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9 Reviews
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome edition
I adore these Penguin deluxe editions. The redesigned covers and the deckle edged pages make it a must own for many of my favorite works. This is Dante, you need it on your shelf, and you need to know it to understand western culture. If you are reading it in English, grab this edition.
Published 14 months ago by KC Weaver

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing All The Good Parts
Kirkpatrick's translation of Dante's Italian is mediocre at best with many oddities cropping up in his translation which apparently are efforts to arbitrarily differentiate his work from the many other historic and recent Dante translations offered. E.G. Inferno I, 32 " a leopard light and lively, svelte and quick" menaces Dante (or does it? It sounds like a...
Published 11 months ago by Severian


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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing All The Good Parts, January 7, 2014
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)
Kirkpatrick's translation of Dante's Italian is mediocre at best with many oddities cropping up in his translation which apparently are efforts to arbitrarily differentiate his work from the many other historic and recent Dante translations offered. E.G. Inferno I, 32 " a leopard light and lively, svelte and quick" menaces Dante (or does it? It sounds like a charming little kitty!). Also Inf XV 110-11 "If you yearn to set your eyes on such-like mangy scabs". None of this odd verbiage appears in Mandelbaum, Ciardi, or Hollander, so it looks like either Kirkpatrick is a geniue with rare insight into the Italian language or (my theory) he is just sprucing things up a bit for the sake of trying to be unique among the masses of Dantean translators.

For the same reason, he also likes to throw Dante's Latin quotes in untranslated (for the effect he says) e.g. Inf I, 111 "from which invidia has set her loose" or I, 64 "to him I screamed my Miserere". Does this really achieve any astistic or pedagogical goal or is it just an attempt to sound different from other translations? I felt unimpressed by these efforts, and in comparison to the many other translations I've read of Dante, I thought Kirkpatrick's over-emphasized variant approach added no additional interpretive meaning or aesthetic beauty.

The original three volume set of Kirkpatrick's version of the Comedy added at least excellent detailed introductions to each canticle along with detailed commentary for each canto, along with briefer line by line notes. This Penguin omnibus has eliminated all of the commentaries, and combined the three once separate introductions together into a patchwork essay that is about a quarter of the length of the combined three introductions from the separate volumes.

One looks to a Dante translation to have a mix of literary merit and / or pedagogical clarity. As mentioned above, I think RK's translation in and of itself does not have much going for it. The original three separate volumes at least had useful commentaries and intro essays, but these are now almost entirely missing leaving only the briefer more pedestrian line by line notes. The remaining notes aren't awful and are better than the one volume Comedy notes in say Nichols' translation or James' attempt at non-annotated Dante, but are nowhere near as good as the Ciardi Commedia one volume set. For most readers, the support "apparatus" to the text is as important as the quality of the translation, so the gutted intros and missing commentaries vitiate whatever merit Kirkpatrick's original volumes had.

As compared to other one volume Comedies, I think Mandelbaum is superior artistically and about as good in terms of notes. Sisson is also better artistically and has excellent notes. Ciardi is an acquired tastes aesthetically (I like him but the "dummy terza rima" he uses does not sit well with all readers) and his notes are the industry standard for single volume clarity and completeness. The Nichols translation is my favorite in terms of literary merit, but the notes are somewhat lacking. For the patient Dante enthusiast who can afford three separate volumes, and who can also take the time to read lengthy though excellent notes, the Hollanders are still the best way to come to understand Dante.

In any case, you see my point, I hope. There are many better options out that, and the truncated exposition and "hey, look at me!!" attempts at translational showmanship of this Kirkpatrick Commedia create a compelling case to seek out one (or more) of the alternatives. This is a tin-eared translation with minimal interpretive support at a high price.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome edition, October 19, 2013
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KC Weaver (Grand Rapids, MI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)
I adore these Penguin deluxe editions. The redesigned covers and the deckle edged pages make it a must own for many of my favorite works. This is Dante, you need it on your shelf, and you need to know it to understand western culture. If you are reading it in English, grab this edition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, October 13, 2014
This review is from: The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)
truly amazing
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it, September 8, 2014
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)
Just as described. Quick timely service.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and insightful, June 20, 2013
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)
Most thought provoking poem/book I have ever read. Makes one think about possible after death experiences and behaving in this life.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic, March 24, 2014
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I have always wanted to read this book. I read the Inferno by Dan Brown. That book refers to this classic often, so I decided the time had come. While not necessarily considered light reading I have enjoyed it greatly.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic!!!, August 9, 2013
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)
Then she opened up a book of poems and handed it to me, written by an Italian poet from the 13th century. And every one of them words rang true and glowed like burning coal. Pouring off of every page like it was written in my soul from me to you. Tangled up in blue!! Dylan loved it and so will you!!!
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as Gift, June 14, 2013
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)
Was told by recipient that it was just what they were looking for. He was pleased that all three; Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso were together in one book.
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4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars book doesnt include any drawings!!, June 17, 2013
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)
This is a good book,but its most intrigueing aspects is the artists renderings... and there is not 1 drawing in this book!! Im bery upset...
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The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
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