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This is the first volume of a new prose translation of Dante's epic - the first in twenty-five years. Robert Durling's translation brings a new power and accuracy to the rendering of Dante's extraordinary vision of Hell, with its terror, pathos, and sardonic humour, and its penetrating analyses of the psychology of sin and the ills that plague society. A newly edited version of the Italian text can be on facing pages, and this edition includes fully comprehensive notes as well as sixteen essays on special subjects.
Charles S. Singleton's edition of the Divine Comedy, of which this is the first part, provides the English-speaking reader with everything he needs to read and understand Dante's great masterpiece. The Italian text here is in the edition of Giorgio Petrocchi, the leading Italian editor of Dante. Professor Singleton's prose translation, facing the Italian in a line-for-line arrangement on each page, is smooth and literate. The companion volume, the Commentary, marshals every point of information the reader may require: vocabulary; grammar; identification of Dante's characters; historical sources of some of the incidents and, where pertinent, excerpts from those sources in their original languages and in translation; profound clear analysis of the Divine Comedy's basic allegory. There is a complete bibliography of every aspect of Dante studies. This first part of the Divine Comedy which is illustrated with maps of Italy and the region Dante knew especially, diagrams of the circles of Hell, and plates showing some of the historic sites mentioned by Dante in his poem.
Midway upon the journey of our life- I found myself within a forest dark- For the straightforward pathway had been lost.q (Excerpt)
‘Finally I realised that I had been practising for this job every time I wrote a quatrain . . . I had spent all this time – the greater part of a lifetime – preparing my instruments’ The Divine Comedy is the precursor of modern literature, and Clive James’s vivif translation – his life’s work and decades in the making – presents Dante’s entire epic poem in a single song. While many poets and translators have attempted to capture the full glory of The Divine Comedy in English, many have fallen short. Victorian verse translations established an unfortunate tradition of reproducing the sprightly rhyming measures of Dante but at the same time betraying the strain on the translator’s powers of invention. For Dante, the dramatic human stories of Hell were exciting, but the spiritual studies of Purgatory and the sublime panoramas of Heaven were no less so. In this incantatory translation, James – defying the convention by writing in quatrains – tackles these problems head-on and creates a striking and hugely accessible translation that gives us The Divine Comedy as a whole, unified, and dramatic work.
Dante's Epic.
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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