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Thread: Inferno Translation

  1. #1
    If grace is an ocean... grace86's Avatar
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    Inferno Translation

    Just finished reading The Aeneid in Lit class which brought us to a discussion on The Inferno. We will soon be studying The Inferno and started discussing translators. Do any of you have a suggestion as to which translator would be best at keeping the piece poetic? I have heard mixed feelings on a lot of them so I was curious to hear your thoughts.

    I'm afraid I don't have my text with me so I cannot say who the translator is in my Norton Anthology.
    "So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest, I don't have time to maintain these regrets, when I think about, the way....He loves us..."


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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    The one I read was translated by Henry Wardsworth Longfellow. It was very good, I thought, in maintaining Dante's poetic style
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    I've found Robert Pinsky's and John Ciardi's translation to be very good. Both are established 20th century poets. Pinsky has been an American poet luarate. Pinsky's is most recent; Ciardi's I think goes back to the 1950's and has stood the test of time. You can find them both at Amazon.com.
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    in angulo cum libro Petrarch's Love's Avatar
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    I haven't actually read the Pinsky translation, but I'll weigh in with Virg. about the Ciardi translatioin being good. I think that's the one that Norton uses (though that may have changed in a newer Norton edition) so you may already own a piece of it. I like the Singleton edition too, but that translation isn't very "poetic." It is, however a wonderful direct translation if you either want the original sense without translated poetic license, or are mainly reading through the original but need to check from time to time because of vocabulary defecits etc. The Singleton also has some of the most extensive English commentary in the companion volumes.

    "In rime sparse il suono/ di quei sospiri ond' io nudriva 'l core/ in sul mio primo giovenile errore"~ Francesco Petrarca
    "Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can."~ Jane Austen

  5. #5
    If grace is an ocean... grace86's Avatar
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    Thank you so much guys. I trust all your opinions more than just random reviews. If I remember correctly the translation in my Norton is by Allen Mandelbaum (sp?) I know my professor didn't care for him too much.

    But I guess it is all a matter of preference. I think I have a copy of Longfellow's translation somewhere amongst the forest of the unread.

    I like your suggestions too Petrarch - think I might pick up a more direct translation as well so I can compare them if I get stuck.

    Virgil: Thank you - I was hoping you would respond ecause I did not think I was wrong in making the assumption that you had read the Aeneid and probably read Inferno as well! As for Ciardi, I did hear a lot of people did not like his translation...but all considering, I think I will take your advice and check it out.

    Thanks again guys!
    "So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest, I don't have time to maintain these regrets, when I think about, the way....He loves us..."


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  6. #6
    If grace is an ocean... grace86's Avatar
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    Reading the Inferno now: Mandelbaum's translation is in the Norton. It is really easy to understand and keeps the poetry. I have Longfellow's that I compare it to. I read an excerpt from Ciardi...really liked that one as well. So, I just have to figure out which is my favorite later on...they are all great.
    "So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest, I don't have time to maintain these regrets, when I think about, the way....He loves us..."


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