on 11 July 1998
Dante's Divina Comedia marks one of the highest points in literature. I have spent many of my happiest hours with it and shall do so again. This marks a very good translation of the masterpiece and opens itself easily to the reader who is willing to just sit down and "be" with the work.
While full appreciation takes effort, just being in the presence of such beauty is itself a form of grace. By the time one gets to "the love that moves the sun and the other stars," one is oneself totally moved.
on 28 November 2001
As a translation of the third part of Dante's Divine Comedy, this is very well done. The book cover has a nice simple design (marred only by Bantam's wrap-around imprint at the top, and even that doesn't look out of place at a distance).
The text itself is presumably well-translated; Allen Mandelbaum has a very good reputation. Not being able to read Italian myself, I can't confirm this, but the resulting English text is certainly very compelling and poetic. If you can read Italian, you will be able to confirm the translation as the English version is presented side-by-side with the original text. A nice feature that doesn't impede reading it in English at all.
The book also contains a set of comprehensive notes on Dante's references to then-topical events, as well as an informative introduction. Both are reasonably well-done, though I'd recommend leaving the introduction until after you've read the book itself, as it does spoil some of the surprises.
As to the work itself, well, it's part of Dante's Divine Comedy and it's deservedly a classic. Elegantly written and affecting; some of the references may be a little dated but the emotional and spiritual heart of the book is timeless.