What's the best English translation of The Divine Comedy?

What's the best English translation of The Divine Comedy?

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  1. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    You can know a priori that it is impossible to translate la Divina Commedia into English.

  2. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    ehhh.
    if you want a good balance between accuracy and scholarship then either the Hollander or Durling. To be honest i mainly keep both around for the notes, which are excellent. Ciardi is also fine and was my first ever foray into dante, but i find him hard to recommend .
    Avoid Dorothy Sayers, unless you really like the olde worlde tone and have a serious tolerance for melodrama.

    To be honest IMO you are better off picking individual translations by various poets.

    Sean O'Brien for Inferno,
    W.S. Merwin's Purgatorio
    and learn Italian for Paradiso.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Durling
      What's the style of and what's in the Durling notes that others don't have?

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        >Durling
        Well it's blank verse, only slightly tuned (like most eng translations) with extensive historical and biographical notes at the end of each chapter as well as more lit crit type notes at the end + the Italian text in parallel. Reading it along side The Dante Encyclopedia you would have everything you need to make your way thought the poem. Otherwise i would recommend starting with some sort of brief introduction like Shaw's Reading Dante or the The Cambridge Companion.

        Just opened and read a random bit in Purgatorio and it's really readable. unlike the Hollander It keeps up with the Italian surprisingly well.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          >with extensive historical and biographical notes at the end of each chapter as well as more lit crit type notes at the end + the Italian text in parallel.
          Doesn't Hollander have this? And Hollander's longer.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            In terms of notes Hollander's are on the whole shorter. For someone who mostly reads the text in Italian and only occasionally needs the English during the more difficult bits they are both fine, but when making your way though for the first time it is (appropriately enough) good to have a guide.

            The problem with Dante is just how obscure he is can be. Ideally you should first have a basic knowledge of Saint Augustine, the medieval history of Florence, the Papal schism and Papal State, Guelph vs Ghibelline fighting, and a non elementary knowledge of dante's theories on Monarchy, Language and Poetry.
            This is obviously not realistic or advisable and will turn off al but the most autistic readers.

            Read the poem, follow the notes, and except that you will very likely be coming back years down the line. .

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Dude what are you even on about? What does florence play in any important way in the story? Don't scare away people with your autism. The only thing newcomers might not understand are all the names being dropped every now and then. Hell one doesn't even need to know who Virgil is in the first place. Italian children read it in highschool.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >What does florence play in any important way in the story

            > literally everyone he encounters is a florentine politician .

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            also just get this version to end this sutistic discussion

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous
          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous
          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            gustave dore is very much recommended, especially if you also plan to read paradise lost

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous
          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Yuck.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            shit translation

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      How’s the Merwin?

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Really good if very different.
        Feels more like a like a personal project and assumes familiarity with the text.

  3. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Just learn German

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      which is the best german translation? been wanting to read this for a while but couldn't decide on a translation

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        I'm curious about this too, but I've already read it in english..The Mandelbaum translation is great, dunno what this autistic anon is on about. Just get the everyman's Library hardcover, it's very much worth it and a lot of fun.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          It’s a paraphrasing, not a translation. Might as well play the EA game while you’re at it

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            How can one be so autistic. Are you the same kind of person who tells other people that they never really tasted coffee if they didn't consume it in the specific which way, which only you enjoy?

            Then go with Longfellow

            Midway upon the journey of our life

            I found myself within a forest dark,

            For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            I'll post some photos related to the divine comedy now.

            Also be sure to visit the Rodin Museum in Paris, or the national galery in Tokyo for a photo of the hells gate from the divine comedy

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous
          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >food analogy

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Great comeback anon, now shut up

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            no, plebs don’t deserve good answers

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Stefan George's (not complete) or Rudolf Borchardt

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          really? incomplete doesn't seem appealing and no publisher is using the Borchardt translation

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      To read Dante? Wouldn't it be smarter to learn Italian?

  4. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Longfellow. I always recommend to avoid Mandelbaum because he's paraphrasing, not translating.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >finally sit down and start reading Divine Comedy
      >see this post and check the translation
      >It's Mandelbaum
      well shit

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        All the translations are shit. Mandelbaum at least is enjoyable.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      I keep meaning to read the Longfellow translation. It's on my list of books to read this year. A poet translating another poet is bound to be better than some prose writer or mere academic translating it, right?

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Yes.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >because he's paraphrasing, not translating
      Is this true? I read his translation (or paraphrasing if so) and enjoyed it. Disappointing if it's really that far off the intended spirit of Dante.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        >Is this true? I read his translation (or paraphrasing if so) and enjoyed it. Disappointing if it's really that far off the intended spirit of Dante.

        Dont sweat it man. Eng translations are a mess, whats important is that you have gotten a taste for it.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          It doesn't bother me, I already know I'm missing out on the actual work by not knowing the language, but it's disappointing if the translation is that inaccurate. Maybe one day I'll study Italian to read it proper, but I'm too focused on understanding French books.

  5. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Mark Musa is my favorite. But there is no genuinely great translation in English at the moment, and there probably never will be.

  6. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    What are the best resources to learn Italian? Am I good with stuff like Duolinguo and Babble, or do I need something more specialized?

    I should be learning Italian as it is, me and the rest of my family are going to have Italian citizenship soon.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Natura method. There’s a book for italian

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Natura method. There’s a book for italian

      doesnt teach pronuncations which makes it garbage.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Italian pronunciation is pretty straightforward. Just watch some videos to see hoe each letter is pronounced and all that.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          >Italian pronunciation is pretty straightforward.
          You don't speak Italian or French, if you did, you wouldn't say something this stupid.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Italian has a more consistent level of phohemicity than French. It’s on the level of Spanish. What seems to be the problem, you weak homosexual?

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            phonemicity*

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            That's not the problem you moronic pseud. You don't know any Romance language well enough to realize what the problem is, and that's on you.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            I know 3 Romance languages (native speaker actually). Again, what’s your issue with Italian pronunciation? Don’t reply if you’re going to avoid the question again.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            No you don't, otherwise you'd know why the Italian natural book is garbage.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Wait, I'm a German native speaker and how is German just in the middle? Every word is spoken phonetically just exactly how it is spelled.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            No it’s not. Tons of exceptions.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Assimil, preferably older editions

  7. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Ciardi is an excellent edition for english speakers, and for understanding the meaning behind phrasing and the difficulty in evoking ideas in transposing them from Dante's Tuscan to modern English. It's almost two books, the translation, and a critical examination or exploration of the text itself.

  8. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    I started yesterday but did not like the version I found. A fricking bilingual (spanish and italian) version with both verses side by side, then only spanish and then only italian. 3000+ pages almost impossible to navigate.

    I just want to immerse myself in a christian world while enjoying the ride. Got the Angel Chiclana translation into spanish that seems to be the equivalent to Mandelbaum. I'll also play black metal during inferno, reggaeton during purgatory and gregorian chants during paradiso. It's all about atmosphere and not academic or historical significance for me.

  9. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    another vote here for Ciardi

  10. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    What about the Oxford Worlds Classics translation (Sisson)? Is it okay or should I look for another edition?

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      It’s good.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Good to hear. Thanks

  11. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Based thread. Mandelbaum is great, especially with Singleton’s notes. I like the balance in Hollander too.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      kys

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Seethe

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          ywnbaw

  12. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Read Paradise Lost.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Paradise Loft?

  13. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    John Sinclair's prose translation.

  14. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    test

  15. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    John Ciardi's notes were helpful and acknowledged where a perfect translation from the original vulgar of the time isn't quite possible.

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