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This is an excellent program, which comes mysteriously, with footnotes. The notes themselves are very useful as any reading of Dante is impossible without a third party to guide you along the first time. Many of the people he meets with along his journey are very, very obscure (not even a professor of Medieval Italian history would know them all from memory). However, the format is not always clear as to when the notes end and the text begins. I have read the Comedy more times than I can remember, but even I was momentarily confused at times as to who was speaking. I wish there was one reader for the text and another for the notes, or that the chapter breaks fell regularly between the notes and the poem itself, if nothing else, for clarity.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful
This is an excellent recording that rectifies most of the negatives in the reviews of the other options. It's a great introduction to Dante that will either satisfy your curiosity about "The Divine Comedy" or lead you to more in-depth study afterward.
Having sought a good recording of "The Divine Comedy" for some time, this recent release was welcome. Much of what one likes or dislikes about recordings of classic verse depends on the translation, the narrator, and other variables. This one worked well for me in that I enjoy the narrator (and have bought other recordings because I like his voice), that it is unabridged, and that the translation is pleasing to listen to (although it is prose and does not mimic the original's terza rima).
Each cantica is preceded by an author's note about its structure; each canto has a brief narrative overview. This makes it an excellent choice for first-time readers and/or people who want to read it without devoting a great deal of study to the process. That said, many people would say that "The Divine Comedy" requires a great deal of study,and that a footnoted, print edition is requisite. (I think not, depending upon one's interest, but some of the structure notes -- and biographical references -- would be more accessible in print.) It is perfectly listenable and one need not take a course to grasp the main points and see how it influenced later literature.
My only complaint -- and this is because I listen to several classics over and over -- is that there is no convenient way to listen to it from start to finish without the cantica and canto introductions. After one understands the processions, listening to just the verse would be a nice option.
81 of 84 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about The Divine Comedy?
It's the Divine Comedy. Its extremely well translated, I don't know how much is lost in translation. Certainly the rhyming structure so it stops being a poem and becomes prose but I didn't care about that.
Which character – as performed by Ralph Cosham – was your favourite?
He doesn't really have characters, just Dante and he did a good job, if a tad monotone.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Laugh and go how the *beep* did he get that past the pope.
Extremely frustrated with the canto structure. Explanation of the canto then the canto then another explanation. kills the momentum. but stick with.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to The Divine Comedy the most enjoyable?
The first part really put down the groundwork and was so good I could listen to the last two much slower parts
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
The obsession with Beatrice and describing her "divine beauty" every other canto would have helped. Some phrases or states of mind got very repetitive
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I think that would be too much, at least split it into three parts and only listen to the last two if you really really enjoyed the first one (Hell)
Any additional comments?
Somewhat split emotions when it comes to this book.
First part (Hell) was absolutely amazing, it was so gripping I got several chills down my spine. Would give it 8/10
Second part (Purgatory) was slow and repetitive, felt like Dante collected names just to spread their word once he returned. Would give it 4/10
Third part (Paradise) was very geometrical and complex, lots of patterns and angels who emerges from pure light. Little to the trippy side and enjoyable. Would give it 6/10
Overall all three books would get a 6/10 and I could only recommend all if you really enjoy the first part.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful