The divine comedy

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The Divine Comedy is the precursor of modern literature, and this translation--decades in the making--gives us the entire epic as a single, coherent and compulsively readable lyric poem. Written in the early fourteenth century and completed in 1321, the year of Dante's death, The Divine Comedy is perhaps the greatest work of epic poetry ever composed.

Divided into three books--Hell, Purgatory and Heaven--the poem's allegorical vision of the afterlife portrays the poet's spiritual crisis in terms of his own contemporary history, in a text of such vivid life and variety that modern readers will find themselves astounded in a hundred different ways. And indeed the structure of this massive single song is divided into a hundred songs, or cantos, each of which is a separate poetic miracle. But unifying them all is the impetus of the Italian verse: a verbal energy that Clive James has now brought into English.

In his introductory essay, James says that the twin secrets of Dante are texture and impetus. All the packed detail must be there, but the thing must move. It should go from start to finish with an unflagging rhythm. In the original, the basic form is the terza rima, a measure hard to write in English without showing the strain of reaching once too often for a rhyme. In this translation, the basic form is the quatrain. The result, uncannily, is the same easy-seeming flow, a wonderful momentum that propels the reader along the pilgrim's path from Hell to Heaven, from despair to revelation.

To help ensure that no scholastic puzzles get in the road of appreciation, James has also adopted the bold policy of incorporating key points from the scholarship into the text: uploading them from the footnotes, as it were, and making them part of the narrative, where they can help to make things clear.

For its range of emotion alone, Clive James's poetic rendering of The Divine Comedy would be without precedent. But it is also singled out by its sheer readability. The result is the epic as a page-turner, a work that will influence the way we read Dante in English for generations to come.

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID cc489503-4cd5-e2db-b472-90fe2cd92548
Full title divine comedy
Author alighieri dante
Grouping Category book
Last Update 2018-05-20 22:58:42PM
Last Indexed 2018-05-20 23:34:47PM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 Bergin, Thomas Goddard, 1904-1987., Ciardi, John, 1916-1986., Ciardi, John. 1916-, Higgins, David H., James, Clive, 1939-, Kirkpatrick, Robin, 1943-, Norton, Charles Eliot, 1827-1908., Sinclair, John D., Sisson, C. H. 1914-2003.
author Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321.
author2-role Bergin, Thomas Goddard,1904-1987., Ciardi, John,1916-1986., Ciardi, John.1916-tr., Higgins, David H., James, Clive,1939-, Kirkpatrick, Robin,1943-, Norton, Charles Eliot,1827-1908., Sinclair, John D.ed. and tr., Sisson, C. H.1914-2003.
author_display Dante Alighieri
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display_description The most celebrated work of Dante is the Divine comedy--a vision of hell, purgatory and heaven that provides a strangely surrealistic view of medieval attitudes on religious dogma and the price of disobedience.
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primary_isbn 9780199535644
publishDate 1955, 1969, 1971, 1977, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2013
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series Penguin classics, The Divine Comedy
series_with_volume Penguin classics|, The Divine Comedy|
subject_facet Hell -- Poetry, Hell -- Poetry -- Early works to 1800, Italian poetry, Paradise -- Poetry, Paradise -- Poetry -- Early works to 1800, Purgatory -- Poetry
title_display The divine comedy
title_full The Divine Comedy, The Divine comedy / Dante Alighieri ; translated by Charles Eliot Norton, The divine comedy / Dante ; a new verse translation by Clive James, The divine comedy / Dante Alighieri ; translated by C.H. Sisson ; edited by David H. Higgins, The divine comedy / Dante Alighieri ; translated by John Ciardi, The divine comedy / Dante Alighieri ; translated, edited and introduced by Robin Kirkpatrick, The divine comedy / translated by Thomas G. Bergin & illustrated by Leonard Baskin, The divine comedy. Italian text with translation and comment, by John D. Sinclair
title_short The divine comedy
topic_facet Classic Literature, Fiction, Hell, Italian poetry, Paradise, Poetry, Purgatory