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The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory Paperback – February 5, 1985
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“Exactly what we have waited for these years, a Dante with clarity, eloquence, terror, and profoundly moving depths.” –Robert Fagles, Princeton University
“A marvel of fidelity to the original, of sobriety, and truly, of inspired poetry.” –Henri Peyre, Yale University
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Dante learns more about the fates of famous historical figures and of Italians who died in the 1200s (the past century when the poem was written). He also learns some theology on the way and hears many prophecies. At the top of the mountain is the Garden of Eden where he finally meets Beatrice, the love of his life, who will lead him through Heaven.
Like the Inferno, the volume packs in a lot vivid descriptions of the place. The sinners are inspired by examples of the virtues they have failed at (e.g. the prideful see the Virgin Mary humbly accepting to be the mother of God at the Annunciation) and of their particular vices (e.g. the covetous or avaricious see King Midas's greed for gold). The blending of Christian and pagan examples gives a richness to the text and shows how we humans have been falling into these same sins for thousands of years. When Dante gets to Eden, the imagery is allegorical and prophetic.
Musa's notes are very helpful throughout, filling in many gaps in my knowledge and understanding of the text. The text itself is very readable. The blank verse keeps the poetic form of the poem without the translator having to force rhymes or use archaic phrasing and word order to keep the rhythm. This edition is very reader-friendly.
I can't wait for the big finale!
A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast has a commentary on this, as well as their previous Inferno discussion.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mark Musa does a great job in presenting and translating Dante's Comedy for folks. I have read several translations over the years and like him a lot. Read morePublished 1 month ago by T Lee
I like Musa's translation better than Mandelbaum's and Ciardi's.Published 2 months ago by Allen Mahan
I bought these 3 volumes for a course, which was then postponed indefinitely. But since I'd already started reading, I kept at it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sylvia M. Ruggeri
Very good, classic lit piece. Not my usual reading venu but is required for a very interesting class at church.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
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. Read morePublished on April 7, 2014 by Congenital Nomad
Obviously not an easy read at first, but once you get accustomed to Dante's writings, you will LOVE LOVE LOVE this series!Published on November 29, 2013 by Liza Bruce
I received this product in a timely manner although i think the quality is great I am just leaving it on the coffee table for guestPublished on October 2, 2013 by John Lehmann