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The poem is written in the first person, and tells of Dante's journey through the three realms of the dead, lasting from the night before Good Friday to the Wednesday after Easter in the spring of 1300. The Roman poet Virgil guides him through Hell and Purgatory; Beatrice, Dante's ideal woman, guides him through Heaven. Beatrice was a Florentine woman whom he had met in childhood and admired from afar in the mode of the then fashionable courtly love tradition which is highlighted in Dante's earlier work La Vita Nuova.
In central Italy's political struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines, Dante was part of the Guelphs, who in general favored the Papacy over the Holy Roman Emperor. Florence's Guelphs split into factions around 1300, the White Guelphs, and the Black Guelphs. Dante was among the White Guelphs who were exiled in 1302 by the Lord Mayor Cante de' Gabrielli di Gubbio, after troops under Charles of Valois entered the city, at the request of Pope Boniface VIII, who supported the Black Guelphs. This exile, which lasted the rest of Dante's life, shows its influence in many parts of the Comedy, from prophecies of Dante's exile to Dante's views of politics to the eternal damnation of some of his opponents.
In Hell and Purgatory, Dante shares in the sin and the penitence respectively. The last word in each of the three parts of the Divine Comedy is stelle, "stars."
"For sheer liveliness, combined with accuracy and closeness to the text, it will be hard to rival." —A.N. Wilson, author, The Victorians
These words were written, dim and darkly etched, Above a gateway. I could not understand them. "Master," I said, "teach me the sense of this." He answered knowingly, as wise men can: "From this point on, abandon cowardice, All mistrust must die. This is the land "I told you we would come to, where you'd see Those men and women lost to the human mind And all its truthful work and useful reason." Then, quietly, he put his hand on mine, Turned and gave me a pleasant glance, and I Was comforted. He walked, I followed behind To that unknown place, where shrieks and desperate sighs, Weeping, and fervent moaning filled the starless Air; I could not keep myself from crying.
Excerpted from The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri Copyright © 2010 by Paul J. Contino. Excerpted by permission of Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted February 20, 2011
The book, of course, is a classic but I was very disappointed in the translation and added notes. I find Charles Eliot Norton to be very big on himself. I would recommend (for anyone wanted to read The Divine Comedy) to find a different translation.
5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2012
Posted May 28, 2010
Posted December 5, 2010
The illustrations go on top of text and mesh together from page to page obscuring the written word. A huge mess. Pity, since G. Dore is the best illustrator ever. NOT RECOMMENDED-DO NOT BUY.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 9, 2011
Posted April 16, 2001
This is a great disappointment. The reader lacks any dramatic range, natters on and on like a dotty old aunt through convoluted ideas, dialogue, and scenery. It is often a challenge to know which character is speaking, owing partly to very understated transitions provided by the translator. The publisher never does confess who the translator was, and fails to provide any supporting/critical materials such as the accompanying booklets in Penguin's Iliad and Odyssey readings which added so much depth to those (4 and 5 stars, respectively). I really wanted to enjoy this, but find I am loading each successive cassette more out of stubbornness than hopeful expectation.
1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 23, 2014
Posted December 9, 2013
Posted June 10, 2013
I learned about Dante and the Divine Comedy in school. Not sure if I liked his whole idea about the area in between heaven and hell.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 14, 2013
Posted December 23, 2012
I find it to be a very good book i say everyone should read it you will find it very interesting and you will not be sorry you read it
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 27, 2012
Posted January 29, 2012
Posted December 16, 2011
Posted September 23, 2011
Posted July 3, 2011
Posted February 10, 2011
Posted December 28, 2010
Hi, trying to return this e-book. Not sure how to e-mail you if I cannot find an e-mail address. This is more toward the publisher. The book is excellent. Just not something that I want on my reader at the moment. Please and thank you.
0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 2, 2010
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Posted November 1, 2010
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