- Paperback: 928 pages
- Publisher: Berkley; The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso edition (May 27, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451208633
- ISBN-13: 978-0451208637
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (739 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso) Paperback – May 27, 2003
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“Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them—there is no third.”—T.S. Eliot
“Ciardi has given us...a credible, passionate persona of the poet, stripped of the customary gauds of rhetoric and false decoration, strong and noble in utterance.”—Dudley Fitts
“A sensitive and perceptive translation…a spectacular achievement.”—Archibald MacLeish
“I think [Ciardi’s] version of Dante will be in many respects the best we have seen.”—John Crowe Ransom
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian
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Top Customer Reviews
The Comedy is a masterpiece of world literature, a work that should be read by all, but one that I had put off for quite some time due to the intimidating nature of its length and subject matter--worried, perhaps, that the famous "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" warning applied as much to the general reader of Dante as to the souls of the damned. Yet, thanks to Musa's help, I found the Comedy to be a pleasantly entertaining and enlightening work, and perhaps even more surprisingly, an exciting "page turner" as the classics go.
Well written and beautifully illustrated. I read this book as a requirement back when I was in high school (and hated it); however, as an adult, I loved it. Would highly recommend!
Every reader draws his own conclusions and opinions and they are probably all correct. In the context of John Ciardi's translation, it cannot be overstated how meticulous this translation actually is. The Divine Comedy is the `first of its kind' exposition of the Tuscan dialect that much later emerges as the consolidated `Italian' language. Dante's syntax, meanings and nearly everything linguistic are 21st century translationally imputed into this `first of its kind'. The debates for perfection can never be ended.
So, opinions? ... here's mine ...
The `Divine Comedy' is a relentless satirical, pseudo-theological exposition of super-epic length. Context and setting are everything. The 14th Century was perhaps the single most catastrophic century for historical Western humankind and so Dante relates his world as an observer to the human cataclysm erupting all around him day after stinking day. A first-time read of Dante ... without some historical perspective on time and place, will leave the reader confused and inevitably horribly bored. That Dante skewers his living `enemies' in some level of damnation's treadmill is the `commedia'. I might suggest this historical pre-read A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
Some imagine there's theology here. Some even imagine Christianity might be defined here. That notion is unfortunately absurd and very unfortunately plays into some readers mind as `Christian' to confuse scriptural vs the imaginings of Dante's fantasy. Is Christianity defined by Tom Hanks in the DaVinci Code? Of course not. Dante's epic here is nightmare scary stuff intended to keep people awake at night ... an afterlife of eternally walking the treadmill to 'paradiso' is grim indeed. A chance error of Dante's perception of sin here or there and the treadmill of damnation-to-paradise is right there to snatch you. It's fun but it's not Christianity.
John Ciardi's annotation makes this translation entertaining. You will wear out Wikipedia searching for the story of the devilishly tormented and transitionally divine characters. These are generally obscure folks of no otherwise historical note then to be mentioned by Dante. Hypocrisy reigns supreme and the fundamental answers to the great 'unknowns' of the faith are dreamed up by Dante Alighieri and rendered here by Ciardi.
Enjoy the show!