The Divine Comedy

  • by Dante Alighieri
  • Narrated by Ralph Cosham
  • 13 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

One of the greatest works in literature, Dante's story-poem is an allegory that represents mankind as it exposes itself, by its merits or demerits, to the rewards or the punishments of justice. A single listen will reveal Dante's visual imagination and uncanny power to make the spiritual visible.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent Reading, Odd Notes

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.
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- George

Almost Divine

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.

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- whynot?

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-19-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.