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  • Published: 27 May 2003
  • ISBN: 9780451208637
  • Imprint: Berkley
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 928
  • RRP: $35.99

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

The authoritative translations of The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso—together in one volume.

Belonging in the immortal company of the great works of literature, Dante Alighieri’s poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise—the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation.

Now, for the first time, John Ciardi’s brilliant and authoritative translations of Dante’s three soaring canticles—The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso—have been gathered together in a single volume. Crystallizing the power and beauty inherent in the great poet’s immortal conception of the aspiring soul, The Divine Comedy is a dazzling work of sublime truth and mystical intensity.

  • Published: 27 May 2003
  • ISBN: 9780451208637
  • Imprint: Berkley
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 928
  • RRP: $35.99

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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Praise for The Divine Comedy

“Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them—there is no third.”—T.S. Eliot “Ciardi has given us...a credible, passionate persona of the poet, stripped of the customary gauds of rhetoric and false decoration, strong and noble in utterance.”—Dudley Fitts   “A sensitive and perceptive translation…a spectacular achievement.”—Archibald MacLeish “I think [Ciardi’s] version of Dante will be in many respects the best we have seen.”—John Crowe Ransom

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