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Thread: Dante's Divine Comedy Translations

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Sep 2011

    Question Dante's Divine Comedy Translations

    I'd like to read Dante's Divine Comedy in my semester off. I was wondering what you all thought were the best translations and editions. It doesn't have to be a single tome, I don't mind going out and buying different parts by different translators e.g. Inferno translated by X and Purgatory translated by Y. If there are any books of criticism you think are particularly good I would be grateful for those recommendations as well.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    I found the Hollanders' translations very good (though, it's the only translation I've read), the first being this.

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    Jul 2011
    I read John Ciardi's version. It was fine, it seems more "poetic" than Mutatis's suggestion (from reading the preview), but Ciardi changes and even invents some lines to force the rhyme. He has very extensive footnotes and commentary about the themes, however. At the beginning of each Canto he also gives a short description and summary which can be helpful sometimes.

  4. #4
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    The USA... or thereabouts
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    I personally love John Ciardi's translation... as well as that of the Hollanders. I don't think anyone surpasses the Hollanders when it comes to both the translation and notes... Robert Hollander having been a Dante Scholar for something like 30+ years.
    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

  5. #5
    Unregistered User
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Remiss, at times.
    The Hollander's is the best by most standards -- also, the notes are comprehensive without being too detailed, and will direct the reader (you) to the best commentaries (not all of them are written/translated in English).

    Here is a link to the text online:

    Yes, it is free.
    Dare to know

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