The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso (John Ciardi Translation)

The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso (John Ciardi Translation)


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"Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them—there is no third."—T. S. Eliot

"Ciardi has given us…a credible, passionate persona of the poet, stripped of the customary gauds of rhetoric and false decoration, strong and noble in utterance."—Dudley Fitts

"A sensitive and perceptive translation…a spectacular achievement."—Archibald MacLeish

Belonging in the immortal company of the great works of literature, Dante Alighieri's poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise—the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation.

Now, for the first time, John Ciardi's brilliant and authoritative translations of Dante's three soaring canticles—The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso—have been gathered together in a single volume. Crystallizing the power and beauty inherent in the great poet's immortal conception of the aspiring soul, The Divine Comedy is a dazzling work of sublime truth and mystical intensity.

"I think [Ciardi's] version of Dante will be in many respects the best we have seen."—John Crowe Ransom

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451208637
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/27/2003
Pages: 928
Sales rank: 39,144
Product dimensions: 5.96(w) x 8.95(h) x 1.49(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Dante Alighieri was born in 1265. Considered Italy’s greatest poet, this scion of a Florentine family mastered the art of lyric poetry at an early age. He is the author of the three canticles, The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso. Politically active in Florence, he was banished to Italy in 1302. In 1274, he met the great love of his life, Beatrice, whom he immortalized in La Vita Nuova (1292) and The Divine Comedy. He died in 1321.

Table of Contents

The Divine ComedyHow to Read Dante
Translator's Note
The Inferno

The Purgatorio

The Paradiso

Customer Reviews

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The Divine Comedy: The John Ciardi Translation 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We are reading this translation of The Inferno in class (translated by J.C.), and it is wonderful. However, I am confused Barnes and Noble...... Are you allowing for the same comments that are posted on one translation to be automatically posted on all the other versions? This isn't helpful, because readers may wish to compare one translation to another by reading the reviews...... That's what I was trying to do, to see which version of The Divine Comedy I wished to buy, but couldn't. I realize that I should probably post this in some forum online, and I will eventually. And of course, what I could be seeing is the result of spammers, but I don't think this is likely. Anyway, I absolutely believe that this is a wonderful translation and would highly recommend it.
PixieChild More than 1 year ago
I have read The Divine Comedy two times before, with difficulty, although it is a great story. This translation is the best I have seen, making this classic much easier to understand and stick with. My 14 year old granddaughter asked me about the book and was my incentive to buy it and read it again. To understand the characters you do have to keep flipping back and forth from the footnotes and the text, so to make it easier for her I have written the footnotes along the sides of the pages where they belong. So much mythology and ancient ways of living are incorporated into the book that it makes today's children uninterested in reading it because of the research needed. But as a classic it is worth the work and very stimulating to try to understand. Don't know if this makes any sense to you or not, but again a great translation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
how you like John Ciardi's version depends on whether you want an easier ead or not. he gives you a summary of the canto in the Inferno that i read by him which was very helpful for my first time, but he does leave out some details to make it more simple. if you want the more complex versions that involve a better translation, i would go for a different translater.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I must say that Dante has gone past the norm of classical lit. He takes you through a world beyond what we can comprehend. He shows us what happens after our life. Written during his own last days he brings a whole new thinking to the after-life by allowing us to visualize what these places are like. I recommend this to everyone. A GREAT PIECE OF LITURATURE!
Triphicus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Purgatorio is by far the best of the three.
USMC0811 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Personally, I'm a bit of a purist. I was halfway through the Inferno section when I looked into the details behind the translation. The problem with translating a rhyme from one language to another--and keeping the phrase rhymed--required the translator to completely butcher both the wording of the original and the English language as a whole. At times, whole lines are added to the cantos that were not even in the original Italian version. I'm not touching it until I find a non-rhyming version that is more directly translated from the original.But still, it's a good read, so 4 stars.
zhenlee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read the book twice. First time I got lost after Purgatorio, second time I finished with astounding understanding even amazed myself. The book is more than just an imaginary piece of work. It was Dante's spiritual journey in his own understanding, marvelously relevant to anyone who is in his/her own pursuit. The book even violently shook me during my darkest spiritual struggle... Besides that, the structure, philosophy, language, you can never finish reading Dante.
trinibaby9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved everything up to the Paradisso portion. I know this is supposed to be the best part of the three but it really wasn't to me. I really thought the first two were absolutely excellent. This is definitely devine!
Atomicmutant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can't believe I read the whole thing. *phew*
shmuffin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A classic. One of my all time favorites. The visions and descriptions in The Inferno are enough to make anyone pious.
bluehat1955 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First and foremost, this is a review of Ciardi's translation. I haven't read any other translations of this work, but I did a moderate bit of research and the conclusion (of the critics) is that Ciardi's translation is superior.I have now read the Divine Comedy twice, and hope to read it at least once more -- if you read it you will see that it is the execution of perfection. Besides being about good and evil, and how one can salvage one's life by embracing the former while eschewing the latter, you will marvel at the structure of these three canticles. Dante leaves few loose ends. There are surprises, witticisms, and rapture.
Schoolmann More than 1 year ago
I love John Ciardi's translation of The Divine Comedy. My one problem with the Nook Book version is that during a portion of the Purgatorio and most of the Paradiso, the verses are no longer separated into separate lines. Each stanza, or often two together, will be printed as a separate prose paragraph, and causes a mental hiccup when the reader finds the rhyming words of Ciardi's imitation terza rima. There's really no excuse for this sloppy editing.
VladimirDK More than 1 year ago
Not bad
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Thorne2112 More than 1 year ago
Although extremely dense, Dante's Divine Comedy is an incredible work of imagination and biblical scripture knowledge.
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Nina Montez More than 1 year ago
This translation is awesome, it has plain english part and then the poetry parts. So anyone can enjoy the book and understand what is going on. A great buy, you will be glad you did.
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