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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
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.
Published on 6 Jun 2009 by L. Reid

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars a bit disappointed.
I was quite disappointed by the translation. I bought this for a friend who was interested in reading it, because it's one of my favorite poems. The translations greatly simplifies the poetry of Dante, undermining the beauty of this work.
Published 3 months ago by franilmini


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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 6 Jun 2009
By 
L. Reid (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Oxford World's Classics) (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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126 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sensitive approach to Dante, 30 May 2001
By A Customer
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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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the uninitiated, probably the definitive edition to read., 23 April 2006
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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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Divine, 16 Jan 2009
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Oxford World's Classics) (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.

The road up the mountain leads to the gates of Heaven, and soon Dante has been purified to the point where he's allowed to go inside. Virgil doesn't get to enter Heaven, so he passes Dante on to the beautiful Beatrice, the woman he loved in his younger years.

She whisks him up to the spheres of those who are now pure of soul -- the wise, the loving, the people who fought for their religion, the just, the contemplative, the saints, and finally even the angels. And after passing through heaven's nine spheres, he passes out of the physical realm and human understanding -- and sees God, the incomprehensible, represented by three circles inside each other, but all the same size.

Needless to say, it's a pretty wild trip.And admittedly "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso" aren't quite on the writing level of "Inferno," which has the most visceral, skin-crawling imagery and lines ("Fixed in the slime, groan they, 'We were sullen and wroth...'"), and a wicked sense of irony. It makes the angels and saints seem a bit tame.

But there's plenty of power in the second two books, particularly when Dante tries to comprehend God, and almost blows out his brain in the process -- "my desire and my will were turned like a wheel, all at one speed by the Love that turns the sun and all the other stars." It's haunting, and sticks with you long after the story has ended.

More impressive still is his ability to weave the poetry out of symbolism and allegory, without it ever seeming preachy or annoying. Even at the start, Dante sees lion, a leopard and a wolf, which symbolize different sins, and a dark forest that indicates suicidal thoughts. Not to mention Purgatory as a mountain that must be climbed, or Hell as a Hadesian underworld.

Dante's vivid writing and wildly imaginative journey makes the "Divine Comedy" a timeless, spellbinding read, and hauntingly powerful from inferno to paradiso.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing translation of an astonishing poem, 1 July 2003
By 
E. Porter-daniels "Irenicas" (Reading, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly divine, 26 Oct 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
"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.

The road up the mountain leads to the gates of Heaven, and soon Dante has been purified to the point where he's allowed to go inside. Virgil doesn't get to enter Heaven, so he passes Dante on to the beautiful Beatrice, the woman he loved in his younger years.

She whisks him up to the spheres of those who are now pure of soul -- the wise, the loving, the people who fought for their religion, the just, the contemplative, the saints, and finally even the angels. And after passing through heaven's nine spheres, he passes out of the physical realm and human understanding -- and sees God, the incomprehensible, represented by three circles inside each other, but all the same size.

Needless to say, it's a pretty wild trip.And admittedly "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso" aren't quite on the writing level of "Inferno," which has the most visceral, skin-crawling imagery and lines ("Fixed in the slime, groan they, 'We were sullen and wroth...'"), and a wicked sense of irony. It makes the angels and saints seem a bit tame.

But there's plenty of power in the second two books, particularly when Dante tries to comprehend God, and almost blows out his brain in the process -- "my desire and my will were turned like a wheel, all at one speed by the Love that turns the sun and all the other stars." It's haunting, and sticks with you long after the story has ended.

More impressive still is his ability to weave the poetry out of symbolism and allegory, without it ever seeming preachy or annoying. Even at the start, Dante sees lion, a leopard and a wolf, which symbolize different sins, and a dark forest that indicates suicidal thoughts. Not to mention Purgatory as a mountain that must be climbed, or Hell as a Hadesian underworld.

Dante's vivid writing and wildly imaginative journey makes the "Divine Comedy" a timeless, spellbinding read, and hauntingly powerful from inferno to paradiso.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Divine Comedy is divine !!!!, 21 Jan 2011
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
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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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A true piece of literary history, 12 Jan 2006
By 
Chris Chalk "Chris" (Croydon, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I have found this both a difficult to book to review, and to read. In the scope of reviewing I feel thoroughly under qualified to offer my opinion on such a famous and historically significant book and when I was reading it I struggled to keep up with the sheer scale of the ideas that were being put in front of me. As such I can only review this from the point of view of someone who picked it up to attempt to widen his literary experiences.
The story gives us Virgil, who is charged with taking Dante through the 3 stages of the afterlife: Inferno, Purgatory and Paradiso and the weighting of words is roughly a third on each. I can honestly say Inferno is by far the strongest of the three and as another reviewer has mentioned Purgatory and especially Paradiso can feel padded and wordy.
I can honestly say I enjoyed the experience of reading Dante but I would advise that you don't take it on lightly, the translation of this book is incredible readable and kudos to the translator for that. However the subject matter is tough going, worth it but tough.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pristine, 31 May 2014
By 
Emmabemma (Southampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
This came as a pristine copy. I have always meant to read it and have managed a whole first piece. I cannot say it is easy but it is interesting and part of literary history
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3.0 out of 5 stars a bit disappointed., 4 April 2014
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I was quite disappointed by the translation. I bought this for a friend who was interested in reading it, because it's one of my favorite poems. The translations greatly simplifies the poetry of Dante, undermining the beauty of this work.
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The Divine Comedy (Oxford World's Classics)
The Divine Comedy (Oxford World's Classics) by Dante Alighieri (Paperback - 17 April 2008)
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