The Divine Comedy, Volume 1: Hell (Penguin Classics)

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Overview

Dante (1265-1321) is the greatest of Italian poets, and his Divine Comedy is the finest of all Christian allegories.

To the consternation of his more academic admirers, who believed Latin to be the only proer language for dignified verse, Dante wrote his Comedy in colloquial Italian, wanting it to be a poem for the common reader. Taking two threads of a story that everybody knew and loved—the story of a vision of Hell, Prugatory and Paradise, and the story of the lover who has ...

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Overview

Dante (1265-1321) is the greatest of Italian poets, and his Divine Comedy is the finest of all Christian allegories.

To the consternation of his more academic admirers, who believed Latin to be the only proer language for dignified verse, Dante wrote his Comedy in colloquial Italian, wanting it to be a poem for the common reader. Taking two threads of a story that everybody knew and loved—the story of a vision of Hell, Prugatory and Paradise, and the story of the lover who has to brave the Underworld to find his lost lady—he combined them into a great allegory of the soul's search for God. He made it swift, exciting topical, lavishing upon it all his learning and wit, all his tenderness, humour and enthusiasm, and all his poetry.

In Hell, the first of the three parts, the poet is conducted by the spirit of the poet Virgil through the twenty-four circles of Hell in the first stage of his arduous journey towards God.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140440065
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/28/1950
  • Series: Divine Comedy Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 157,055
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author


Dante Alighieri was born in 1265. Considered Italy's greatest poet, this scion of a Florentine family mastered in the art of lyric poetry at an early age. His first major work is La Vita Nuova (1292) which is a tribute to Beatrice Portinari, the great love of his life. Married to Gemma Donatic, Dante's political activism resulted in his being exiled from Florence to eventually settle in Ravenna. It is believed that The Divine Comedy—comprised of three canticles, The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso—was written between 1308 and 1320. Dante Alighieri died in 1321.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Thank You, Dorothy L. Sayers!

    I wish the translator was still alive so I could write her a fan letter!

    The introduction of detailed history and study of the making and the form in this piece was like a college course on the subject of Dante and the Divine Comedy, as well as the world and times he was living in.

    It is hard to believe the poetry was not originally written in English, the rhyme pattern and cadence are so natural. I am writing before I have completed it because I just had to say something right away. I have also purchased Purgatory and Heaven and I can hardly wait to read them!

    The reason I had purchased these books in the first place was I read that Dorothy L. Sayers had done a translation of The Divine Comedy. Her mysteries and The Mind of the Maker had been so satisfying, I had to try out reading this classic with her touch. It definitely is not a disappointing choice!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Possibly the authoritative translation

    When Penguin accepted Dorothy Leigh Sayers' manuscript for her translation of Dante's "Inferno," little did they realize what they were getting. Most people know Sayers (often referred to as DLS) as the author of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries of the Twenties and Thirties; but she was also a MA of Somerville College, Oxford, with a first-class honors major in modern languages and medieval literature. DLS took a work meant for the people (it was written in the "vulgar" Italian, not the more scholarly Latin, so that all could enjoy it), and produced a work that is extremely readable in English as well. As well as managing to greatly preserve the original rhyme-scheme, her choice of wording for the always difficult job of translation achieves a readability that is a delight for the average person. Add to it the excellent notes on each canto, a good small biography and literary discussion of Dante himself, and discussions of the allegory within the poetry, and you end up with a book that every well-read person should have on their shelf. Begin with this one, and make sure to get the other two ("Purgatory" and "Paradise"); you won't regret this at all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2002

    The Inferno:Journey To Hell

    In The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alegeheri, the author describes his visit to the underworld, of Hell. Accompanied by Virgil, his companion, he is transported to the under realm where sinners are punished. He travels to nine cirlces for the nine sins. He visits the circle of hypocrits and vivdly describes how every day, the sinners walk in circles chained together and every day, get their heads chopped off. Then Dante hears a mournful bugle call, more mournful then when Charlegmagne lost he said. The Inferno is an execellent story if you want to learn about life after death.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 1, 2009

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    Posted August 29, 2014

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    Posted February 20, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2009

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