The Divine Comedy

English language

Published July 15, 2013

ISBN:
9780871404480

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3 stars (11 reviews)

The Divine Comedy (Italian: Divina Commedia [diˈviːna komˈmɛːdja]) is a long Italian narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320, a year before his death in 1321. It is widely considered to be the pre-eminent work in Italian literature and one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem's imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church by the 14th century. It helped establish the Tuscan language, in which it is written, as the standardized Italian language. It is divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The narrative takes as its literal subject the state of the soul after death and presents an image of divine justice meted out as due punishment or reward, and describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise or Heaven. Allegorically the poem represents the soul's journey towards …

12 editions

Review of 'The Divine Comedy' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I'm finding it difficult to separate my theological leanings from my literary judgment with this. Inferno is fascinating and horrifying; Purgatorio is frustrating and infuriating; Paradiso is dull and academic. I really don't want to spend any time at all in any of these three places, thank you very much.

This was my second reading of Inferno. The first, I can't remember the edition, attempted an English translation of the original structure (terza rima) and was impressive but awkward. This edition scraps that rhyming scheme and shifts the whole into quatrains that just reads so much more naturally to me. It's probably some sort of (literary) sacrilege, but I enjoyed reading it. It's accessible and I'd recommend it to first time Dante readers.

I'd also recommend using some companion material (I used wikipedia and an old lit text a lot) to help with some context for some of the old …

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