John Anthony Ciardi was an Italian-American poet, translator, and etymologist. While primarily known as a poet, he also translated Dante’s Divine Comedy. The Paperback of the The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, The and The Paradiso (John Ciardi Translation) by Dante Alighieri at Barnes & Noble. : The Divine Comedy. Stock Image. The Divine Comedy: Dante Alighieri, John Ciardi (Translator) zoom_in. Stock Image. Quantity Available: 1.

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A comparison of Zappulla’s and Ciardi’s translations of the episode of Paolo and Francesca in canto 5 may make the point. Mandelbaum parts gently with the poem’s formal demands, but only after giving you a sense of them in his translation of the famous opening lines:.

The Divine Comedy

Eliot’s Essay on Dante and has grown, in some quarters, to the proportions of a cult. The boat meanwhile has sped on, and before Argenti s screams have died away, Dante sees the flaming red towers of Dis, the Capital of Hell. Thus ended the worst of this partisan strife from which, as Machi- avelli was to write, “there resulted more murders, banish- xvi Introduction ments and destruction of families than ever in any city known to history.

Had man not sinned, he would never have known Hell. The Gate of Hell, therefore, was created before man. The legend of the Harrowing of Hell is Apocryphal. Through all of Hell the Poets bear left in their descent with only two exceptions, the first in their approach to the Heretics, the second in their approach to Geryon, the monster of fraud see note XVII, 29 below.

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Francesca came to Rimini and there an amour grew between her and Giovanni’s younger brother Paolo. The con- cept of the family name and of its survival in the memories of men were matters of first importance among Italians of Dante’s time, and expressions of essentially the same attitude are common in Italy today.


Since Dante still has his body, and since all others in Hell are incorporeal shades, there is a recurring narrative problem in the Inferno and through the rest of the Corn- media: My Guide’s prompt hands urged me among the dim and smoking sepulchres to that great figure, and he said to me: If by this is xiv Introduction meant that many typically medieval attitudes are to be found in it, it is true: With so many versions around to pick from its kind of hard to decide which one would be the best.

Love, which permits no loved one not to love, 1 00 took me so strongly with delight in him that we are one in Hell, as we were above. The allegory is clear: When Saint Peter rages about the popes who have usurped his place on earth, though he is a saint, he can still sputter like a cheated landlord: A heavier guilt draws them to greater pain.

In his ironic de- scription of the Sullen he ridicules the damned for the first time. Ciardi’s solution was to produce endnotes that are not only lucid but so appealingly down-to-earth that the notes might alone justify the translation.

The Divine Comedy | W. W. Norton & Company

Dante understands at once that such forces cannot fail him, and his spirits rise in joyous anticipation. He took from us the shade of our first parent, 55 of Abel, his pure son, of ancient Noah, of Moses, the bringer of law, the obedient. As their sin was a darkness, so they move in darkness.

Dismissive of rhyme and the organizational energies of lyric stanzaic groupings like quatrainsMilton accomplished for narrative poetry what Shakespeare did for dramatic poetry—advancing the claims of character over those of plot, of personality over the concept- and event-driven storytelling tradition that Homer began and Aristotle formalized.


With the aid of the Manfredi of Siena, he gathered a large force and defeated the Guelphs at Montaperti on the River Arbia in To comfort him Virgil explains how Beatrice descended to him in Limbo and told him of her concern for Dante. The matter was then legitimized by a series of “purge trials” of the sort only too familiar to us.

Dante’s treatment of these two lovers is certainly the tenderest and most sympathetic accorded any of the sinners in Hell, and leg- ends immediately began to grow about this pair. The accountability comes at the cost comdey the intense readability and enjoyment of Ciardi’s version, yet it is still stirring to see two experts picking their way over the old ground and summarizing a good deal that the amateurs have left out.

An angel’s voice, a music of its own: Two years later, however “within three suns”the Blacks, aided by Dante’s detested Boniface VIII, returned and expelled most of the prominent Whites, among them Dante; for he had been a member of the Priorate City Council that issued a decree banishing the lead- ers of both sides. The Floren- tines took sides and in the late spring of the two parties, called “Blacks” and “Whites,” fought in the streets.

Venus, in her son’s interest, secures a prophecy and a promise from Jove to the effect that Aeneas is to found a royal line that shall rule the world.

Here and there Mandellbaum coughs up rhetorical furballs that are present in the original and that test the resourcefulness of the translator.