View Full Version : Looking to get a dialogue going on anything Dante related

10-14-2014, 10:21 AM
Hit me up with anything, Divine Comedy or otherwise. I'm working on several projects in my graduate program that revolve around Dante's works, including researching how people discuss the subject, and with what kinds of language they dialogue (formal vs informal, etc), especially in online settings. I'm a huge Dante buff, so there are personal reasons too. One suggestion I will throw out: author Marcus Sanders has paired with an illustrator to create a modern version (as in set in modern times) of The Divine Comedy in contemporary language. This is interesting because Dante is classically paired with Gustav Dore's illustrations. Reading the two versions of the Inferno side by side could be fun and interesting. Any takers and / or other suggestions?

10-14-2014, 01:50 PM
I know Clive James has recently written a translation of The Divine Comedy. He used to be a television presenter over here, although he is an Australian.

One thing I have wondered is how much is Dante's language like modern Italian. Italy only united into one country in the 19th century, and some regional dialect speakers were mutually incomprehensible. I knew an Italian from Sardinia at university. He had a girlfriend from somewhere in the Apennine Mountains. He said the Italian he speaks with his, now, wife is different from the Sardinian he speaks with his parents. I wonder how much the Italian in the Divine Comedy is more like Latin than modern Italian. I studied (although not very effectively) Latin at school, and I studied Italian later at evening class. Italian is a much easier language to learn than Latin.

10-17-2014, 12:42 PM
Those are really interesting points / questions. Fortunately, I have been given some insight into them recently. I attend classes with a man whose major is Latin Education. He explained to me that Latin never really died per say, but evolved into a lot of modern languages like Italian. The Italian of Dante was apparently the "vulgar" or common tongue version of Latin at the time, which is why it was looked down upon in higher circles.

From what I have read, Dante's Italian is also the most wide spread dialect of modern Italian, the Tuscan dialect if I'm not mistaken. This is largely in part due to the fame of his works.

I have not yet learned Italian myself, but I very much want to. How hard do you think it would be for me to learn it as an adult, and have you attempted to read The Divine Comedy in Italian yet?

10-17-2014, 07:35 PM
I have not read The Divine Comedy in English or Italian. Obviously I have heard a bit about the story.

IME, most languages are difficult to learn properly. I spent quite a few years at night school studying French and German and got pretty good at them, without being fluent. I studied Italian for a couple of years at night school, but then lost interest. In addition, I have studied cassette courses in Spanish, Dutch and Serbo-Croat. At school I studied French and Latin, but at the time I was not motivated. I would say of all those languages, Italian was the easiest to learn. The grammar is regular like German, but simpler. Like German, and unlike French, the words are distinctly and individually pronounced. Italian is also quite a pretty language to listen to. It's a pity only Italians speak it. Strangely, Latin is the hardest language I have ever studied.

10-30-2014, 03:28 PM
Sorry It has taken me so long to get back... I'm going full time in graduate school at the moment while working part time and raising a family. Thank you for the encouragement concerning Italian. Are you interested in beginning to read at least Dante's Inferno and discussing it with me here? You can access it, as well as classes at various universities, for free online.