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About the book
  • Published: 21 November 2012
  • ISBN: 9780141197494
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 736
  • RRP: $19.99

The Divine Comedy




Informed by a profound belief in the dignity and compassion of humanity, and influenced by the turbulent society of thirteenth-century Italy, Dante's Commedia is one of the most extraordinary visions of sin and redemption in literature.

Robin Kirkpatrick's masterful verse translation of The Divine Comedy, tracing Dante's journey from Hell to Purgatory and finally Paradise, is published here for the first time in a single volume. The volume includes a new introduction, notes, maps and diagrams, and is the ideal edition for students as well as the general reader who is coming to the great masterpiece of Italian literature for the first time.

The Divine Comedydescribes Dante's descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide; his ascent of Mount Purgatory and encounter with his dead love, Beatrice; and finally, his arrival in Heaven. Examining questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, the poem is a brilliantly nuanced and moving allegory of human redemption.

'The perfect balance of tightness and colloquialism... likely to be the best modern version of Dante' - Bernard O'Donoghue

'The most moving lines literature has achieved' - Jorge Luis Borges

'This version is the first to bring together poetry and scholarship in the very body of the translation - a deeply-informed version of Dante that is also a pleasure to read' - Professor David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania

  • Pub date: 21 November 2012
  • ISBN: 9780141197494
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 736
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Dante Alighieri

Date: 2013-08-06
Dante, or Durante deli Alighieri, was born in Florence, Italy, circa 1265. His family was connected with the Guelph political alliance, supporters of the Papacy. His mother died before Dante’s tenth birthday. Dante himself was betrothed to Gemma di Manetto Donati when he was aged only 12. The pair went on to marry, but Dante’s true love was for Beatrice Portinari, who would inspire much of his poetry. Dante and Gemma had several children.
Dante was a member of Florence’s Apothecaries’ Guild, though he did not practice as a pharmacist. Allied to the White Guelphs, with whom he fought against the vanquishing Black Guelphs, he was eventually condemned to perpetual exile from Florence. He went first to Verona and then to Liguria. There is speculation that he travelled more widely, including to Paris and Oxford, although this has not been verified.
During his time of exile Dante conceived and wrote the three poems which form The Divine Comedy. He died in 1321, aged 56, of suspected malaria. He was buried in Ravenna, Italy, where a tomb was later erected in his name.

Stephen Wyatt is a playwright and dramatist with extensive experience in stage, radio and television.

Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 and belonged to a noble but impoverished family.  He followed a normal course of studies, possibly attending university in Bologna, and when he was about twenty he married Gemma Donati, by whom he had several children.  He had first met Bice Portinati, whom he called Beatrice, in 1274, and when she died in 1290, he sought distraction by studying philosophy and theology and by writing La Vita Nuova. 

During this time he became involved in the strife between the Guelfs and the Ghibellines; he became a prominent White Guelf, and when the Black Guelfs came to power in 1302, Dante, during an absence from Florence, was condemned to exile.  He took refuge first in Verona, and after wandering from place to place - as far as Paris and even, some have said, to Oxford - he settled in Ravenna.  While there he completed The Divine Comedy, which he began in about 1308.  Dante died in Ravenna in 1321.

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