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The Divine Comedy (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 18 Jun 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (18 Jun. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192835025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192835024
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 4.4 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 656,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

`The pleasingly plain, readable English well reflects Dante's original eloquence.'The Times

What is amazing about Dante's language is the fluency, the plainness, the simplicity - the sheer approachability - of his words. The sheer formal mastery of the man is quite amazing. (Michael Glover, New Statesman & Society) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Charles H. Sisson is a well-known poet and translator, and editor of Poetry Nation Review. David Higgins is Head of Italian Studies at the University of Bristol, and is the author of Dante and the Bible (1992). --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By L. Reid on 6 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
This was a brilliant edition of the masterpiece and before buying it I was apprehensive that I wouldn't understand half of it but the translation is simple and there is a wealth of notes at the back for further understanding. Would recommend this to anyone interested in reading The Divine Comedy.
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132 of 138 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 May 2001
Format: Paperback
This has to be rated as one of the best and most approachable translations of the Divine Comedy available today. Mr Sisson has retained the true lyricism of Dante's original Italian verse as well as the sense of 'terza rima' so important in this work. I highly recommend this edition to students and to those first time explorers of Dante and his great poem. The notes are extensive and detailed, a great aid to the uninitiated. In three years of University study this edition has never let me down, It is always at my side.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By G on 23 April 2006
Format: Paperback
After seeing movies and TV shows with references to The Divine Comedy, I thought it about time to see what all the fuss was about.

There are times when the pace of the poem slows. However this never distracts from the narrative epic adventure from hell to heaven via purgatory. It has stunning descriptive visuals and excellent social comment of the time.

This is a brilliant study of human morality and religion. However I would recommend a little study into ancient mythology and the bible to easier understand this book. Also having not studied the social history of the time I did find it best to read a canto at a time and then read the study notes for that canto to aid my understanding.

This is a once in a lifetime experience to be had by all.
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
"Midway life's journey I was made aware/that I had strayed into a dark forest..."

Those eerie words open the first cantica of Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy," the legendary poem that takes its author through the eerie depths of hell, heaven and purgatory. It's a haunting, almost hallucinatory experience, full of the the metaphorical and supernatural horrors of the inferno, and joys of paradise.

The date is Good Friday of the year 1300, and Dante is lost in a creepy dark forest, being assaulted by a trio of beasts who symbolize his own sins. But suddenly he is rescued ("Not man; man I once was") by the legendary poet Virgil, who takes the despondent Dante under his wing -- and down into Hell.

But this isn't a straightforward hell of flames and dancing devils. Instead, it's a multi-tiered carnival of horrors, where different sins are punished with different means. Opportunists are forever stung by insects, the lustful are trapped in a storm, the greedy are forced to battle against each other, and the violent lie in a river of boiling blood, are transformed into thorn bushes, and are trapped on a volcanic desert.

Well, that was fun. But after passing through hell, Dante gets the guided tour of Purgatory, where the souls of the not-that-bad-but-not-pure-either get cleansed. He and Virgil emerge at the base of a vast mountain, and an angel orders him to "wash you those wounds within," then lets them in.

As Virgil and Dante climb the mountain, they observe the seven terraces that sinners stay on, representing the seven deadly sins -- the angry, the proud, the envious, the lazy, the greedy, the lustful and the gluttons. It's a one-way trip, and you don't even get to look back.
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By E. Porter-daniels on 1 July 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is certain that Dante's inferno is one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written, and though purgatory and paradise are not as brilliant, tending to drag in places, they are also well worth reading. This translation is excellent, keeping the rhythm of the orginal, as well as keeping meanings close to their originals. The notes in the back are also excellent, helpful and informative.
Most worthy of 5 stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Margo on 21 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having developed an interest in all things Italian recently I wanted to acquaint myself with this masterpiece of Italian, and indeed world, literature, but as I do not know Italian sufficiently well to read it in the original, I was looking for a scholarly translation which would help me. While I cannot claim to have read the whole of Dante's great work as yet, I can say that this edition is very good value. It is beautifully presented and there is a superb introduction which explains the background and the intricacies of Dante's poetry. I can thoroughly recommend this edition to anyone who, like me, wishes to accompany the great Italian poet on his journey through the Inferno to Purgatory and then to Paradise.
Margo
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
"Midway life's journey I was made aware/that I had strayed into a dark forest..."

Those eerie words open the first cantica of Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy," the legendary poem that takes its author through the eerie depths of hell, heaven and purgatory. It's a haunting, almost hallucinatory experience, full of the the metaphorical and supernatural horrors of the inferno, and joys of paradise.

The date is Good Friday of the year 1300, and Dante is lost in a creepy dark forest, being assaulted by a trio of beasts who symbolize his own sins. But suddenly he is rescued ("Not man; man I once was") by the legendary poet Virgil, who takes the despondent Dante under his wing -- and down into Hell.

But this isn't a straightforward hell of flames and dancing devils. Instead, it's a multi-tiered carnival of horrors, where different sins are punished with different means. Opportunists are forever stung by insects, the lustful are trapped in a storm, the greedy are forced to battle against each other, and the violent lie in a river of boiling blood, are transformed into thorn bushes, and are trapped on a volcanic desert.

Well, that was fun. But after passing through hell, Dante gets the guided tour of Purgatory, where the souls of the not-that-bad-but-not-pure-either get cleansed. He and Virgil emerge at the base of a vast mountain, and an angel orders him to "wash you those wounds within," then lets them in.

As Virgil and Dante climb the mountain, they observe the seven terraces that sinners stay on, representing the seven deadly sins -- the angry, the proud, the envious, the lazy, the greedy, the lustful and the gluttons. It's a one-way trip, and you don't even get to look back.
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