Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Best translation of the Divine Comedy?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    12

    Smile Best translation of the Divine Comedy?

    I would like to read the Divine Comedy, but I am not sure which translation is best. I will define the best translation as having superior beauty of writing while capturing the feel/vibe of the original.

    I am also concerned that I will not be able to comprehend it; do you have any advice for reading it?

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5,046
    Blog Entries
    16
    I'm almost finished with the Hollanders' translation of Paradiso. They're translation was beautifully written and has excellent notes following each canto. I highly recommend it.

    Here's a link to their translation of Inferno.

  3. #3
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The USA... or thereabouts
    Posts
    6,076
    Blog Entries
    78
    What is this sudden surge of first time posters asking for translations of various epics? One might almost suspect the same person registered under different names... but to what purpose?

    As for Dante's Comedia... I agree with the Hollander recommendation... although I also like Pinsky's Inferno, and Ciardi's translation (the first I read). Longfellow's translation is also surprisingly fine... in spite of its age.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
    My Blog: Of Delicious Recoil
    http://stlukesguild.tumblr.com/

  4. #4
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5,046
    Blog Entries
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    What is this sudden surge of first time posters asking for translations of various epics? One might almost suspect the same person registered under different names... but to what purpose?
    I actually thought the same thing. I don't know why one should somehow be embarrassed about asking about translations of works. I'm definitely not. It isn't as if it's common knowledge.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Belo Horizonte- Brasil
    Posts
    3,279
    Maybe those Mozart Conspiracy Wackos are ready for a Dante was actually Paracelso and wrote Paradise Lost...

  6. #6
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    620
    Ciardi.

    I remember when he was listed as an enemy of America back in the late 60s and early 70s. But that was a bad government joke as he was a great scholar and loyal citizen.
    ... by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord ... I am now, as before, a Catholic and will always remain so.

    --- Adolf Hitler

  7. #7
    Unregistered User
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Remiss, at times.
    Posts
    448
    Funny... I have the Robert & Jean Hollander translation sitting in my lap right now. You can get it for FREE here: http://etcweb.princeton.edu/dante/pdp/. Best to sample it before you but it, eh? But I recommend buying it anyways because the Hollanders are BAMFs

    In my opinion, by far the best translation. Rob Hollander has been teaching the epic to Princeton students for over forty years. He's written a dozen or so books and 80 some articles on Dante and Boccaccio. He's received a number of awards for his studies. Jean is his wife, a poet, teacher, and was director of the Writer's conference at The College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State). While the notes are excellent, they hardly scratch the surface of the text, and I wish that they had added more; instead they refer you to the critical commentaries.

    As for the Longfellow translation, at least, the more I read it the more I hate it. The meter is useless and obscures the meaning in certain areas. Nonetheless, it can be gotten off of wikisource here: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Dante%27s_Inferno. The translation on LitNet http://www.online-literature.com/dante/ is the Longfellow translation, I believe; however, wikisource has audio!

    I've read (not very closely) through others and, for the most part, none appear as exceptional as the Hollander translation.
    Last edited by Cunninglinguist; 03-23-2011 at 09:04 PM.
    Dare to know

  8. #8
    aspiring Arthurianist Wilde woman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    grad school in upstate NY
    Posts
    703
    I keep hearing good things about the Hollander. I suppose I should go check it out.

    I'm partial to Allen Mandelbaum's translation, but that's because I read his version the first (and only) time I've read the entire poem in translation.
    Ecce quam bonum et jocundum, habitares libros in unum!
    ~Robert Greene, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay

  9. #9
    Captain Azure Patrick_Bateman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    England
    Posts
    547
    I have an 'Everyman's Library' edition, which is a marvellous hardback edition complete with a fantastic jacket.
    Latest Blog: An Impassioned and Immediate Response to Dan Hodges, Political Writer, Daily Telegraph.
    http://britishpharaoh.wordpress.com/

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    67
    I've only read Mandelbaum's in full and thought it was good. I never bothered to finish Robn Kirkpatrick's version of the Purgatorio. It tried a bit too hard to capture the meditativeness and beauty of that volume, and lost Dante's voice.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3,093
    I've also only read Mandelbaum's in full and thought it was good. I read as much as I could of this and other translations online, (including Hollander, Pinsky, Longfellow...there are so many!) before plumping for this choice, and never regretted it.

    The Everyman hardback edition of Mandelbaum is a beautiful book, and not expensive. It's well worth buying in hardback as you're likely to read it, or at least parts of it, several times a lifetime. It comes with excellent notes - just enough to keep you reading, but not enough to weigh you down with detail.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    2
    Do any of you know the translation by Mark Musa (penguin classic) ? It was the copy from my local library (I wanted to read a version of the book before I bought a copy), It seems easy to understand but I wanted to see what you think of his translation (I want to make sure I'm reading a translation that does the work justice)

  13. #13
    Registered User Poetaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Northeast England
    Posts
    466
    I've not read Mandelbaum's, I must admit, and it appears I'm missing out. I like the Mark Musa translation the most, and I have a few translations of Dante. The C.H. Sisson one isn't bad, either. Longfellow is the classic.
    'So - this is where we stand. Win all, lose all,
    we have come to this: the crisis of our lives'

Similar Threads

  1. Favorite Quotes from Dante's 'The Divine Comedy'
    By HunterBrown1968 in forum Alighieri, Dante
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 01-02-2012, 03:29 PM
  2. what does it take to be divine?
    By accountansiyot in forum Philosophical Literature
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 02-12-2010, 04:21 AM
  3. Robin Kirkpatrick's translation of the Divine Comedy?
    By crjs1 in forum Alighieri, Dante
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-18-2009, 06:34 PM
  4. The Divine Comedy, Inferno
    By libby2007 in forum Inferno
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-25-2007, 04:45 PM
  5. About Dante's The Divine Comedy
    By hidalgo983 in forum General Literature
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-30-2005, 05:36 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •