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The Divine Comedy - Unabridged Audio CD – Audiobook, Box set

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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£115.70
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks; Unabridged edition (Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 962634315X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626343159
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 12.6 x 8.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,150,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It's hard to find a criticism of this "audio-book".
The translation by Benedict Flynn is clear and lucid. He abandons couplets and terza rima for the clarity of blank verse which I think will be especially appreciated by first-comers to the Divine Comedy.
The reading by Heathcote Williams is wonderful.
The background music is sensitively chosen and always appropriate. It adds atmosphere and historical context without taking over.
The CD notes are helpful, with illustrations by Dore which are, to my mind, even better than Botticelli's drawings.
This CD collection is a masterpiece. It shows that Audio-books needn't be an afterthought or supplementary to the original text.
Hearing the Divine Comedy read by a master story-teller has given new depth to the work. I would recommend this audio-book to anyone coming to Dante for the first time, but also to old-hands like myself who would like to be re-introduced to the work.
If I have a criticism, I suppose I would've liked to have had Flynn's translation included with the CD notes, but I feel mean for saying this as I can understand how this would have pushed the price up and, it cannot be denied this is excellent value, especially with the extra "Life of Dante" CD.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Get your glass of red wine or maybe a bottle,lower the lights,sit in your favourite chair, put on these CDs..the nearest to Heaven you will get on this earth..
2 Comments 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Performance 14 May 2006
By Billyjack D'Urberville - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful performance of the entire Divine Comedy which one can listen to many times. The reader, Heathecoate Williams, must be some sort of an actor -- full throated furious at times, pale and poignant at others as he wends his way through it all, mimicking all the saints and sinners like a mockingbird. Each of the 100 cantos is prefaced by a short suggestion of period music for a breather and for atmosphere, which does not intrude or ham up the performance, as often happens with similar efforts.

Shameless drama of Williams' variety may be embarrassing to some, out of style to others. But it supplies an important element lacking to the rather dry academic fashion by which most are these days exposed to Dante. Nor is any accuracy of meaning sacrificed thereby. The three parts of the Comedy are all read from a prose translation by a man named Benedict Flynn. I am not aware that this translation is available anywhere in print, but having read several English translations of Dante, the word choice is familiar and sounds properly middle of the road. Truth be told, a dramatic flair does no disservice to this very personal poem at all, which was radical in its day for being written in common vernacular. For the hearer of our language, it places Dante in the ring where he belongs: with the fully engaged Shakespeare of the history plays, not with the closet dramas of a T.S. Eliot or a Robert Lowell.

The set is well worth the price, and the bonus disc lecture on Dante's life not only adds the academic dimension, but makes the price for the whole a steal.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeing, hearing, believing Dante 9 Jan. 2007
By David W. Stroud - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This audiobook is a remarkably good addition for the individual who enjoys good literature well read. Superb production values, an excellent reader/actor who imbues the material with accurate intonation and enunciation, cadence, and modulation, makes this one a gem. If you are spending your money wisely, you cannot go wrong with this NAXOS production. This one will be listened to many times. I even purchased the translation in hardcopy to pay closer attention to the reading.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Audiobook 17 Oct. 2009
By Douglas Broehl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Divine Comedy is my favorite book, and after having read it three times I thought it would be interesting to get an audio version; I am very glad I did so. I love this audio version; the narrator has a great British voice which is clear, warm and very easy to listen to. He reads the story at a good, appropriate speed; he is spirited and sharp when he needs to be, and reflective and meditative when the story calls for it. He slightly alters his voice when different characters are talking, but his modifications are never out of place, nor overdone (which is very easy to do with audiobooks). He is able to be dramatic, without becoming contrived and corny. His tone overall is serious but not indulgent. The translation is excellent and each of the three main parts includes a small booklet summarizing each canto. A few seconds of Gregorian chants and Late Medievel music separates each canto from the next, and I love the music they selected. For me, the narrative flow of the Divine Comedy came out more clearly when I listened to this audio set as opposed to reading it. While reading it, I would sometimes get caught up in all the details and lose sight of the big picture. By listening to it being read to me, I was able to see the Divine Comedy as a great story. That is, I became much more appreciative of the artistry of the work, and experienced it as a richly beautiful poem. This audio set has increased my appreciation for Dante's skill as a profound and effective story teller. I absolutely love this set, and I am glad that Naxos produced such a wonderful product.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Which translation? 10 Oct. 2012
By Mark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There are many translations of Dante's Divine Comedy. So, which translation is being performed here by Heathcoate Williams? it's impossible to find out. I listened to a portion at the Naxos Spoken Word Library website, and I like the performance very much. The CD cover doesn't tell what Translation is being read, nor do the program notes tell us.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Audio Version of Literature's Greatest Epic Poem 4 Jun. 2014
By Kathryn Grammer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought the audio version of Dante's Divine Comedy because I wanted to hear it read aloud. I have read and studied the poem (in translation) but I believed it was meant to be spoken. Someone once said that Dante's Divine Comedy was Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica set to music and I regret that I am unable to speak Italian in order to hear the music. English translations, I believe, do not measure up but I think those by John Ciardi, Longfellow and Clive James are better than this one by Benedict Flynn.
Understandably, the Inferno is the most popular book of the three, but the other two books are clearly more profound. At the very center of Purgatorio (which is also the very center of the Commedia) is Dante's explanation of Free Will, which beautifully articulates the human condition. In today's culture of victimology, it's good to remember that the fault lies "not in the stars but in ourselves" and the choices we make.
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