The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso (Everyman's Library)

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Even though you could entomb yourself, like the Epicureans in the sixth circle, with the huge number of available translations, you should still have a look at this one.


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.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)


About Dante Alighieri

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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.
Published August 1, 1995 by Everyman's Library. 798 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Travel, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Divine Comedy
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Reviewed by Nicholas Lezard on Mar 24 2006

Even though you could entomb yourself, like the Epicureans in the sixth circle, with the huge number of available translations, you should still have a look at this one.

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Vulpus Libris

on Jun 22 2012

Don’t worry – I shall not be back with weekly updates. I hope I have said enough to make some readers believe that, with the help every step of the way of another consummate writer, the massive challenge of reading Dante’s Divine Comedy can be a fascinating and enligtening experience.

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Reviewed by Melissa on Nov 19 2010

These diagrams are well laid out and help the reader follow Dante on his journey. They are also a valuable tool for making a complex poem more accessible to readers.

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Above average
Reviewed by Donna Bird on Mar 01 2014

I mentioned that the Divine Comedy is an epic poem. Don't worry, you won't find rhyming couplets here -- it's not that kind of poem! The narrative in this version features short lines of text in blank verse-that iambic pentameter rhythm that I remember so well from other epic poems I've read.

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Kristie Lui 5 Sep 2013

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