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Showing 1-10 of 950 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,241 reviews
on November 4, 2016
I am very excited to begin reading this magnificent poetry!
By inspecting the physical features of this book, I am amazed on how well the shipping and handling is! The book feels and looks new, unharmed, and no pages are creased. I ordered a paperback.....PAPERBACK! Still, the book arrived with no damage or any sign of poor handling and shipping.

I will definitely order more books when I finish this first.
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on March 9, 2017
Durling avoids the clumsiness that attends a slavishly literal translation and attains fluidity and readability without sacrificing accuracy, and this is no small feat for Dante's poem, especially its final third. There are existing prose translations -- most notably John Sinclair's, originally published over 60 years ago. But Durling's seems to me the most accurate without being less readable. In addition, Sinclair's translation often has an archaic flavor that Durling typically avoids.
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on January 29, 2017
The version of the Paradiso that I purchased was supposed to have been translated by Mark Musa. It wasn't. I input the opening lines into Google and discovered that it was translated by the Rev. H. F. Cary.
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on December 6, 2016
People may think Nostradamus is the only person on the "prophetic scene". Dante, under his struggle in Life, gave the World in the tradition of the Old Testament, insight by writing poetry... This book is "A World" unseen, also needed to be experienced in today's political struggle. Enjoy and get inspired!
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on March 29, 2016
I bought these 3 volumes for a course, which was then postponed indefinitely. But since I'd already started reading, I kept at it. I'd tried reading/studying the Divine Comedy before, without success - too dry. The translator of this version is just excellent, presenting the text in a beautiful flowing, readable English.
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on August 13, 2014
4.5 Stars
Penguin group edition, translated by John Ciardi [eISBN: 978-1-101-11799-6]
I think it is safe to skip the synopsis since this is one of the most famous books ever written. I first read the Divine Comedy in college. I decided to reread it after seeing it referenced in so many of the books I’ve read this year. It is a challenging read for many reasons, but one that is worth the challenge. It took me about two months to read this book. The edition I read was 895 pages but the text is so rich that it requires you read it in small chunks in order to digest properly. The poem is brilliant in its structural complexity and vivid imagery that moves from concrete to more abstract as the reader travels with Dante through the levels. I loved how the language changed in style as Dante transcended-- and thus the further you read, the more complex the style and more time-consuming.

I highly recommend this edition for the modern reader of Dante. This is the perfect edition for a first time reader of the work but it is also a useful edition for those who have read the poem but are not experts in theology, classics, mythology, etc. The Divine Comedy is so complex and jam-packed with classical and biblical references that it is virtually impossible for the modern, casual reader to pick up on all the important elements without some guidance. This edition includes an introduction with guidelines on how to read the Divine Comedy and a guest section on the historical context of the work. Each Canto begins with a synopsis of the plot and content, followed by the actual text and then followed by extensive footnotes. The footnotes provide additional information about translation issues, historical context, the meaning and brief history of events and people mentioned, and additional useful information. The footnotes are very interesting and add to the modern reader’s ability to truly understand some of the complexities hidden in the work. I much preferred this translation to the version I read in college (although I don’t remember which edition I had read previously only that it wasn’t Ciardi’s version).
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on April 24, 2014
I purchased this ebook as a result of an excellent review in the Saturday, April 19th WSJ talking about the qualities of this trilogy to help someone, basically, from despair to health. The review began with the first book which SHOULD be The Inferno and works the reader through the reasons for despair, then moving upward to Purgatory and finally into Paradise. But this book goes in the opposite direction and isn't what I expected nor, I fear, what the author intended. I am going to send it back if possible and order another translation in the expected order.
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on September 15, 2014
Truly a classic of the Medieval period, a great insight into Italian culture and politics. Also a fun read if one is interested in Dante's perception of the circles of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, and the punishments/rewards at each, but the work is primarily a political one, and is much easier to understand if one has an understanding of Medieval politics. For example, certain political (and Church!) figures are placed at certain levels in Hell (and Heaven) for their specific deeds, and understanding their actual actions may help one better understand Dante's motivation in creating such punishments in such circles. However, even if one does not wish to do such research, it is an interesting read nonetheless!
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on June 27, 2012
The Divine Comedy has long been on my bucket list of books to read and I am very happy that I chose to buy Musa's translation of the first volume, The Inferno.

In short, Mark Musa makes The Inferno very accessible to the everyday reader. His introduction before the text provides some historical background of the time and religious/political situation in which Dante lived and wrote and this helps the reader understand a bit about life in Renaissance Italy. He then follows up with his translator's notes, in which Musa spells out his intentions and methods in translating the text. Good stuff to know and very helpful for understanding the context of the story.

The most helpful part of Musa's translation was that before each Canto, he would give a brief preview summary of what happens in that particular Canto. Then at the end of each Canto, he has a section of notes that explain things in the text that might not be clear to everyone, such as the backstories of the shades that he encounters and references to other texts and works of literature. Having the summary and notes bookending each Canto made them extremely easy to follow and understand.

His translation abandons the rhyme of the original in favor of conveying the narrative. This might bother some purists but not having to force rhymes at the end of every line leaves the translator a lot of room to make sure that the reader can follow what is going on in the story.

I couldn't believe it, but I read through this centuries old work of Medieval literature just as quickly and easily as I would any modern novel. Musa's translation made that possible.
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on April 3, 2014
James's translation is worth owning, but I doubt it will ever be my translation of choice (right now, that remains Robert and Jean Hollander, along with Mary Jo Bang's Inferno). A lot is lost when James gives up on Dante's 3-line divisions and prints the page as a solid block of text. Plus, I miss being able to check the Italian on the facing page. I don't mind the liberties James takes by incorporating information not in Dante's text but usually included in notes, which he doesn't have. But the cost is longer lines and loss of Dante's concision. James's choices are worth taking seriously, but this will be a Dante I refer to, not my choice for continuous reading.
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