The Divine Comedy

Front Cover
Knopf, 1995 - Fiction - 798 pages
785 Reviews

The Divine Comedy, translated by Allen Mandelbaum, begins in a shadowed forest on Good Friday in the year 1300. It proceeds on a journey that, in its intense recreation of the depths and the heights of human experience, has become the key with which Western civilization has sought to unlock the mystery of its own identity.

Mandelbaum's astonishingly Dantean translation, which captures so much of the life of the original, renders whole for us the masterpiece of that genius whom our greatest poets have recognized as a central model for all poets.

This Everyman's edition-containing in one volume all three cantos, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso-includes an introduction by Nobel Prize--winning poet Eugenio Montale, a chronology, notes, and a bibliography. Also included are forty-two drawings selected from Botticelli's marvelous late-fifteenth-century series of illustrations.

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The imagery is amazing and the plot is so original. - Goodreads
College lit. Hard to read. - Goodreads
Amazing depiction of the afterlife.... - Goodreads
SUPER, SUPER hard to read... - Goodreads
Greatest piece of writing after the Bible. - Goodreads
great mental visuals. - Goodreads
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Dante is lost in the forest of indecision, when his angel, Beatrice, summons the Greek poet Virgil to guide him through Hell and Purgatory to Heaven. Beatrice then guides Dante to the presence of God.
Wonderfully written poem that set the stage for many future poems/novellas/novels. Many of his ideas have found their way into pop-culture ("Abandon hope, all ye who enter here"). Incredibly difficult rhyming sequence was used. 100 total cantos. Each book ended with "the stars".
 

Review: The Divine Comedy (The Divine Comedy #1-3)

User Review  - Lisa - Goodreads

I can't fairly rate this book because I despite reading it through, I didn't absorb much of it- Definitely needed an edition with footnotes and explanations as I went along.... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
11
Notes to Introduction 3 3
35
The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri
55
Copyright

5 other sections not shown

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About the author (1995)

Born Dante Alighieri in the spring of 1265 in Florence, Italy, he was known familiarly as Dante. His family was noble, but not wealthy, and Dante received the education accorded to gentlemen, studying poetry, philosophy, and theology. His first major work was Il Vita Nuova, The New Life. This brief collection of 31 poems, held together by a narrative sequence, celebrates the virtue and honor of Beatrice, Dante's ideal of beauty and purity. Beatrice was modeled after Bice di Folco Portinari, a beautiful woman Dante had met when he was nine years old and had worshipped from afar in spite of his own arranged marriage to Gemma Donati. Il Vita Nuova has a secure place in literary history: its vernacular language and mix of poetry with prose were new; and it serves as an introduction to Dante's masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, in which Beatrice figures prominently. The Divine Comedy is Dante's vision of the afterlife, broken into a trilogy of the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. Dante is given a guided tour of hell and purgatory by Virgil, the pagan Roman poet whom Dante greatly admired and imitated, and of heaven by Beatrice. The Inferno shows the souls who have been condemned to eternal torment, and included here are not only mythical and historical evil-doers, but Dante's enemies. The Purgatory reveals how souls who are not irreversibly sinful learn to be good through a spiritual purification. And The Paradise depicts further development of the just as they approach God. The Divine Comedy has been influential from Dante's day into modern times. The poem has endured not just because of its beauty and significance, but also because of its richness and piety as well as its occasionally humorous and vulgar treatment of the afterlife. In addition to his writing, Dante was active in politics. In 1302, after two years as a priore, or governor of Florence, he was exiled because of his support for the white guelfi, a moderate political party of which he was a member. After extensive travels, he stayed in Ravenna in 1319, completing The Divine Comedy there, until his death in 1321.

Anthony Oldcorn, Professor and Chair of Italian Studies at Brown University, and Charles Ross, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Purdue University, have joined with National Book Award winner Allen Mandelbaum, who is W.R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Humanities at Wake Forest University and Professor of the History of Literary Criticism at the University of Turin, as General Editors of the California Lectura Dantis.

Peter Armour and Andrew Shachat both live and work in California.

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