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Dante's "Divine Comedy" Hardcover – 7 Nov 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 3 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Slp edition (7 Nov. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811856577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811856577
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 8.3 x 29.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,971,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Birk and Sanders's three-book masterwork is now available for the first time in a substantial and sumptuous slipcased set. The pair's innovative and authentic adaptation of Dante's epic, coupled with Birk's striking play on Gustave Dore's classic illustrations, make this a Divine Comedy for the 21st century. Acclaimed by both the literary and art worlds; rife with contemporary turns of phrase and slang (just as the original poem was written in the vernacular of its day) and pointed visions of the afterlife as contemporary cities; and rich with bold allusion, cultural critique, and wit-this is the must have collection of modern classics in their own right.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Hatt on 9 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a modern adaptation of Dante Aligheri's (1265-1321) masterpiece 'The Divine Comedy'. What this book does, it takes the universe written by Dante and brilliantly places it into a modern setting.

The amount of work that must have gone into making this adaptation must have been staggering. You can see where two authors worked together.

Sandow Birk's illustrations are spectacular! Using a satire approach, Marcus re-portrays the scenes created from the famed illustrator Gustave Doré (1832-1883) and blends them into our own reality. Where does he set hell, do you ask??????? Why L.A. of course!!! The original illustrations of Dante portray him as a man with a cloak wearing a reef over his ears and head, but in Sandows's illustrations he's now wearing a hoodie and a pair of jeans! I have to admit you does help if you know the original drawings of Gustave Doré to understand the satirical nature of he's jokes.

Marcus Sanders who re-wrote The Divine Comedy must have spent a long time trying to adapt it from the original text. Anyone that has read The Divine Comedy can testify to that. Marcus does the job brilliantly! He makes Dante very enjoyable to read, and had me laughing from the first line!

Anyone that is fan or has liked reading The Divine Comedy must read this, anyone who is scared to read the original; this will boost your confidence in yourself to read it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Excellent modern day translation of a great literary classic. 18 Jan. 2007
By Edward A. Paull - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I read the originals a long time ago and although I liked them, it was a very tough read. With this version, the modernistic settings, the captivating artwork, and the use of modern English language all help to make this a much more enjoyable story without losing any of the meaning from the original.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Modern Take on Italian Classic 9 Dec. 2009
By Ryan J. Ruckley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Initially, when I sought out Dante I wanted to read the original works suitably translated. Instead I found this box set which was very well presented. It wasn't until I received it that I realized that the text had been modernized, a process which I usually avoid.

Yet, upon completing Inferno, I found that a lot of the modernization made the read a lot more approachable when discussing such a heavy topic. Dante takes the reader on a journey through the depths of Hell in Inferno and finds familiar people whom he knew from 12th century Florence. Not knowing who these people were could make a better understanding of Dante's intent difficult. Instead, the authors of this edition substitute some of these Italian personalities and vulgarities, that perhaps not many know, with modern ones that are well known. By bringing the work out of the dark ages, I could understand better what Dante was getting at.

That being said, the authors themselves state that they didn't intend this book to be someones sole window into Dante and that people should really read a faithful translation as well as their modernized version. I believe this is the best course of action and one I intend to follow.

The presentation of the whole set is superb with color prints of all illustrations included separately should you wish to frame them. Some of the drawings are amazing and tie in well with the modernized text.

I would thoroughly recommend this set as a fresh look at the work of Dante which for its time was groundbreaking.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Good Set 10 Jan. 2010
By Lang M. Ho - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just received the set today and will update the review after I have read the books, but I feel the need to point out that amazon.com lists the set as a hardcover set. This is not accurate. The box that the books are in is very sturdy, but the books have non-rigid covers. It's a quality higher than paperback, but not what you would expect with amazon saying that it's a hardcover.

UPDATE: I have finished Inferno and have started on Purgatorio. I feel that commenting on the manner of translation and interpretation is more important for this set than the story itself since you can find summaries of the story all over and the reputation of the story can speak for it's quality.

With that said, this translation is very enjoyable. I had decided to read this story on my own (not within a class or a book club) and trying to trudge through the Longfellow version was difficult and ultimately felt like a waste of time. I think it was so difficult because the wording was not fluent at all. I picked up this version and noticed serveral things intrinsic to the storyline that I had not picked up before. It reads quite easily due to the modernized language. The main liberties taken by the authors are the sometimes awkward use of common English, the presence of things not available in the 14th century that are present in the illustrations (cars, helicopters, fire hydrants, etc.) and the insertion of figures not born before the writting of the Divine Comedy--some of which are still alive today. For the most part I felt these taken liberties were easy to spot making it easier to appreciate what value the authors thought it had to offer the story. All the same meanings of the Divine Comedy are there.

PROS:
Much, much easier to read with modernized language that isn't traslated word for word.
Accompanied by drawings that mock those by Dore. Very interesting and well done.
Use of characters from more recent history that help illustrate the deed being recognized.
Original content and meaning is still present.

CONS:
Authors' liberties are sometimes awkward and can usually be spotted quite easily.
Not a hardcover set as listed which is certainly what I had been hoping for with a set originally marked at $100.

Closing Comments:
I would strongly recommend this version to anyone trying to take on the Divine Comedy alone. I would also recommend this set to anyone who really enjoyed the Divine Comedy and are looking for another take on the storyline. In any case, I think the Divine Comedy is one that has also become necessary for cultural literacy these days and this set is a very easy and rather quick read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Dante collection 13 Feb. 2009
By mommygigi64 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This collection is amazing. I also purchased the book of illustrations and that does not disappoint either. I bought both for my son, an artist and writer, and it was the ideal gift for his collection.
Great addition to my Dante Collection 20 April 2015
By Nicholas Watkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dante has always been my favorite author and I have all of his books including "The Banquet". I have two versions of "The Divine Comedy" and I have read this version in High School. It made it to where I could casually read Dante's best work. This is definitely a great addition to my collection of Dante's works.
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