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Purgatory (The Divine Comedy #2)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  12,601 ratings  ·  326 reviews
A new translation by Anthony Esolen
Illustrations by Gustave Doré

Written in the fourteenth century by Italian poet and philosopher Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy is arguably the greatest epic poem of all time—presenting Dante’s brilliant vision of the three realms of Christian afterlife: Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. In this second and perhaps most imaginative par
Paperback, 544 pages
Published March 9th 2004 by Modern Library (first published 1321)
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For better waters now the little bark
of my indwelling powers raises her sails,
and leaves behind that sea so cruel and dark.

Now shall I sing that second kingdom given
the soul of man wherein to purge its guilt
and so grow worthy to ascend to Heaven.

If the arhitecture of Inferno was a giant funnel with ever receding terraces hosting the souls of the eternally damned in a carefully orchestrated arrangement of crime and its alloted punishment, Purgatory turns out to be its mirror image above ground:
For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, Les Trois Mousquetaires (31) versus The Divine Comedy (26)

- Welcome to Purgatory. Name, please?

- Ah, D'Artagnan. I think there might have been some kind of...

- We'll deal with that in a moment. Could we just start by taking care of the Deadly Sins paperwork?

- Um...

- Thank you. Number one, Pride. Any offences?

- Look, obviously I'm pretty damn cool, but, you know...

- Pride, tick. Please pick up a stone on your way out, I think you'll want an L. Num
David Lafferty
"…like people going to visit a great city like Paris and only spending a few days in the sewers…" ...Dorothy Sayers on only reading Inferno and stopping there

Purgatorio is my favorite book of the Divine Comedy. While Inferno is the most popular and arguably the most accessible to the new reader of Dante, it ultimately is a book of despair and hopelessness. I spent a couple of years immersed in Inferno while writing a book on the poem and discovered it was beginning to have a subtle depressing e
Justin Evans
There are two kinds of people who read Dante. The first kind gets all excited about people stuck head down in piles of shit, and wishes that the adulterers and libertines could just keep on doing what they did in the real world, because it's so romantic. The second kind gets all excited about griffins pulling chariots, the relationship between the political and the religious, and the neoplatonic ascent from beautiful woman to Beauty and God. I am the second kind; I can see the pull of the first ...more
Michael Sorensen
May 06, 2008 Michael Sorensen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs and people who enjoy dark-age poetry
Having been raised Protestant, my religious sect was quite scornful of 'Purgatory' as a concept. Protestants believe in instantaneous 'forgiveness' upon request (which of course makes sinning a 'no penalty' action) and as it turns out, so do Catholics--except that Priests tend to exercise some control over that process--assigning 'penance' as warranted. Protestants find this idea repellant, but oddly, spend a lot of time living with secret guilt. A Catholic person, who has done their penance, wa ...more
This is my favorite canticle of the Divina Commedia. Sure, it's not as thrilling or fascinatingly grotesque (/grotesquely fascinating) as the Inferno, but the literary images are breathtakingly beautiful, not to mention extremely powerful. As a modern reader, it's hard not to be moved by Dante's poetry, even 7 centuries later, a fact that attests to the immortality of the work. Those who are unfamiliar with Dante and/or Italian Literature and stop reading the Commedia after the Inferno are missi ...more
I'm apparently reading the Divine Comedy backwards this time, since I finished the Paradiso on Dec 31, and then read this one for our church faith exploration book club. This is probably the edition I would recommend to anybody trying the Comedy--the notes are thorough (maybe too thorough) and usually to the point. Hollander does not suffer fools gladly, though, and his dismissal of other scholars can be a bit abrupt. The translation is sometimes quite wonderful, and as far as I can tell, accura ...more
Kristine Morris
If Dante knew how hard it would be for modern readers to interpret his Commedia, he would have invoked a beautitude of Jesus sung by the angels just for us...."blessed are those who persevere reading Purgatorio...."

Purgatorio is way more complex and interesting than the Inferno - but it requires a lot more effort to read it. I am glad to be done. I will admit that I had help from The Teaching Company DVDs on Dante's Commedia. I almost feel like I should start it all over again without allowing
Zach Pickens
After trekking through the depths of hell, Dante, led by his guide and literary father Virgil, ascends the seven storied mountain of purgatory. Like hell, the souls’ torments fit the sins that engaged them in life, but unlike hell, the shades are not so much punished as they are purging themselves of the capital sins. Virgil and Dante reach the pinnacle of the mountain, the Garden of Eden, where Virgil departs leaving Dante with his next guide, Dante’s great love, Beatrice.
A few thoughts:
Oct 07, 2008 Craig rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sinful sinning sinnners and poetry lovers
This is probably better written than the more popular Inferno, and, though less intriguing/exciting than the obviously dark Inferno, Purgatorio exhibits wonderful writings addressing love, sin, and philosophies of existence. Also included are the seven corresponding levels on purgatory mountain to those levels in hell and the sins to be purged also reflect those exemplars in hell. The difference being that in purgatory, one has a chance at salvation and entrance to paradise (in hell, one has cho ...more
An enthralling allegory of sin, redemption, and the ultimate enlightenment. The sweet, tragic story is of a language long dead and gone, but true poetry that tears the heart and singes the soul. Shakespeare is the language of love, while Dante is the extreme in dealing with death.
In "Inferno", Dante began a spiritual odyssey, accompanied by the ancient Roman poet Virgil, which led them through the horrors of Hell and ended with a cliffhanger of sorts; Dante and Virgil climbing down through the frozen lake of Cocytus to reach the center of the earth. From there, they must turn around and begin climbing up a passage that leads back to the surface. Having surveyed the landscape of Hell and witnessed firsthand the results of unrepentant sin, and having learned much about the ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Oct 29, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Good Reading
This is the second part of Dante's Divine Comedy. The first took us through Hell, and this part takes us through Purgatory--the realm where Catholics believe those souls not saints spend time purging their sins before entering Heaven. And that's the key difference: Hope. Dante famously has the gateway into Hell read "Abandon All Hope." The punishments in Hell are purposeless and its denizens are without hope they'll ever see an end. So Purgatory is less dark, less grotesque, and alas, less memor ...more
Alexis Neal
Dante's epic journey continues as he and Virgil ascend through the seven levels of Purgatory (corresponding to the seven deadly sins), where souls must suffer and be purified before entering Paradise. The imagery here is not quite as vivid as that in Inferno, and the torments less horrifying. Which makes sense, since the souls in Purgatory have been saved and will (eventually) make their way to Heaven, unlike the souls of the damned in Hell.

In Inferno, the souls were classified according to thei
Dante's Purgatory is the most quintessential part of The Divine Comedy, since the ideas behind Heaven and Hell were already developed by the Greeks. Most people in the West, like the cynical pessimist Schopenhauer, prefer to read the Inferno only, declaring it to be the most real, most compelling section, etc. If you enjoy suffering, i.e. if you are a fascist, you will say so, of course. Those more mature will proceed to Purgatory, which, as anti-Christian as I am, actually proves Dante's theolo ...more
I did not particularly enjoy Inferno (my review), but I thought I should at least let Dante out of hell and into somewhere slightly better, but this was scarcely an improvement. I have a number of issues with this canticle:

- Again, the account is WAY too absorbed in 14th century Florentine politics and personages. I suppose Dante wasn't necessarily writing for the enduring renown of the ages (though he did expect to spend quite a while purging himself of pride!), but he could have achieved much
John Lucy
Once again I must point you to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's translation. When you're translating poetry it's almost impossible to retain the poetry of it all, but Longfellow, as a fellow poet, does the best job of that as far as I know.

This is the work that is perhaps most referred to in public discourse: we learn where those who committed the 7 sins are purging themselves of those sins. Those in Hell have no chance, but those in Purgatory are doing okay because they have something to work towar
Gary Patella
I loved the Inferno when I read it a few years ago. I knew I would have to continue at some point, so I picked up Purgatorio waiting for more excitement.

Here is the thing I had to understand: If there were such places as Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, they would all be different. As far as action and things happening, Dante is probably correct in thinking that Hell would have those qualities more than Purgatory or Heaven (although I can't vouch for this fully, since I have yet to read Paradisio).

Ahmad Sharabiani
عقاب سمبل برزخ، مظهر صعود به طرف آسمان و خورشید
سرود اول برزخ
اکنون زورق اندیشه ی من، که دریایی چنین آشفته را در پشت سر نهاده، بادبان برداشته است، تا در روی امواجی نکوتر به راه خود رود. و اینک من، در باره ی این قلمرو دومین، نغمه ساز خواهم کرد. که در آن روح آدمی تصفیه میشود، و شایستگی صعود به آسمان را پیدا می کند. ای پریان مقدس سرود، مرده را بگوئید تا زندگی از سر گیرد. زیرا اینک من در اختیار شمایم، و «کالیوپه» را بگویید که دمی روی در اینجا بنماید. تا نغمه ی مرا با نوای خوش خویش که «پیکا» های نگون ب
Kelsey Hanson
Purgatory: way better than hell but still pretty nasty. There is continued suffering going on here but if you don't like it you can always check out the lower levels. There are once again levels and immense suffering that are uniquely fitting. This one wasn't as interesting for me. There's so much dry religious theology combined with history that I needed to look up that it's easy to get lost.
Courtney Conant
This is truly an epic tale.

I decided that I wanted to start 2009 out right, reading as much as I could. I'm not sure what made me choose this book, but I'm glad that I did. I awoke New Years day and grabbed it from the shelf. And, to say the least, I couldn't put it down until I was done.

The tale flows so beautifully, as it follows Dante through each layer of Purgatory. The imagery is amazing, leading the reader to easily envision each step of Dante's journey. The trials and tribulations of a l
Whew! This is a tough read! Once again Dante's genius came shining through in Purgatorio. My genius while reading it was a bit hazy:) Reading this for me is really reading 3 books in one. I read a Canto and then I go to two different websites and read their brilliant commentaries on what I have just read. That is the only way I can understand this. There is just way too much background information that one has to be privy to for this to make sense. I love Dante and I enjoyed this, but I did like ...more
Oct 24, 2007 Felonious rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who liked Dante's Inferno
Shelves: topshelf
Took me awhile to read this partly because I was reading the notes in the back along with each canto. The translation. writing was great and the imagery was vivid. I found the punishments in purgatory to be great metaphors for how our actions affect our lives, from the blindness of anger to the fire and burning of lust. Dante also did a great job of using "the divine Comedy" to attack those he felt abused their power. This book like the inferno makes a great read no matter what religion you clai ...more
The Purgatory by Dante Alighieri

This was a Purgatory for me.
At least I hope that, after reading (some of) this part, I will reach Heaven with the last installment of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
It is considered one of the most wonderful books ever written by man.
Yet, I was in a limbo. It may be the language. The translation is supposed to use archaic words and structures, but I found that very tiresome and difficult to enjoy.
I love some verse: Shakespeare, Eminescu, Petrarca, Verlaine and some poems o
What is there to say about this that others haven't said better? The language is beautiful, and the ideas -- well, reading it, I realised I knew all about Dante's work without ever having read it before. That tells you how pervasive they are.

It's an amazing work. I don't know what translation I read: it was a free download.
I started 2013 with this poem and I'm glad I did.

What an interesting poem.

It's prequel is "Inferno" but I honestly prefer this one.

Inferno, was just all about torture and pain and how can things get more gruesome, this is not the case with Purgatorio

In Purgatorio, Virgil and Dante's relationship is developed and you actually get to know them a little better.

The sub stories aren't as interesting as the ones in Inferno.
But the ascent of the mountain and the new things Dante learns as he goes
أحمد صــــلاح
أتممتها في شهر
شهر كامل
بالطبع هي ليست أطول مدة أنهي فيها كتاب
ولكن هي مدة طويلة على مطهر دانتي
ذلك أنني
لم أك أنتبه إليها
ولكني كنت أقرأ مقاطع منها كل حين وآخر
واتنقل بينها وبين كتب آخرى
حيث ملكت سلسلة من الكتب علي عقلي
فلم أستطع إلا أن أفكر في تلك السلسة
فكنت أثناء راحتى من قراءة السلسلة
أغوص في مطهر دانتي
أو الأفضل أصعد مع دانتي مطهره
ذلك الجبل العجيب
الذي يحوي السبع خطايا

هي هي السبع خطايا التي أتحفت أحد السفاحين
وأشغفت عقله وجعلته يقتل ضحاياه في الفيلم الشهير
أظن أن المطهر كان ليكون جنته الحقيقة
لو لم يكن ي
Ahmed Ewida
رحلة مع دانتي في المطهر، وهو هنا جبل وليس وادٍ كالجحيم، فالجحيم هو الهبوط للأسفل، أما التطهر فهو الصعود للاعلى من خلال المشقة التي تقابلها في تسلق الجبال إضافة لمراحل العذاب فوق كل افريز بما يتناسب مع الخطايا.
تشبه فكرة الصراط ، وحتى الآن هي والجحيم متأثرتان بشدة برحلة المعراج في تصور الحياة الأخرى، وفي تصور العقوبات التي ينالها كل مذنب.
استخدم دانتيا الكوميديا ايضاً لكي يعبر عن واقعه وعن أشخاص بأعينهم في حاضره او في تراث البشرية وتقييمه لكل منهم وادراجه في الجحيم او المطهر او الفردوس.
رحلة شيقة غ
Richard Magahiz
The main thing I learned is that the best time to read (or reread) this classic is during Lent. Who knew?

Like the rest of the Commedia, the poem is meticulously structured. The three parts are the arrival at Mount Purgatory (the only landmass opposite the inhabited continents of the known Earth), then the climb up the mountain around the seven cornices of purification, then the allegorical pageant of the blessed in the Earthly Paradise. Unlike the descent into Hell, Dante and Virgil complete the
This translation of Purgatory is much more comprehensive than the translation of Inferno I read by Pinsky, though the translation of Inferno was more readable. I will go back and read another translation of Inferno by Ciardi and see how they compare. I appreciate all the notes and diagrams that Sayer's has included in her translation, as I lack a lot of the background reading to catch the many references in this. Before my next read through I will have to read the Bible and Ovid's Metamorphoses ...more
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Merwin's Purgatorio best translation 6 39 Jul 27, 2013 02:34PM  
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Dante Alighieri, or simply Dante (May 14/June 13 1265 – September 13/14, 1321), is one of the greatest poets in the Italian language; with the comic story-teller Boccaccio and the poet Petrarch, he forms the classic trio of Italian authors. Dante Alighieri was born in the city-state Florence in 1265. He first saw the woman, or rather the child, who was to become the poetic love of his life when he ...more
More about Dante Alighieri...

Other Books in the Series

The Divine Comedy (3 books)
  • Inferno (The Divine Comedy, #1)
  • Paradiso (The Divine Comedy, #3)
Inferno (The Divine Comedy, #1) The Divine Comedy Paradiso (The Divine Comedy, #3) Vita Nuova The Portable Dante

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“Thus you may understand that love alone
is the true seed of every merit in you,
and of all acts for which you must atone.”
“Now you know how much my love for you
burns deep in me
when I forget about our emptiness,
and deal with shadows as with solid things.”
More quotes…