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  • Published: 24 April 2003
  • ISBN: 9780142437223
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $26.99

The Divine Comedy




Poet and translator Steve Ellis completes his new version of Dante's Divine Comedy, the astonishing epic that has shaped art and culture since the 14th century

An acclaimed translation of Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy Volume 1: Inferno that retains all the style, power and meaning of the original, this Penguin Classics edition is translated from the Italian with an introduction by Mark Musa.

This vigorous translation of Inferno preserves Dante's simple, natural style, and captures the swift movement of the original Italian verse. Mark Musa's blank verse rendition of the poet's journey through the circles of hell recreates for the modern reader the rich meanings that Dante's poem had for his contemporaries. Musa's introduction and commentaries on each of the cantos brilliantly illuminate the text.

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), scion of a Florentine family, mastered in the art of lyric poetry at an early age. His first major work is La Vita Nuova (1292) an exercise in sonnet form constructed as a tribute to Beatrice Portinari, the great love of his life. It is believed that The Divine Comedy - comprised of three canticles, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso - was written between 1308 and 1320.

If you enjoyed the Inferno you might like Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron, also available in Penguin Classics.'Musa operates on the principle that a translator's first duty is to render the original text as exactly as possible without compromising the literary quality of the work ... [This is] the best English-language version of the Inferno currently available'Library Journal

  • Published: 24 April 2003
  • ISBN: 9780142437223
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $26.99

About the author

Dante Alighieri

Date: 2013-08-06Dante, 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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