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I purchased this title several months ago on CD and have been hoping for some time that Audible would make it available. It's an unusual version of the Divine Comedy: a fresh translation with a kind of built-in study guide. Brief explanations of most of the allusions in this complex poem are woven into the text. For example, where Dante might refer to "the Eagle," this translation says: "the Eagle, emblem of the Empire."
There is one drawback to this, and that is that Dante's allusions are not always so clear-cut. The translator has typically chosen a single concrete tag line among the many possible annotations. But this audiobook is an introduction, not a substitute for an intensive study of Dante. It's meant to be an enjoyable and comprehensible audiobook, something that will give you more of the Divine Comedy on a first listen than you can get from most of the others available.
I've read the Commedia several times in a variety of translations, and despite my familiarity with many of the passages, I found these small additions to the text quite helpful. It's easy when reading the poem to forget who was a Guelph and who was a Ghibelline; this audiobook helps you keep it straight.
Although I haven't seen the text in print (I'm not sure if it's even available), the translation appears to be prose. The translator has tried to capture some of the poetic energy of the work by making extensive use of alliteration rather than rhyme. Most of the time this works admirably; sometimes it's a strain.
Grover Gardner, a Virgil among readers, gives his usual sterling narration.
I would suggest, if you do get this, that you listen to it in small doses. Despite the helpful features of the translation, Dante's poem remains dense with symbol and meaning. There's a lot to take in. Go slow and savor.
43 of 43 people found this review helpful
Dante did a masterful job here and coupled with the excellent narrative by Grover Gardner this was without a doubt a true joy to listen to.
The imagery created by Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso was done immensely well. I found Dante's depiction of Inferno (Hell) exceptionally well written and the translation of Herbert Kenny seems to have done it justice. I personally thought that it was the best of the three explained in this prose. I say that not to take away from the impact that Purgatorio (Limbo) and Paradiso (Heaven) created because those two (2) sections were also quite impressively worded and translated. One would think that due to the somewhat specific mention that was made to certain persons, places and cultural idiosyncrasies that was very evident in the book that it would be difficult to follow at times but I found it very easy to follow. It really is quite timeless if you ask me, it should be able to resound quite well if you are interested in any theological writing or if you are simply a fan of expertly written prose of epic proportions. There is nothing I can take away from the writing itself and outside of someone simply disagreeing with the concepts he puts forward I doubt there is anything anyone will be able to take from it.
There are a number of different versions of this book on the website and I was very concerned by the reviews regarding the narration until I came across this one. I started listening to this title very critical because I was essentially preparing for the worse... but I was surprised... Pleasantly so! The narrator did in fact do the book justice! He keeps the pace well and was able to keep you well enough engrossed in the story.
Overall, just plain masterful all around. This was time well spent! And most definitely have replay value!
25 of 26 people found this review helpful