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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Working Our Way Up
Inferno is the most famous of the trio of volumes of Dante's Divine Comedy. But don't stop there. Purgatory is a beautiful work, illustrating the rise of the human soul through Purgatory's nine ledges. I found it beautiful how the souls were not hurrying. They waited patiently, yet eagerly.
Musa's translation makes all the difference. The language is accessible,...
Published on July 20, 2000 by Stacey M Jones

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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a slog after Hell.
By its very title, 'The Divine comedy' announces its theological purpose. For those not so inclined, the 'Inferno' offered many subsidiary pleasures - compelling narrative drive (both in the adventure of two men descinding into hell, and in the stories of the people they meet); an overpowering visual sense, both in the grand design of Hell's geography and the plan of its...
Published on June 13, 2001 by darragh o'donoghue


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Working Our Way Up, July 20, 2000
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory (Paperback)
Inferno is the most famous of the trio of volumes of Dante's Divine Comedy. But don't stop there. Purgatory is a beautiful work, illustrating the rise of the human soul through Purgatory's nine ledges. I found it beautiful how the souls were not hurrying. They waited patiently, yet eagerly.
Musa's translation makes all the difference. The language is accessible, but not irreverent or vulgar. A routine I found helpful was to read the introduction to each canto, read the canto, then read all the notes, checking back to reinforce meanings or double check a name or place.
The Pilgrim's journey through this volume is heavily illustrative of God's grace, and yet the idea of each person's responsibilities to God are clear.
Don't stop reading after Inferno. These stirring translations by Musa make it possible to read, understand and love the whole Divine Comedy.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thoroughly Annotated Translation, April 20, 2001
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory (Paperback)
This is the second volume of Alighieri Dante's classic Divine Comedy. It tells the tale of Dante's journey through Purgatory, led by his guide, Virgil. Having passed through the depths of Hell (the Inferno) in the first volume, Dante and Virgil ascend the mountain of Purgatory, passing its many allegorical characters and observing the penances they must fulfill. The Divine Comedy is a beautiful, epic poem that takes the reader through a wide emotional spectrum and many vivid, picturesque scenes from Dante's fictional afterlife.
This translation was wonderful. Each of the 33 Cantos (Chapters) is set up in this sequence: 1) a short summation by the translator, 2) the poem, and 3) notes on names, characters, and items referenced by Dante. The translator, Mark Musa, even explains in his notes when he has a differing interpretation of a word or phrase than other translators' have had.
Dante used so many references to Greek mythology and events that were common knowledge to educated people of the 13th-14th Century that this poem, without notes, is entirely esoteric and fully appreciated only by the most erudite modern-day readers. Mark Musa brings every reader up to par with his thorough, easily-read notes; thereby making this classic poem a very entertaining and profound experience.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dante Musa Style, July 28, 2005
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory (Paperback)
Mark Musa has produced an extremely readable translation of a text that at times can be next to inaccessible. As a non-Dante scholar, I have struggled with other translations. The notes accompanying each canto also are well done: thorough and very illuminating. Musa's deft pen has turned Purgatory into a pleasure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A stint in Purgatorio, July 8, 2010
This review is from: The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory (Paperback)
"And I shall sing about that second realm/where man's soul goes to purify itself/and become worthy to ascend to heaven..."

Having finished his tour of hell and its residents, Dante Alighieri turns his attention to a more cheerful (if less juicy) supernatural realm. "Purgatorio" is less famous than its predecessor, but it's still a beautiful piece of work that explores the mindset not of the damned, but of sinners who are undergoing a divine cleansing -- beautiful, hopeful and a little sad.

Outside of Hell, Dante and Virgil encounter a small boat piloted by an angel and filled with human souls -- and unlike the damned, they're eager to find "the mountain." And as Hell had circles of damnation, Purgatory has terraces that the redeemable souls climb on their way towards Heaven, and none of the people there will leave their terrace until they are cleansed.

And the sins that are cleansed here are the seven deadly ones: the proud, the envious, the wrathful, the greedy, the lazy, the gluttonous, and the lustful. But as Dante moves slowly through the terraces, he finds himself gaining a new tour guide as he approaches Heaven...

I'll say this openly: the second part of the "Divine Comedy" is simply not as deliciously entertaining as "Inferno" -- it was kind of fun to see Dante skewering the corrupt people of his time, and describing the sort of grotesque punishments they merited. But while not as fun, "Purgatorio" is a more transcendent, hopeful kind of story since all the souls there will eventually be cleansed and make their way to Heaven.

As a result, "Purgatorio" is filled with a kind of eager anticipation -- there's flowers, stars, dancing, angelic ferrymen, mythic Grecian rivers and an army of souls who are all-too-eager to get to Purgatory so their purification can start. Alighieri's timeless poetry has a silken quality, from beginning to end ("Here let death's poetry arise to life!/O Muses sacrosanct whose liege I am/and let Calliope rise up and play") and it's crammed with classical references and Christian symbolism (the Sun's part in advancing the soiled souls).

And the trip through Purgatory seems to have a strong effect on Dante's self-insert, who appears less repulsed and more fascinated by what he sees there. It's hard not to feel sorry for him when the paternal Virgil exits the Comedy, but at least he has someone else appears to guide him.

The middle part of the Divine Comedy isn't as juicy as "Inferno," but the beauty of Dante Alighieri's writing makes up for it."Purgatorio" is a must read... and then on to Paradise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Purgation of Dante, August 19, 2010
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory (Paperback)
I'd completed the first book of The Divine Comedy and had to pick up the second and third. This volume takes place in Catholic Purgatory and opens up with Dante escaping from Hell and making his way across the waters to the mountain of Purgatory. It follows Dante as he makes his way up the mountain encountering more souls who are paying the price for their sins in their now-lost lives. Dante will in essence share in these tribulations to purify himself so that he can enter Paradise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Easily Understandable Version of This Classic, September 11, 2014
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Sugar Bear (West Fork, AR USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory (Paperback)
Mark Musa has done wonders with this book. I read it as a class participant. The first version I had purchased was by Henry W. Longfellow and that was a big mistake! Do not purchase that version, as it is extremely difficult to understand. This version, however, was easily readable with an appropriate amount of helpful notes and I was well pleased with it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars all time classic, June 3, 2014
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Magdan (Sunny Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory (Paperback)
This translation is outstanding!! And the notes are very helpful as well. This text is one of the richest texts I've ever read. Dante is amazing. This is like a Cathedral in verse, or, as someone said, it is like Aquinas' Summa in verse. The fundamental lesson from Dante's Purgatory is not that Purgatory is a literal place (though D. may have thought so) with these literal punishments, but he wants his reader to see the true, destructive, nature of sin, and how it pulls us away from the full pleasure of God's presence, and causes us to seek pleasure in a perverted way in various other things that cannot satisfy. It has a powerful spiritual lesson. It also conveys (to me, a Protestant) the most attractive elements of Catholicism: a rich spirituality that ties all of life together through spiritual practices (liturgy, prayer, sacraments, etc.). This work is truly breathtaking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent translation of this masterpiece of medieval literature, April 7, 2014
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory (Paperback)
Mark Musa's superb translation makes this work accessible to many of us who bogged down when we tried to read it previously, usually as a school assignment. The English syntax sounds like English, which is often difficult to do with a work written so long ago in an older version of the original language. Mr. Musa has provided copious explanatory material in the introduction, the notes, and the explanatory material at the beginning of each canto. I heartily recommend this translation to anyone who wants to probe the meaning of this classic more deeply.
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5.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMEND!, November 29, 2013
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory (Paperback)
Obviously not an easy read at first, but once you get accustomed to Dante's writings, you will LOVE LOVE LOVE this series!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Journey, September 23, 2013
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory (Paperback)
Book two of The Divine Comedy really takes the reader on the continuing journey through Purgatory. Mark Musa does an amazing job of breaking down the cantos. He gives in great detail, the characters mentioned n the story. His opinions are not bold enough that it takes away from Dante's storyline.
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The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory
The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory by Dante Alighieri (Paperback - February 5, 1985)
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