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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing translation
Having read many translations of this masterpiece I have often tried to compare them with each other for both beauty and clarity. Often this is not always the case as the 'Victorian' English mindset and language are at variance with the Italian spirit.
Mr James has however done a exquisite rendering of such a task.
If you ever read only one English translation...
Published 18 months ago by D. Hammond

versus
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clive James after Dante
James translation flows well as one would expect from a poet and word smith of his standing. However, I found that he easily loses focus and can drift so far from the original rhythm and meaning that perhaps the book should be described as By Clive James after Dante rather than as a Translation of the Divine Comedy. It will perhaps appeal to first time readers but so do...
Published 14 months ago by Dr. Richard France


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing translation, 28 Oct. 2013
By 
D. Hammond "Dachande" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Hardcover)
Having read many translations of this masterpiece I have often tried to compare them with each other for both beauty and clarity. Often this is not always the case as the 'Victorian' English mindset and language are at variance with the Italian spirit.
Mr James has however done a exquisite rendering of such a task.
If you ever read only one English translation then this is a good place to start
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A smooth and delightful read without notes - it's still Dante, 24 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Hardcover)
It's a most readable translation and it's great to see an edition with no notes. Most reading of Dante requires one page of text to a frightening ten of notes, but Clive James's translation manages to be quite readable without them.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clive James after Dante, 26 Feb. 2014
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Dr. Richard France "Bridgewatcher" (Hampshire and Tuscany) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Hardcover)
James translation flows well as one would expect from a poet and word smith of his standing. However, I found that he easily loses focus and can drift so far from the original rhythm and meaning that perhaps the book should be described as By Clive James after Dante rather than as a Translation of the Divine Comedy. It will perhaps appeal to first time readers but so do several rival versions, for example the classic terza rima of Dorothy Sayers, the superb blank verse translation of Mark Musa and the recent finely balanced version of JG Nichols. Another reviewer said that she found the Victorian translations beyond her. I agree but there are much more enjoyable and approachable recent ones.
James makes a strong case for his quatrains. However, craftsman though he is, he cannot always avoid the restrictions and infelicities of a verse translation. These are always difficult to forge in English and often can strain the meaning. Here the un-rhymed versions definitely score. Strangely, James is strongest in some of the more theological passages early in Paradiso but the great closing canti of Purgatorio fall strangely flat.
Finally, why is he so against notes? Good notes cf those of Mark Musa, are often necessary and often add a great deal to the reading experience. Surely anybody prepared to take the time and effort to read the Comedy will be prepared to go a little further in order to understand Dante and his environment better?
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great translation, 3 Oct. 2013
This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Hardcover)
Brilliant job of verse-translation - fluent, technically adroit, rhythmically varied, linguistically inventive, scholarly, witty, altogether hugely impressive. A really terrified of work.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 5 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Hardcover)
I have loved the poem for a long time and I am always impressed by Clive James' use of language, so this was a 'no brainer' for me and it has lived up to my expectations. It is epic in all senses so I dip into sections rather than read extensively and the translation is always fascinating and, often, has the 'wow' factor too. Highly recommended for the 'serious' reader of poetry.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Often Right, Often Concise, 27 April 2014
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Hardcover)
Clive James is right about the disparity between the English and Italian languages - the equivalent word, calzolaio, in English, cobblers, is about five vowels short.

James translates The Inferno with ease and assurance, and brings the babbling quality of Italian to English literature.

James's mission to demystify one of the great works of literature may not endear him to high circles of scholarship; but it brings Italian literature to the masses which is surely a good thing.

The text itself is good value for money - Dante has been a favourite of writers for years and it's easy to see why with lines like: "and the insane applauds himself." Hell is the most fun bit and there is great philosophy here. A great primer for the real thing - if you're lucky enough to speak Italian!!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good find, 13 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Hardcover)
Really pleased with this one. Well written and explained. Not the sort of book you'd read in one session but worth having
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5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommended, 22 April 2015
By 
Mike Allen (Derbyshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Kindle Edition)
The most readable translation I have come across
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired translation., 28 Jun. 2014
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Iain Scott (Houston, Renfrewshire, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Hardcover)
Conveying poetry in translation is notoriously difficult but Clive James brings his strengths and experience as a poet to convey the original in a way that feels like poetry. I don't know Italian, but James' version gives me confidence that it is as authentic as can be expected.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable, 11 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Hardcover)
This is an assessable translation and it you takes on a journey from Hell to Heaven with first class travelling narrators thank you Clive James for making this possible as Victorian translations are beyond me !
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The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (Hardcover - 18 July 2013)
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