhythm, the rhymes all fall into place as if they just happened that way. It unfolds naturally. And James has extended the verse in places by filling in some of the oblique references Dante makes. You can read it without having to flip back and forth between notes, which is a good thing, because there aren't any.

There are risks in bringing notes into the verse itself: some references in the poem are ambiguous; which do you pick? James tries to stick close to scholarly consensus, where there is any. For example, the "one who made the great refusal" is identified in the verse as Pope Celestine: if you have to pick one among many, that IS the closest to a scholarly consensus; but purists would argue against closing off other possibilities. If that bothers you, this is not the translation for you. But if you've never read Dante before, I would definitely recommend starting here.

My one complaint is that the quatrains are not separated by a space. I don't know whether this was James's decision or the publisher's. I suppose it was an effort to increase the forward momentum and call less attention to the formal structure. Just a personal preference on my part; in no way does it detract from the readability of the poem.

(In case this review floats around, the way they sometimes do on Amazon, I should clarify that I'm describing the 2013 translation by Clive James.)
6 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Charlus on April 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an interpretation rather than a translation. Explanation is inserted into the verse in lieu of footnotes. This will surely drive the purist wild and certainly this is not the version to read is you want unadulterated Dante. (Singleton is that, although then you must give up the verse). But James gives you much of the poetry and a reasonably faithful approximation of Dante and he is intermittently able to hit the grandeur as well. But his singular achievement, which as he says in his intro was his goal, is his readability. This Dante begs to be read aloud. Gone the terza rima but a propulsive quatrain scheme is substituted with plenty of internal, alliterative rhyme. And he is able to achieve mostly full rhyme without the clangy fall into limerick, a danger full rhyme is prone to.

Here is the entrance to Hell: FROM NOW ON, EVERY DAY FEELS LIKE YOUR LAST
FOREVER. LET THAT BE YOUR GREATEST FEAR.
YOUR FUTURE NOW IS TO REGRET THE PAST.
FORGET YOUR HOPES. THEY WERE WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE. (Page 15)
No longer "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here". In fact his reading alters the meaning of Hope slightly (I was going to say "a shade" but feared the resulting groans).

My favorite Dante is Pinsky's but he only did Inferno. Hollander is particularly good for the scholarly footnotes and the accuracy of the verse. Ciardi remains the most poetic for the entire Commedia. And I continue to have a fondness for Sayers, despite the just criticisms, as she was my "first" and you never forget the first time with Dante. But James honorably joins the team of wonderful Dante translators and since the explanations are built into the verse, he remains the most readable of them all. He is an excellent guide to this great poem - almost as admirable as Virgil himself.
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Will on April 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I first read Dante's The Devine Comedy in college and have read it a number of times since. Each time, as I grow older, I understand it a little more. James, admits his translation as a younger man would be much different that this one, written as an older person who has gone through life threatening illness. This modern translation has so much more meaning because of where he is in his life.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Silas Sparkhammer on October 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To begin with, a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy into rhyming English verse doesn't work. The English language isn't made for it. Italian is a naturally rhyming language. English is not. John Ciardi's rhyming translation is the best available...and it's forced, awkward, and artificial. Clive James gave it a good honest try -- he even changed from three-line verses to four-line verses to give himself more room to work with -- but it comes out forced, awkward, and artificial. It isn't his fault; Homer, Hesiod, and Virgil couldn't have done it. Also: despite a heroic attempt to avoid anachronisms, James lets anachronisms slip in. Finally, he interpolates too much into the text. In an effort to minimize footnotes, he incorporates the footnotes directly into the verses. This is unfaithful to the original. Dante was content to present a menacing she-wolf, and later scholars have concluded that the wolf represents avarice or greed. James says so right in the text, but this is not Dante's actual denotation, and the blunt declaration contradicts Dante's open-ended interpretation. What the wolf represents is for the reader to intuit, not for the translator to aver.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa28d690c)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?