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The Divine Comedy & Paradise: Paradise v. 3 (Classics) Paperback – 29 Apr 2004

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The Divine Comedy & Paradise: Paradise v. 3 (Classics) + The Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Hell: Hell v. 1 (Classics) + The Divine Comedy: Inferno: Inferno v. 1 (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Impression edition (29 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140441050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140441055
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The English Dante of choice." -Hugh Kenner "Exactly what we have waited for these years, a Dante with clarity, eloquence, terror, and profoundly moving depths." -Robert Fagles, Princeton University "A marvel of fidelity to the original, of sobriety, and truly, of inspired poetry." -Henri Peyre, Yale University

About the Author

Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 and belonged to a noble but impoverished family. He was married when he was around twenty to Gemma Donati and had four children. He met Beatrice, who was to be his muse, in 1274, and when she died in 1290 he sought distraction in philosophy and theology, and wrote La Vita Nuova. He worked on the Divine Comedy from 1308 until near the time of his death in Ravenna in 1321.

Dorothy L. Sayers wrote novels, poetry, and translated Dante for the Penguin Classics. She died in 1957.

Barbara Reynolds was Lecturer in Italian at Cambridge University and subsequently Reader in Italian Studies at Nottingham, and Honorary Reader at Warwick. She has written books, both on Italian authors and on Dorothy L. Sayers.

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First Sentence
THE STORY. Dante, who is still in the Garden of Eden, has just drunk from the river of Good Remembrance (Purg. xxxiii. 126-45). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Knott on 8 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For anyone who hasn't read the 3 volumes of the Divine Comedy by Dante all I can say is try and enjoy! The notes enable the modern reader to understand some of the more obscure allusions but it is the enormous sweep of the story which carries the reader along. Dante is escorted through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise in a nonstop journey to help him save his soul from damnation. The insights into the human mind and condition are just as valid for today as they were in the early 14th century! For instance, Dante has set a place in Hell for the flatterers and corrupters of language whom he knew well in his day. Today that place is probably full of spin doctors and advertising executives!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By C. Scanlon - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
please read the life and works of Dorothy L. SAyers to appreciate fully the effort she made here, her final writing, posthumously completed (no, not with any seance, which she adequately lambasted in her detective stories).

Her total translation of the Commedia is worth the price of admission (Do not abandon all hope, as she will bring you home to the beatific vision).

There are several translations of varying usefulness and grace, but Dorothy is the rock upon which to stand when comparing the rest.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Great Notes, but Better Translations Available 3 Dec. 2010
By S. Schuler - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dorothy Sayers's translation of Dante is an important addition to the numerous translations of Dante currently available, and worth reading. Sayers manages to do what few English translators can, or even attempt: she renders the text in tirza rima. Tirza rima is notoriously difficult to write in English anyway, but the prospect of writing a translation in the form would make even the best poet tremble. However, Sayers pulls it off, giving readers a taste of Dante's original poetic form. Sayers's accomplishment comes at a price, however. Often she must contort the syntax in order to get the rhymes to fit, making an already-demanding poem even harder to comprehend in places. She also has to fall back on English archaisms and other tricks to make the form work, and some passages read much rougher than others.

I would recommend that a first-time reader of Dante not begin with Sayers's translations. I do not read Italian, so I cannot comment on the extent to which the translation is accurate. But there are several other well-regarded translations in print, such as Ciardi's and Esolen's, both of which are much easier to read, without sacrificing poetic quality. The experienced reader of Dante will want to read Sayers's translation at least once.

For myself, the real value of Sayers's editions is her notes, which are thorough and lucid. Paying special attention to philosophy and theology, Sayers unpacks and explains Dante in a way that few translators (or critics!) have been able to do. Even when her verse is stilted or cramped, her notes are enlightening. That is why Sayers's translation belongs on the bookshelf of the serious Dante reader, alongside some more readable translations.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Kindle version is inferior. 23 Nov. 2011
By N. Vonnahme - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dante deserves 5 stars and the translators 4, but the current Kindle edition deserves 1. It seems to have been sloppily OCRed with little editorial attention. Problems include,

1. Ugly formatting (compared to the paper book). The verse numbers intrude into the text, the useful page headings are gone (except where they've been accidentally and intrusively included), and the indentation is inconsistent. On most devices it is hard to get lines to not wrap, but in the paper book this is handled well.

2. Typos/errors. Especially in the italicized comments at the beginning of each chapter. Clumsy, no attention to detail.

3. No table of contents and no good way to navigate between text, notes, and glossary. There should be *more* hyperlinking opportunities in the electronic text. But instead it's clumsier to use than the actual book, which responds well to thumb and finger. Also on the Kindle Touch anyway it's impossible to look up a phrase, for example to google "mosaic of Justinian at San Vitale" which was mentioned in the notes.

I can't believe I paid $9.59 for such a barbarically edited book. Where are your standards, Penguin? It's distracting and disappointing.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Hame one cannot give 6 stars... 12 April 2004
By Ian Dall - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is not the most up - to - date translation: however, it is one of the more worthy bits of the history that has grown up around the Comedy, and its perspective is still of practical use. (She actually tries to avoid Freud, for example). Her misunderstandings are ones we can overlook, and she could even help to correct any new ones (not that I do not have full faith in our, er, "currentness", of course!) that might arise.
As for the work of the Master himself, what can one say? Its the best book in world history (have not read any better: and I am, in all humillity, considered something of a reader).
Simply put, its Heaven.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Goodbye Virgil Hello Beatrice 6 July 2013
By propertius - Published on
Format: Paperback
In this final translation of the Comedia begun by Dorothy Sayers and completed by Barbara Reynolds we find that Dante has lead us to his ultimate destination. This section is perhaps the most intellectual and theological section of all, which is why T.S.Eliot favored this most of all. Even if is too much to absorb, except in small doses, the honey added the notes and the introduction, makes it exquisitely enjoyable.

So we find out that Dante's real destination was not Beatrice but God. Heavy going for the modern reader but a reason to begin to read this work again in a more modern translation. Notice that I said more modern and not better. If this were not the case why should be concerned with Keats' reaction to Chapman's Homer.

The reader is welled advised to pursue other translations and compare them to this. Happy to know that Barbara Reynolds is among those to whom we may turn.
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