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Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity Hardcover – 29 Apr 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Liveright (29 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871407426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871407429
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 0.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

For all of us who have put off a trip into Dante s great poem for fear of getting lost there for good, Prue Shaw's intricate, humane, lucid and precise guide into Dante's world and time at last provides the longed-for map. One might even say thatDante's readers now have a Virgil of their own. ------Adam Gopnik



Prue Shaw s Reading Dante is a joy. It will remain on our shelves beside the works of those Dante scholars, such as Kenelm Foster, Etienne Gilson, Giovanni Papini and Bruno Nardi, who make you see the world, as well as seeing Dante, anew. --The Spectator

Shaw has transformed long hours of painstaking research into something accessible and alluring [...]. Somehow, she seems to remove the burdens and the obstacles between us and the text, leaving only the pleasures and the delights.

--The Tablet

Altogether this is as interesting an introduction to Dante as one could hope to find in any language, and a clever and distinctive model for introductions to other authors as well. --Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Prue Shaw is an emerita reader in Italian studies at University College London and the editor of the edizione nazionale of Dante's Monarchia and of a digital edition of the Commedia.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk on 28 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For me, one who thought himself to be well-acquainted with the "Commedia", well - I felt like some rookie detective at the scene of a crime stumbling over the body having never seen it; Prue Shaw is the seasoned expert shining her light here, then there, pointing out all the little things I'd missed or could never have noticed. This wonderful book inspires one to read again. It is written, on the whole, in a very clear manner and, I believe, is accessible to anyone who is even vaguely interested in Dante.

Prue Shaw tackles the "Commedia" through topics ("Friendship", "Power", "Life", "Love" etc) that transcend all three books, thus highlighting links between them or the way that themes are developed, sometimes running parallel to each other (certain themes recurring at the same point in each book) or flowing through from one to the other. In the process, she unfolds the social, cultural and historical background to Dante's vision.

It is really when we get to her final topics of "Numbers" and "Words" that I experienced what I can only call an epiphany because Prue Shaw revealed the true magic of Dante's work which can only be appreciated by reading the "Commedia" in its original language. Her absolutely fascinating chapter, "Numbers", starts off quite simply by highlighting the importance of the number three - centred, of course, on the Trinity - but goes on to reveal the numerical patterns that underpin the work. The whole of the "Commedia" is divided into cantos; there are thirty-three cantos in each of the three books, plus a preface to "Inferno" (which creates a total of, what was seen as the perfect number, one hundred).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Prestwich on 17 Nov 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity compulsively readable both because of the directness, sensitivity and eloquence with which Shaw responded to the poetry and fiction of the Commedia itself and because of the vividness with which she brought the historical background alive. I'll certainly read it again, and more than once, both for the sheer pleasure of reading it and because it's so rich in information and ideas. Of the different books on the Commedia that I've enjoyed it's certainly the one I've enjoyed the most. It's probably the one that's taught me the most too.

In fact I thought it hit the spot on every level. It's crammed with knowledge and insight that are informative and stimulating even for people who know Dante much better than I do. At the same time, Prue Shaw has the great gift of being able to see things from the point of view of people who aren't Dante scholars and speak to them in a way that's neither patronising nor intimidating. Above all, this is a matter of clarity of mind, of knowing exactly what she needs to tell her readers so that they can follow her arguments and explanations clearly and emerge with solid knowledge and insight. I'd have loved to have her as a teacher.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 29 Jun 2014
Format: Hardcover
Great book, a wonderful introduction. Cannot fault this at all.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been reading and re-reading Dante all my adult life and have never read anything better, clearer or more inspiring about him. Prue Shaw has clearly learned something from her many years of reading Dante. She chooses the right word; she knows how to structure her sentences and to organize her thoughts. There were many paragraphs I found myself wanting to read aloud to my wife as I read this on holiday. A book full of insights.
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By gd on 28 Dec 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A clearly written and engaging book that provides a valuable insight into many aspects of Dante's work. Brilliant overview. Well worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Whatley on 15 Aug 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
interesting and readable
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