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The Divine Comedy [Hardcover]

Dante Alighieri , Gustave Dore , Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 2010 Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classic Collection
A landmark of world literature, "The Divine Comedy" tells of the poet Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise in search of salvation. Before he is redeemed by his love for the heavenly Beatrice, he learns the meaning of evil, sin, damnation and forgiveness through a series of unforgettable experiences and encounters in what is considered a pre-eminent work of Italian literature. This edition of "The Divine Comedy" features Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's renowned and 135 full-page reproductions of Gustave Dore's classic engravings from the 1867 edition. "The Divine Comedy" is part of "Barnes & Noble"'s series of quality leatherbound volumes. Each title in the series presents a classic work in an attractively designed edition bound in genuine bonded leather. These books make elegant additions to any home library.

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About the Author

Dante Alighieri was born in Florence Italy in 1265. In 1301, a political dispute lead to his exile from Florence. Over the next few years he made his home in Verona, Lucca and other cities. By 1310 he had written Inferno and Purgatorio, the first two books of his Divine Comedy. He wrote the third and concluding book, Paradiso, in the years after he found sanctuary in Ravenna in 1318. An allegorical account of his wanderings in a spiritual wilderness and eventual salvation under the guidance of his beloved Beatrice, The Divine Comedy is recognised as Dante's masterwork and a landmark of world literature. He died in exile in 1321 and was buried in Ravenna.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For historical literature lovers. Oct. 5 2011
By A. Epp
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I would say that this book is for people who are interested in old literature. If people are not, then all the little extras that are included in this edition will not be fully appreciated. A less expensive edition would be adequate. However, as a gift (which is how I received it) and for people who have a love for historical works (which is what I have) this would be the perfect edition to buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Divine Edition! Dec 11 2010
Format:Hardcover
A beautifull book, well fitting the beauty held within its pages. An excellent read which I strongly recommend to all. This edition also makes for a wonderfull addition to anyone's library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Dec 28 2013
By greg
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is a beautiful book wonderfully put together with great illustration layout and will be a great read. Can't wait!
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dis book. Jan. 1 2014
By Jake
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dis buk is rly gud, I crie evrytiem denta is trapt in hel and he is rly scare, but lurns bout hel 2.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  375 reviews
149 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for the first time reader...I should know Aug. 20 2005
By thistle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I always felt it a crime that I made it through high school and college without reading this. I recently read The Dante Club which re-ignited my interest in finally reading The Divine Comedy. I looked at all the versions out there and decided on this one. I am so glad I did.

Intro:

There is an introduction on "How to read Dante" which was indispensible for my first time foray.

There is a note from the translator that explains how his translation might differ from others and why.

There is an introduction from a collegue of the translator that puts the Divine Comedy in a historical context.

Text:

So easy to read!

Each Canto begins with a synopsis. If all you wanted to know was the plot of the Divine Comedy you could just read all of these half page summaries (but you'd really miss out.)

Then the canto in beautiful verse.

Then copious notes that explain the minute details about whom you meet in the Canto and relevant events in history. The notes are as interesting as the Cantos themselves.

I am so glad I picked this copy up. I have now read and ENJOYED Dante's Divine Comedy. I highly recommend this as a starting point. It is extremely accessible.
156 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and accessable translation of Dante's masterpiece Nov. 19 1999
By Fredrik King - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Those of us not fortunate enough to be able to read Italian and thus savor Dante's masterpiece in its original language have the next best thing--the comprehensively noted translation by another great poet, the late John Ciardi. This superb and handsome hardbound edition of Ciardi's translation of Dante's Divine Comedy is not simply the collected, earlier translations of The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso, which in past years appeared in separate paperback editions: This edition is the final Ciardi translation from earlier forms which were "a work in progress." In this magnificent final translation, the non-Italian-speaking reader can savor Dante's extrodinary fusion of morality with the metaphorical architecture of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, explored with pathos and sympathy for the human condition which, in the mind of Dante, constantly yearns for The All in All. A volume that should be required reading for anyone who aspires to understand man's place in the universe.
204 of 224 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Musical Translation! Aug. 25 2003
By Terry Bohannon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was introduced to Ciardi's translation of "The Divine Comedy" in an anthology of continental literature I read in college. At that time, after experiencing fragments of Fagles' horrible "verse" translation of Homer's works, I had low expectations for the translations in that anthology.
However, the instant I started reading John Ciardi's verse translation of "The Inferno", my hardened heart once again began to beat with the vibrancy it had when I read poems of Wordsworth or Browning.
John Ciardi, with a poetic talent that seems to be unmatched -- except for what I?ve read of W.S. Merwin's "Paradiso XXXIII," -- creates a poetic flow that feels, tastes, and even smells Italian. A poetic flow that delightfully contrasts Fagles', whose poetic flow is limited by popular styles and even phrases of the 20th century.
Instead of trying to lift Dante to the 20th century, Ciardi gracefully carries us to the early 14th century.
Instead of assuming that Dante is arcane, old fashioned, and in need of John's own poetic help, he believes that the original Italian is fresh, exciting, and poetically graceful.
The translation of Dante would have been diluted if Ciardi were to try and bring the 14th century to us through the modernization of the language, symbolism, and even the geography of Dante's world. (Fagles even geographically modified his "Odyssey" at one point to rename a Greek river the Nile because readers may get 'confused'.)
I?m glad that Ciardi tries to bring us back in time when the universe was cosmically full of life, where even the stars were more than the mere byproducts of abstract forces, chance, that can only be systematically analyzed and dissected.
The medieval worldview is far richer than the purely logical and scientific mindset that?s now common. By bringing Dante to us unfiltered by that mindset, Ciardi helps move us towards the bright and vibrant medieval world.
I strongly recommend John Ciardi's poetic translation of "The Divine Comedy," a lot is missed when reading only "The Inferno." The whole work is amazingly balanced.
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Yankee Dante for You and Me Oct. 12 2005
By Billyjack D'Urberville - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ciardi, a noted poet and educator in the post-World War II era --and an Italian American -- remains after many years the most accessible Dante translator to the modern American ear. Of the generation of great American writers who reshaped our language, he was a lively fully engaged fellow and not prisoner of any ivory tower, despite his peerless credentials. Line by line, stanza by stanza, it shows. The Comedy requires many talents and understanding life and people is not the least of them.

"Dante was a drummer," Ciardi aptly notes in his introduction, and Ciardi's meter and rhyme scheme give a good English facsimile of Dante's incessant, intoxicating drum beat -- his famous 11 beat terza rima. You simply cannot do it in English, where most words end in hard consonants, not open vowels as in Italian. Yeah some people have tried -- always a noble aim -- but unless you're Superman don't climb Everest without oxygen. Purism will never get most of us through a first reading of this poem or for that matter through a few readings after. Music is what you need and Ciardi expertly lays it down.

About the poem? I've read it 7 times through, in different translations (Ciardi thrice) over 40 years and am just getting started. I do Ciardi between the others because I love my good modern Yankee language, soon drown without it. Ciardi really understands it -- from the jive of the street punk to the most austere scholar or saint -- its all here -- Dante's whole world talking to you like everybody you ever met.
62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a good download April 9 2011
By Lynette - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The links all go to the first book. If you click on Cantos 1 in Inferno it will go to Cantos 1 in paradise. In addition to that the INferno book is missing a ton of sections. It says it has them until you get to them and realize the pages are missing. Inferno is very chopped up. This kindle version is not readable.
Also, when flipping through the book it is very slow and often acts like it is frozen.
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