"The Divine Comedy" by Dante (trans. Allen Mandelbaum). A Short Review

The Divine ComedyThe Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With regard to this particular edition, not knowing Italian, I can't vouch for the quality of the translation, but I can say the following. The format is poetry (rather than prose), and the rhythm normally flows well. The translation is by Allen Mandelbaum (4 May 1926 – 27 October 2011), an award-winning translator of many classics.

Along with the core material, there are a truck load of end notes that are knowledgeable (the annotator understands his Christianity and his Catholicism, as well as the historical innuendos and incidents of the text). I found myself regularly turning to the end notes to either assure myself of what I had gathered, or to instruct me in what I had completely missed. Simply because of my ignorance of hagiographa, medieval history and hoary-headed sages, I kept returning to the end notes making the reading slow and sluggish.

All told, it was enjoyable to read Dante's "Commedia". Though it took longer thank a regular work of this length, nevertheless with some perseverance it can be accomplished. Maybe, just maybe, through reading the Divine Comedy it may one day be said of us what was said of Dante by St. Peter in Canto XXIV, "he loves well and hopes well and has faith" (493). I highly recommend this edition of the Commedia.

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