Purgatorio: A Verse Translation

Doubleday, 2003 - Broj stranica: 742
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Bernard Knox praised Robert and Jean Hollander's translation of The Inferno this way: "For the student of Dante, this book is not only an indispensable guide, it is also an intellectual feast." Similar lavish praise will surely grace this new translation of "Purgatorio."

"Purgatorio" is the second installment in Dante's Divine Comedy. It relates in thirty-three cantos the poet's progress, still with Virgil as his guide, up the mountain of purgatory, where souls must wait to expiate their sins on Earth before they enter heaven. As hell has circles, Purgatory has terraces, one above the other, each representing one of the seven deadly sins. In each an appropriate type of penance is practiced, and the spirit ascending the mountain must cleanse itself of each sin of which it was guilty.

Robert and Jean Hollander's verse translation with facing-page Italian offers the dual virtues of maximum fidelity to Dante's text with the poetic feeling necessary to give the English reader a sense of the work's poetic greatness in Italian. And since Robert Hollander's achievement as a Dante scholar are unsurpassed in the English-speaking world and he is a master teacher, the introduction and commentaries that accompany each canto offer superb guidance in essential matters of comprehension and interpretation. On every count, then, this edition of "Purgatorio" is a literary and scholarly translation likely to be the one that survives for the greatest period in the new millennium.

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O autoru (2003)

Born Dante Alighieri in the spring of 1265 in Florence, Italy, he was known familiarly as Dante. His family was noble, but not wealthy, and Dante received the education accorded to gentlemen, studying poetry, philosophy, and theology. His first major work was Il Vita Nuova, The New Life. This brief collection of 31 poems, held together by a narrative sequence, celebrates the virtue and honor of Beatrice, Dante's ideal of beauty and purity. Beatrice was modeled after Bice di Folco Portinari, a beautiful woman Dante had met when he was nine years old and had worshipped from afar in spite of his own arranged marriage to Gemma Donati. Il Vita Nuova has a secure place in literary history: its vernacular language and mix of poetry with prose were new; and it serves as an introduction to Dante's masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, in which Beatrice figures prominently. The Divine Comedy is Dante's vision of the afterlife, broken into a trilogy of the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. Dante is given a guided tour of hell and purgatory by Virgil, the pagan Roman poet whom Dante greatly admired and imitated, and of heaven by Beatrice. The Inferno shows the souls who have been condemned to eternal torment, and included here are not only mythical and historical evil-doers, but Dante's enemies. The Purgatory reveals how souls who are not irreversibly sinful learn to be good through a spiritual purification. And The Paradise depicts further development of the just as they approach God. The Divine Comedy has been influential from Dante's day into modern times. The poem has endured not just because of its beauty and significance, but also because of its richness and piety as well as its occasionally humorous and vulgar treatment of the afterlife. In addition to his writing, Dante was active in politics. In 1302, after two years as a priore, or governor of Florence, he was exiled because of his support for the white guelfi, a moderate political party of which he was a member. After extensive travels, he stayed in Ravenna in 1319, completing The Divine Comedy there, until his death in 1321.

Jean Hollander, poet, teacher, and director of the Writers Conference at the College of New Jersey.

Robert Hollander is the author of a dozen monographs, editions, and translations and some six dozen articles on Dante, Boccaccio, and other writers. A member of Princeton's Department of Romance Languages and the former chairman of its Department of Comparative Literature, he has received the Gold Medal of the city of Florence in recognition of his Dante scholarship.

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