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The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso (Penguin Classics)

The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso (Penguin Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Dante Alighieri , Robin Kirkpatrick
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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The perfect balance of tightness and colloquialism . . . Likely to be the best modern version of Dante (Bernard O'Donoghue)

Kirkpatrick brings a more nuanced sense of the Italian and a more mediated appreciation of the poem's construction than nearly all of his competitors (The Times)

We gain much from Kirkpatrick's fidelity to syntax and nuance... His introduction...tells you, very readable indeed, pretty much all you need for a heightened appreciation of the work (Guardian)

Product Description

Robin Kirkpatrick's masterful verse translation of The Divine Comedy, tracing Dante's journey from Hell to Purgatory and finally Paradise, is published here for the first time in a single volume. The volume includes a new introduction, notes, maps and diagrams, and is the ideal edition for students as well as the general reader who is coming to the great masterpiece of Italian literature for the first time.

The Divine Comedydescribes Dante's descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide; his ascent of Mount Purgatory and encounter with his dead love, Beatrice; and finally, his arrival in Heaven. Examining questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, the poem is a brilliantly nuanced and moving allegory of human redemption.

'The perfect balance of tightness and colloquialism... likely to be the best modern version of Dante' - Bernard O'Donoghue

'The most moving lines literature has achieved' - Jorge Luis Borges

'This version is the first to bring together poetry and scholarship in the very body of the translation - a deeply-informed version of Dante that is also a pleasure to read' - Professor David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania

Individual editions of Robin Kirkpatrick's translation - Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso - are also available in Penguin Classics, and include Dante's Italian printed alongside the English text.

Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 and belonged to a noble but impoverished family. His life was divided by political duties and poetry, the most of famous of which was inspired by his meeting with Bice Portinari, whom he called Beatrice, including La Vita Nuova and The Divine Comedy. He died in Ravenna in 1321.

Robin Kirkpatrick is a poet and widely-published Dante scholar. He has taught courses on Dante's Divine Comedy in Hong Kong, Dublin, and Cambridge where is Fellow of Robinson College and Professor of Italian and English Literatures.

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine translation 13 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have made one previous attempt to read the Divine Comedy in English, using Longfellow's translation of 1867. This foundered somewhere in the middle of Purgatorio (i.e. the second of the three sections), largely as a result of trying to read it in too-large chunks with too-long gaps in between (and consequently losing the plot).

My current read-through, using this Penguin Classics edition translated by Robin Kirkpatrick (c. 2007), has been more successful and I am now nearing the end of Paradiso (the final section). This is partly due to my newer strategy of reading (aloud) one canto every day, but this wouldn't work if the translation didn't flow well. Fortunately it does.

Kirkpatrick's translation is in iambic pentameter blank verse, which works much more naturally in English than trying to force the original Italian poem's terza rima to work in translation. He uses a variety of registers, from exalted to earthy (which probably mirrors the original text, although my grasp of Italian isn't good enough to know for sure - if it was I probably wouldn't bother with a translation anyway). There are fairly frequent quotations in Latin, which are left untranslated in the text with a translation given in the end-notes.

The notes are extensive and give a lot of useful background information about the many classical allusions and references to Dante's contemporaries and the politics and culture in which he was writing, as well as a few nice maps and diagrams. There is also a very comprehensive looking introduction which I haven't read yet (I decided to plunge straight into the text and then go back to the introduction when I've finished).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good translation terrible kindle layout 13 Dec 2013
By Oygen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The transkation is good but the Kindle layout is awful. So overall very diappointed abd shoukd have bought the paperback
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect 24 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A pristine copy of the text which is an excellent volume, because it includes all three parts of The Divine Comedy, rather than specific sections as so frequently available. It also arrived remarkably quick despite it being free super saver delivery of abut five days. It actually arrived within two days!
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