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The Divine Comedy

Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso


Publisher writes

"The Divine Comedy" describes Dante's descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide; his ascent of Mount Purgatory and encounter with his dead love, Beatrice; and finally, his arrival in Heaven. Examining questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, the poem is a brilliantly nuanced and moving allegory of human redemption.

Robin Kirkpatrick's masterful verse translation is published here for the first time in a single volume. The volume includes a new introduction, notes, maps and diagrams, and is the ideal edition for students as well as the general reader who is coming to the great masterpiece of Italian literature for the first time.

Author Information

Dante Alighieri, (translated by Robin Kirkpatrick)

Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 and belonged to a noble but impoverished family. His life was divided by political duties and poetry, the most of famous of which was inspired by his meeting with Bice Portinari, whom he called Beatrice,including La Vita Nuova and The Divine Comedy. He died in Ravenna in 1321. Robin Kirkpatrick is a poet and widely-published Dante scholar. He has taught courses on Dante's Divine Comedy in Hong Kong, Dublin, and Cambridge where is Fellow of Robinson College and Professor of Italian and English Literatures.

Judges' and contributors' comments

Cally Hammond: The first poetry on the list: No other poem could trump it for originality, depth of vision, coherence, completeness. Reading the whole of it is on my to-do list.

Jenny Monds: This masterpiece of Italian literature had to come in the top five for its influence on future writers, including William Blake, T.S. Eliot and C.S. Lewis.

Mark Oakley: This is a fantastic work – the pilgrim-poet – descending and ascending into human being, will and intentionality as well as hell and heaven. This is a spiritually serious scrutiny of whether we are recognisable to ourselves.

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