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Thread: Any suggestions for a translations of the Divine Comedy and Ovid's Metamorphoses

  1. #1
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    Any suggestions for a translations of the Divine Comedy and Ovid's Metamorphoses

    Anyone clued up on what are the leading translations of The Divine Comedy and The Metamorphoses? And any recommendations in light of ones you have read?
    I'm interested in reading the Longfellow translation of Dante if it isn't too difficult to read, anyone read it?
    Thanks

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    I have read Longfellow's Inferno and Purgatoria. It's not difficult. Personally I prefer Mandelbaum.

    As far as Ovid is concerned, you have to decide whether you want prose or verse. Some people will tell you are an idiot if you prefer the prose versions - but I find that Latin verse does not translate efficiently into English. That being said, I have read both verse and prose and find merits in both. Frank Miller's prose is a very good one. Once again, Mandelbaum has a good verse translation.
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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    I like John Ciardi's Dante. Mandelbaum is OK. My current choice would be Jean and Robert Hollander... and Pinsky's Inferno on the side.

    Ovid? Mandelbaum or Rolfe Humphries. Mortal Terror... who is far more the Latinist than I... swears by Humphries.
    Last edited by stlukesguild; 05-25-2012 at 06:54 PM.
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  4. #4
    I have only read one version of Dante's Divine Comedy and that is the translation by Mark Musa available in Penguin's The Portable Dante. It has the advantage of containing the entire Divine Comedy plus some of Dante's other poetry all in one fairly compact volume for a low price.
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    BadWoolf JuniperWoolf's Avatar
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    I like the translation of The Metamorphoses by Charles Martin better than I do Mandelbaum's.
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    Thanks for the help guys, I'll look more into those translations.

    Can you elaborate more on why you prefer or do not prefer the translations you have cited?

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    BadWoolf JuniperWoolf's Avatar
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    Well, I find Mandelbaum's translation stuffy. Martin's is a bit more... colorful? Exciting? Yeah.
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    I like Mandelbaum's Divine Comedy - to me it reads well (not at all stuffy), it comes in a nice Everyman hardback, and has "just enough" notes. I compared translations using Amazon "Look Inside!" and Google books, and it was a close call between several - Mandelbaum just edged it for me.

    Musa's translation wasn't bad, I thought, but Penguin don't use acid-free paper or sewn bindings... so if you want a 'keeper for a lifetime' then don't choose this.

    Ovid - Ted Hughes, maybe. I haven't read it all yet, but the bits I have read are quite exciting (I really liked his translation of Aeschylus - but don't expect a literal translation!)

  9. #9
    I’m currently reading Inferno translated by Mark Musa and find his prose wonderful and easy to read, so much so that I have already ordered his Purgatory and Paradise. Happy reading.

  10. #10

    Smile Mark Musa translation

    I have a few translation of Dante’s masterpiece but I find Mark Musa’s prose both wonderful and easy to read, so much so that I’ve purchased ‘his’ Purgatory and Paradise. in the end each translation has its own merit. Happy reading

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    I have the Hollander translation. It's quite excellent and Robert Hollander's commentary alone makes it more than worth buying.

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    Registered User Red Terror's Avatar
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    Metamorphoses translated into English by Stanley Lombardo is a fine work

    Divine Comedy translated into English (terza rima) by John Ciardi, surely.
    Last edited by Red Terror; 01-27-2022 at 01:12 AM.
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