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The Divine Comedy, Part 1: Hell (Penguin Classics) Paperback – June 30, 1950
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“Exactly what we have waited for these years, a Dante with clarity, eloquence, terror, and profoundly moving depths.” –Robert Fagles, Princeton University
“A marvel of fidelity to the original, of sobriety, and truly, of inspired poetry.” –Henri Peyre, Yale University
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Top Customer Reviews
-The Divine Comedy-, Hell; Translated by Dorothy L. Sayers,
Penguin Classics, 1949. 346 pp.
Other reviewers have spoken to the perceived weaknesses
and problems with this particular translation and
volume, with Ms. Sayers' "Introduction" and "Notes."
Perhaps one should be warned before entering its portals,
as constructed by Ms. Sayers, that this is not an "easy"
Hell to assimilate.
Yet, at the beginning of her "Introduction," she presents
the offering in an inviting fashion: "The ideal way of
reading -The Divine Comedy- would be to start at the first
line and go straight through to the end, surrendering to
the vigour of the story-telling and the swift movement
of the verse, and not bothering about any historical
allusions or theological explanatios which do not occur
in the text itself. That is how Dante himself tackles
Some readers may not find Ms. Sayers' translation to be
one that lends itself to "swift movement of the verse."
The value here, however, is the wealth of information
provided in both the "Introduction", the Notes, and
in the map drawings which clearly help the mind's eye
understand the "lay-out" of Hell as depicted by Dante.
The value of Ms. Sayer's "Introduction" is its clear
presentation of HER view of Dante, his work, his value,
his meaning, and his emphases.
She concentrates on the Images of Hell and on the Christian
doctrine implicit in the work.Read more ›
And it is Canticle II, the poet's ascent through Purgatory, which stirs so deeply the soul and inspires the very penitence and hope of purgation which Dante describes there. One need not be a Roman Catholic or ascribe to Purgatory as doctrine in order to recognize and appreciate what Dante has done in describing the landscape of repentance and hope. (Being a Christian may help, but even on this point one suspects that the divine poet may well perform the function of evangelist, as well as exegete, and lead the searching soul to beatific vision of its own.) Clearly his purpose is not merely to describe what sinners of the past are doing in the afterlife to purify their souls for Paradise, but also to inspire his contemporary readers (who are, of course, yet living when the poem is published in 1321) to examine themselves just as the joyful penitents do on the cornices of Mount Purgatory. It is refreshing--a sort of glorious wound, the healing of which leaves one stronger and more whole than he had been before the hurt.
But what of the translation?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent translation! Vigorous and clear, easy to read aloud. The notes are the best I've found after reading several translations. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I don't think I'm quite ready to review Dante's work, or Sayers' translation. I'll leave the translation comparison to others. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Michael D. Zorn
With the exception of the Holy Bible, this is by far one of the greatest books that I have ever read! Read morePublished 10 months ago by Honest Citizen
Not my favorite book. A little hard to follow what's going on. Only read it because my college class required it.Published 18 months ago by Lou
This is clearly the best translation and commentary on the DC.Published 18 months ago by Judson B. Franklin
I needed to get the second part if I had the first part already, right? Thank you for the book.Published on January 20, 2014 by Preston
It's a journey through the afterlife and coming to grips with one's rise from sin to God's good grace. Wonderful tale.Published on June 20, 2013 by Kendall
Mark Twain once (possibly apocryphally) described a "classic" as a book everybody wants to have read but nobody wants to read. Read morePublished on May 19, 2013 by Sid Nuncius