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The Divine Comedy, Part 3: Paradise (Penguin Classics) Paperback – July 30, 1962


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The Divine Comedy, Part 3: Paradise (Penguin Classics) + The Divine Comedy, Part 1: Hell (Penguin Classics) + The Canterbury Tales
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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

“A marvel of fidelity to the original, of sobriety, and truly, of inspired poetry.” –Henri Peyre, Yale University

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian (translation)
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"Ten Windows" by Jane Hirshfield
Hirshfield explores how poetry’s world-making takes place: word by charged word. By expanding what is imaginable and sayable, Hirshfield proposes, poems expand what is possible. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (July 30, 1962)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140441050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140441055
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dante Alighieri was born in 1265 in Florence. His family, of minor nobility, was not wealthy nor especially distinguished; his mother died when he was a child, his father before 1283. At about the age of 20 he married Gemma Donati, by whom he had three children. Little is known of Dante's formal education-it is likely to have included study with the Dominicans, the Augustinians, and the Franciscans in Florence, and at the university in Bologna. In 1295 he entered Florentine politics and in the summer of 1300 he became one of the six governing Priors of Florence. In 1301, the political situation forced Dante and his party into exile. For the rest of his life he wandered through Italy, perhaps studied at Paris, while depending for refuge on the generosity of various nobles. He continued to write and at some point late in life he took asylum in Ravenna where he completed the Divine Commedia and died, much honoured, in 1321.

Customer Reviews

Sorry, I haven't read it yet.
Linda Sheean
On most devices it is hard to get lines to not wrap, but in the paper book this is handled well.
N. Vonnahme
The elevated sound of poetry are here heard.
Jaques Jesus

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. Scanlon VINE VOICE on August 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
please read the life and works of Dorothy L. SAyers to appreciate fully the effort she made here, her final writing, posthumously completed (no, not with any seance, which she adequately lambasted in her detective stories).

Her total translation of the Commedia is worth the price of admission (Do not abandon all hope, as she will bring you home to the beatific vision).

There are several translations of varying usefulness and grace, but Dorothy is the rock upon which to stand when comparing the rest.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Schuler on December 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Dorothy Sayers's translation of Dante is an important addition to the numerous translations of Dante currently available, and worth reading. Sayers manages to do what few English translators can, or even attempt: she renders the text in tirza rima. Tirza rima is notoriously difficult to write in English anyway, but the prospect of writing a translation in the form would make even the best poet tremble. However, Sayers pulls it off, giving readers a taste of Dante's original poetic form. Sayers's accomplishment comes at a price, however. Often she must contort the syntax in order to get the rhymes to fit, making an already-demanding poem even harder to comprehend in places. She also has to fall back on English archaisms and other tricks to make the form work, and some passages read much rougher than others.

I would recommend that a first-time reader of Dante not begin with Sayers's translations. I do not read Italian, so I cannot comment on the extent to which the translation is accurate. But there are several other well-regarded translations in print, such as Ciardi's and Esolen's, both of which are much easier to read, without sacrificing poetic quality. The experienced reader of Dante will want to read Sayers's translation at least once.

For myself, the real value of Sayers's editions is her notes, which are thorough and lucid. Paying special attention to philosophy and theology, Sayers unpacks and explains Dante in a way that few translators (or critics!) have been able to do. Even when her verse is stilted or cramped, her notes are enlightening. That is why Sayers's translation belongs on the bookshelf of the serious Dante reader, alongside some more readable translations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N. Vonnahme on November 23, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dante deserves 5 stars and the translators 4, but the current Kindle edition deserves 1. It seems to have been sloppily OCRed with little editorial attention. Problems include,

1. Ugly formatting (compared to the paper book). The verse numbers intrude into the text, the useful page headings are gone (except where they've been accidentally and intrusively included), and the indentation is inconsistent. On most devices it is hard to get lines to not wrap, but in the paper book this is handled well.

2. Typos/errors. Especially in the italicized comments at the beginning of each chapter. Clumsy, no attention to detail.

3. No table of contents and no good way to navigate between text, notes, and glossary. There should be *more* hyperlinking opportunities in the electronic text. But instead it's clumsier to use than the actual book, which responds well to thumb and finger. Also on the Kindle Touch anyway it's impossible to look up a phrase, for example to google "mosaic of Justinian at San Vitale" which was mentioned in the notes.

I can't believe I paid $9.59 for such a barbarically edited book. Where are your standards, Penguin? It's distracting and disappointing.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ian Dall on April 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is not the most up - to - date translation: however, it is one of the more worthy bits of the history that has grown up around the Comedy, and its perspective is still of practical use. (She actually tries to avoid Freud, for example). Her misunderstandings are ones we can overlook, and she could even help to correct any new ones (not that I do not have full faith in our, er, "currentness", of course!) that might arise.
As for the work of the Master himself, what can one say? Its the best book in world history (have not read any better: and I am, in all humillity, considered something of a reader).
Simply put, its Heaven.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By propertius on July 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
In this final translation of the Comedia begun by Dorothy Sayers and completed by Barbara Reynolds we find that Dante has lead us to his ultimate destination. This section is perhaps the most intellectual and theological section of all, which is why T.S.Eliot favored this most of all. Even if is too much to absorb, except in small doses, the honey added the notes and the introduction, makes it exquisitely enjoyable.

So we find out that Dante's real destination was not Beatrice but God. Heavy going for the modern reader but a reason to begin to read this work again in a more modern translation. Notice that I said more modern and not better. If this were not the case why should be concerned with Keats' reaction to Chapman's Homer.

The reader is welled advised to pursue other translations and compare them to this. Happy to know that Barbara Reynolds is among those to whom we may turn.
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