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The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso

(La Divina Commedia #1-3)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  135,594 ratings  ·  4,844 reviews
The greatest poem of the Middle Ages, in the standard Carlyle-Okey-Wicksteed translation, with full notes.
Paperback, 640 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Vintage (first published 1320)
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Joo Hani I've read a few and can now say that the Robert Durling and Ronald Martinez version is the authoritative Divine Comedy.

The facing Italian / English, …more
I've read a few and can now say that the Robert Durling and Ronald Martinez version is the authoritative Divine Comedy.

The facing Italian / English, the endnotes, the inter cantica essays - everything about it helps you to understand the Comedy in a way that is never overbearing or intimidating. (less)
Leon Stephens The most important thing to know is that all translations are bad in comparison with the original, so the best thing is to study Italian. Failing that…moreThe most important thing to know is that all translations are bad in comparison with the original, so the best thing is to study Italian. Failing that, I would recommend mine as the least bad. It's bilingual, in three volumes, available at It took me 36 years to complete it. To read a sample, click on the title and then on the word Preview under the enlarged cover photo that will then appear. (less)
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Start your review of The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso
"You can recognize a small truth because its opposite is a falsehood. The opposite of a great truth is another truth."

- Niels Bohr

I was thinking about Dante the other day and wondering how one could approach him from the angle of a GoodReads review. One of the obvious problems is that he lived a long time ago, and many of the cultural referents have changed. You're constantly having to think "Well, nowadays what he's saying would correspond to THAT". It isn't so bad in Hell, when there is plent
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I once thought I'd write an essay on how long it takes a serious author (of fiction or nonfiction) before he or she inevitably quotes Dante. If I were to write a novel myself (this is a hypothetical grammatical construction!), I'd probably manage about a page before I'd exclaim that I am lost, and middle-aged, and in the middle of a dark forest. I'd try to kill off annoying acquaintances and punish them severely for their lack of admiration for me and my creativity (not to mention my sarcasm and ...more
I We attempt to rewrite the Divine Comedy

Canto I

In the middle of the journey of my life
I came across a man named Trump
Who seemed bent on causing much strife

O! how he was an unpleasant, fleshy lump!
Like some hobgoblin of the child's imagination
Or a thing that in the night goes bump.

But in spite of lengthy cogitation
I find I have produced fewer words
Than members of the crowd at an inauguration

I've doubtless disappointed the Dante nerds
And before long may well concede defeat
My plan, I admit, was s
Ahmad Sharabiani
Divina Commedia = Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia #1-3), Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy is a long narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320, a year before his death in 1321.

It is widely considered the preeminent work in Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature.

The poem's imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church by the 14th century. It helped
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every moment of Dante's gruelling masterpiece is a Revelation of a Timeless Moment:

Timeless Moments of our own or another's Hellish Anger or Hellish Lust; Timeless moments of our own or other's stinging Purgatorial guilt over Sloth or Empty Vanity;: or Timeless Moments of Heavenly Peace and Freedom at last, at the apparent end of our journey.

Once we know the Way Up and the Way Down, our Work is Cut Out for Us!

Reading the Divine Comedy at seventeen was, for me, to see the world sub specie aete
Jeffrey Keeten

 photo Divine Comedy Satan Botticelli_zpsggfyple5.jpg
Botticelli’s vision of Satan. There are 92 illustrations by Botticelli, inspired by The Divine Comedy, of which this edition contains a selection.

I read I


It is very difficult not to be lured by the highly intelligent craft of Durante degli Aliguieri (DA). And may be it is not a coincidence that he was the exact contemporary of Giotto, his fellow Florentine. For if Giotto planted the seed for a pictorial representation of the world in which man, at the center, and through a window, delivers to us a naturalistic depiction of divine stories, Dante also used his writing to posit himself as the Auth
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, aere-perennius
Plumbing the crucible of happenstance.

I should give a quick intro and say that I rarely EVER, EVER re-read a book. I should also mention that 3 years ago I had never cracked Dante's Divine Comedy. Now, I am finishing the Divine Comedy for the 3rd time. I've read Pinsky's translation of the Inferno. I've read Ciardi. I've flirted with Mandelbaum and danced with Hollander, but from Canto 1 of Inferno/Hell to Canto XXXIII of Paradiso/Heaven, I can't say I've read a better version than the Clive Jam
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Divine Comedy is a 14,233 lines-long Italian narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320, a year before his death in 1321. It is widely considered to be the pre-eminent work in Italian literature and one of the greatest works of world literature. I've wanted to read it for a long time but had, thus far, been too daunted to actually take up the task.

The narrative describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, while allegorically the poem represents
MJ Nicholls
Aug 02, 2012 marked it as sampled  ·  review of another edition
I propose an extra level in the Inferno for procrastinators and abandoners. I was planning to write a novel where three protagonists commit suicide and end up in Scottish Hell. Since overcrowding has plagued the old Scottish Hell HQ, the protagonists are forced to queue up for weeks on end before arriving at the building for processing. Upon their arrival, their sins are assessed by an administrator to determine which circle of Hell is appropriate for them. But due to cutbacks and financial inst ...more
I finished it! Someone, bring me my medal...

the Inferno is Hieronymus Bosch with words
the Inferno is Hieronymus Bosch with words

A few caveats to this review: I am not a theologian, philosopher, medieval historian, Dante expert, nor astrologist. I am, however, a reader who wants to read "all of teh books" and I appreciate vivid imagery and interesting human interactions in fiction. I tackled the recent Clive James version of Dante's Divine Comedy--no footnotes or canto introductions here--because I just wanted to let the story wash over
Mar 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, middle-ages, epic
In Falling Towards England, the second volume of his memoirs, Clive James recalls making an ill-prepared trip to Florence as a young man in order to meet up with a girlfriend. Seeing him deeply frustrated by his inability to speak the language, she made what turned out to be a fateful intervention:

That same night, Françoise sat down beside me with a volume of Dante and construed a few lines of the Inferno to begin showing me how the language worked. Per me si va tra la perduta gente. Through me
Liz Janet
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
“Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I shall endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.”

There is no much one can say about this marvelous poem that has not been said before. One of the greatest epic poems to have been written, ev
James Capp
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this poem four years ago as part of a dare. And by “dare,” I mean a professor listed it on the syllabus and I had to read it and then write papers about it. The next summer, I wanted to read it again on account of the graphic imagery of Inferno and Purgatorio. The punishments/reparations are mindblowing, scary, and beautiful. Everyone should at the very least skim Inferno. Particularly in Inferno, the political references are funny and provocative, and the historical significance of ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, favorites
I must confess that so much was beyond my comprehension; but I think that is the mark of a great work of allows you to take what you can from it from where you are. I was so happy when I finished this book!
Steven Walle
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best epic poems ever! I highly recommend everyone reads this, Homer's works, and Virgil's works. This was a great translation and a wonder forward and glossery.
5 huge stars!
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
Toria (some what in hiatus)
This took me 16 days to finish definitely the longest time I've spent on a book by far. I've been wanting to read this for a long time and I'm glad I've picked up a physical copy up from the library because geez was it a struggle to get through. A very rewarding one but still took a lot of patience, which I usually don't posses. I'm very happy and proud I've finished it but doubt I got the whole picture but still a good classic. ...more
Katia N
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read “Divine Comedy” for quite a while, but was not sure how to approach it. My main problem was that it is written in verses and I do not know Italian to read it in original. At the end, I’ve picked up a classic middle of the 20th century translation into Russian in tercinas verse as well. And, I think I’ve made a good choice. After a while, I got used to the pace and the music and the poetry had become palpable. But I only could imagine how amazing it is to read it in in original. ...more
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am back reading another version of The Divine Comedy. This translation by Australian poet Clive James is the most lyrical that I have read. It is as if I was reading it for the first time and with all that joy of discovery.

This review is based on the first book of this trilogy.

"Had I the bitter, grating rhymes to fit
This grim hole on which all the other rocks
Bear down, I’d do a better job of it
When pressing out my thought’s sap.
But what blocks
The flow is just that:
my soft, childish tongu
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was full of Oh My moments. And yes I had my pencil out doing annotations with this one.

This long poem reminded me of “The Revelation of St. John The Divine” AKA “The Book of Revelation”.

The super bonuses of this book were that it was the Longfellow translation and had all of the Dore illustrations.

Take time to read this one if you haven’t.
Brent Weeks
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dante? Awesome! I’ve always wanted Brent to review a game from the Devil May Cry series! Which one did you play?

Er… well, let me explain. I wanted a space with my new website design to talk about video games—I love them. But I also want to, from time to time, engage with other media. “What I’m Playing?” fits in a shorter space than “What form of media is Brent playing or reading or watching, and what particular title currently, and what is his take on that?”

So, uh, really this sidebar is “Brent’
Gary Inbinder
First read more than 50 years ago. A classic contribution to Western Civilization. Dante's introduction of terza rima influenced other great poets of the early Renaissance. However, you shouldn't explore his Hell without a map and a program. The Inferno is populated with many individuals involved in the politics of the time and place, Dante's contemporaries including foes, acquaintances, and a few friends. So you better know your Ghibellines from your Guelphs and your Black Guelphs from your Whi ...more
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

This was my second attempt to read "The Divine Comedy". The first time, I did not care for the English translation of the book I had selected. I found Mandelbaum's translation in this book to be more readable. Another plus of reading this translation, is this book had wonderful Botticelli illustrations of Dante. I thought the illustrations really enhanced my reading experience as they helped me visualize several of the scenes in the book.

This was not a book that I could read fast, alth
I am so glad for the Divine Comedy and Decameron group for providing the structure and encouragement which provided the impetus for my finally reading this classic! I am also very pleased that I decided to read John Ciardi's translation as his synopsis and notes added immeasurably to my reading.

While personally I found Dante's travel's through Hell occasionally difficult, the Purgatorio and Paradiso (except for the first few scholarly cantos) flowed with beautiful poetry. And through it all, Da
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nel mezzo del cammin del nostra vita/ Mi ritrovai per una universita oscura/ Che la diritta via era smarita// Ahi quant a dir' qual'era.*.. In the middle of my life, I found myself in a snowy waste, -28 F real temperature, not wind chill, driving my pregnant wife to St Joseph's Hospital for the birth of our first child Emily, now a lawyer in Milano. Difficult to say, una cosa dura, but not really... After all, I was in a snowy waste, not Dante's invented Inferno. In order to deliver my child, my ...more
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written for the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament

(sung to the tune of "Minnie The Moocher")

Folks, here´s a story about Winnie the Pooh-cher
He was a chubby Pooh-chie-koocher
He was fat and loved his honey
but he was sweet and his heart was sunny


He met a dude whose name was Virgil
who hung around in hellish circles.
He took the bear to hell for a match
where he planned to kick Pooh's ass.


Pooh saw
Jun 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetshere
George Steiner notes that likely it is only music and mathematics which can begin to reflect the expansive majesty of thought. Philosophy pursues such but an inclination to systems and other ordered orientation tempers the vigor. He then states that it is the aphoristic thinkers who come closest and it is from that vantage that one can revel in the grandeur of poetry. Valery and Heidegger understood this. It is a vision of the cosmos which likely extends back to the pre-socratics. I’m not sure i ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How in the World (or Inferno or Purgatorio or Paradiso) am I supposed to review this work?

I could review the edition and translator, though I have nothing else to compare them against. Ciardi's notes at the end of each canto are always illuminating, sometimes funny and occasionally self-deprecating. I chuckled at Ciardi's humor and was appreciative of his honesty whenever he used a rhyme-forced addition, as well as the instance or two when he asked the reader to forgive his less-than-perfect po
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italian-lit
Five stars is not enough. Many stars for this poet of stellar dimensions.




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Did Dante rip off from a Muslim Work 3 80 Jan 14, 2022 10:50AM  
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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

Other books in the series

La Divina Commedia (3 books)
  • Inferno
  • The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Volume 2: Purgatorio
  • Paradiso (The Divine Comedy, #3)

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