- File Size: 3406 KB
- Print Length: 480 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1420951661
- Publisher: Digireads.com Publishing (November 17, 2015)
- Publication Date: November 17, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0184VBHS0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,709 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$13.99|
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The Divine Comedy (Translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with an Introduction by Henry Francis Cary) Kindle Edition
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Unfortunately, Longfellow seemed to stick a little too close to the Latin roots of the original Italian. Many English words seemed to represent Latinized English rather than modern Anglo English. Dante wrote in the vernacular, not in Latin, the language of scholars. The result? This translation seems to consistently choose words that confuse the reader more than convey to her/him the spirit of Dante’s language. The artfulness of Dante’s original is maintained, especially in consistent alliterations. However, entirely gone is Dante’s appeal to the people.
The vivid, memorable scenes of the Inferno are lost in Longfellow’s poetic sophistication. Having read widely in history, I’m quite used to archaic writing. This work, however, takes archaisms to a new standard. Entire sentences are rendered in a Victorian manner that is based on classical languages instead of common English. The result deludes rather than enlightens. Again, this was not Dante’s intent.
Yes, Longfellow was a professor of Italian at Harvard. Yes, he is an acclaimed poet, one of the best that America has ever produced. This work does not bring the best outcome from his skill. He appeals to a highbrow readership whose style was more in vogue during his century. It’s out of touch with modern sentiment, and it’s out of touch with Dante’s appeal to the masses. Dante may guide us from Hades through purgatory and into paradise; unfortunately, Longfellow’s ethereal language does not convey the beauty of the original, and as such he leaves us in the hell of ignorance instead of the heavenly bliss of true knowledge.
If you want to experience Dante’s beautiful imagery, try another translation. There exist plenty that do the trick. Longfellow’s translation requires a nearby dictionary and plenty of stamina.
I got to the second part but I have to stop I really am just not enjoying this anymore. Some parts are fascinating and compel you to read more others are difficult to read similar to Shakespeare trying to read between the lines and figure out what they are actually saying. I'm not going to give it any less than three stars because it would serve as a disservice to the book if you can read it good for you but I just can't go forward.