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The Portable Dante (Penguin Classics) Paperback – July 29, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Divina Commedia: Inferno. Canto 1
Divina Commedia: Inferno. Canto 10
Divina Commedia: Inferno. Canto 11
Divina Commedia: Inferno. Canto 12
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Divina Commedia: Inferno. Canto 9
Divina Commedia: Paradiso. Canto 1
Divina Commedia: Paradiso. Canto 10
Divina Commedia: Paradiso. Canto 11
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Divina Commedia: Paradiso. Canto 13
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Divina Commedia: Paradiso. Canto 2
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Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 1
Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 10
Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 11
Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 12
Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 13
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Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 15
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Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 2
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Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 28
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Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 3
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Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 32
Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 33
Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 4
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Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 6
Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 7
Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 8
Divina Commedia: Purgatorio. Canto 9
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder® --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142437549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437544
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Sara on February 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
"The Portable Dante" provides readers with the complete "Divine Comedy" (Inferno, Purgatory, Paradise), an excellent biography on the author, historical background, a great translation by one of the the best translators of the genre, and Dante's often forgotten work "La Vita Nuova". What more could you ask for? Essentially, this volume has it all. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wishes to read the entire "Divine Comedy" from Hell to Heaven. It's better than having to buy each book separately. And nothing is lost from putting it all into one place. Each Canto is complete and excellently translated into verse form (as it should be). This edition makes the often difficult work easier to read by providing a summary at the beginning of each Canto (though I often skip over these because I don't want to spoil the surprise, but they're there if you need them) and notes at the bottom of each page (instead of in the back of the book like another edition I read), making them easy to refer to while reading.

There are a lot of editions of this timeless work out there, but this is the one to get. Great translation and excellent organization.
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76 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Hochmann on June 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
First, a word about Mark Musa's translation of Dante's works. His interpretations of the Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova are very beautiful, extremely readable, and as true to Dante as you can be in English. Musa's scholarship is excellent, and his introductory essays on Dante and his works are a pleasure to read, offering a broad understanding of what Dante is all about.

However, it is important that you keep in mind that a number of concessions had to be made for this book. Collecting the massive poems of the Divine Comedy, along with La Vita Nuova, is no mean task - I'm astounded Penguin Classics pulled it off in such a compact and readable volume. But this collection comes at the expense of some features that range from minor to outright baffling.

First, the minor stuff. This edition lacks the informative diagrams and illustrations of the standalone Divine Comedy volumes from Penguin Classics (Inferno, et al). Given the complexity of Dante's creation, it is very helpful to have maps to show you where the various parts of the afterlife are, and who inhabits them. Puzzlingly, /The Portable Dante/ includes a detailed map of Purgatory, but only a very vague and un-labeled map of Inferno, and NO map of Paradiso and the celestial spheres. Very strange and disappointing.

More unfortunate is the lack of a glossary. The Penguin Classics /Inferno/ has an excellent glossary of people and places that appear in the poem. This is a phenomenal resource for figuring out who is where in Hell, what they represent, and what Dante is doing with them.

However, the most (potentially) major issue with this volume is the sparse commentary. The individual books of The Divine Comedy have extensive endnotes, detailing broad sections and individual passages in great detail.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By J. Krueger on August 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Dante's Divine Comedy is one of the greatest works of an individual author in the history of literature. I did my undergraduate thesis on a topic in it, so I guess I could be a little biased. I'm not reviewing the Commedia, but the Musa edition.
My director, an expert in Medieval Studies (Toronto Ph.D., Notre Dame professor), preferred this edition because it attempts to capture Dante's meaning, and is best equipped of the English translations to do that. It doesn't attempt to replicate his meter or rhyme, which we wouldn't be able to do without significant damage to the text. It's also not a translation based on other translations for the most fluid reading (Pinsky). Musa is specifically a scholar of medieval Italian. While I consulted Mandelbaum, he is foremost a poet/translator. His work is impressive as such, but a lot of the philosophical or theological finesse is lost when reading his translation. Not being contrived, I find Musa still compelling to read. He lets Dante speak for himself, mostly, and that's a tremendous attribute in a translator. If you want the full impact of the beauty, you had better start learning Italian. But if you seek to grasp the plot and basic meaning of Dante, this book is what you're looking for.
The book design is very good. I got tons of used out of this paperback, but it never fell apart and didn't show much wear and tear. The pages are soft on the eyes and are of good enough quality to write on (which I did a lot!). As others have mentioned, having footnotes at the bottom is much better than having to flip to the back (Mandelbaum) or use another book (Singleton). Don't be afraid to consult these notes or read the canto introductions, you will find that these will help your reading, not serve as crutches.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bill on February 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review refers only to the Kindle edition of this book.

The Kindle version is almost unreadable. No separation of any kind is made between the verses and the footnotes, and it is thus almost impossible to read. Every other paragraph is a footnote. It is as though you are sitting in a room listening to two people simultaneously reading aloud from different books.

I'm thoroughly disappointed in Amazon for selling this mess.
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