Synopses & Reviews
Robert Durling's spirited new prose translation of the Paradiso
completes his masterful rendering of the Divine Comedy
. Durling's earlier translations of the Inferno
and the Purgatorio
garnered high praise, and with this superb version of the Paradiso
readers can now traverse the entirety of Dante's epic poem of spiritual ascent with the guidance of one of the greatest living Italian-to-English translators.
Reunited with his beloved Beatrice in the Purgatorio, in the Paradiso the poet-narrator journeys with her through the heavenly spheres and comes to know "the state of blessed souls after death." As with the previous volumes, the original Italian and its English translation appear on facing pages. Readers will be drawn to Durling's precise and vivid prose, which captures Dante's extraordinary range of expression--from the high style of divine revelation to colloquial speech, lyrical interludes, and scornful diatribes against corrupt clergy.
This edition boasts several unique features. Durling's introduction explores the chief interpretive issues surrounding the Paradiso, including the nature of its allegories, the status in the poem of Dante's human body, and his relation to the mystical tradition. The notes at the end of each canto provide detailed commentary on historical, theological, and literary allusions, and unravel the obscurity and difficulties of Dante's ambitious style . An unusual feature is the inclusion of the text, translation, and commentary on one of Dante's chief models, the famous cosmological poem by Boethius that ends the third book of his Consolation of Philosophy. A substantial section of Additional Notes discusses myths, symbols, and themes that figure in all three cantiche of Dante's masterpiece. Finally, the volume includes a set of indexes that is unique in American editions, including Proper Names Discussed in the Notes (with thorough subheadings concerning related themes), Passages Cited in the Notes, and Words Discussed in the Notes, as well as an Index of Proper Names in the text and translation. Like the previous volumes, this final volume includes a rich series of illustrations by Robert Turner.
"In this new translation, Durling tries to be as concrete as possible, producing a version that is more fluent and accurate than the versions of Mandelbaum and Musa.... Highly recommended."--Library Journal
"A magnificent achievement. The translation is both literal and exquisite, reconciling Italian poetic forms with English syntax and lexicon; it is the clearest window on Dante's breathtaking Purgatorio
yet available in English. Its concise introduction, clear and rich glosses, masterful road-map to Dante scholarship, and careful connections to the rest of the poem, make this a Purgatorio
which will delight all types of Dante readers."--Regina Psaki, The Giustina Family Professor of Italian Language and Literature, Romance Languages, University of Oregon
"Like the Inferno edition that preceded it, the Durling-Martinez Purgatorio, with its beautiful translation and superb apparatus of notes, is simply the best edition of Dante's second canticle in English. No other version offers anything close to what we find gathered here in one volume."--Robert Harrison, Professor of Italian, Stanford University
"This translation of Dante's Purgatorio is another brilliant achievement for the Durling/Martinez team. The clarity and precision of the English rendering perfectly catches the subtlety of Dante's Italian, and in particular, the expansive poetic imagery born of Dante's experience of Purgatory. Like their version of the Inferno, this volume provides sophisticated notes and commentary informed by the most recent Dante scholarship. It also contains a series of fifteen jewel-like essays analyzing the central interpretative themes of the Divine Comedy.... This volume is a tour-de-force, offering at once elegant poetry and scrupulous scholarship in an accessible style.... The Durling/Martinez volumes are masterpieces...they will be the definitive Dante for many generations to come."--Margaret Brose, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature and Director of the Italian Studies Program, University of California, Santa Cruz
'This new edition of Inferno is distinctly user-friendly....Serious students-in or out of the classroom-who...examine the original poem alongside a readable and reliable prose translation will find this edition excellently suited to their needs.'
-The Christian Science Monitor
'A useful volume for students and first-time visitors to Dante's cosmos.'-
'In this new translation, Durling tries to be as concrete as possible, producing a version that is more fluent and accurate than the versions of Mandelbaum and Musa.... Highly recommended.'
'Like the Inferno edition that preceded it, the Durling-Martinez Purgatorio, with its beautiful translation and superb apparatus of notes, is simply the best edition of Dante's second canticle in English. No other version offers anything close to what we find gathered here in one volume.'
-Robert Harrison, Professor of Italian, Stanford University
"As Durling and Martinez complete their monumental three-volume presentation of Dante's masterpiece, we can sense their triumph and elation, despite their characteristic modesty. This, after all, is the volume with which they can demonstrate the fullness and consistency of Dante's great project, its final approach to what they describe in one footnote as 'a pitch of intensity unique in all literature.' The scholarship, as always, is graceful, comprehensive, and acute, and it surrounds a translation that is so carefully considered and fully realized as to be, at times, quite breathtaking." --David Young, translator of The Poetry of Petrarch
"Durling and Martinez deliver Paradiso in elegant English prose faithful to Dante's Italian. The general introduction and succinct notes to each canto enable an informed reading of a frequently daunting text, while the longer 'Additional Notes,' bibliography, and indices will more than satisfy the most exigent critic. Marvelous, in the richest medieval sense of the term." --Michael Wyatt, author of The Italian Encounter with Tudor England
"At the end of his poem Dante claims that his 'high imagining failed of power,' but Durling and Martinez have suffered no such fate in completing their translation of the Divine Comedy. Their Paradiso is a crowning achievement, a work of lucid prose and of impeccable accuracy. Readers will find themselves rewarded by the succinct, richly informative notes at the end of each canto and the extended essay-notes at the back of the volume. A splendid accomplishment." --Richard Lansing, editor of The Dante Encyclopedia
The second volume of Oxford's new "Divine Comedy presents the Italian text of the "Purgatorio and, on facing pages, a new prose translation. Continuing the story of the poet's journey through the medieval Other World under the guidance of the Roman poet Virgil, the "Purgatorio culminates in the regaining of the Garden of Eden and the reunion there with the poet's long-lost love Durling's prose translation, like that of the Inferno, is unprecedented in its accuracy, eloquence, and closeness to Dante's syntax.
The second volume of Oxford's new Divine Comedy
presents the Italian text of the Purgatorio
and, on facing pages, a new prose translation. Continuing the story of the poet's journey through the medieval Other World under the guidance of the Roman poet Virgil, the Purgatorio
culminates in the regaining of the Garden of Eden and the reunion there with the poet's long-lost love Beatrice. This new edition of the Italian text takes recent critical editions into account, and Durling's prose translation, like that of the Inferno
, is unprecedented in its accuracy, eloquence, and closeness to Dante's syntax.
Martinez' and Durling's notes are designed for the first-time reader of the poem but include a wealth of new material unavailable elsewhere. The extensive notes on each canto include innovative sections sketching the close relation to passages--often similarly numbered cantos--in the Inferno. Fifteen short essays explore special topics and controversial issues, including Dante's debts to Virgil and Ovid, his radical political views, his original conceptions of homosexuality, of moral growth, and of eschatology. As in the Inferno, there is an extensive bibliography and four useful indexes.
Robert Turner's illustrations include maps, diagrams of Purgatory and the cosmos, and line drawings of objects and places mentioned in the poem.
In the early 1300s, Dante Alighieri set out to write the three volumes which make the up The Divine Comedy. Purgatorio is the second volume in this set and opens with Dante the poet picturing Dante the pilgrim coming out of the pit of hell. Similar to the Inferno (34 cantos), this volume is divided into 33 cantos, written in tercets (groups of 3 lines). The English prose is arranged in tercets to facilitate easy correspondence to the verse form of the Italian on the facing page, enabling the reader to follow both languages line by line. In an effort to capture the peculiarities of Dante's original language, this translation strives toward the literal and sheds new light on the shape of the poem. Again the text of Purgatorio follows Petrocchi's La Commedia secondo l'antica vulgata, but the editor has departed from Petrocchi's readings in a number of cases, somewhat larger than in the previous Inferno, not without consideration of recent critical readings of the Comedy by scholars such as Lanza (1995, 1997) and Sanguineti (2001). As before, Petrocchi's punctuation has been lightened and American norms have been followed. However, without any pretensions to being "critical", the text presented here is electic and being not persuaded of the exclusive authority of any manuscript, the editor has felt free to adopt readings from various branches of the stemma. One major addition to this second volume is in the notes, where is found the Intercantica - a section for each canto that discusses its relation to the Inferno and which will make it easier for the reader to relate the different parts of the Comedy as a whole.
About the Author
Robert M. Durling
is Professor Emeritus of English and Italian Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Ronald L. Martinez
is Professor of Italian at Brown University. Their works together include Dante's Inferno
and Time and the Crystal: Studies in Dante's "Rime petrose."
Robert Turner has been a professional illustrator for thirty years.